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.
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.