Cycling and nutrition to help improve performance

Cycling and nutrition to help improve performance

Anyone who is related to the world of cycling, be it sports or recreationally, knows the importance of a good diet for cyclists, whether we are going to ride on the road or in the mountains.

To select a suitable diet before riding, nutrition experts who have worked with cyclists of all levels from casual cyclists to Olympians, recommend a series of basic meals or snacks that will greatly help our performance.

Nuts and dried fruits

Why? Recent studies have shown that the consumption of fatty foods before exercise increases the oxidation of fat, that is, it increases the burning of fat during exercise, resulting in a plus in performance and in the body’s metabolic adaptations to aerobic exercise, something of utmost importance in food for cyclists. We must bear in mind that when we refer to fatty foods we are not referring to eating a pork rind or something like that, because saturated fat on the contrary will be detrimental to our performance. An example of healthy vegetable fat is also avocado for example, so you can add it to your diet.

When? Ideal for a long ride with low cardiac intensity, as adding nuts and dried fruits that have a high fat content will help the body use fat as fuel instead of using glycogen (stored carbohydrates) which will serve us best during the ride.

Oats

Why? The large amount of carbohydrates contained in oats makes it a great natural source of energy for cyclists, since eating carbohydrates between 3 and 4 hours before a ride increases our glycogen levels, which means increasing energy reserves. We can combine it with our favorite fruit or with a little protein powder to give it more flavor and obtain a more complete diet.

When? Oats are ideal for more intense workouts or shorter races where our body depends on the oxidation of carbohydrates for energy, which is when we work in the anaerobic zone or rather with a high heart intensity.

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Why? In the first place, it has always been known that banana is perfect to avoid cramps due to its high potassium content, it is also an excellent source of calories. On the other hand, strawberries help to recover the muscle and avoid post-exercise muscle pain due to its antioxidant properties. If we combine these two foods we will have a magic potion for proper muscle function.

When? It is an ideal drink for before those intense workouts where the muscle receives a large amount of oxidative stress that can generate a muscle cramp or pain. However, it will never be unnecessary to consume bananas during riding, in this way we will ensure good potassium levels at all times.

Pasta and rice

Why? They are generally the two most used carbohydrates in the diet for professional cyclists when they are in competition, because they are foods with high carbohydrate content with a low glycemic index, so they will deliver us energy in a dose while we are pedaling.

When? Ideal for long rides, where energy consumption must be moderate and constant in order to reach the last kilometers with good energy. Both pasta and rice can be eaten before or after riding; We will consume it later when it is a test of several days where we have to recharge the glycogen levels for the next day.

Fish or meat in combination with vitamin C

Why? The main idea is to consume Iron, since this has a very important role in the transport of oxygen to our muscles and in the oxidation of glucose to convert it into energy. It is advisable to eat foods with Heme Iron (from animals) as they are more easily absorbed by the body; among the most recommended are fish and red meat. To obtain a better absorption we can accompany them with foods high in vitamin C such as citrus.

When? It is not about consuming iron at a specific time, the ideal if you are an athlete of any kind is to maintain a diet with a balanced intake of this mineral to maintain good levels in the blood when exercising.

Remember that there are thousands of foods with the previously mentioned properties, the idea is to maintain a balanced diet with the needs of cyclists. We hope you liked this article and above all that it will be useful for future rides.

 Read Also – Healthy food and physical activity, perfect partner to improve the quality of life.

Healthy food and physical activity, perfect partner to improve the quality of life.

healthy-food-and-physical-activity-perfect-partner-to-improve-the-quality-of-life

Healthy food and physical activity, perfect partner to improve the quality of life.

The two main factors that intervene in the person’s state of health are genetic characteristics and lifestyle. Most diseases have a genetic basis, but the individual’s lifestyle is the factor that determines what pathology he may develop over the years. In Europe, most of the main causes of death correspond to chronic diseases directly related to the lack of change in behavior associated with lifestyle, which the individual can control.

Behaviours that represent a danger for the preservation of health are considered risk factors. Two of the main ones, with the greatest negative influence on chronic pathologies, are sedentary lifestyle and inadequate nutrition.

Physically active people enjoy a higher quality of life, because they have fewer limitations that are normally associated with chronic diseases and aging; they are also benefited by a longer life expectancy. By improving our lifestyle, we reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease and cancer, the main causes of mortality in humanity.

