Cycling Nutrition Made Easy

Many cyclists aim to lose some weight before their big century ride or sportive. If the event your training for has lots of climbing then shifting those extra couple of kilos you are carrying round can make a big difference.

By making a few small changes to your diet you should be able to easily lose some weight. Don’t forget that diets are not necessarily about eating less. As your training workload increases you’ll be burning more calories. By training more your body will also need more nutrients  and energy so eating the right sorts of foods is crucial to getting the most from your body.

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image by kizette

Below are a few suggestions on how you can improve your daily diet by making a few simple choices and changes. Along with a good training program the following advice will result in some weight loss for the majority of riders.

Breakfast

For breakfast switch up those sugary cereals or starchy toast for a bowl of porridge with a banana chopped up on top. If you think porridge is a pain to make you probably haven’t learned how to cook it in the microwave.

You can always liven the porridge up by adding freshly chopped fruit or a sprinkling of nuts. A great idea is to buy some mixed frozen berries. When you are making your porridge slip a handful in and you’ve easily added a healthy portion of fruit and some great taste.

A lot of cereals and even ready sliced white breads contain a lot more salt and sugar than you would think. Switching to porridge will give you a very low fat breakfast that gives you plenty of slow release energy that’ll help prevent you from getting too hungry before lunchtime.

Lunch

Assuming you don’t have the luxury of making your own lunch each day and are limited to buying it out you’ll need to be a bit smarter about what you eat. Sandwiches from Subway, Pret a Manger, Eat etc are usually loaded with salt and fatty mayo and can easily come in at more than 500 calories each.

Instead pick up a chicken breast with a mixed salad (go for oil based dressing not creamy mayo based ones) or a simple jacket potato with beans. If you are opting for a sandwich opt for a lean meat such as chicken ahead of fatty cheese and hold the mayonnaise.

If you can avoid processed white bread as this usually contains huge amounts of preservatives, salt and sugar. Instead why not try to make your own bread. It is not as hard as you think and can only take a few minutes to make. Give this great no knead bread recipe a try.

Dinner

Try to avoid ready meals or fast food as these are usually stuffed full of fats, salt and sugars. Instead dust off you chefs hat and get cooking some simple meals. Aim for all meals to contain 3 components: lean meat, fresh vegetables, carbohydrates. Here are some examples of what to include:

Lean meat: Chicken, turkey, fish and occasionally lean steak.
Vegetables: Steamed vegetables or fresh salads are ideal. Avoid overcooking vegetables as this can destroy nutritional value as well as taste.
Carbohydrates: Boiled potatoes, brown rice or pasta.

Snacks

The undoing of most diets are the snacks we have between meals. Most offices contain vending machines full of fatty temptations such as crisps and chocolate that when you’re starving hungry overcome your will to eat healthily.

Try to plan ahead and have some healthy snacks ready to munch on when you need a snack. A selection of dried or fresh fruits should help you stave of the junk food cravings as well as providing valuable vitamins.

Having a bag of mixed nuts near by is also a great way to avoid reaching for a chocolate bar or packet of biscuits. If you are having nuts be sure to opt for unsalted and avoid any sugar filled ‘honey roasted’ type coatings.

Summary

You’ve probably heard it all before but improving your diet and nutrition can have a big impact on your cycling. Eating healthy foods and cutting out salt, sugar and fat found in most processed foods will help you not only lose weight, but also ensure your body has what it needs for fuel as your training program ramps up and you increase the demands placed on your body.

Making a few of the simple changes suggested above over time will have a big impact. The key to all diets is to make gradual lifestyle changes as opposed to hard and fast dramatic changes. Don’t tell yourself you’re never allowed ‘the bad stuff’ ever again but instead turn it in to an occasional treat rather than the norm.

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