Cycling nutrition is an extremely important issue.
I have already written you this many times and from my articles you have learned a little about my approach to individual nutrition. Once in a nutrition class in sports, one of my university professors said the most important words in the context of nutrition
“The best diet is what you can maintain on a daily basis”.
I certainly agree with that. Not only when considering athletes, but also ordinary people who have little to do with sport and physical activity. If we are a healthy, sporty person and do not have any allergies or food intolerances, we do not have to worry and eliminate by force from our diet particular product groups. Nowadays, a gluten-free, lactose-free and ketogenic diet is becoming very popular.
If we do not have coeliac disease, we do not have to eliminate products containing gluten in their composition.
If we do not have lactose intolerance, we do not have to fear products containing lactose.
If we do not have medically resistant epilepsy (although it is not the only way to treat it) we do not have to try to absorb energy from ketone bodies at all costs.
Therefore, for an athlete practicing cycling, be it a competitive athlete or an ambitious amateur, it is enough to follow several rules:
• To achieve the goal in a given period of the cycling season,
• Guarantee an adequate energy supply,
• Take care to cover the need for proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins,
• The athlete’s dietary preferences,
• Take care of your mental comfort when you stick to your dietary recommendations,
• Include supplementation in your diet,
• Take care of proper watering,
• Plan your nutrition and supplementation strategy during training and competitions,
• Make sure the meal times are as desired by the competitor.
In order to answer the question what a competitor should eat, one should first of all consider what time of day a given meal is, how many of these meals we have planned and what character a given meal is to have. Does it seem complicated? It is not so at all. Let’s spread the meals over the first factors:
- First of all, they should be our main source of energy during the day,
- After the workout, they should have a regenerative function and rebuild our muscle and liver glycogen,
- The quality and quantity of these carbohydrates should depend on when we have training,
- Carbohydrate intake at workout should be strictly planned and should not exceed 30g of glucose + 30g of fructose per hour of workout,
- The closer we get to training, the more straight carbohydrates and less fibre we can afford,
Sources of carbohydrates :
Cereal flakes, whole grain flour, bread, rice wafers, corn wafers, groats, rice, pasta, potatoes, yams, jam, jam, jam, fruit juices, fresh fruit, dried fruit, flavoured milk, vegetables.
- We should take care of at least 20-30g of protein in the meal,
- The protein in a meal should contain a full aminoogram – that is, it should provide all the exogenous amino acids (those we have to provide from food),
- It has a regenerative function – it rebuilds damaged muscle fibres after training, strengthens our immune system,
- if we have quite a lot of time to train, we can afford sources of solid protein,
- If there’s not much time left to train, then protein supplement will be the ideal solution here.
If we are on a vegan diet and want to balance our meals in terms of amino acids, we should use different sources of protein during the day and not rely on just one source.
Sources of protein:
Meat, fish, dairy products, eggs, protein supplements, leguminous vegetables.
- The fat content of a meal depends on how far away a meal is from training,
- The closer we get to training, the more we should reduce the share of fats in a meal due to digestion time and increased risk of gastrointestinal problems,
- In a meal after training, we should focus primarily on vegetable sources of fats,
- ensure proper absorption of vitamins,
- have a positive effect on the body’s hormone balance,
- Particular attention should be paid to the content of omega 3 acids in the diet.
Sources of fats:
Vegetable oils, olives, fatty sea fish, flax, seeds and stones, nuts, avocado, eggs.
- It should be at least 20-30g per day,
- The main function of fiber is to maintain proper intestinal function,
- saves us from constipation,
- helps to achieve satiety after a meal.
Source of fibre:
fresh vegetables, fresh fruit, dried fruit, whole-grain products – flakes, bread, pasta, coarse groats, brown rice.
This is usually the first meal of the day. Its main purpose is to provide the first dose of macronutrients and micronutrients. If you train on an empty stomach, it will be a post-workout meal.
As the first meal of the day (for training over 3 hours):
As a plant version after training:
As the first meal (for training less than 3 hours):
Eating during training:
This is a carbohydrate boost to save muscle glycogen and increase exercise capacity. It largely depends on how intense and long the workout is. Above all, it should be rich in carbohydrates. The carbohydrate content of a meal should oscillate around 60g of carbohydrates per hour. The best distribution is 30g of glucose and 30g of fructose – this minimises the risk of gastrointestinal problems.
Energy gel, bananas, dried dates, isotonic drinks, rice balls with honey.
Lunch and dinner:
They are usually post-workout meals. They should be rich in complex carbohydrates (to ensure gradual absorption of carbohydrates and restoration of glycogen), protein (to ensure adequate muscle regeneration), fats (to ensure adequate energy supply in the diet), antioxidants (to increase regeneration after training).
First of all, they should be a kind of recharge of both carbohydrates and energy.