Nutrition is a critical part of an athlete’s life. The choices you make every day about what and how much to eat are amplified when those choices directly impact sport performance, training, and recovery.
Meal planning tips: Cyclists in heavy training and young growing athletes will have huge energy demands and may need to eat up to 6-8 times throughout the day to make sure these demands are met. A pattern of frequent meals and snacks can be useful to meeting extra energy and carbohydrate needs. It can hard to get your entire food requirement in only 3 meals per day. Planning and preparation is the key to success:
Iron rich foods: The heavier the training needs the greater amount of energy, carbohydrate, and iron rich foods (particularly for women). Iron rich foods include lean red meat, chicken, fish, green vegetables, wholegrain cereals and fortified products such as breakfast cereal.
Fluid tips: A large percentage of our body is made up of water, so dehydration can affect how well you perform both mentally and physically. As a cyclist you are often limited to the amount of fluid you can drink and carry and as a consequence don't drink enough. It's important to keep well hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and extra fluid after training.
Energy tips: The body's fuel depends largely on the supply of carbohydrate to the exercising muscle; therefore the training diet needs to include enough carbohydrate to meet training demands. Aim for 30-60g of carbohydrate per hour. Commence carbohydrate intake early in the training session to avoid low stores later in the ride.
Carbohydrate foods: 50g of carbohydrate can be obtained from:
Portable foods: Part of the training diet will be consumed on the bike so must be easy to carry, consume one the go and not spoil out of the refrigerator (e.g. bananas, muesli/sports bars, sports gels, sports drinks).