I write a lot about proper nutrition while riding, as I feel it’s one of the major factors that can help you build endurance and keep you from hitting the wall with fatigue. Most experienced cyclists have their own go-to meals and snacks that keep their body fueling before, during, and after their ride.
Consume Extra Calories
Many people ride their bicycle in an effort to burn off some extra calories and lose weight. In fact, when it comes to weight loss, bicycling is a fantastic exercise and can burn many calories. Most GPS and fitness trackers now calculate calories burned. It is important to remember that for each mile you bike, you will burn approximately 40 calories. Remember, however, that it is necessary to fuel your body or you will find that soon you struggle to complete your rides. If you are trying to lose weight, allow for a 250-500 calorie deficit each day. This should supply you with ample energy and still allow for weight loss. If you feel you are not eating enough, grab some protein. Quick snacks like hard-boiled eggs, cheese sticks, or even a small spoon of peanut butter will fill you without adding too many calories.
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Carbohydrates Are Critical
During your ride, your body draws energy from carbohydrates that are stored in your muscles. It is important to eat sufficient carbohydrates each day, even on the days you do not ride (have you ever heard of carbo-loading?). But all carbs are not created equal! Steer clear of process carbohydrates and instead eat slow-burn carbohydrates. Excellent sources of carbohydrates are whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. Oatmeal, couscous, long grain rice, and fruits are all excellent sources that you can easily incorporate into your meals.
Hit the Healthy Fats
Although the word ‘fat’ sounds like something to be avoided, some fats are actually good for your body. In fact, we need some fat in order to live! Fats found in nuts, seeds, and fish, for example, can stimulate your metabolism and reduce your cholesterol. These ‘healthy fats’ have been known to reduce inflammation and can also improve asthma and allergies.
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Drink for Success
Water is essential for all bodies, especially active ones. A good rule of thumb is 8 to 12 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Do not include coffee, soda, or alcoholic beverages when tallying your total, as they will actually dehydrate your body. Drink in the hours leading up to a ride, and keep a water bottle close at hand during your ride. On especially hot days, sprinkle in a little salt and sugar, or bring along a sports drink. Some people like to water their sports drinks down so they get a boost of electrolytes without all the calories.
No matter what, do not forget to fuel your ride! Take along appropriate and easy to pack snacks and gels. A good rule of thumb is to eat a bite or two for each mile you bike. Nuts, seeds, fruit, and bars are all great and convenient snacks.
As bicycle injury attorneys and bicyclists ourselves, we enjoy sharing our tips for success and hope to create a positive dialogue. Feel free to share your tips for performance with us! And remember, should you ever need a bicycle accident attorney, contact the team at Kass & Moses!