Too many people turn up at the start line of a cycle unprepared for what lies ahead. In order not to disappoint all the people who have sponsored you, you need to be ready. Preparation is the key to rising to the challenge, achieving your goal and, most importantly, enjoying your cycle. So to help you prepare for your cycle, here are a few changes you can make to your diet in preparation for July 2nd…
1. Keep your energy store full
Eat adequate high carbohydrate meals every day to keep glycogen stores full and make the most of your training sessions.
2. Drink plenty of water
Drink at least 32 ounces of water a day. You may also consume sports drinks, but make sure they do not take the place of water. Remember, water is a necessity while a sports drink is optional. Drink extra water the day before the event, have 2-3 glasses before bed and 1-3 glasses 5-10 minutes before the event and remember to re-hydrate after the event! You should replace every pound of weight lost with at least 2 cups of water, or 3 cups if you have another event on the same day. Sports drinks are recommended for events lasting longer than one hour to replenish electrolytes lost through sweating and give your muscles the carbohydrates they need to keep working hard.
3. What to eat before training
Carbohydrate foods are the best choices prior to a training session because they digest quickly and are a ready fuel source for the working muscle. Cereals, bagels, fruit, fruit juices, pasta, crackers, and yoghurt are good options.
4. Meal Timing
Allow three to five hours before training for a large meal to digest, two to three hours for a smaller meal, and one to two hours for a snack.
5. Consider the Glycaemic Index (GI) of carbohydrates
A food’s GI measures how quickly it is digested and broken down into glucose viagra a paris. Lower GI foods, give a slower release of energy and should be the focus of main meals during training. High GI foods are quickly broken down into glucose and thus available energy. These make great options for quick snacks, before, during, or after training and when ‘carbohydrate loading’.
6. How to plan your breakfast
Aim to have your breakfast 90-120 minutes before you start cycling. If you know that the ride will start at a very easy pace and does not have a significant climb early on, you can push this to 60 minutes. Porridge is the perfect pre-cycle breakfast but, for longer rides, an additional 2-3 egg omelette will give you some more slow release energy. Many cyclists can’t function without coffee, but ensure you keep hydrated and sip at 500 ml of water or isotonic sports drink in the time leading up to your cycle.
7. Try a few eating strategies to see what suits you
You should eat where possible before a cycle; especially if it is a longer session (1 hour in duration) or a high-intensity session. The body uses carbohydrate stores (quickly broken down to energy) for high-intensity work, and if you’re cycling, having not eaten breakfast you may not be able to maintain the quality of exercise. Due to the body’s position on the bike, riders generally find it easier to tolerate food closer to cycling, though you should try a few strategies and see what works best for you.
8. What to avoid eating before cycling
To provide sufficient fuel, foods should be predominantly high in carbohydrate. Cyclists should also use foods they are used to, make them feel comfortable, and don’t cause any gastrointestinal symptoms. In the 2-4 hours before cycling, riders should try to limit the following, as these are well known causes gastrointestinal distress (diarrhoea, bowel upsets): Excess fibre, excess fatty foods, unusually spicy foods, excess caffeine intakes, and more obviously, alcohol! In the hour before a cycle, snacks should focus on smaller easily absorbed, high GI snacks and reduce the amount of fibre consumed.
9. Don’t rule out caffeine
Aside from the carbohydrate options, don’t rule out the use of caffeine for an energy boost, if you habitually include caffeine within your diet. There are commercially available sports drinks and gels containing caffeine, which can be extremely useful, especially in the latter parts of your training.