It is very important to maintain a healthy diet before and after exercising, whether it is cycling, working out or just a simple jog.
What to eat before cycling
If you are an early riser and love to go for morning rides, then this is how you should start your day with – eating the right food. It is a must to eat before cycling, to provide you with the sufficient amount of energy for the ride and making your ride more efficient and rewarding. So what should you eat before a ride?
Make sure you have carbs in your diet as they are the main source of energy and makes you physically active. If you are planning for a long ride the next day, prepare your meal the night before, loading up more on carbs. You could try:
- Oatmeal: This easy to prepare meal contains most of your needed energy and is a great meal to start your ride. It burns slower and can provide the sustained energy. You can add a little color and flavor to your oatmeal by adding berries, fruits, nuts and seeds or even grains.
- Rice: Doesn’t matter what kind of rice, white or brown, all types of rice is the best source of carbohydrate and are easy to convert to energy your body needs. You can also eat rice with some protein options such as eggs and meat. With that, you won’t feel hungry for the next few hours when you have rice before your ride.
- Pasta: Cyclists mostly think about pasta when asked about what they ate before a ride. Pasta is the most common food among cyclists, as they are easy to prepare and a great source of energy.
What to eat during cycling
If you plan for a long ride, you can bring snacks and stuff them inside your pocket or saddle bag to bring to your ride, like nuts, protein bars and fruits (bananas are recommended). It is also very important to keep hydrated and drink lots of water, but not too much, you don’t want to keep running to the loo every few seconds.
What to eat after cycling
It is important to refuel after an intense ride. Taking in protein, carbs and water is essential to regain what you have lost. You wouldn’t want to gain back the calories you lost in your ride, do you? Therefore, you should not be eating too much after a ride. Other than staying hydrated and refueled, there are ten other foods that you should eat after a ride:
- Sweet potato: Sweet potatoes are high in carbs which are important after you ride. Your body has to replenish all those excess glycogen store from your body after the ride, so high carbohydrate consumption is required. They are also rich in vitamin C, which help accelerate wounds to heal.
- Eggs: Eggs aren’t always taken as breakfast. In fact, they are great after-exercise snacks. Eggs are high in cholesterol and protein, which mainly wouldn’t affect your body’s cholesterol level and making them a great snack after your ride. They are also high in choline, a vitamin that reduces inflammation.
- Chocolate milk: Chocolate milk aren’t only for children, they are actually good for your health, especially for athletes and other extreme-sport enthusiast. It is by far the best recovery food, or drink, as an after-sport drink. A glass of low-fat chocolate milk has the recommended protein and carbohydrate content for your body, and also the sugars in the milk are easily broken down.
- Fruits: Fruits like cantaloupe and other melons have high water content and can help you stay hydrated after a long ride. They can provide our body with the right amount of potassium, which our body loses through sweat.
- Nuts and Berries: Nuts are a great post-ride snack which does not contain many calories and are high in protein. They have also the added benefit that it is portable and able to be carried around, which you don’t have to wait till getting home to refuel your protein content. Nuts are high in unsaturated fat which help lower cholesterol level. You can also add berries and dried fruits in your serving of nuts to add more benefits. Berries are high in carbohydrate and water content.
- Grilled or baked chicken: Chicken is an excellent source of lean protein which is high in phosphorus and vitamins, to help support and enhance your nervous system.