Nutrition for cyclists is a pretty big topic. Firstly, there’s general nutrition that encompasses what you should eat and when in your daily life. Then there’s specific pre-event and post-event requirements and there’s even during the event. I wouldn’t even attempt to cover everything in one brief blog post.
I do find the topic pretty interesting and it’s something all cyclists who are serious about their pursuit should focus on more. When I attended the Camp de Femme in Bathurst a couple of weeks ago we were treated to an interesting presentation by one of our coaches Melanie Reiter.
Mel is not a nutritionist but has learnt a lot about how to eat correctly from her own research and trial and error as an athlete.
The key things I took from her presentation included:
- These are important before, during and after exercise to delay fatigue and improve performance
- After exercise carbohydrates replenish glycogen stores in preparation for your next workout
- Simple carbohydrates will replace glycogen stores and will not be stored as fat.
- After a ride you should aim to have protein within 15 minutes for muscle repair. This could be in the form of a protein drink, banana, nuts, eggs, peanut butter or chocolate milk
- Protein is essential to build and maintain muscle mass
- A lack of protein in the diet will cause muscle wasting, chronic fatigue and slow recovery
- Protein assists in producing hormones which regulate metabolic rate.
- Good fats help absorb essential anti-oxidants, vitamins (A, D, E & K) and beta carotene
- Fats are important for producing hormones (estrogen & testosterone) and build nerve tissue
- Cyclists are very efficient at using fat stores, so replenishing them is essential for performance and recovery.
- Can benefit endurance athletes
- Increases fatty acids in the blood which can be utilised to spare muscle glycogen
- Stimulates the central nervous system, decreasing the perception of fatigue
- May enhance muscle contractions.
- You should aim to drink 750 ml per hour during a ride
- Have one bottle of water and one of electrolyte drink
- Hydrate 3 or 4 days before a big event.
I’d love to hear from others about what they’ve learnt works for them for riding.