Performance Nutrition for Cycling Fitness – What You Need to Pack
A Cycling Fitness program will only be effective if you supply your body with the right performance nutrition. As well as eating healthy meals, there is a whole world of nutrition products that can make a big difference, if chosen carefully.
It is important before embarking on a long cycle training session, or road ride, that you build up a good reserve of complex carbohydrates, which have the benefit of being metabolised slowly. This way your energy reserves stay at a safe level throughout the ride. Now these carbs can come from regular foodstuffs like potatoes and pasta, but there are some sophisticated complex carb powders and supplements available.
As the calories are burnt off during the ride, they need to be replaced quickly and in good time, so carrying a stock of energy gels and bars, and electrolyte energy drinks, is vital for even energy levels all the way to the end.
Good quality energy bars can give a boost of both calories and carbs, which are normally burnt off quickly and need replacing. Energy Gels are a more fast acting, and effective, approach to energy replacement, and are a staple of professional cyclists. It is important to realise, however, that these carbohydrate gels don’t work unless accompanied by a lot of extra water – so for a 1.4 oz gel you need to take in an extra 500 ml of water for the carbs to be absorbed as intended.
A great deal of liquid is used up in a strenuous ride, so hydration is a key area that can’t be neglected. Plain water is an important and under-appreciated drink that clearly has much to recommend it. But this isn’t enough to keep up all levels, so it should be partnered with electrolyte drinks. These isotonic drinks can come in the familiar form of the famous brand name bottles, or a self-mixed powdered drink tuned to your particular needs. Just keep replacing liquids all through the session, to save running out of resource at the wrong moment.
And after the session is over, it doesn’t help if you don’t make adequate provision for recovery. So, once refreshed, you need to take in plenty of complex carbohydrates to boost your glycogen levels. Again get this from pasta and the like, or your complex carb powder mix. If it was a particularly strenuous ride, a boost of protein is needed to rebuild and recover muscles. Natural foods or protein mix drinks can do this job for you, with some help from protein bars.
With these concerns always present, it is important to put together a well-designed cycling training program, with help from a qualified coach. If you can’t access people of that level, there are lots of expert programs, books and DVDs on sale, to lead you on the right path
So that is quite a collection of products that you need to arm yourself with, to make a hard cycling session or ride have a great effect on your body. Neglect these areas, and you can do quite a bit of harm to yourself – so it is definitely worth the effort.