If you are looking to step up on your cycling game or just to take up cycling as a form of exercise, we have a few tips for you on how you should eat before every riding session to increase your energy and performance level.
(image from: Unsplash)
Road cycling has witnessed its upwards trend in Singapore, especially during the Covid-19 season. As international travel are being halted by the pandemic, many are looking at another way of spending their leisure time with their friends and family. Hence, the popularity of both indoor and outdoor cycling has increased tremendously since 2020.
What and how much should i eat before cycling?
Eating the the right amount of food and the careful selection of foods are very important to maintain a consistent source of energy during your ride. The main source of fuel from our body during exercise is Carbohydrate. It is stored in the muscles and liver as Glycogen. Human bodies are only capable of storing a small amount of carbohydrates. Hence, it is important to top it up regularly.
An average elite Tour De France cyclist requires approximately 8-11g of carbohydrate per kilogram of their bodyweight. Hence, a cyclist who weighs 60kg requires about 480g to 660g carbohydrates to maintain their training levels.
However, for recreational riders who trains at a moderate to high level of intensity, they need about 5-8g carbohydrates per kilogram bodyweight.
What kind of carbs should i eat before my workout?
It is important to consider a carb's Glycaemic Index (GI) in your diet. What is GI?
A food's GI measures how quickly carbohydrates are being digested and broken down into glucose. With lower GI foods, it gives a slower release of energy and hence, should be the main choice of carbohydrate before any training sessions.
High GI foods on the other hand, are quickly broken down to glucose and provides fast source of energy. With high level of High GI foods, you might find yourself feeling lethargic after your meal.
Good examples of carbohydrates with low GI are: Brown Rice, Steel-cut Oats, Whole-grain bread, Vegetables, Chickpeas and Sweet Potato.
How long after eating should i wait before starting my workout?
Everyone has different level of comfort when it comes to eating before their workout. Hence, it is important to try and know what works best for you. In general, for larger meals, eat 2-4 hours before your workout and between 30 mins to 2 hours for smaller snacks.
(image from: Unsplash)
Is protein important for endurance athletes?
Since the main energy sources comes from carbohydrates, do i need to consider the amount of protein intake in my diet?
The answer is yes. It is important for cyclists' training diets to include a suitable amount of protein to support their muscles growth and repair. With adequate consumption of protein, it prevents muscles from entering into a catabolic state (breaking down both fat and muscle). Over time, this can support cyclists' muscle strength and optimal body composition.
how many grams of protein should a cyclist consume per day?
For adults who trains about 1 to 3 hours a day, it is recommended to consume a daily protein intake of about 1.6g to 1.8g per kilogram of bodyweight. Hence, a 60kg casual cyclist will need approximately 96g to 108g or protein intake per day.
However, a road cyclist trains with high training volumes. Hence, they might choose to consume up to 2.4g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
Some good choices of protein are chicken breast, fish, eggs and dairy products. However, if you are a vegetarian, you can consider incorporating high-quality protein such as nuts, seeds and beans into your diet.
Should i consume protein directly after my exercise?
You might have heard that one must consume protein within the "magical" time window of 29 minutes and 59 seconds. If you want, you can. However, it will not jeopardise your workout progress if you do not do so. Nonetheless, it is good to consume some form of balanced post-workout meal (protein and carbs) after a long cycling session. Post Workout Recovery usually takes longer than 30 minutes and it is important to consume protein regularly throughout the day instead of just after your workout.
If you are looking for a convenient and fuss-free way of taking your road cycling indoors, you can rent our bike trainers starting from only $49.90/month with FREE usage of ZWIFT account! Find out more here.