A good cycling training diet involves balancing the right foodstuffs to gain the maximum health and fitness benefits. Getting your cycling training diet right will increase your general health and give you plenty of energy for those long arduous rides.
Here’s a breakdown of the right power foods to keep your body in top shape.
These provide the mass of the energy you use. Carbohydrates break down into Glycogen, this is stored in your muscles and liver before being converted to glucose which is used to give your muscles the energy they need.
Typically, your body stores about one and a half hours’ worth of glycogen. That’s enough energy to keep you going but if you are going on a long ride you need to make sure you have some replenishments handy or you will suffer from an energy dump.
Make sure you have a supply of high carbohydrate food with you.
There are two types of carbohydrates; simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are easier for the body to absorb and convert to energy. Simple carbohydrates are found in foods like fruit and refined sugar. These are great for instant energy but the downside is they burn out fast.
They’re a bit like rocket fuel; you’ll get an initial rush followed by an energy crash as the fuel is burned up. A good cycling diet needs to include both types of carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates release their energy more slowly like a computer controlled racing car. These are found in foods like pasta, potatoes and other such foods. Carbohydrates are essential if you are training hard. These are you main energy sources.
Protein also provides some energy but is also good for repairing muscles and fibres.
Proteins contain amino acids which are used to repair tissues and boost your immune system. You will find proteins in all meat products, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese and nuts etc. Protein is essential for athletes who are involved in endurance training and people who are cycling to get fit.
I would avoid the red meat and eat more chicken and fish products because these give you the protein without the fat associated with red meats.
Fat has being given a bad press over the last decade and there’s no doubt that the wrong fats are bad for you. But you need some fat in your diet to stay healthy. For a cycling diet fat will provide the bulk of your energy, there is also some evidence that it helps to keep your immune system in top shape.
Getting your fats right in your diet is important. There are good and bad fats. Bad fats occur in animal products these are saturated and Trans fats and you should avoid them. The good fats are found in olives and sunflower oil, these are saturated fats.
Vitamins and minerals
These are also essential to a properly functioning body. These are found in fruits and vegetables. If you are engaged in regular exercise then you need to get plenty of vitamins into your body.
The secret of a powerful cycling diet is ensuring that you get a full range of the different food groups while avoiding rubbish foods which will add no health benefits to you like bad fats and sugar. Combine good dietary practice with your training program, whether you are an athlete or are just training for the fitness benefits, and you will soon feel the benefits from it.
Paul is a lifelong cyclists and the author of the blog Defensive Cycling where he discusses all things cycling related from commuting to endurance training. Go to Defensive Cycling now and get your free book “Cycling for life”.
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