Nutrition, Food and Diet for Cycling: The Complete Guide to Veloforte

We understood. You are an avid cyclist. We are too! So we know YOU know the importance of good nutrition for cycling. However, the abundance of information available can be confusing, contradictory and confusing... 

At Nutri-Bay as well as our friends at Veloforte, we don't just love cycling, we also love good food and eating well (some have called us foodies, which is correct). No matter how much money you invest in a new pair of wheels, or how intense your training, a good nutrition plan and an effective cycling diet are the basis for staying healthy and, above all, for enjoying even more cycling!

What you put into your body, you get back. Our goal is to get you back to basics for a simple approach to nutrition, so you can focus on enjoying riding. The little extra "Nutri-Bay special" is that we are also thinking of you... See you at the end of this article!

Proper nutrition affects all aspects of cycling. We'll explain the different roles of carbs and protein to help you plan exactly what to eat before, during and after your ride, AND we'll give you the key tools you need to build your own cycling diet plan.

Your cycling nutrition guide


Here are the 4 main points to remember to make sure you cover all aspects of an effective cycling diet:

1) Make sure you are getting all the important nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
2) Eat the right foods to fuel your body on and off the bike.
3) Make sure you have a hydration strategy to drink enough and replace electrolytes.
4) Create your cycling diet and nutrition plan based on your needs.

Important nutrients, vitamins and minerals for cyclists

  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Magnesium
  • Iron

If you want to perform at your best, recover well, and stay fit and healthy, understanding the key nutrients that make up your diet is the crucial first step. Here is an overview of the most important nutrients that cyclists need to supply their bodies.

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are our body's preferred fuel source for cycling. We can store (as glycogen in our liver and muscles) enough fuel for about 90 minutes of exercise at a time. Beyond that, we need to make sure to load extra carbs at regular intervals to avoid the dreaded fatigue. It's almost as painful as hitting a wall, which is why we don't recommend it.

When our body runs out of energy, our cycling stops – or at least it starts to wobble very slowly and awkwardly! If you're training for a long duration cycling event, like a race for example, it's really important that you practice different eating strategies during your training to make sure you're getting the most out of what you put in your bike. body.

This not only fixes a strategy in your mind, makes it familiar, and forms a routine, but also trains your body and digestive system to better absorb carbs to give you a much-needed boost during long stretches. exits.

By integrating your nutrition and eating strategy into your cycling training, you will also develop and support your weight loss management, endurance capacity and cycling power needs. We literally don't see any downside - that's why we wholeheartedly recommend it.

Depending on the intensity of your training, you should strive to consume between 30 and 60 g of carbohydrates per hour and up to 90 g if part of the carbohydrates is supplemented with a mixture of glucose and fructose (fruit sugar). This is because fructose increases the efficiency of carbohydrate absorption, which means you can take in even more of them and eat even longer. 

Carbs help you perform at your best for longer! At Veloforte, the emphasis is on a healthy carbohydrate intake in most of the energy bars that you can enjoy during your rides. Take for example Ciocco, Classico and Di Bosco bars for a double source of carbs on the go.



 

 

If you prefer to take your carbs in gel form, don't worry! We also have you covered with our range of Veloforte energy gels. They're a great source of energy in a convenient, easy-to-open package to swallow on the go.

Our Veloforte gels

Proteins

Proteins have many roles to play in the human body. They help strengthen and repair damaged tissue, allow metabolic reactions to take place, and help coordinate and regulate your essential bodily functions (including maintaining proper fluid and pH balance).

Protein is absolutely essential for cycling recovery. If you don't get enough of it after you're out, you'll never reap the full benefits of your hard work and you won't get those huge, glowing leg muscles you've been looking for (Spark is not included in the intake in protein). We recommend stocking up on a few of our protein bars Force ou Mocha to get a quick protein boost during or just after your run. You can even grab a bar during your ride and wash it down with one of our specially formulated Veloforte Recovery Shakes for the most effective protein delivery possible right after your ride.

