Next up in our “Ride Like a Pro” series, we’ll be looking at eating habits and how performance-boosting diets can be incorporated into your ride. Read our blog post for some great tips from High5 on how to fuel yourself for your rides!

ridelondon raphael deinhart

Raphael Deinhart, Technical and Marketing Coordinator at High5, gave us the lowdown on cycling nutrition:

“A common misconception is that sports nutrition is just for the elite athlete. In fact, a beginner does not use fuel as efficiently and will benefit more from using the right nutrition. Eating right can help you stay energised, keep you focused, and even promote recovery.  So, what should you take with you and how regularly do you need to take something on?”

What should I take with me on shorter rides?

Carbohydrate is the fuel that lets you ride strong and it’s what makes your ride enjoyable. Although your body only has a limited store of carbohydrate, that store is normally sufficient for rides of up to 90 minutes. For activities less than 90 minutes you generally only need to take on fluids with electrolytes to remain hydrated. A drink like High5 ZERO is ideal but you might find popping a gel towards the end of a fast ride will give you an extra energy boost.”

What about longer rides?

“On longer rides, your body’s limited store of carbohydrate can be depleted and as a result your energy levels will drop. A car’s fuel tank needs topping up, otherwise it won’t drive. It’s the same for our muscles: if you don’t fuel them properly you will slow down and eventually stop. When taking part in training sessions or races longer than 90 minutes, you should focus on both hydration and energy.”

“Fuelling your body with a sports drink or gel will help maintain your performance and provide the extra energy you need to enjoy the latter stages of a longer ride. An added benefit is that you will not feel so tired the day after a tough training session or race, particularly if you also use an after-sport product like High5 Protein Recovery.”

cycling nutrition

Little but often

“The best advice for fuelling on the bike is to take something little but often and start early. Instead of eating a whole bar in one go or downing your energy drink, break it up into smaller portions.  This results in a more even delivery of energy. Don’t wait until you feel hungry or thirsty – at this point it’s normally too late! There are lots of different products so let’s look at the main types you could take on the bike.”

  • Drinks

“When cycling you don’t just lose fluids but also key minerals (electrolytes) like sodium, magnesium and potassium. Sweat rates vary but typically you should aim to drink 500-750ml per hour. A zero calorie electrolyte drink like High5 ZERO is great for your shorter rides. It replaces the minerals that you lose through sweat without adding unnecessary calories. Simply add a tablet to your water and off you go!”

“For longer rides, you can use a sports drink mix that contains carbohydrate and electrolytes, like High5 EnergySource. This not only delivers important fluids and electrolytes but it will also help fuel your endurance rides.”

  • Energy Bars and Energy Gels

“Bars and gels are easy to carry in your jersey pockets. Often made with cereals and dried fruits, bars are a great source of simple and complex carbohydrate to keep your energy levels topped up. They take a bit longer to digest, making them a great option for early on in the ride. Gels provide a quick boost of energy so these are best used later on.”

turbo trainer nutrition

After your ride

“Post-ride recovery is often overlooked but the right nutrition immediately after your stop will make your muscles stronger and replenish your glycogen stores so you feel better for the rest of the day. A typical recovery drink, like High5 Protein Recovery, will contain around 15-20g protein for muscle growth and 30-40g carbohydrate for refuelling.”

So there you have it! Remember to eat little but often from the start, and you’ll be riding like a pro in no time at all!

Want to find out more about cycling nutrition? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to Cycling Nutrition!

triathlon nutrition

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