Besides hard and regular training, it is known to be impossible for achieving formidable cycling performance without correct diet and nutrition. However, regardless of what cyclists are going to gain from cycling (weight loss, endurance or strength), it’s good to know that with some common cycling food and ingredients, will be able to ride faster and have better energy efficiency.
1. HAVE HANDFULL OF NUTS EVERYDAY
Seed and hard shell fruit like walnuts are rich with protein and omega-3 fatty acid which are very important to human physiology. Nuts are also great sources of vitamins (E, B2), minerals (magnesium, phosphorus) and since they are highly caloric, serve as good energy storage for cycling or any endurance sports.
Best way is to consume them raw before riding, but you can sweeten tings us up by cooking your own homemade energy bars with adding seeds and nuts on top of it. Have on your mind that some processing of nuts can lower their nutrient value, like baking or roasting will lower their fatty acid level.
2. START ADDING COMPOUND SALTS TO DRINKS
During training, especially at summer days, human body loses large amount of water trough sweat in order to prevent overheating. Naturally, we compensate it by drinking fluids on the spot and eating some snack to fuel up our energy tank…But still after all that, any cyclist can start losing energy output, feel fatigue, exhaustion and eventually hit the brake. That is because body still needs some crucial ingredient that we all lose while sweating.
If you dry your clothes after training just before throwing it in washer or cleaning your bike, you can notice white sticky powder on places where sweat was the most. That is nothing more than accumulated salt your body lost. In other words, while exercising, besides water your body is losing compound salts (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, etc..) or electrolytes. They are very important for maintaining metabolic balance, regulate hydration, blood PH and vital for nerve & muscle function.
If you planning to ride less than an hour you won’t need any kind of supplement, but for longer rides it is a good idea to have one 500ml bottle prepared with electrolytes. In hot weather conditions you lose even more liquid, so have a larger dose or bring a packing of supplement for refilling.
3. TRY BEETROOT!
Nitrate is great when it comes to improve exercise performance and such common vegetable as beetroot becomes its best natural choice. It has high benefits in improving muscle efficiency by lowering the cost of oxygen at aerobic or endurance exercises.
The downside is getting enough beetroot in your diet and having purple urine. But if you want to maximize your performance at some cycling event, take 300-600 ml (dependable of person’s weight) of beetroot juice per day for the next week before participation.
4. GET LOADED WITH CAFFEINE
Multiple studies have shown that caffeine has exercise performance benefits by mobilizing body fat stores in a way that your working muscles use that fat as their source of fuel, which will prolong glycogen reserves and keeping blood sugar level stable. It can serve also as brain stimulant, which means increased concentration and focus on the road.
Best source of caffeine is coffee and tea. You can take it before, during and after cycling training or other endurance exercise, but be careful because it is a strong diuretic which means going often to urinate.
5. ALWAYS BRING A BANANA
If you do not know how to get/prepare energy bars, gels, or other supplements for training sustainment, there is always simple alternative solution. Common tropical fruit, such as banana, has known to be the best natural cycling food for replenishing lost energy during rides.
It is easily digestible and loaded with fibers, vitamins, minerals and mostly carbohydrates that will quickly replenish levels of lost glycogen.
Skin of banana is easily biodegradable, so feel free, when on the open road, to throw it on the side…But in urban environment be more civilized and dispose it in trash can.