Riding your bike to the store, park or work is definitely one aspect of a healthy lifestyle. It is also a type of exercise and, depending on the intensity of the ride and a balanced diet, can help us lose weight. There is definitely more to bike riding and today we talk about healthy eating to alternate with cycling to help you reach your goals.
Healthy eating for cyclists
Eating right is the key to stay in shape when you do exercise. Healthy eating is part of our lifestyle, and it is important to eat right if we want to be fit and healthy. The diet part is often forgotten because cycling is seen just as a way to enjoy free time or as transportation.
It is said that cycling is also one of the best forms of recovery and exercise for people who have knee or hip problems. Those who follow football may think that maybe healthy diet and cycling are the answer to Daniel Sturridge’s quick recovery after he underwent surgery on a chronic hip problem. However that may be, it’s important to eat healthy no matter what sport you play.
There are different types of diets that cyclists opt for: low carb, carb cycling, or diets high in fat as the main fuel for the body. It is very important to set your goals before you decide what diet to pick. With your goals clearly defined you can easily find the foods you need to eat.
The kind of diet you pick is solely your choice. Pick the type of diet that you feel the most comfortable with, and that you would enjoy eating.
A low carb diet focuses of reduction of carb intake to speed up the fat losing process. It has a great advantage because you can eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, and that means that you get many vitamins that your body needs. Lowering the carbs, it automatically means that you must rise the intake of healthy fats. This is not counter intuitive as you may think, if you want to lose weight. The thing is, the carbs make us gain weight and not fats, in the right proportions, of course. High fat diets help keep the insulin levels low enough to lose fat in your own rhythm, and helps preserve the muscle tissue.
Carb cycling is a diet that alternates days of high carb intake with low carb intake days. This type of diet keeps the metabolism active and help you lose fat without losing muscle.
In any type of diet the protein intake is also important because it helps grow muscle mass and regenerate the damaged muscle tissue.
Just remember that your diet is part of your lifestyle and should not be painful to think about.
What to eat before cycling
Seen as a workout, cycling should be fueled accordingly. Before any exercise, the main fuel should be carbohydrate which is then stored in the muscles as glycogen and released when making effort. Professional cyclists have a carb intake of 8-11 g per kg, but recreational riders the daily carb needs are between 5-8g per kg.
You can opt for fruits, pancakes, toast, fruit smoothies, muffins, and basically anything that is sweet. The whole grains are the best carbs to opt for because of the quality and slow absorption.
Eat your meal 30 min -2 hours before going on the bike if it’s a smaller meal, and 2-4 hours if it’s a larger meal.
Avoid alcohol, excess fatty foods or fibers before cycling, excessive caffeine or super spicy foods.
What to eat after cycling
After an exercise it’s crucial to replace the glycogen in the muscles for fast recovery. It really helps to do this because you will also avoid much soreness in your body. So in about one hour after cycling, one carb and protein shake is more than enough for your body to start the recovery process.
You can pick any fruit you like and add it to your favorite protein shake to make a super quick post cycling meal.
Avoid fats because they aren’t something your body can use at this point.
The before and after cycling meals are very important, and together with a healthy balanced diet, will improve your lifestyle and fitness.