Foods to eat before you cycle
Planning a big ride? Get things off to a good start by starting your pre-ride nutrition the day before.
A high-carb evening meal will top up your glycogen levels in preparation for a hard day’s pedalling. Our bodies store carbohydrates as glycogen in our muscles and liver, breaking it down quickly into glucose when we need energy. You want your glycogen stores to be nice and full for your ride, giving you plenty of energy potential to unleash.
Go for foods with a low Glycaemic Index (GI) to give you a slower release of energy, such as:
• Wholegrain bread
• Beans and pulses
• Basmati rice
• Boiled sweet potato (roasting dramatically increases their GI)
What to eat on the morning of your ride needs a little trial and error to learn what suits your body best. Some riders hate the sluggish feeling off setting off with a full stomach, whereas others find it impossible to ride hungry.
We always recommend fuelling up in the morning, but the key is to choose foods which are kind to your digestive system. If possible, try and eat around 90 minutes before your ride to give yourself time to digest your breakfast.
Favourite pre-cycling breakfasts among the Neilson team include:
• Porridge with berries and honey (oats give a great low GI energy release)
• Bircher muesli
• Scrambled eggs on wholemeal toast
• Banana muffins
• Bagels with jam
• Pancakes with yoghurt and banana
• Toasted teacakes with butter
Sound too heavy? A quick banana smoothie is light and easy but will give your energy stores a great top-up.
Whether you love a good strong coffee before a ride again tends to come down to personal preference. Caffeine has been shown to enhance performance and power, but it’s not for everyone. If you simply don’t like the taste of coffee, try a caffeine sports gel instead.
And last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to hydrate yourself well before setting off.