Physical exercise increases psychological well-being and improves our mood, reinforces self-esteem, generates self-confidence and increases self-control.

It is important to promote the practice of physical and sports activity at all ages, since it implies positive changes in personal well-being, immediately after having done some type of sport. It is proven to reduce anxiety and depression problems.

Physical activity and sport are synonymous with health, expressing values ​​of life, joy, desire for progress, freedom, and movement, to share, to socialize, all these aspects are enrichment both personal and group.

Therefore, in the psychological field for all people, physical exercise is essential.

What recommendations should be considered before starting regular physical activity?


The fundamental recommendation is that before starting a physical activity training plan, visit your doctor for an exam and thus obtain a certificate of fitness for the beginning of a physical activity. This evaluation is carried out by specialized cardiologists. The evaluation consists of a complete physical examination, blood and urine tests, and an electrocardiogram. The exercise stress test or exercise test is a fundamental diagnostic technique that is used mainly for the diagnosis of angina pectoris in patients with chest pain and to assess the response of the heart to exercise.

When we do physical exercise, what eating guidelines should we take into account?

The pre-workout diet should be based on foods rich in carbohydrates and low in fat and protein. This will prevent delaying gastric emptying and diverting blood flow from the muscles to the stomach and avoid an upset stomach.

Food should contain little fiber and fat, which avoids discomfort in training. The tolerance time of the last meal prior to physical activity is individual, although there is a general indication that 2 to 3 hours prior. Consume 200 to 400 ml of an isotonic drink with a carbohydrate concentration no greater than 7-8%. During training it is suggested to continue consuming 100-150 ml of drink at 15 min intervals during the first hour of physical activity. It is important that the athlete choose the drink that best suits his taste and flavor.

To replenish the body’s carbohydrate reserves after exercise, a key element for all athletes, during the first 6 hours after physical activity, which reduced glycogen reserves (muscle reserve HC), foods rich in HC are recommended high glycemic index (maltodextrin – glucose – ripe banana – spaghetti – orange juice). The glycemic index is a system that allows the “quality” of the different carbohydrates contained in individual foods to be compared, and provides a numerical index based on measurements of the blood glucose after ingestion. After this important period, you can incorporate foods with moderate glycemic index carbohydrates in your normal and usual diet.

Many athletes, especially those who want to sculpt their body, follow a diet based on protein consumption. Are there special recommended diets depending on the type of sport practiced or the result you want to obtain?

Yes. There are diets, although it is appropriate to call them a “specific food plan”, which are applied according to the type of sport and according to the objectives that an athlete sets. Among the meal plans, are those based on a higher percentage of protein in the intake (hyperprotein diets) and low percentages of carbohydrates and fats. This type of eating plan aims to stimulate the consumption of fat and carbohydrate deposits that the body has, obtaining a faster weight loss than a balanced eating plan, and an increase in muscle mass if it is doing exercises. It is important to take a medical check when you are doing this type of protein diet to avoid eating imbalances.

How long do you have to wait to digest depending on your physical activity?

The appropriate time that is suggested is about two or three hours, since food takes, on average, four hours for its digestion in the small intestine, and if we exercise too soon we can suffer, in some cases, stomach pains , nausea, vomiting, dizziness and even cramps, due to the contraction of the muscles and the extra need for oxygen.

Is there the famous “digestion cut”, which prevents us from getting into the sea or the pool immediately after having eaten?

Hydrocution, or popularly “digestion cut” (an inappropriate term, since it is not at all a failure of the digestive process), is a thermodifferential shock (temperature difference) characterized by a syncopal state caused by abrupt contact with cold water, which triggers a reflex called the immersion reflex (the heart rate decreases and the most superficial vessels contract), which causes an inhibition of breathing and circulation, generating a cardiac overload that causes, in some cases, a cardiorespiratory arrest.

As we know, food digestion increases blood circulation in the stomach and duodenum that are processing it, thus reducing the blood supply to the rest of the body

Then yes:

the water temperature is below 27 ° C.

we have been exposed to the sun for a long time before bathing.

we have performed very intense exercises or physical work, with great sweating

we take psychotropic drugs

we are right after a hearty meal

A reasonable waiting time of 1 to 2 hours after eating or exerting is recommended. Other recommendations, which are common sense, and that will help to avoid sudden changes in body temperature, is to gradually enter the water and not do a very intense exercise before bathing.

