Sports nutrition allows you to get the right types of foods in the right amounts in convenient packaging for when you are on the go. Whether you’re a daily rider, taking the bike to work, or you prefer roughing it out on the tough mountain trails, good nutrition is important. Take a look through this guide to see what style of nutrition best suits your needs.
With your legs powering away, you’ll be burning loads of energy, which at some point will need replacing. Aside from your tea and cake stop, you may want to use sports nutrition such as gels, energy bars or energy drink. After your ride a recovery drink or protein bar can be useful for restoring your muscles and energy balance.
Energy drinks contain carbohydrates, usually some form of simple and complex sugars, to keep your muscles fed. Pre-ride energy drinks such as High-5’s Energy Source usually come in the form of tablet or powders – you just add the correct amount to your bottle, give it a shake and off you go. These drinks tend to be sweeter and stronger flavoured than hydration drinks, but are an easy way to take on energy.
Energy bars are packed full of goodness and can taste great. They are useful on a long ride. Energy bars are also useful simply because eating them means you’re putting something solid in your stomach, rather than just liquids. They taste like ‘real food’ so are a satisfying and enjoyable way of fueling your ride. At Evans Cycles we stock a variety of energy bars, and its worth trying a few different brands and flavours to find the one you like the most.
Want to pack in as much energy as possible, into a small volume? You’ll be after an energy gel. Energy gels usually have a thick, syrupy consistency and provide an instant hit of energy in a small but powerful package.
Torq gels boast a number of interesting flavours – banoffee is a particular favourite. Gels are often very sweet but some such as High-5 and OTE use high concentrations of fruit juice to help give a more natural flavour. Look out as well for caffeinated gels that give you a bit of an extra physical and mental boost. SIS Go Gels contain 75mg of caffeine per gel to perk you up at the end of a hard ride or race.
Specialist energy products deliver fuel to your muscles quickly, so you can keep riding further & faster. Energy bars provide sustained energy whilst gels and drinks give you an instant hit.
Recommended use: 1-2 bars/gels/bottles an hour during intense exercise. When to take? Before / During the ride
When you ride, you’ll lose water from your body through sweating, which can lead to dehydration. This can not only leave you feeling rough, but even in mild cases, has a knock on effect on your performance. Being dehydrated isn’t just a case of needing water; when you sweat you also lose important minerals which need replacing – fortunately sports hydration drinks will include exactly what you need.
Sports drinks generally come in two forms, powders and effervescent tablets. Nuun hydration tablets, for example, just need dropping into your water bottle, where they’ll fizz away for a minute or so, before leaving a light, pleasant taste to quench your thirst. Stored in a small plastic tube, they can even be dropped in a pocket for mid-ride refills. A couple of scoops of SiS Go Electrolyte will do the same job in a powdered form. As with many nutrition products, you should try a few different brands and flavours until you find the ones you like best.
Hydration products are focused on keeping you hydrated. They typically do not contain any carbohydrate energy, so you can manage your hydration and fuelling separately.
Recommended use: up to 500ml an hour on hot days. When to take? Before / During the ride
If you’ve put in a lot of miles or completed a very hard training session you might want to consider how your muscles will repair themselves before the next ride. Recovery products, whether they be drinks such as For Goodness Shakes Procovery or bars like the OTE protein bar are packed full of nutrients, minerals and protein, ready to help your muscles repair.
Protein is important in recovery products as it speeds up muscle growth and repair – the knock on effect is that recovery drinks are usually thicker, more akin to a milkshake than energy drinks. If, after a hot ride you’re not too keen on a thick drink, you may prefer to eat a protein recovery bar like SIS Rego protein bar.
Recovery products are specifically formulated to help your muscles recover fast after exercise - meaning you are able to make the most of the training benefits and get back in the saddle sooner.
Recommended use: One serving within 30 minutes of finishing exercise. When to take? After the ride
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