Even if you are only an amateur cyclist who is in the habit of challenging his or her limits mostly at the weekend, you must have noticed how easy it is to run out of energy while pedalling. Unless you stay properly fed and hydrated, the pleasure of cycling may turn into an unlucky experience.
Since every sport is supported by a well-devised dietary plan, there is a list of must-have ingredients that specialists in cycling sports nutrition usually recommend. To start with, the intake of water is crucial because every drop that is lost through sweating must be replaced regularly. On rides that are less than one and a half hour long, plain water will suffice. You are advised to sip every fifteen minutes rather than drink a large amount of liquid when you start feeling thirsty as this may lead to a queasy stomach.
During cycling, your body needs energy so it uses the glycogen stored in your muscles and liver. To make sure that the reserves of sugar are never used up, you must consume energy foods and drinks. There are different types of bars, gels, chews and drinks that you can take in to avoid low levels of glycogen and constantly replace the amount of muscle energy that you lose through pedalling. Glucose, maltose, fructose, sucrose and different sugar substitutes are among the most popular ingredients mentioned in sports nutrition plans as an aid for instant replacement of the amount of glycogen in your body while you are exercising.
In the case of vigorous cycling for over two hours, or on hot weather, important amounts of sodium, potassium, magnesium as well as chloride are lost. These minerals are called electrolytes and a low level of them may lead to headaches and muscle cramps. You can keep sports drinks and gels containing both carbohydrates and electrolytes to hand if you like or just take separate electrolyte supplements with you.
Protein plays an important part in maintaining your muscle vigour and it also helps muscle recovery after the ride. A lack of it may bring about muscle breakdown. This is the reason why many manufacturers of energy foods include protein among their ingredients. Yet, protein is more important after the ride as it is not as well digested as carbohydrates. Whey is the most easily digested protein and a reliable aid in strengthening your body immune system along with building muscles. Soy is also very easy to absorb and a reliable minimiser of ammonia in your muscles while you are exercising.
We may include moderate amounts of caffeine on the list of energy enhancing substances. It can be found in many energy drinks nowadays and is known to increase the blood flow to the brain and muscles.
No matter your reasons for cycling, fitness or competition, you must remember that this is a quite challenging sport and you must always be prepared to fuel your body with the elements that it needs. Do not overlook the importance of any of the above mentioned ingredients in your plan to support your body along the track.
- Cyclists need to fuel their muscles before and after going out for a ride, and know that different rides will require different levels of nutrition
- Getting the right slow release carbohydrates with a low glycemic index is common practise - luckily we can help with this with products such as barley starch and fine scottish oats
- Alot of the time its about getting as many high quality calories as you can before your ride, if it's going to be a gruesome one, so preparing a quick shake before may help
- During a ride if it's a long one, replenishing fluids and supplying the body with nutrition it can use while riding is easier with a quick shake providing all the carbs and protein needed to continue the training strong