If you’re aiming to improve your cycling performance, good nutrition is essential. Not only will eating the right foods give you more energy to complete longer rides, but it can also help with rest and recovery.
Below, we’ll discuss why a well-rounded diet benefits your cycling performance. We’ll also offer tips and tricks for incorporating key nutrients into your diet.
How does nutrition impact athletic performance?
Following a healthy diet can improve many aspects of your life, but it’s especially important if you’re physically active. When you work out, your body relies on food and water to keep going -- especially when you’re cycling for hours at a time.
Food acts as fuel, increasing your stamina and powering you through your workout. So even if you’re in great shape, training on an empty stomach can negatively affect your performance. Your body creates energy from food, so if you aren’t eating enough, you’ll get sluggish and tired much faster than if you were consuming enough calories.
What does a good diet look like?
For optimal cycling performance, you need to be mindful of your day-to-day diet, as well as your eating habits in the lead-up to your rides. Your regular diet should be well-balanced and include a combination of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
When you’re getting ready to cycle, there are other considerations to keep in mind. Depending on the intensity of your cycling sessions, it may be smart to fuel up before, during, and after your ride.
According to medical experts, it’s best to eat a carbohydrate-heavy meal about three or four hours before getting on your bike, followed by a smaller snack an hour or two before you head out. To feel your best, avoid fatty, sugary, or protein-rich foods.
If you’ll be on the road for more than an hour, you may need to eat again during your workout. Things like muesli, sandwiches, and sports gels can sustain you and give you the power to push through your session.
Food is also critical for your post-ride recovery. An hour or so after cycling, it’s important to refuel with carbohydrates and fluids. This helps your body replace lost nutrients and get back to a healthy state after strenuous exercise.
Other factors that affect your performance
In addition to eating well, keeping hydrated is another key component of improving your performance on the bike. Like good nutrition, you should be mindful of how much water you drink each day, adding additional fluids before, during, and after your rides.
Finally, you’ll also want to consider how your cycling gear impacts your performance. With the right gear (including your bike and apparel), you can complete faster and longer rides, all while staying comfortable.
At Alé Cycling, we design ultra-modern cycling apparel and accessories to help you become a better cyclist. From jerseys to bib shorts to gloves, our durable products are created with performance in mind.