What You Must Know About a Cyclist's Diet?

Each athlete needs to eat accordingly and for the sport that they practice. If you're looking to start cycling, then you must know which diet is appropriate for you.
What You Must Know About a Cyclist's Diet?

Last update: 12 January, 2019

Cycling is much more than just a sport or a way to exercise. It’s a way of life, a healthy and eco-friendly transport method, especially when used in everyday life in the city. Many people are now starting this activity and so we may ask ourselves, what should be included in a cyclist’s diet?

Many people are now cycling, and so it’s important to know what fuel we must feed the body with, to perform this activity well. Is there a special diet for cyclists?

The short answer is yes! A cyclist’s diet must be balanced in order to compensate for the increasing amount of exercise.

The many types of cycling

Usually, we think of the professional cyclist on a road bike. However, we also have mountain biking and BMX. Each of these sports has specific rules, types of bicycles and even nutritional needs.

There are many types of cycling

Each of these types of cycling also has a different effect on the body and the way it consumes energy. For example, road biking can burn more calories than performing spinning at your local gym. This calorie burning rate is constant if the exercise effort increases.

Benefits of cycling

Muscle strength is very important when practicing this sport. It works all leg muscles, but it can also work the abdomen and the upper back. Thus, it is highly recommended to alleviate lumbar pain.

Cycling is also a great way to exercise for those people who cannot carry their own weight while running. It is much softer on the knees and hips than jogging or running. People who suffer pain in these areas will benefit from this type of exercise.

What must a cyclist know about nutrition?

Carbohydrates are a natural source of energy. And, considering the number of calories and aerobic metabolism involved in cycling, they are a food group that must be included in a cyclist’s diet.

Carbohydrates are plant-based. In other words, this means that you can find them in fruits and vegetables alike, as well as in grains and cereals. A cyclist’s diet must include carbohydrates as a source of pure fuel.

A healthy style of cooking and combining them with other foods is also necessary. Specialists always recommend avoiding the excesses of fats and processed foods, such as refined sugar for example.

Competitive cyclists

A professional cyclist will have different needs than an amateur, especially in regards to the physical effort. Additionally, this may include digestive and adrenal deterioration, which can cause several problems. Thus, a competitive cyclist’s diet must include anti-inflammatory and gluten-free grains.

Cereal is fundamental in a cyclist's diet

Daily nutrition: a cyclist’s diet

An appropriate and balanced diet really influences a cyclist’s performance. In the nutritional needs for this sport, as in life, we must think of three specific periods: before, during and after the activity.

Before exercising

You must eat at least three hours prior to cycling. The purpose of this is to maintain the full range of energy invested and to avoid digestive issues during the activity.

If you practice cycling in the morning those carbohydrates will be very important. Make sure you eat cereals, grains, and fruits in the morning.

During the exercise

During this period, a cyclist’s diet must include abundant hydration and specialized foods. If it’s a long competition, then the body will need an additional source of energy.

And so, the foods high in sugar content are appropriate. Certain types of sports drinks and energy bars will be especially helpful during this period of the exercise.

After the exercise

Moderate consumption of energetic supplements is a good idea after finishing the exercise. Some of these foods include energy bars, cereals, especially rice and pasta which have great caloric content. Don’t forget to keep consuming carbohydrates during this period.

You must consume these foods with other sources of protein, whether plant-based or animal based. But remember to avoid consuming too much fat in those meals. This is a great way to keep a healthy body while practicing such a challenging sport.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.