Sunday, 3 May 2015

The Best Cycling Diet - Guest Post

Here is a guest post from Mark Taylor, who I've met through the wonderful community on G+.

He writes an excellent blog, with some great information for cyclists, old and new.

The Best Cycling Diet

Whilst professional cyclists may burn an average of 6,000 calories per day, the rest of us burn slightly less. According to the average cyclist uses around 400 to 500 calories per hour but this is very much dependent on the effort you put in. The following are the number of calories used when cycling by a person of average weight.
  • Leisure Cycling at less than 10mph .. 280 calories per hour
  • Leisure Cycling at 10-12mph .. 420 calories per hour
  • Leisure Cycling at 12-14mph .. 560 calories per hour
  • Leisure Cycling at 14-16mph .. 700 calories per hour
  • Leisure Cycling at 16-19mph .. 840 calories per hour
  • Race Cycling at more than 20mph .. 1125 calories per hour
  • Mountain Biking, average pace .. 600 calories per hour
Pro-riders tend to eat a lot, here's a typical rider's daily intake; rice, cereal, oatmeal, toast with ham, and a 2-egg omelette for breakfast; whilst cycling it's rice cakes, energy bars, energy gels and plenty of water. Once off the bike, it's chicken and rice, followed by an evening meal of turkey, avocados, spaghetti, beet salad, curry rice, zucchini, tomatoes, prunes, and sorbet. Like I said, they eat a lot. However, they can afford to do that because they are burning more calories than they are consuming. As cyclists trying to lose weight, we need to eat less than we use. To do this, we need to exercise regularly and eat the right foods. Cycling is an aerobic exercise, which means that you want to stay fuelled before, during, and after your bike ride. Ideal foods are high in carbohydrates and protein, and low in fat. Here are some ideas on the right foods to stay energise and healthy.

Before You Cycle

Focus on lean protein, for example skinless chicken or turkey, as well as carbs that are rich in fibre. Aim to keep refined and processed foods to a minimum, if at all. Whilst sugary foods give you an energy boost, they are short lived and once the immediate highs have gone, you will start to feel lethargic. On the other hand, proteins and carbs release their energy slowly and as such, stay with you throughout the bike ride, dependent on the amount you've eaten and how long you're exercising. Food examples include; oats, fruit, yogurt, brown rice (not white), chicken (skinless), turkey (skinless), peanut butter.

During Your Bike Ride

If you plan to cycle for more than 2-3 hours, you should consider taking with you some energy boosting foods. Go back to the average calories burned list above and calculate how many calories you'll need on your ride. Then work out how many you've eaten before your ride. If this isn't going to be sufficient, then that's how many you'll need to take with you. As you can perhaps work out, the foods you should be taking are more proteins and carbs. Don't underestimate the quantity of water you will need as well. This varies from person-to-person and also is very much dependednt on the temperature but as a very average guide, consider one litre of water every hour. Whilst it may seem basic, you need to learn how to drink water. For example, drinking water when you're thirsty is too late, by then you are already dehydrated. Try to drink at least two litres of water every day and one litre before your bike ride. Once out cycling, sip small amounts of water every 10 mins or so, and never big gulps - it'll simply pass right through and do little to hydrate you. Here are a few suggestions for on-ride foods; energy bars, energy gels, snickers bars, rice cakes, electrolyte-replacement tablets (Eg. SIS GO Hydro tablets).

After Your Ride

Within a 30-40 minutes of getting off your bike, you want to be eating proteins, which will help to build muscle strength. This will help your glycogen stores to replenish and heal any muscle tissues that you tore during the ride. This isn't about a pulled muscle, rather the natural process of exercise. When we workout, we slightly tear the muscles, it's perfectly natural and helps to strengthen them. Along with the aforementioned carbs and protein, berries give you lots of helpful antioxidants. Of course, these foods are just examples. There are plenty of other options out there you can use depending on your preferences and dietary restrictions. The important part is that you find foods that fuel your body in the right way.

Thanks for the guest post Mark
I need to take more attention to what I eat after a ride, usually it's just what I can find.

Please contact me if you would like to write a guest post, even if you don't write your own blog, everyone's got a story to tell.