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In the year 2000, Americans made approximately 2 billion trips by bike and as of 2017, a whopping 66 million riders were recorded. In fact, statistics show that many Americans choose cycling to keep themselves healthy. While cycling provides a good workout, cyclists still need to pay attention to their food intake. Nutritionists note that the right blend of minerals and nutrients can help keep the body strong and healthy even during intense bike rides. They also add that the right nutrients eaten at the right time can also help the body recover faster. However, even seasoned cyclists make nutrition-related mistakes. This includes cycling on an empty stomach, subscribing to fad diets and diet myths, consuming too much fiber, not refueling during rides, and binge eating before or after a ride.
If you love to go out on your bike in the morning or use it to get to work, it is important to remember that you need carbohydrates for fuel. Nutritionists note that you will need carbs from the day before so that you won’t be riding under-fueled. By morning, it is advised that you eat yogurt or a banana.
Working out without any food intake can affect your fitness results. Without glucose, the body is forced to break down fat for fuel. While this sounds good, it is actually bad for the body because it can lead to keto-acid buildup in the blood. This buildup can harm the kidney in the long term. It can also cause fatigue and dizziness.
Subscribing to diet myths
There are many diet myths circulating online that claim to make you healthier. In fact, a number of these diets have been backed by celebrities and TV personalities. One of the most dangerous is restrictive diets, according to experts. In 2010, California-based nutritionist Dr. Linda Bacon told CNN that crash diets can harm your body and your heart.
Other dieticians also note that food deprivation can be very dangerous for riders. However, it must be kept in mind that eating too much can be just as bad. If you feel that a certain fad diet is right for you, it is best to consult a dietician first because most fad diets can be dangerous. If you are thinking of drinking protein shakes without any food intake, for example, asking your dietician or your doctor is a good idea.
Not refueling during a ride
If you ride for a couple of hours each day, you will need around 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour, according to nutritionists. It is important to keep this in mind or your body will not be able to take the strain of the bike ride. Hydrate during the ride too by taking small sips of water from time to time. If you feel that you need a bit of fuel, eating a granola bar is a good idea. The American College of Sports Medicine notes that adequate food and fluid are needed to help the body maintain its blood glucose level and during an exercise, you would need to top it off to ensure that you don’t run out of fuel. The right amount of food can improve your performance and can also help you recover faster.
Too much fiber
Fiber is good for you. It makes you feel full longer and even helps you get all the nutrition you need from the food you eat. However, food rich in fiber is among the worst pre-workout foods, according to experts. Since fiber takes longer to digest, the body will be sending more blood to the stomach to aid digestion. This can cause discomfort and cramping. Nutritionists say it is best to stay away from fiber-rich food before your ride and only eat it hours after your workout.
Eating before cycling is encouraged but you shouldn’t eat too much because this can cause your stomach to stretch. This can be uncomfortable and you’ll probably need the toilet before you even reach your destination. You should also eat after the ride because your body will need it to recover. Every time you exercise, your muscles get micro tears and the body needs a carb to protein ratio of 3:1 to repair those muscles. However, don’t pig out after your ride.
Mayo Clinic dietician Emily Brown notes that it is helpful for you to schedule your ride before the main meal. Doing this can satisfy your cravings without having to eat more than you should. While it takes time for you to learn how much food is just right before, during, and after a workout, keeping in mind that moderation is key will surely help.