Like any other serious athlete, cyclists benefit from following a balanced and suitable diet during their training.
Not only will this ensure they get the best performance from their bodies - after all, a cyclist’s body is a well-oiled machine - but it will also help decrease the risk of fatigue, exhaustion, and even injury.
While cycling might look like a relatively simple sport from the outside, those of us on the inside know just how draining it can be. Which is why following a suitable diet is essential to keep the ball rolling on your cycling training.
Think about it this way: Professional Cyclists need to eat around three times the calorie count per day of the average man, somewhere between 6000-7000 calories… That’s A LOT of food!
You might not need to take things to that kind of extreme, but it’s essential you’re putting the right things in your system to get the right results from your training.
So if you’re looking for a rough guide on what to eat and drink on a daily basis during your cycling training, here are some quick tips on the best diet for cyclists:
Breakfast: Porridge and/or Eggs
They say carbs are essential in storing short-term energy to be used later. Which is why so many cyclists opt for a light yet carb-heavy breakfast.
Porridge is a great option as it has been proven to release energy at a steady pace over the hours following consumption. It’s also one of the reasons so many parents like to get their kids in on the porridge train early on in life, with oats or similar cereals like Ready Brek.
Then again, some cyclists like to focus on a more protein-based start to the day, as some can feel slightly weighed down by the abundance of carbs.
Eggs work perfectly for this as they are a good mix of protein and fat - two things that will convert to energy and help you keep moving when times get rough.
Snack: Fruit or Yoghurt
For your morning snack (somewhere between breakfast and lunch) you’ll want to keep things as light as possible, yet substantial enough for some decent calorie intake to help you keep moving. Most experts recommend fruit and/or yoghurt for this.
Lunch: Sandwich (on brown)/ Baked Potato/ Pasta
Time for another carb-heavy load! Your lunch should serve the same purpose as your breakfast but in even greater quantity.
That’s why something like a sandwich on brown bread (slightly lighter and more beneficial than white) is a great choice. But there’s always the option of a baked potato or pasta if you have the time.
Or, if you’re smart, you could always have a baked potato or pasta the night before for dinner and leave enough leftovers for training day the next day.
Plus, all three of these options give you the chance to consume some protein along with your carb of choice, making them a multi-dimensional meal for your training.
Snack: Same as the previous snack
No need to complicate things here. You know what you’re doing by now!
Dinner: Lean protein (chicken, fish, etc) with solid carbs (rice, pasta, etc) and plenty of vegetables
Your evening meal must be a good mix of everything that came before, in order to keep your body in balance and not overload yourself with one specific food type.
When choosing your protein, try to stick to something as lean as possible with a low-fat content - chicken and fish are favourite options. This will encourage your body to focus on drawing energy from the protein as opposed to fat and will actually help your body to replenish any tired out muscle groups that you’ve put through their paces.
A small amount of solid carbs, like rice or pasta, will also give you a small energy reserve you might be able to draw on later if needs be. But don’t overdo it.
The evening meal is the perfect chance for you to fill up on veggies, though. Vegetables are essential in keeping the body healthy, so see this as your chance to stock up on all your favourite vitamins and nutrients.
All diets are different and work differently for different people, but hopefully the above will give you a good starting point on your cycling diet journey.
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