When you’re a cyclist, you need to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to ensure that you get the most out of your exercise. It’s important that your body is provided with all of the essential nutrients and vitamins so that you can stay healthy, fueled, and so your body can also repair and recover.
Many people opt for glucose tablets or protein powders as it’s a way of giving your body all that it needs in one small step. If you commonly take tablets, powders, and gels to boost your energy before a long and enduring cycle, ditch them now and instead opt for these natural and useful foods and liquids.
Not only are they the more healthy and natural alternative, but they also don’t come with the hefty price tag.
Why beetroot? It improves your stamina.
Beetroots are high in nitrate and are a staple food for athletes. When your stomach breaks them down, they get converted into a nitric oxide that dilates the blood vessels in your body. Thanks to this effect, your bloodstream receives an increase of oxygen so during exercise, it lowers the amount you need.
When you reduce the amount of oxygen that you need to reach your optimum performance during exercise, your fatigue is slowed down, and your stamina is increased – your muscles can perform a much longer workout. If you’re not a beetroot fan, dark chocolate has also been proven to give the same effect.
Use them to make:
• Beetroot juice
• A beetroot salad
• Beetroot soup
Why watermelon? It helps with sore muscles.
Most of a watermelon is made up of over 90% water. It’s a hydrating and refreshing fruit that’s teeming with all sorts of beneficial properties such as minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids. One of the amino acids that you find in watermelon is called citrulline. This property has been proven to relieve muscle soreness.
Use it to can make:
• Frozen watermelon popsicles
• Watermelon smoothie
• Watermelon Dippers with yogurt
Why blueberries? They reduce inflammation.
This small, tasty and healthy snack is perfect for teaming with your favorite cereal or yogurt. The berries are full of vitamins and antioxidants that not only help to boost your immune system but also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Use them to make:
• Frozen berry yogurt
• A blueberry smoothie
• Blueberry pancakes
Why honey? It increases your energy.
Honey is full of anti-bacterial properties and also has natural sugars that are slow-releasing. Eating honey before you perform exercise will increase your speed, power and also keep your energy levels high.
Use it to make:
• Honey flapjacks
Or add it to:
Why green tea? It helps to burn calories.
Enjoying a nice warm brew after you’ve endured a long, tough ride; there’s nothing better. Green tea is just water, and we need water to stay hydrated, but it also comes with added different benefits.
It’s rich in antioxidants and also gives you a little boost of caffeine. It’s a good choice to drink while training as it increases your metabolism which allows fat oxidation and that leads to extra calorie burning.
Why caffeine? It gives you power.
Caffeine is basically a legal drug that can improve your body with mental stimulation. You can find this ‘drug’ in a wide variety of foods and drinks. Caffeine gives you power by triggering endorphins in your brain, and these endorphins can block out the feeling of fatigue and pain. It can also make us more alert and improve our concentration levels.
You can find caffeine in:
• Energy water
Why fish oils? They help with recovery.
Fish is not only an excellent source of protein, but the fatty oils contained in the fish are full of Omega-3. These oils help to strengthen your immune system and also control the inflammation of your body after a cycle. They also contain significant amounts of Vitamin B6 that produce melatonin; a sleep hormone that allows you to rest and your muscles to recover.
Alternatively, if you don’t like the taste of fish, you can take fish oil capsules. Make sure that you take these with food or they will repeat on you!
Why probiotics? They improve your immune system.
Probiotics are excellent for not only your body but also your mind. They can be found in a variation of dairy foods and essentially, they’re living bacteria. Don’t be put off by the fact they’re bacteria; this is a type that’s good for your body, and your gut needs it to perform healthy digestion. The friendly bacteria can also strengthen your body’s immune system and ward off viruses and infection.
You can find probiotics in:
• Probiotic drinks
• Miso soup