Read more: Dates, the best allies of the long-distance athlete

Maca 5 Reasons to Try This Superfood

Maca powder

Maca for a natural energy boost

As part of the radish family, the maca root looks pretty unremarkable, but it’s anything but. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, and is known in South America as Peruvian Ginseng, for its ability to boost energy levels, stamina and even sexual health.

This amazing ingredient is also rich in antioxidants and skin-loving compounds which can help to restore your body’s natural glow and vitality. Here are five great reasons to give  FitBites Maca Mantra a try:

Increased energy levels

They don’t call it Peruvian Ginseng for nothing. This energy boosting root is a potent alternative to caffeine, and can raise energy levels without the dizzying come-down. Lovers of this Peruvian Ginseng report feeling more alert and more focused, with all of that head fuzziness gone.

This amazing supmay also help to improve stamina, which is why so many athletes trust it to help power them through tough training sessions.

Rich in antioxidants

Maca is full of antioxidant compounds, which are essential for helping to rid your body of harmful free radicals. A modern Western diet, stress and fatigue, can lead to a build up of free radicals in your body. When that happens, those free radicals begin to steal electrons from healthy molecules, making your cells unstable. That does damage to your body in all sorts of ways. Antioxidants neutralise those free radicals, and maca is a great source of them.

High in vitamins and minerals

Here are just a few of the nutrients present in maca powder:

Vitamin E — Essential for healthy, glowing skin.

Vitamin A — A powerful antioxidant which also helps to protect your eyesight.

B Vitamins — The best way to keep your energy levels stable and peppy is to take in enough B vitamins. Maca is full of them.

Zinc — Needed for energy metabolism and for making enzyme reactions happen inside your body.

Potassium and phosphorus — Energy boosters? You guessed it. We told you, they call it Peruvian Ginseng.

Sexual health

Alright, this is anecdotal, but there are plenty of reports saying that maca is awesome for boosting libido and sexual health generally. It may even help ease aches, pains, hot flushes and other symptoms of menopause.

Healthy, glowing skin

Having higher energy levels is likely to make your skin look and feel healthier anyway, but thanks to the high amounts of antioxidants and vitamin E in maca powder, supplementing with it regularly can help to restore elasticity and vitality to your skin, especially if taken in conjunction with vitamin D.

Visit the FitBites online shop to get your hands on some maca power.

FitBites Love Hemp Protein

Let’s talk about Hemp Proteinhemp protein

We’re always looking for new and exciting ways to get as much delicious nutrition into our FitBites as possible. So, when we came across hemp protein which not only ticks all of our ‘organic’ and ‘gluten-free’ boxes, but also provides a substantial vegan-friendly protein source, we were pretty excited.

 

Let’s clear something up straight away, though; when we talk about hemp, we are talking about the same family of plants that marijuana comes from, but hemp seeds do not contain anywhere near enough psychoactives to produce an effect (less than 0.3% by weight.)

How is Hemp Protein Made? 

The hemp seed is harvested, before being separated from its husk and pressed to remove the oil. The oil goes on to be used for other purposes, while the resulting seed ‘cake’, is ground into a fine powder – this is the hemp protein that we mix into FitBites Protein HIIT balls.

Amino Acid Jackpot 

Unfortunately, a lot of other non-animal and non-dairy proteins are poor alternatives, having either a pretty low protein content, or other nasty side-effects (usually digestive.) Hemp protein is not only high in protein, it also contains all 21 amino acids, including the nine we can’t make inside our bodies – meaning we have to get them through our diets. Those nine essential amino acids are:

  • histidine
  • leucine
  • isoleucine
  • lysine
  • methionine
  • phenylalanine
  • threonine
  • tryptophan
  • valine

These amino acids aren’t just important for building muscle after hitting the gym, either, they’re crucial to allowing all of your body’s organs and systems to function properly, from your kidneys and liver, to your brain and nervous system.

Fatty acids 

The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are found in hemp protein are naturally occurring, they’re not added in. They’re essential, too, for optimum brain function and for helping to reduce inflammation (omega-3.)

You’ll only find tiny amounts of these fantastic fatty acids in FitBites, because they’re pretty small, but if you’re interested in their health benefits, we would recommend doing a bit more reading about them. You could start here.

