What you need to know about cycling nutrition
11 February, 2020
Cycling nutrition is not only about what you eat, but also about how much you eat and when you fuel yourself. Whether you are enjoying cycling as a pastime, commuting to work or you are training for the big race, it’s crucial to have the knowledge of what to do and what to avoid regarding cycling nutrition. More significantly, it’s so much better that you establish a healthy lifestyle, rather than a temporary fitness and diet plan that will come and go before you start to reap the benefits.
1. Don’t skip breakfast
You’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is! Whilst you sleep, you’re effectively overnight fasting, so your body needs the energy to set the tone for your day, you don’t want to start your ride with an empty stomach that reduces your strength and stamina. Here are some benefits of breakfast that you may miss:
+ It boosts your metabolism;
+ Stabilises your blood sugar level during the day;
+ Decreases the risk of craving and overeating later.
Notably, don’t go for cereal all the time. Fresh fruits and food such as smoothies, oatmeal (not the instant type), eggs or whole-grain toast are favourable choices for cyclists.
2. Don’t wait too long in between meals
Almost all people have the thought that if you don’t eat, you’ll lose weight faster. However, if you starve yourself, you may fall into the starve-binge eating pattern. Especially when you cycle and burn lots of calories, a long gap without eating possibly leads to eating too much and eating wrong things. In this case, fat storage will be sent into overdrive, which is counterproductive to weight loss.
It is recommended that cyclists should never ride for more than 4 hours without eating anything. Snacking can be your great companion. Nibbling on foods to sustain your energy levels throughout your ride is super beneficial, just avoid high sugar snacks, try some nuts or trail mix!
3. Supply your body with carbohydrates
For a big ride, you’ll need to be carb loading from the day before, so that you won’t be riding under-fueled and won’t be too full from eating the morning of. Cyclists particularly need carbohydrates when they push themselves at moderate to hard efforts for over 2 hours without food access. Also, it has been revealed that doing a short but intense workout before carb loading will be more effective, as your muscles are hungry for the carbs, they will store them for the upcoming ride.
4. Plan a post-ride snack or meal
You’re better planning your post-ride snack and meal ahead of time in order to refrain yourself from temptation. After a long ride, you may be lured into binge eating to redeem the calories burned during the day. Therefore, a planned post-ride meal with the appropriate proportion of nutrients is the perfect way to cap off a hard day cycling and make the most of the work you’ve put in for the long-term.
5. Don’t eat too late at night
A busy life makes it hard for you to sit down and have dinner before 6 p.m. every day. Moreover, if you train after work, you’re unlikely to get home after the gym or cycling session before 8 p.m. To deal with this, you ought to avoid big dinner late in the evening. Not only does it affect your sleep, but it also stores more fat.
Alternatively, try to have your main meal of the day at lunchtime, then have a small meal for dinner. By doing this, you still can finish your work, do some work-out and fuel your energy properly.
Especially, for the next day ride, don’t eat too much in the previous evening or you’ll risk a poor night’s sleep and feeling bloated the following day.
6. Don’t eat too fast
It is likely that after the ride, you crave for food to refuel your body immediately and stock up food faster than you normally do. However, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to catch up with the amount of food you’ve eaten and tell your body that it’s full. Hence, slow down to catch the signals
Although the amount of people who ride is growing year on year, not many people are paying enough attention to cycling nutrition to make their ride better. We hope that with these tips, you’ll find yourself more energised on your next ride and more enjoyable since your body will be well-prepared and refuelled in time.
At Reid, we speak to commuters, nature-lovers, bike enthusiasts, socialites, athletes to name just a few. Each and every one of these people could know more about how their cycling lifestyle — whatever form that takes — affects the world around them, the people that live in it, and the way their involvement and investment can change things for the better. Which is precisely why we write these blogs to help educate you and others on how to best make your time on your bike.
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