The Veloforte protein range

When you exercise, you destroy your muscles pushing them to their limits. This muscle needs to be repaired to be able to adapt to new stresses. So you better get your protein out and start repairing your muscles.

Depending on the intensity of your training, you should allow around 1,2 to 2,2 g of protein per kg of body weight. If you're overworking yourself and constantly increasing the intensity of your rides, you'll need to focus on the higher end of this scale to ensure you're getting that essential protein boost you'll need.


If you think you need to lose weight to optimize your body and health on your rides, it is highly recommended that you take recovery days where you reduce your carbohydrate intake and increase your protein intake.

But don't forget that protein works best when you spread it out. - do not take more than 200 g at a time, or the protein benefits will not be as great. For best results after a ride, you'll want to measure around 200g of protein as soon as possible, then space the protein evenly with your other meals and snacks for the rest of the day. This way, you'll make sure you're effectively onboarding as much of these valuable proteins as possible.

Vitamins D

Vitamin D is a strange topic because it's nearly impossible to get enough from food alone. Luckily, you don't have to look far, as the sun can provide up to 80% of what you need. 

Vitamin D is a key element for strengthening muscles and bones and increasing metabolism, which helps reduce recovery times. But, even though cyclists spend a lot of time in the saddle outdoors, we can still miss significant doses of vitamin D by slathering on sunscreen, covering our bodies too much, or riding out when the sun isn't shining. and we certainly don't recommend riding naked...

That's why it's good to supplement your diet with 1000-5000 IU of vitamin D3 (most effective for absorption) on a daily basis to safely maximize your intake.

Vitamins C

You need vitamin C to boost your immune system and allow it to protect you from harm that could keep you from having a bowel movement and make you sick in bed. What no one wants! It also helps fight cardiovascular disease, prevent wrinkles, and keep your eyes healthy (all benefits for cyclists, especially those of us who take care of our complexions).

Vitamin C is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, but, face it... are you really eating your 5 fruits and vegetables a day? In fact, it's best to increase to 8 or 9 servings of fruits and vegetables a day if you want to optimize your vitamin C intake.

Of course, if fresh fruits and vegetables (especially citrus fruits, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, etc.) aren't your cup of tea or you can't reach your 5 (or more) fruits and vegetables a day (it happens to the best of us) you can supplement your diet with vitamin C tablets - 500mg a day should suffice.

Vitamins E

Vitamin E protects your muscle and lung cells – both of these are obviously very important for cyclists, so we have to do our best to give them a boost, right? Indeed, increased vitamin E intake has been shown to increase lung capacity at altitude, which is great news! Tour de France, someone...?

Vitamin E is mostly found in fatty foods like oil and nuts, so if you're on a low-fat diet (which you shouldn't be if you're looking to have a healthy, balanced diet...) , you are missing this important ingredient for healthy nutrition.

Unfortunately, dietary supplements won't be enough, as research suggests the best way to get vitamin E is from your diet, so grab a small handful of nuts and drizzle your meals and snacks on it. of olive oil to reap all the benefits. However, we recommend that you avoid consuming corn, canola and soybean oils… they can indeed harm your lung health in the long term. Olive oil is tastier anyway, so it's not a big loss.

Magnesium

Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, bone development, and nerve function. That's a lot of regulation! Plus, it helps your body turn carbs and fats into fuel more efficiently – which is obviously great for us cyclists, so magnesium is essential!

Fortunately, it is easily found in all food groups, in vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, poultry, fish, beef and even chocolate... A bonus for chocolate and candy lovers sweet.

However, if you ride a lot you will lose a fair amount of magnesium through sweat (and also through urine), so you should consider increasing your intake by around 20% if this is the case.

Basically, women need around 320 mg per day and men need 420 mg. If you train a lot, you may consider taking a magnesium supplement to avoid any deficiency. But, for everyone else, stick to eating whole foods (without too much chocolate) in healthy amounts and you should be fine!

The iron

We all know that iron is essential if you engage in intense physical exercise, as it helps in the formation and maintenance of red blood cells in your body and maximizes their ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles. We all remember those lessons in school, right?

