Cycling burns up a lot of energy especially if you ride for long distances. To refuel your body you must be eating the right types of food. Whether you are riding relatively shorter distances like on one of our Bike and Brews Guided tours or longer distances like our multi-day Colorado Self-guided tours, nutrition plays a vital role in ensuring that you are properly fueled during your ride.
— according to “Bicycling” magazine. Correctly refueling your body with the right nutrients can help you have a more enjoyable ride as well as a faster recovery.
The calories in carbohydrates, fats, and proteins aren’t all created equal. Each type works in a different way to keep your body fueled throughout the day. That’s why taking in enough calories to meet your energy demands on a bike ride isn’t enough. A balanced diet consists of around 50-55% of calories coming from carbohydrates, 25-30% coming from fats, and 15-20% coming from protein according to sports nutritionist Cynthia Sass.
2. Know That Quality Matters When it Comes to Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates can be found in almost all healthy and unhealthy foods. They can come in a variety of forms like sugars fibers and starches.The most important thing is choosing the right type of carbohydrate to eat because some carbs are healthier than others.
Healthy grains such as whole wheat bread, rye, barley, and quinoa are far better than the refined grains found in white bread, pasta, and rice. These refined grains foods can be found in a lot of processed foods and thus, make it extremely easy to overeat them. Refined grain foods are converted to sugars for your brain very quickly and leave you feeling hungry.
Incorporating naturally rich starchy foods into your diet will surely help provide lasting energy throughout your day.
3. Include the Right Fats Into Your Diet
Contrary to widely held belief, not all fats make you fat. In fact, it’s actually quite important to include healthy fats into your diet. Evidence has even stacked up to show that healthy unsaturated fats play a major role in the process of ramping up your fat-burning metabolism. Healthy fats include Monounsaturated fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Monounsaturated/Polyunsaturated fatty acids are most commonly found in olive oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, and corn oil. Salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, and herring are all high in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Saturated fats and Trans fats are two types of fats you should avoid in your daily diet. These types of fats are commonly found in red meat, poultry, full-fat dairy products, and processed foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils. Both types of fat can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease as well as total blood cholesterol levels, so its best to try and avoid them in your daily diet.
Fat is slower to digest than carbs, so it helps you stay hunger-free longer. Including the right types of fat into your diet will help you ride longer and burn more calories.
4. Choose the Right Types of Proteins
Protein is composed of amino acids. The body produces some of these amino acids, but not all. There are a few types amino acids known as essential amino acids that must come from food. These essential amino acids can be found in animal sources of protein. They are also in other sources such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and seeds. However, these sources may lack one or more essential amino acids. For vegetarians, it’s important to include additional sources of amino acids to meet your bodies needs.