Posted by: Dr. Tyrone A. Holmes | August 4, 2008

Improving Your Cycling Performance: Part 2

 

Greetings – in my last post, I introduced the 3 primary elements of cycling performance (training, nutrition and recovery) and discussed training in detail.  In this post, I discuss nutrition and provide suggestions for developing eating habits that will enhance your cycling performance.

Good nutrition provides at least 3 benefits for cyclists.  First, and most obviously, it will enhance your cycling performance by providing you with the energy you need to successfully complete your cycling workouts and events such as races and tours.  Second, good nutrition will facilitate the recovery process. The difference between feeling great during a workout and feeling like your legs are about to fall off may come down to effective nutritional practices.  Finally, good nutrition allows you to have a fit and healthful life beyond cycling.  While there are many steps you can take to improve your eating habits, here are 9 quick tips for improving your cycling performance:

  1. Drink at least one bottle of liquid per hour on a ride – more on a hot, humid day.
  2. For rides under one hour, water is sufficient.  For rides over an hour, consider a sports drink such as Gatorade to replenish carbohydrates and electrolytes.
  3. For rides over two hours, consider eating something such as an energy bar, fruit or cookies.  If you do a lot of long distance cycling, experiment with different foods to see what you tolerate best.
  4. Eat before you get hungry and drink before you get thirsty during a ride.
  5. Eat before, during (it it is a relatively long ride) and after every ride.
  6. Facilitate recovery by eating a carbohydrate rich meal right after you ride (approximately 300-500 calories, depending on the length of your ride).
  7. Eat breakfat everyday.
  8. Develop daily eating habits that emphasize 5 food groups: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy products.
  9. Don’t be afraid to indulge once in a while with your favorite dessert.  One of the great benefits of cycling is that it burns a lot of calories!

 NEXT POST: August 8, 2008 – Improving Your Cycling Performance: Part 3

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