It is generally accepted that eating the right type and quantity of food helps riders in many things. Some of those things are endurance and energy. You might be wondering “what foods do I have to eat before cycling a long distance?” Don’t worry because we have all the solutions for you below.
A long-distance ride requires energy generation at a relatively modest pace, and the majority of this energy comes from carbohydrates and fat, with a minor contribution from protein. Among the primary fuels for working muscles, carbohydrate is glycogen, which is stored in both the muscles and the liver. On a long-distance ride, it might be difficult to maintain energy levels if you do not ingest carbohydrate before the ride and replenish it throughout the trip as well as at the end of each of the days of a multi-day ride.
Stay tuned until the end to find out all the details you need to learn.
What should I eat before a long bike ride?
The longer you bike, the more important nutrition becomes in terms of your overall performance. Getting this wrong — eating too little or too much – may result in a loss of physical and mental power as well as feeling bloated and sick while riding your bike.
When you exercise, carbohydrate is the primary source of energy for your muscles, not protein or fat. The simple sugar glucose is taken into the circulation after digestion and stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. Carbohydrate-rich meals and beverages such as bread, fruit, energy bars, and sports drinks are examples of foods and beverages that contain a lot of carbohydrates.
When you exercise, glycogen in your muscles is broken down into glucose, which provides energy to your working muscles. The body has the ability to store enough glycogen to provide energy for around 90 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.
The consumption of carbohydrates throughout your ride will be necessary if you are planning a ride that will last longer than 90 minutes or if your ride will contain high-intensity hill climbing. The use of carbohydrates during continuous exercise (for more than one hour) has been demonstrated in several studies to enhance performance.
According to the Dietitians of Canada, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and the American College of Sports Medicine, 30 to 60 grammes of carbohydrate per hour of activity lasting one to 2.5 hours is recommended, and up to 90 grammes per hour for prolonged bouts of exercise is recommended.
On-the-go snacks should consist mostly of carbohydrates that are easily digested and low in protein and fat, which are nutrients that inhibit digestion. They should also be conveniently transportable, quickly accessible, and ones that you enjoy eating (so that you will really consume the food).
If you want, you can check out later our relative guide about what you should carry while Mountain Biking
When it comes to fast-acting carbs, a few of the best options to consider include raisins, dates, fig bars, cereal bars, energy bars (but not protein bars), energy gels and chews, as well as sports beverages. Pack more snacks than you think you’ll need in case you don’t feel like eating one type or if you lose some of your snacks by accident while travelling.
What should you NOT eat before cycling?
There are some foods that you have to avoid before cycling for many reasons. A very important reason is that some foods offer low carbohydrates which means that if you eat them you will not get the same nutrition benefits as eating a banana instead for example.
1. Corn flakes
It may seem strange to even consider not eating porridge before going for a ride, but corn flakes are a typical breakfast choice that may not appear to be too awful on the surface but is actually rather harmful.
Further investigation reveals that its high GI rating indicates that you will be burning off the carbs much too soon in a ride, as opposed to a whole grain breakfast that would slowly release energy overtime over the course of the ride.
You might be wondering, what could possibly be wrong with a salad? You’d be right. Whenever someone sees the green leaves, they automatically believe it is a delicious side dish to accompany a meal or an excellent pick on its own. While this is true in the context of a well-balanced diet, it does not satisfy the needs of a pre-ride lunch because of its low carbohydrate content, which will lead you to feel weary early on.
3. Fizzy drinks
Despite the fact that the excessive quantities of sugar found in fizzy drinks are widely recognized and denounced, the image of a professional cyclist sipping on a can of fizz after a race may lead you to believe that they are the perfect tonic for a cyclist. Despite the fact that it provides an instant sugar rush, the benefits wear off rapidly and might cause unpleasant side effects that can interfere with your cycling rhythm.
Are eggs good before cycling?
Yes, eggs may be a healthy pre-cycling food when consumed with a carbohydrate 2-4 hours before you go on your bike and ride. One big egg has 70 calories, 6 grammes of protein, 0 grammes of carbs, and 13 vitamins and minerals that are considered important. The energy your muscles require comes from carbohydrates, therefore if you prefer to have eggs before a ride, be sure to add a source of carbohydrates such as toast or fruit in order to maximize your performance on the bike.
Should I cycle on an empty stomach?
There isn’t anything like it. Energy is expended on cycling rather than digesting, resulting in a reduction in body weight. So go ahead and engage in this beneficial activity. Cycling on an empty stomach will only make your body feel weak since it lacks the energy it needs to conduct any physical exercise.
In general, if you want to lose weight faster then you can try cycling with an empty stomach to “see” the experience, but it is up to you if you want to try. Also, there is an article from “We love cycling” that explains the benefits of cycling with an empty stomach if you want to learn more on this topic.
Instead of cycling with an empty stomach, you can eat something light in order to get some energy because cycling requires energy and strength.
What foods are good for cycling endurance?
Below there are some of the most beneficial foods that you should try in order to improve your cycling endurance and also to boost your energy.
Bananas are a favourite of most endurance athletes and for good reason. Potassium and complex carbs are abundant in them, providing sustenance for the long hours spent pedalling. With up to 30 grammes of carbohydrates and 400 milli-grammes of potassium in a single large banana, this yellow fruit is considered a superfood for cyclists. Furthermore, it is an environmentally beneficial solution because it eliminates the need for plastic baggies or reusable containers.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Almonds, chia seeds, and pistachios are some of the best nuts to eat. Oh, my goodness! With these little energy boosters, the possibilities are virtually limitless. The protein, vitamins, and antioxidants in this recipe help to keep you fueled for the long trip ahead of you despite the reduced carb count. Using nuts and seeds, you may make a trail mix, as well as include them in granola or energy bars.
3. Dried Fruits
Several studies have demonstrated eating some dried fruits, such as raisins and dates, can significantly increase endurance-related performance. They are abundant in potassium, carbohydrates, and sugar, all of which can help you ride for longer periods of time by boosting your stamina.
In addition, raisins have less fiber than many other dried fruit alternatives, such as figs, peaches, and pears, among others. The unpleasant side effects associated with fiber-rich diets will not become an issue while you are cycling, ensuring that you remain healthy.
4. Electrolyte Infused Water
When it comes to the proper operation of our bodies, electrolytes play a critical part in everything from the regulation of nerve and muscle function to hydration. Calcium, sodium, potassium, phosphate, chlorine, and magnesium are the electrolytes that make up the body. A large number of these vital minerals are lost through perspiration.
While athletes require an electrolyte-infused drink, many sports drinks contain much too much sugar and artificial colourings for their taste and are not recommended for them. Making electrolyte drinks at home with a little honey, salt, lemon, and water is a great alternative to buying them at the store. It’s really that simple, and it will keep you hydrated on those long, sweaty rides you like.
Recently, we have also written an article on how much water you should drink when Mountain biking if you want to check this out.
Summing up, we have just mentioned some of the most important foods you have to consider eating before cycling long distances with your bike. Also, we have mentioned some foods you should avoid in order to keep yourself in a good condition. Overall, a good diet leads to good endurance and boosts your energy. If you enjoyed this blog post, please share it with your friends, on Social Media and if you have any questions do not hesitate to send us an e-mail. We are more than happy to help you with the appropriate solutions.