Nutrition for new cyclists: Fuelling your first rides

Embarking on your journey as a new cyclist is an exciting and rewarding experience. Whether you're cycling for leisure, commuting, or training for an event, proper nutrition plays a crucial role in supporting your performance and recovery. 

In this blog, we'll explore the essential nutritional tips to fuel your first rides and enhance your cycling experience.

Fuelling before your ride

  1. Eat a balanced meal

Start your ride on the right foot by consuming a balanced meal rich in carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Opt for complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables to provide sustained energy throughout your ride. 

Include lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, tofu, or beans to support muscle repair and recovery. Incorporate healthy fats from sources like nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil to provide long-lasting energy and promote satiety.

  1. Hydrate properly

Hydration is key to optimal performance and endurance on the bike. Drink plenty of water in the hours leading up to your ride to ensure you start properly hydrated. Consider consuming an electrolyte drink or coconut water to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat and support hydration during your ride.

Nutrition during your ride

  1. Consume carbohydrates

During longer rides, it's essential to replenish your glycogen stores by consuming carbohydrates. Choose easily digestible options such as energy gels, sports drinks, bananas, or energy bars to fuel your muscles and sustain energy levels. Aim to consume around 30-60 grams of carbohydrates per hour of cycling to maintain performance and delay fatigue.

  1. Stay hydrated

Maintaining hydration during your ride is crucial for performance and preventing dehydration. Sip water regularly throughout your ride, aiming to drink around 500ml to 1 litre of fluid per hour, depending on temperature and intensity. Consider using a hydration pack or water bottles mounted on your bike for easy access to fluids while riding.

Recovery nutrition

  1. Refuel with protein and carbohydrates

After completing your ride, prioritise refuelling with a combination of protein and carbohydrates to support muscle repair and glycogen replenishment. Aim to consume a meal or snack containing a 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein within 30 minutes to 2 hours post-ride. 

Opt for options like a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread, a smoothie with fruit and Greek yoghurt, or a bowl of oatmeal topped with nuts and berries.

  1. Rehydrate

Rehydration is essential after a ride to replace fluids lost through sweat and support recovery. Drink water or an electrolyte drink to replenish fluids and electrolytes, and continue hydrating throughout the remainder of the day. Consider consuming foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables, to aid in hydration.

Nutrition tips for success

  1. Listen to your body

Pay attention to your body's hunger and thirst cues before, during, and after your ride. Everyone's nutritional needs are different, so listen to your body and adjust your nutrition accordingly to support your cycling goals and performance.

  1. Plan ahead

Prepare and pack snacks and hydration for your ride to ensure you have fuel readily available when needed. Consider portable options like energy bars, bananas, trail mix, and water bottles to keep you fueled and hydrated on the go.

Support your performance and recovery

Proper nutrition is essential for fuelling your first rides as a new cyclist. By eating a balanced meal before your ride, consuming carbohydrates, staying hydrated during your ride, and refuelling with protein and carbohydrates post-ride, you can support your performance, recovery, and overall enjoyment of cycling. 

Remember to listen to your body, plan ahead, and enjoy the journey as you explore the world on two wheels.

And, if you want to get more expert tips and coaching advice, why not take a look at our range of coaching packages?

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