Nutrition Plan For Cycling

senior cyclist
Senior man biking on road (Image: diego_cervo/iStock/Getty Images)

Cycling is a sport of endurance, placing a very high demand on the muscles and the cardiovascular system. As with any sport, a cyclist has to know the best foods to eat. It is essential that the food's consumed go down easy and stay down. A nutritional plan, low in fat and high carbohydrates will provide the needed energy for the ride. Carbohydrates are actually the body's preferred source of energy. and carbohydrate loading may help you boost your endurance. Hydration and the correct nutrition can fuel the body and put the cyclist in top condition.

Meet Your Cycling Goals with the Right Carbs

Step 1

Stay away from carbohydrates made with refined flour and refined sugar. Such carbs offer little nutritional value.

Step 2

Load up on carbohydrates in fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads, beans, rice and pasta.

Step 3

Round out your diet with lean protein and a small amount of fat.

Know When You Should Eat

Step 1

Eat a good breakfast. Loading up with slow-burn carbohydrates and fluids will provide a complete fueling for your daily cycling. Examples include porridge, cereal, muesli, toast, honey, jam, bananas, fruit juice etc. Make sure to start your carb-loading several days before a long ride or a race. You'll want to drink at least 8 to 12 ounces of fluid immediately before a ride.

Step 2

Fuel up with carbohydrates. Your body can only store two hours worth of glycogen, the muscle fuel that prevents the body from “hitting the wall.” Gel packs or energy bars should be carried and you should eat one every 35 to 45 minutes to load up on carbohydrates. Take a banana, it provides the calories, the carbohydrates, and potassium needed to charge your body. Peanut butter sandwiches and fig bars are another power packed way to replenish on the road. Also, drink 8 ounces of fluid every half hour during a ride to ensure the optimal hydration.

Step 3

Replenish your glycogen levels as soon as you can after your ride. It is a “must do” when cycling long distance or on a multi-day tour ride. Your body is most effective at re-fueling glycogen immediately after your ride. A high calorie drink is an easy and effective way to get the carbs down. Gradually replenish those lost fluids after a ride.

Step 4

Eating a good breakfast is essential. Loading up with slow - burn carbohydrates and fluids will provide a complete fueling for your daily cycling. Examples include porridge, cereal, muesli, toast, honey, jam, bananas, fruit juice etc. Make sure to start your carb-loading several days before a long ride or a race. You'll want to drink at least 8 to 12 ounces of fluid immediately before a ride.

Step 5

Carbohydrates are the fuel you need on the road. Your body can only store two hours worth of glycogen, the muscle fuel that prevents the body from “hitting the wall.” Gel packs or energy bars should be carried and you should eat one every 35 to 45 minutes to load up on carbohydrates. Take a banana, it provides the calories, the carbohydrates, and potassium needed to charge your body. Peanut butter sandwiches and fig bars are another power packed way to replenish on the road. Also, drink 8 ounces of fluid every half hour during a ride to ensure the optimal hydration.

Step 6

Replenish your glycogen levels as soon as you can after your ride. It is a “must do” when cycling long distance or on a multi-day tour ride. Your body is most effective at re-fueling glycogen immediately after your ride. A high calorie drink is an easy and effective way to get the carbs down. Gradually replenish those lost fluids after a ride.

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