Vegan-friendly 

We’ve mentioned it already, but we were incredibly excited to start using hemp protein, because we know that for vegans, finding good sources of protein can sometimes be challenging. We would love it if, after trying our Protein HIIT balls, you bought yourself some hemp protein to use as a regular supplement.

Two tablespoons of hemp protein contains around 15g of protein.

If you have questions about hemp protein, or any of our other ingredients, we’d be happy to discuss them with you. Join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Baobab Bounce! That’s Bay-Oh-Bab

FitBites Superfood energy balls - Baobab Bounce

Some baobab trees still producing fruit have been carbon dated to around 1,000 years old, with estimates of others being even older.  

Reason enough, we think, to want to try the incredible fruit it bears – what an awesome link to the past!

Baobab trees are native to parts of mainland Africa, Madagascar and Australia, and the fruit, known simply as baobab or baobab fruit, comes as large seed-shaped pods. These pods contain powdery white chunks, which although they look pretty drab, have a pleasant tangy flavour.

The flavour isn’t really why we’re so into baobab, though. With around six times the vitamin C of oranges, baobab is outstanding at helping to maintain healthy skin and bones, as well as strong nervous and immune systems. With twice the calcium by weight of milk, baobab powder can be very valuable to those allergic to dairy.

Potassium, iron, magnesium and fibre all go towards making baobab powder one of the most naturally nutritious supplements in the world. In parts of Africa, baobab has been celebrated for nourishing generations of families through hardships, and demand for it in Europe could go some way to helping communities earn a living, or trade resources.

In ground form, the powder can be mixed into porridge, yoghurt and smoothies. We’ve mixed ours with dates, almonds, pineapple and coconut, to give you a highly nutritious and natural way to power your workouts.

Baobab is nutritionally rich 

Vitamin C – skin, bones, immunity and nervous system

Potassium – muscle performance and recovery, healthy blood pressure, kidney function

Iron – red blood cell production, healthy blood oxygen levels

Magnesium – strong bones, nervous system health

All of FitBites products are gluten-free, paleo-friendly. We don’t add any sugar or preservatives

FitBites Fuel and Recover the Natural Way

welcome-to-fitbites-where-we-fuel-and-recover-the-natural-way

If you’re new to FitBites, welcome! We started making our products in 2014 because of a love for fitness and for healthy, natural foods. We decided early on that we wanted to help out active children’s programmes, too, since we think that getting kids involved in sports is really important for the health of generations to come.

That’s why we donate 10% of our profits to charities and programmes that support this idea – whether for health, social or educational reasons.

So what do we make?

FitBites are really simple. They’re made from fruits, nuts, seeds and some really special ingredients often referred to as ‘superfoods’. We don’t include these superfoods because they’re trendy, though. We include them because we want to pack as much useful nutrition into our condensed little balls of energy as possible.

The spirulina in our Spirulina Stretch ball, for example, is one of the most protein-rich food sources on the planet, at around 60% of its dry weight – that’s more than beef, milk and eggs!

The sweetness in FitBites comes from fruits, like figs and dates, and our Acai Asana ball is rolled in organic cacao powder, which when combined with that sweet fruit, feels pretty special (if we do say so ourselves!)

We started out with FitBites in the yoga community, but actually, they’re perfect for anything from running, to cycling and even newer sports like CrossFit.

We really are passionate about helping people to fuel their workouts the natural way, with foods that are both effective and taste great. We hope that you’ll enjoy eating FitBites as much as we enjoy coming up with the flavour combinations and making them. Our range currently includes:

Spirulina Stretch – Spriulina, almond, apricot and coconut

Maca Mantra – Maca, almonds and coconut

Acai Asana – Acai, cranberry, fig and cacao

With others planned for release very soon.

We’ve also just released our Pre/Post-workout pouch, the first product of its kind, to combine a ball designed for pre-workout, and a ball designed for post-workout, in a single sporty pouch.

The pre-workout ball contains chia seeds, banana, spirulina and guarana. The post-workout ball contains cherry, beetroot, almond, hemp protein and virgin coconut oil.

We have 50 of these awesome pouches to give away, too! All you need to do, is visit our Facebook or Twitter page, like or favourite the post, and then share it.

Until then, stay healthy!