The intensity and effort required in all disciplines of cycling demand a nutritional programme that provides the energy, power and stamina to succeed.
Whilst distances and workloads vary, the common factor with any cycling discipline is that your body must produce the power and intensity to reach the finish line as quickly as possible. Although the concept is quite similar, the nutritional requirements for endurance and sprint events are quite different; long distance cyclists must be proficient in utilising all forms of fuel in the body - whilst sprint cyclists need the type of fuel that can provide explosive bursts of power. In all disciplines of cycling exercise must promote a number of physiological changes to help make the body more efficient and improve physical performance. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the body receives the essential nutrients it requires to improve fitness and help avoid injury and illness. A number of sports supplements can go a long way to achieving your individual goals.
Achieving your Cycling goal
Energy to cycle
Carbohydrates are essential to fuel both long and short distance cycling by keeping muscle-glycogen concentrations high. When concentrations are low performance will be negatively affected. It has been shown that insufficient amounts of carbohydrates can also affect co-ordination as the Central Nervous System becomes fatigued. Consume an effective carbohydrate drink before, during and after exercise. A high carb drink is a rapid source of energy, and will fuel exercise whilst helping to keep the body hydrated; particularly important during long distance events.
Fuel to aid recovery and help growth
Due to the high work rates in both distance and sprint cycling, it is advisable to consume high amounts of protein and carbohydrates upon completing a session. This is when muscle glycogen levels are at their lowest and most susceptible to replenishment. Recovery drinks combine protein, carbohydrates and a number of other excellent ingredients to help promote recovery after exercise. The nutrients included in these recovery products have been proven to improve recovery and help the body repair itself from the damage incurred during intense exercise.
Once the basic components of your diet are in place, such as carbohydrates and proteins, it is useful to look at products that can enhance your performance and push your fitness beyond your opponents. Sprint cyclists may find Caffeine to be an extremely effective performance enhancer when taken before exercise. Caffeine can increase adrenaline levels, provide extra mental focus and boost energy. Both disciplines would benefit from the addition of Creatine Monohydrate. Particularly beneficial to sprint cyclists creatine monohydrate helps your muscles produce ATP, improving explosive power and strength. During a long distance race, cyclists will benefit from the ability to re-produce ATP enhancing the ability to perform repetitive sprints.
Looking after your body
Spending a significant amount of time in the open elements and pushing the body to such physical extremes can leave a cyclist particularly vulnerable to illness and injury. The high volume of exercise and the aerobic nature of cycling demand a diet sufficient in all vitamins and minerals. A Multi-Vitamin will help the body flush out any unwanted toxins and also help improve the rate at which your body repairs itself after heavy physical exercise.
Recommended products for cyclists include: