Sports nutrition cycling: what kind of sports nutrition should cyclists use?
A trained cyclist is familiar with training schedules and their benefits. A well-constructed schedule has a positive effect on the development of muscle strength and endurance. Along with this, the use of sports nutrition is also important for cycling. Sports nutrition, carbohydrates and protein in particular, can certainly benefit your performance and development. What kind of sports nutrition should you use before, during and after cycling? With these tips and this sports nutrition package you can start your cycling adventure well prepared.
Why use sports nutrition for cycling?
Without a good amount of fuel to go on, you simply will not be able to cycle comfortably anymore. That would be a waste of your ride and a shame about all the training benefits that you would be missing out on, because in the end you want to get a little bit better and stronger every day.
Feel good while cycling! With 30 years of experience in cycling, we have built up a lot of knowledge and expertise in the field of sports and nutrition. Below are a number of practical tips that every cyclist needs to know! With these tips you can maintain the good feeling, from start to finish.
9 golden nutritional tips for cyclists
Prevent abdominal pain and cramps
Avoid chaos in your stomach and let your ride be as comfortable as possible! Be aware that too little or incorrect nutrition can be disastrous, but eating too much can be too! Too much fat and protein can cause stomach cramps and too much sugar can cause intestinal problems. A good sports nutrition package is essential. Unlike most traditional foods, sports nutrition is easily digestible, functional and it comes in the right amounts. You can take it with you easily, so the correct and timely use can help lift your training to the next level. Beware! If you load your body with rubbish, your perfomance will be rubish too.
Prepare well and take responsibility
From start to finish, using the right nutrition is important. Fluid in particular is essential for proper combustion and absorption of carbohydrates and sugars in your body, good transpiration, dissipation of heat and removal of waste.
The Maxim Training Circle is a handy tool for cyclists to help them make their own (sports) nutrition plan! When you use a plan, you can set and achieve goals more easily! And if you don’t succeed in achieving the goals, you can blame it on the plan and just adjust it😊.
A good sports drink is very important in any sports nutrition plan. In addition to this, you should supplement extra carbohydrates with solid foods such as energy bars or liquid foods such as energy gels.
Don’t be too frugal before you start! Go for the optimal preparation before cycling
Before you start, the energy supply in your muscles should be as high as possible. A good start is half the battle and after that it is just a matter of replenishing in time. Have a high-carb meal 3 hours before training. Drink at least 500 mL of Maxim Sports Drink or Maxim Total Hydration 30 minutes before training and eat 1 Maxim Energy Bar. A nice espresso beforehand is fine, but just coffee will not provide enough fluids, so you should also have a bottle of sports drink! Eating too little in the run-up to a race or training is a missed opportunity and means you have already fallen behind before the cycling even starts.
Stacking carbohydrates/carboloading for cyclists
If your training frequency increases or in the run-up to a long race, extreme tour or multi-day race, we recommend stacking extra carbohydrates 2 days in advance. This can be done by making your snacks and meals high-carb by adding extra bread, rice, potatoes or pasta and, for example, eating a Maxim Energy bar or a banana as a snack.
If you forget to charge properly beforehand, you will have a hard time later on, because during strenuous exercise your body uses more energy than it can absorb at that moment. A good supply is important for efficient and effective energy management!
You can always accelerate! What food do you need while cycling?
A good performance is dependent on whether or not you feel up to the task. When you feel strong, it will all seem a lot easier. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for both your muscles and your brain. So they can definitely contribute to feeling fit. That is why it is important to replenish frequently and in time, so your energy and fluid levels stay balanced. A good sports drink with sufficient electrolytes and carbohydrates is important for a good performance. In addition, you can supplement energy with a (lean) sandwich or banana or sports nutrition, such as an energy bar or energy gel.
The best drink for cyclists: water or sports drink?
Unfortunately, water alone is not enough to keep the fluid balance in your body in check. Water does not contain any nutrients, which means it can actually have a negative effect and drain fluids from your body. The effect of a good sports drink with sufficient electrolytes and the right carbohydrate composition is often underestimated! Hydrating well keeps you fit and can also prevent problems such as loss of concentration or cramps. Electrolytes, such as potassium, sodium and magnesium, are important for proper muscle function (so to prevent cramps) and regulate the fluid balance in your body.
Sufficient fluids are also essential for proper absorption of sugars in your intestines. Too much sugary food and too little fluid is a nightmare for your intestines and can cause stomach and intestinal cramps. Energy gels in particular have a very high sugar concentration, so make sure you hydrate well after taking an energy gel. Postpone the usage of gels for as long as possible and limit your intake to 1 – 2 servings per hour. Waffles and biscuits also contain too many fast carbohydrates and have a very low nutritional value, so the energy boost you get from them is very short.
How many carbohydrates do you need while cycling? There is an ideal standard for cyclists!
500-750 mL of Maxim Sports Drink or Maxim Total Hydration combined with a Maxim Energy Bar provides the perfect amount of fluids and energy per hour. This is equal to about 70-90 grams of carbohydrates per hour. Your body cannot process any more carbohydrates properly and they are not necessary! It just takes energy to process them.
A little variation can’t hurt, so feel free to replace an energy bar with a sandwich or banana every now and then. You should realize though, that a banana only contains half the energy of a Maxim Energy Bar. So you have to eat more of those in order to get the same effect. If you are on the road for more than 3 hours, we advise you to take extra proteins to feed your muscles. This can be done by putting savory toppings on your sandwich such as chicken breast or eggs. Be careful with pastries. Besides a lot of carbohydrates, it also contains a lot of fat, which is heavy on the stomach.
When eating solid food is difficult or in the last part of your training, you can take a Maxim Energy Gel instead of an energy bar.
Save Energy Gels for when the finish is in sight!
If you planned your food intake well, your water bottles should be as good as empty when the finish is in sight and you should have just enough energy left to reach the finish. It makes no sense to drive to the finish line with a heavy stack and a full tank. That’s just extra weight. Especially if you still have to go up in height or participate in a sprint. If you have followed the 7 tips above, you should still have enough energy to get through the last 30-45 minutes. For those who want to finish strong, there should still be a gel left for an extra energy boost on the way to the finish! You can take it 20-30 minutes before the finish line.
A good recovery makes you faster… and stronger! What can you do to recover quickly after cycling?
After a tough race or training you will be exhausted, if you were able to achieve your full potential. The energy reserves in your body will have been used up. Replenishing fluids, carbohydrates and also proteins is important to be able to recover quickly, so you can start your training fit again the next day. This way, you can optimize and build your endurance and strength further. Take a Maxim Protein Bar after the end of your run, preferably within 45 minutes, to nourish your muscles and initiate muscle tissue recovery.
Your body, and your muscles in particular, continue to work hard for a few hours after exercise in order to recover. A lot of fluids are also needed in this process for energy combustion and heat dissipation. Hydrating is therefore very important. You can use Maxim Sports Drink or Maxim Total Hydration to hydrate properly. Drink at least 750 mL.
The sports nutrition plan for cyclists
Order the Maxim Sports Nutrition Package Cycling here.