If you lack iron, you are at risk of becoming anemic, which will make you tired and weak. This will obviously have a huge and negative impact on your runs, which isn't great.

Meat eaters rejoice, because you can get plenty of iron by eating healthy portions of meat and fish on a regular basis. If you are a vegetarian or vegan, be sure to get enough iron-rich green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and broccoli, and consider eating them alongside foods rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C has the benefit of helping your body absorb more iron from plant sources!

However, it's a good idea to supplement your daily iron intake if you do heavy cycling, as you may be lacking in iron. Women need 18 mg per day, while men need 8 mg. So be careful not to let your iron levels get too low or risk the dreaded anemia.


The best foods for cyclists to fuel on and off the bike

An amazing, pocket-sized way to fuel up on the go. If your ride is going to be longer than 90 minutes, you'll definitely want to pack some cycling energy bars so you don't burn out on the trail.

Our friends at Veloforte have spent years playing with natural recipes to find the perfect energy bars that not only give you the boost you need, but taste great too! After all, you want to enjoy what you eat, right?

Just like energy bars, protein bars are small, convenient and easy ways to fuel yourself and get the extra protein needed to help your muscles recover.

By opting for a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein, you'll get a bar that will keep you going longer while you ride and help you recover better afterwards. Check out our Forza and Mocha bars to get the protein boost you need.

 

Another quick and easy on-the-go source of carbs, if energy bars aren't your thing, consider packing some cycling energy gels on your long rides to keep you going longer.

Veloforte has the perfect solutions for your energy gel needs, allowing you to get the fast energy you need quickly, conveniently, and in a gel full of natural goodness.

Recovery drinks are just what you need to get that protein shot as soon as possible after your run, for maximum benefits. Naturally, the extra protein helps your muscles recover from exertion faster and more efficiently and promotes healthy development.

At Veloforte they have developed the Vita and Nova recovery drinks, packed with protein to support your recovery. On top of that, we have the chance to offer you their limited edition shaker! 

Do not hesitate to include foods such as pasta and rice, green vegetables, potatoes, porridge, salmon, nuts and oils, red meat and citrus fruits. 

Importance of hydration on the bike

Staying hydrated on the bike is absolutely essential for digesting food and maintaining a high level of performance. Dehydration, even in its mildest form, can really slow you down and make you sick or give you a headache after your ride. 

In addition to drinking the normal recommended amount of 6-8 glasses of fluid per day, you should drink more to compensate for any fluid loss from exercise, which can be lost through sweat and urine during and after your run . So stay hydrated!

Another thing to remember is to keep your body well balanced in electrolytes. These minerals carry a tiny electrical charge and are essential for maintaining a healthy pH in your body fluids, as well as balancing the amount of fluids you retain in general.

Electrolytes can be easily lost through sweat and urine during strenuous hikes. So be sure to stock up on pre-mixed electrolyte drinks, add a tablet to your water bottle, or make yourself a smoothie to stay balanced. If you have a sweet tooth, you can even down a small bottle of cherry, watermelon or orange juice – these fruit juices are high in electrolytes. Just avoid the more sinister, concentrate-based strains. A key point to remember, however, is that energy drinks for cyclists can facilitate proper hydration and, naturally, we have a range of Veloforte electrolyte powders available to keep you hydrated as easily as possible.

Although it may seem tedious, a simple check to make sure you're getting enough hydration is to weigh yourself before and after a ride. A well-hydrated cyclist should not lose weight during a ride. For every 0,5 kg of body weight lost, you need 500 ml of water to rehydrate and keep you going. Keep that in mind and you'll be fine!

Also, water alone is fine for short hikes in cool weather, but if you sweat a lot, a little extra sodium can really help your body maintain fluid balance and stave off cramps.

Seriously, don't forget to hydrate!

OUR VELOFORTE PRODUCTS

 As a reminder, we are offering a discount on all Veloforte products. 
➡️ -10% including packages, with code 🤩 

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