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Diet & Training of a Cyclist

by
author image Linda Ray
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."
Diet & Training of a Cyclist
Proper diet and training are important to the cyclist. Photo Credit competor/athletic in road cycle racing image by L. Shat from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

If you make the commitment to maintain a strict diet and training program, you can become an elite cyclist, according to the cycling coaches at the Cycling Performance Tips website. Your genes play a small role in the overall potential in bike riders; the majority of success comes from training and diet.

Practice

Cyclists ride. To become more proficient at long rides, you must ride regularly. While riding, you also should practice eating. Competing cyclists eat and drink while they ride. While the leg and core muscles become stronger during long rides, the stomach also must be trained to eat during the ride. According to the coaches at the Cycling Performance Tips website, you should eat processed bread during rides instead of whole grains and cooked vegetables instead of raw to minimize bowel activity while riding.

Prevention

You should rest for four days before a long competitive ride and avoid strenuous exercise. Stretching is the most important activity required before events to maintain a high level of flexibility. Cyclists should add about 600g carbohydrates to their daily intake starting about four days prior to the ride and eat a meal loaded with more than 300 carbs about four hours before the race. You can drink a liquid carb-loaded shake or sports drink within the four hours leading up to the ride. Just before getting on the bike, you should eat a high-carbohydrate snack, such as a candy bar.

Racing

During a cycling race, riders should take in at least 60g carbohydrates every hour. A sports drink is the ideal option for getting this nutrition. You should train for a specific event with the appropriate workouts. For example, distance riders need to complete long rides. Uphill cyclists should train on inclines while racers need to practice sprints and cruising.

Post-Event

To restore lost muscle and liver glycogen, cyclists should take in about 100g carbohydrates every hour for the four hours after an event and at least 600g carbs per day for the two days following the race. Use a massage therapist trained in sports massage after the race while filling up with carbs. A sports massage therapist can work out the tight muscles and move any lactic acid that has built up.

Considerations

During inclement weather and in the winter months in many areas, cyclists turn to the gym and indoor stationary bikes to continue riding. Trainers at the Ultra Cycling website report that cyclists can conveniently work out in safety and comfort indoors while using the many electronics attached to the stationary bikes to measure progress. Cyclists use off-times to eat more normal meals. You must be aware of gaining weight. Weight gain can slow you down when you return to racing.

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