Cycling Nutrition

Cycling is a great form of exercise. And if you plan on riding for extended periods, you need to consider your nutritional requirements. In addition to eating a balanced diet and staying hydrated, our range of cycling energy bars and electrolytes can give your body the energy it needs to power through.

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What food and nutrition is best for cycling?

Cycling nutrition is not 'one size fits all'. If you ask any group of cyclists (or runners, swimmers etc.) how they fuel their rides, you'll get a range of answers. This is because different solutions work for different people. Still, there are some fundamental requirements cyclists should keep in mind when planning their nutrition.

Hydration

Your body heats up when you exercise and to cool itself down again, it produces sweat. Sweating causes your body to lose both fluid and electrolytes and for this reason it's important to replenish both. You can replenish electrolytes with a sports drink, electrolyte tablets or electrolyte chews.

Carbohydrate

Carbohydrate is what your body relies on for high-intensity exercise and endurance. If you're going on a casual bike ride, replenishing your carbs isn't something you need to worry about. But if you're looking to amp up the intensity, it's worth topping up with carbohydrate-rich foods such as cycling energy bars.


Cycling nutrition guide

Your nutritional and hydration needs will vary depending on the duration and intensity of your activity. However, always ensure you're well-hydrated before partaking in exercise. It's best to drink regularly throughout the day leading up to a big ride. Have a drink whenever you eat and sip fluids regularly while you're exercising.

If you're planning to cycle for an extended period, muscle fuel stores of carbohydrate should be topped up in the 24-36 hours beforehand to enhance endurance. Choosing low-fibre foods and compact carbohydrate food and drinks in the final 12-24 hours before a big event can reduce your stomach contents which will help avoid stomach upsets while you're riding. Here's a breakdown on what you need to think about for different durations.

Short bike ride (up to 1hr): Fluids are your highest priority for a shorter workout like this. Most people will have more than enough carbohydrate stored in their body to fuel a ride like this.

  • Hydration: water
  • Carbs: none

Medium bike ride (1-3hrs): Carbohydrate has been shown to improve performance for activities in this range. Also, electrolyte supplements should be considered in addition to water intake.

  • Hydration: water and electrolyte chews/electrolyte drink
  • Carbs: approximately 30-60 grams per hour if expenditure is unknown

Long bike ride (3-6hrs): You'll need to think carefully about your nutritional requirements for a ride of this duration. Start fueling with solid foods like sandwiches and cycling energy bars and move on to electrolyte chews and gels for the final third. Sit down to a big carb-rich meal within 1hr of finishing the ride.

  • Hydration: water and electrolyte chews or gels
  • Carbs: approximately 30-60 grams per hour if expenditure is unknown

Find the Right Cycling Energy Bars and Nutrition at Anaconda

If you'd like more information on cycling essentials, including nutrition, take a look at our Cycling Essentials Guide. Or if you're still looking for that perfect set of wheels check out our Bikes Buying Guide.

To talk to one of our expert team members and check out the range in person, drop into a store near you.

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