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Sports Nutrition Tips for 2016

Sports Nutrition

Cycling Sports Nutrition

With the whole Summer of 2016 ahead of us, we thought it might be useful to take a look at OK at some nutrition tips to help your summer cycling sessions. When you’re out for longer rides, getting your sports nutrition right can make a huge difference to your performance, and even if you’re cycling at a more leisurely pace, maintaining your energy levels will certainly help make the ride more enjoyable. In this article, we’ll take a look at some common advice to help you decide on the best sports nutrition tactics to suit your needs.

What To Eat and Drink on Bike Rides

Short Rides (1 hour or less)

  • Main focus should be fluid replacement
  • Drink water‌
  • Typically, you should have enough stored energy for a 1 hour ride, but carrying a sports gel which has 27 grams of carbs and 200mg sodium can be a smart option
  • Extra advice – to help with recovery, try to eat a full balanced meal within 60 minutes finishing your ride.

Medium-Length Rides (1 to 3 hours‌)

  • Main focus should be carbohydrate replacement
  • Fluid intake should be ideally at least 1 bottle of water and 1 bottle sports drink every hour
  • Aim to eat about 30g to 60g of carbohydrates each hour . This can be in the form of bars, gels and sports drinks.
  • If you are using sports drinks, don’t dilute them with extra water, as they are designed to work most effectively at their correct concentrations

Long Rides‌ (3 hours or more‌)

  • Main focus should be on carbohydrate and electrolyte replacement
  • Fluid intake should be ideally at least 1 bottle of water and 1 bottle sports drink every hour
  • Aim to eat about 30g to 60g of carbohydrates each hour .The further you are into the ride, the more difficult it will become to digest food , soit can help to eat the more solid food early into your session, and focus more on gels in the later  stages.‌
  • Extra advice – as well as using bars and gels, try adding carbohydrate rich, low protein and moderate fat real food to your intake. This will help stave off boredom and ensure you’re eating enough.

Energy Gels

When it comes to carrying your nutrition, you want something that’s compact, lightweight, but dense in energy and the right balance of electrolytes. Sports Gels are the common choice for this, and can really help to keep your energy levels up while out on longer rides.

Cycling Sports Nutrition

When should I use Sports Gels?

If you eat a well balanced diet and include sufficient carbohydrates in your daily meals, you should store enough glycogen to carry you through a typical hour of cycling at reasonable intensity. If you’re out on the road for longer periods then a good rule of thumb is to aim for taking on board around 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per hour.

Considerations When You Buy Sports Gels

All gels are not created equal, and there are a few things you might want to consider when you buy sports gels:

Taste

With so many brands and flavours available, you should be able to find one that suits your taste buds. As with some of the other points we discuss here, its a good idea to try out a few different gels on one of your regular rides, rather than tasting one for the first time out on an important race, event, ride or sportive. Buy a selection and try them out individually, to see which ones you like the best.

Cramps and Digestion

Some stomachs just don’t like gels. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just how it goes. And you really don’t want to find out that a gel doesn’t agree with your digestive system, while you’re in the middle of an important bike ride. Try new gels on shorter rides, or towards the end of one of your longer rides, and at least if it doesn’t suit you, you wont be too far from home.

Energy Bars

Some people have a preference for using energy bars over gels, as the texture gives a more satisfying sense of actually eating something solid. Be aware though that some bars can sometimes leave a feeling of dry mouth and thirst, so it’s worth trying a few different energy bars to see what works for you. There are many different textures and flavours of energy bars on the market, so just like gels, you should be able to find one you like, and of course this will mean you’re more likely to eat them when fatigue starts to suppress your appetite.

Sports Nutrition Energy Bar

Hydration While Cycling

Staying hydrated is super important in any physical activity, and it’s vital you ensure you drink enough water while out on rides. Dehydration can have a massive effect on your performance, and if you’re taking on board gels and energy bars, you’ll really want to be aware of your fluid intake. Wind, heat and sweating, as well as the occasional toilet sto, will all deplete water from your body. Make sure you’re fully hydrated before you even set off, and keep drinking throughout the session. A good rule of thumb is to monitor the colour of your urine during any toilet stops, and make sure it’s remaining a very light “straw” like colour. If it starts to look darker than this, that’s a good sign that you’re dehydrated, and remember that thirst is not a good indicator of dehydration.

Conclusion

  • Use the right level of nutritional intake for the duration of your ride
  • Find a gel or bar that suits your taste and disgestive system – you’ll be more inclined to keep eating them when fatigue or nausea sets in, epecially on longer rides
  • Bars can help you feel more satisfied than gels
  • Maintain good hydration

We hope you found this article a useful guide to sports nutrition while cycling.

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