Cycling is a great way to stay fit, but it can also be very challenging for the body. The best thing you can do to prepare yourself for a long cycling trip is to eat well before and after your ride. If you’re planning on doing some serious mileage, knowing what to eat during cycling sessions will keep your muscles and mind strong so that you can pedal longer and faster. Combining your ride with your favorite meal can also motivate you to do your personal best.
Carbs are Your Friend
Carbohydrates are the best fuel for long rides, especially if you don’t have enough time to recover between rides. A protein supplement may help to speed up your recovery between rides. Blending a quick protein shake is an excellent option if you are short on time.
Since you are already out and about, a local Italian restaurant would be perfect for a quick bite to load up on carbs before finishing up your ride. Be sure you carry a lock for your bike if you are planning to stop and eat.
End at You Favorite Food Spot
The best way to end your ride is a meal at your favorite restaurant. Brunch after a few brutal miles is the best motivator. If you ride with a club, choose a different spot for each meetup and explore the culinary options of your town. Maybe a new taco spot every week? Varying your routes makes you a better cyclist anyway!
Cycling around your city can help you explore new areas you might never see. You may discover an amazing restaurant, shop, or park previously unknown to you. Biking also helps to stay active and save money on gas, but you need energy to ride. Food is the source of that energy, and eating well will help your body keep up with the energy demands of riding.
However, there are a few tips to consider about what to eat during your ride:
- Eat something before you go—it takes time for food to digest, so give yourself about 30 minutes after your meal to set off on the road. Try to eat a balanced meal of protein, fats, and carbs.
- Bring snacks with you—a banana or bag of trail mix will be easy to carry when riding your bike. Your snacks should be quick and create minimal waste.
- Have a good meal at the end of your ride—this helps replenish the calories you’ve burned off during exercise. Plan a carb-loaded meal to help you refuel. Foods like potatoes, bread, and portions of pasta are all great options.
Hopefully, we’ve given you some ideas for what to eat before, during, and after a ride. If you’re still unsure about the best option, you can schedule a visit with your local nutritionist for a more personalized eating plan for your goals.
Dianne Pajo is a Certified Personal Trainer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.