Hydration and Nutrition Tips for Cycling
Leading a healthy lifestyle is a major goal for many cyclists across the globe. The physical exercise and mental stimulation from riding a bike can do wonders for the human body, but that is only half of the equation. Good nutrition is a vital part improving physical fitness and mental health. A rider's diet will directly impact their weight, risk of illness, and promote an overall healthy daily function. When we push our bodies and minds further, chasing new routes and KOM's, we need to ensure we're fueling our bodies accordingly in order to sustain growth and continue to improve as a cyclist.
How Not to Bonk
Symptoms of bonking:
- Feeling sick, weak or out of energy
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Tunnel vision and disorientation
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Irritability, anger or hostility
- Feeling sad or depressed
Stop bonking before it starts by sticking to a solid pre, during, and post workout regiment when it comes to hydration and nutrition. By giving your body the fuel it needs before, during, and after your ride you can ensure you perform your best and have every chance to succeed! Let's look at how much water and food we should consider consuming for a bike ride.
The Best Tips for Hydration
Pre-hydration before the ride begins is crucial to setting the body up for success and avoiding any symptoms of bonking. Begin pre-hydration for your next bike ride approximately two hours prior to the beginning of the ride. During the pre-hydration period intake approximately 17-20 ounces spread over the 2 hour period to prepare the bodily systems for vigorous exercise.
During the Ride
During activity the ideal intake regiment is taking 5-10 ounce sips every 20 minutes of riding. This can be altered to suit a riders specific needs, as some individuals prefer to take smaller sips more frequently for example. During this stage one should highly consider electrolyte powder, tabs, and drinks to maximize the effectiveness of their water intake and replenish the electrolytes lost during activity.
Post ride water intake is just as important as pre-ride and during, you cannot forget to replenish the water and electrolytes lost during the ride despite the hard part being over. It's very important to take the time to post-hydrate after a ride. The recommended intake level is 16-24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight lost during the activity. Many endurance athletes weigh themselves before and after a workout to more accurately gauge how much post-hydration they should intake.
The new CamelBak MULE 100 Oz. Hydration Pack!
There’s a reason this is one of the bestselling, longest-running hydration packs on the market: it’s got everything you need, and nothing you don’t. The CamelBak M.U.L.E. has a narrow-gauge design that keeps it light and maneuverable - so even when it’s fully loaded for a day of mountain biking, it won’t get in your way. The latest edition is built around the brand new Crux reservoir, which is even easier to load and refill, and delivers more water with every sip. Since CamelBak launched the first M.U.L.E. in 1996, mountain bikers have been telling them that it hits the sweet spot of size vs. storage: it’s lightweight, but big enough to carry three liters of water and a day’s worth of snacks and gear. Over the years, CamelBak has also added air channels to keep your back cool, universal helmet hooks, and clever compartments for stashing tools, keys and electronics. The latest version also features a magnetic tube trap that snaps easily into place, so you can hydrate without taking your eyes off the trail.
- The brand new Crux delivers 20% more water per sip, with an ergonomic handle for easier refilling, and an on/off lever that makes it easy to prevent leaks.
- Magnetic Tube Trap™ keeps your tube secure and accessible when you need it
- Air director back panel offers air channels to keep your back cool
- External hooks let you carry your helmet while still allowing full access to your pack
- Stretch overflow storage compartment lets you easily stash a rain shell or extra layer
- Reflective accents for visibility in low-light environments
- Removable stability belt keeps everything in place during bumpy rides
The Best Tips for Nutrition
Pre-ride nutrition starts with the dinner the night before your ride. Focusing on a high nutrition value, heavy carb meal will help fuel the body for the activities the next day. Begin breakfast the day of the ride with a high carb meal as well, ensuring your body has a full tank for the epic day ahead.
During the Ride
During the ride the body is craving small easily digestible sugars, also knows as fast sugars. Many riders go to synthetic nutrition options for this such as gels, chews, and other fast access products. Real food options are a great alternative to the industry synthetics such as pretzels, a clementine orange, and good old fashioned gummy bears. Either route works, and test out different options to see what sits best with your stomach and what flavors you find most appealing. For longer rides the focus on nutrition should shift from fast sugars more towards easy proteins such as nut butter, trail mix, and energy bars. The general recommended calorie intake for endurance activity is 200-300 calories per hour.
After the ride your muscles need rebuilding and your body is craving protein. Lean meats are the best option to replenish the torn muscles and common choices include chicken, fish, eggs, and rice & beans (vegetarian). This point is also a great opportunity to replenish the electrolytes lost during the ride. A electrolyte power mixed with water is a great way to cap off the routine and set yourself up for success.
From snacks for long bike rides to the best foods to eat while endurance cycling we've got you covered at Bicycle Warehouse!
Thanks for reading our BLOG article on nutrition and hydration tips to keep you riding at your best. Check out our BLOG articles for great information and inside tips!
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