Why is nutrition so important for cyclists?
Cycling is a very demanding sport, mentally and physically. Ensuring you follow your Nutritional Plan will be essential for your success. Consuming the correct amount of Protein, fats, Carbohydrates before, during and after your events/training will impact your success at a huge level. Keeping in mind that each event your needs maybe different and alteration to your Nutrition maybe required.
A good way to estimate your additional calorie need is to multiply the distance travelled in miles (1.6kms) by 40-50 calories. Therefore, if you’ve been out for a 30-mile (48km) ride you can estimate an extra calorie need of between 1,200-1,500 calories erring towards the bottom end of this if you’re a slower or lighter rider and toward the top end if you’re faster or heavier. Easy way of getting in the needed energy for events like this is to consume liquid replacements during the event, like Protein Shots, Energy Gels, Energy Drink that contain Electrolytes and BCAA or Amino Acids.
Why do so many get nutrition and supplementation wrong?
As in most sports Nutrition is a vital importance and a firm understanding of the needed Nutrition and Supplements will ensure you succeed in the Sport you ventured into. However we have this false pretence that I can just jump on a bike and cycle 30kms and be able to achieve this as my Cycling Idol says it’s a warm up. The biggest mistake is the lack of understanding of good nutrition and Supplementation. Consuming 4000cals in bad food is simple, so we get those 4000cals in and think that’s it and off we go, half way or less we out of energy and struggle all the way home and once arrived we arrive home we can’t move as the lactic acid has taken over and muscle fatigue is at its worse as a VITAL importance was missed. Nutrition!! Forgetting to take your liquid Protein Shot, Energy gels or Energy drinks with
that all important Electrolytes and BCAAs. The reason for your woes could be traced to nutrition – or a lack of good nutrition. What you consume
and feed your body on does a lot more than you will ever imagine. The bottom end is that Nutrition needs to be your number One focus,
Remembering that getting the basics right is the most important aspect of nutrition as a means of improving performance.
Getting Nutrition Right
Following your nutritional / supplement plan may seem costly in the start, but once you in the swing of things and keep consistent, you will find the results outstanding. CONSISTANCY is key! Keep the Protein, Creatine, BCAA, HMB, Beat-alanine, Beetroot / Nitric Oxide and Electrolytes part of your daily diet, use Caffeine or Pre-workouts on training and Event days. Ensuring your diet and supplements are working for you, your recovery time will be shorter, your endurance and stamina will improve ensuring you perform at you optimum at all times.
Which supplements will help my cycling performance?
Protein is one of the most commonly used supplements as it promotes protein synthesis, growth of lean muscle tissue and reduces muscle damage. The best evidence that exists in terms of protein and exercise recovery relates to whey protein. It is considered to be the best as its amino acid profile (i.e. the mixture of amino acids that make up whey protein) very closely matches human body needs (i.e. whey is rich in the types of amino acids that are essential to humans). The types of amino acids that whey is rich in include the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and glutamine. These are essential for muscle recovery and growth. For this reason, whey protein is often the protein of choice when it comes to supplementing after training. It is also easy to absorb and has been shown to stimulate insulin release, which switches the body into “anabolic” mode, and this is beneficial during the
recovery period. When choosing a whey protein, you may want to also look at what else has been added to the supplement, and whether that meets your needs or not, e.g. are you looking for added carbs, or low carb, is it free from artificial sweeteners, preservatives etc.? Pea proteins can still be useful if you are vegan or allergic to dairy. For best results us chosen Protein 2 -3 times daily, Ideally 30mins before , 30 mins after and before bed (Casien Protein would be best at this time due to the sustained absorption during the night), Protein can be used during if you don’t have Protein Shots.
BCAA stands for ‘Branched-chain amino acids’ and there are three of them; leucine, isoleucine and valine. All three are essential amino acids as the body cannot produce them alone, and require them to be ingested, most commonly from foods containing protein such as meat, chicken, fish, and eggs.
Much like whey protein, BCAA’s help retain muscle by improving protein synthesis and promoting growth of lean tissue. BCAA’s can come in different forums; however the quicker absorbed is the powder that mixes in water. This can be taken Multiple times during a day. If you find your recovery is slow, simply up your BCAA’s and Glutamine HMB is a naturally produced substance in the body that stimulates the production of proteins and inhibits the breakdown of proteins in muscle tissue, which, reduces muscle damage and aids recovery. For best results use twice daily, mornings and evenings.
Beta-alanine is another amino acid and is used as a ‘buffer’ that allows you to better deal with acid build up in your muscles. When acid or better known as lactic acid builds up in the muscles this can cause muscles to ache and limit your range of motion. Consuming Beta-alanine will ensure your endurance improves and add to your stamina. Note First time users of Beta-alanine may experience some discomfit, as it feels like your body is being pricked all over. This is not an allergic reaction, this is your body responding to the Beta-alanine. Best results use 30mins prior to training or event
What it is: Electrolytes are involved in a number of key bodily functions including; regulation of hydration, regulating our nerve and muscle function, bloody pressure and rebuilding damaged tissue. The electrolytes we are most familiar with are sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium.
Electrolyte levels in our body are altered by our level of hydration, so as our hydration status goes up and down, so do our electrolyte levels. Furthermore, when we exercise we lose electrolytes, creating an imbalance.
What it does: Essential for general health, and improves recovery, especially following large amounts of sweating.
Caffeine is a stimulant and well researched in sport. It is found naturally in a number of substances such as cocoa, coffee and tea, but can also be supplemented. It is a compound that is found to work via a number of mechanisms to enhance energy levels
and reduce “perceived exertion” (meaning that you can work harder during training, but it doesn’t feel like you are). Caffeine promotes wakefulness, increases energy expenditure/metabolism and stimulates thermogenesis (and “fat burning”), improves sports performance, and can improve focus and endurance.
Recommended dosage normally starts at around 100mg. Most Pre-Workouts contain Caffeine in them but with added ingredients, Pre-workouts are highly effective and ensure your get this huge burst of energy to ensure you perform at your peak. Stick to the recommended dosages as over loading on Caffeine or Pre-workouts will have the reverse effect and shut down your system and could damage your Adrenal Glands. If this has happened to you, No worries with Adrenal Support you can get your adrenal glands back to normal.
What it is: Creatine is a compound that is stored, and during periods of stress, it releases energy to aid cell functions. This actually makes creatine useful not just for improving strength, but also supporting the health of our brain! When there are greater stores of creatine due to supplementation, this appears to not only improve peak power output but also increase high-intensity exercise capacity and lean muscle mass. Micronised forms of creatine have smaller particle size and therefore dissolve better and are often more efficiently absorbed into the body. Dosing with creatine often involves a loading phase followed by a maintenance phase.
What it does: The key researched outcomes of creatine supplementation relate to improved athletic performance through increased peak power output and repetition during high-intensity exercise.
What it is: We’re all familiar with beetroot, however, most of the benefits found in beetroot won’t be achieved through consuming what you purchase in a tin from the supermarket shelf! If you find the right beetroot source, this can be high in beneficial nitrates which work to promote higher nitric oxide levels in the body. Nitric oxide is essential for vasodilation (blood vessel “relaxation”), meaning there is more efficient delivery of blood and therefore oxygen throughout the body (this means cardio-efficiency is improved). Beetroot can be used both on a regular basis to achieve the benefits of ongoing consumption, and also acutely (i.e. just before a workout).
What it does: Research demonstrates that beetroot can enhance exercise capacity and sports performance (e.g. improving performance at high altitudes, achieving faster sprint times and better decision making in team sports, achieving enhanced time trial performance and aerobic fitness).