Cyclists expend a lot of energy during long rides, so providing the body with the fuel it needs will enable the rider to perform optimally. Eating a healthy, balanced diet is always important, as is staying hydrated, but cyclists need to take nutrition even more seriously, keeping an eye on regular refueling with small snacks to keep blood sugar levels stable and muscles nourished.
Cyclists must drink plenty of water throughout the day to provide hydration for their muscles. Fresh fruits, fruit juices, clear drinks and some vegetables also help keep you hydrated.
A good way to know if you are getting enough fluids is to look at your urine. If it is clear or pale it means you are sufficiently hydrated. Conversely, dark urine means you are not getting enough water.
Eat a balanced diet to properly nourish your body. That should include complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and lean protein sources chosen from various food groups. If you fill three-quarters of your plate with whole grains and fresh produce you are providing your body with the fuel you need to perform. Accordingly, a healthy person who eats a balanced diet generally does not need to take a daily vitamin supplement.
Before a Ride
Several hours before cycling, eat simple carbohydrates that are easy to digest, such as white rice, oatmeal and bananas, to provide your muscles and body with energy. Then, right before the ride, eat a candy bar or a power bar for an energy boost.
During a Ride
Munch on small snacks once an hour during a ride to keep your blood sugar stable and your energy up. Keep snacks small so that your body does not have to use energy to digest food. Energy bars, meal replacement drinks, bananas and peanut butter sandwiches are good snack choices. Don't forget to keep hydrated while cycling.
After a Ride
Eat within a couple of hours after a long ride to replenish the nutrients your body has lost. A small amount of lean protein with a lot of complex carbohydrates will restore your system.
Article Written By Rose Kivi
Rose Kivi has been a writer for more than 10 years. She has a background in the nursing field, wildlife rehabilitation and habitat conservation. Kivi has authored educational textbooks, patient health care pamphlets, animal husbandry guides, outdoor survival manuals and was a contributing writer for two books in the Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Series.