While most people start cycling for different reasons, two common benefits to taking part in the sport are increased fitness and staying trim.
But just because you ride your bike a few times a week doesn’t mean you can eat whatever you want to. In fact, most beginning cyclists make the mistake of overeating because they feel good about the exercise that they’ve done, making the workout counterproductive to weight loss.
In order to get the most out of your cycling and to lose weight in the process, it is important to follow basic rules of nutrition to stay healthy and to keep riding strong.
Drink plenty of water
First thing to keep in mind, liquids are only for hydration, not for getting in calories. Stick to water, unsweetened tea, or black coffee. Stay away from soda, fruit juices, sugar-loaded lattes, and alcohol.
Go long and easy
You don’t always have to go hard in order to make a difference. Instead, take a slow, but long ride once a week, especially in the early season. Long rides (up to six hours) burn a lot of fat and give you a good endurance base for later in the season.
Eat more vegetables and more lean protein
Vegetables and lean protein like chicken or fish should be a staple of any good cyclist’s diet. Rather than loading up on nutritional supplements, try getting most of your vitamins and protein from food. The absorption rate is better, and by giving your body what it needs through the food you eat will make you feel a lot better too. And if your body feels good, you’ll ride longer, which will help you burn more calories. It may also help with the junk food cravings.
When trying to eat healthy, it’s a mistake to cut out foods that you enjoy just because they may not be good for you. Going without chocolate or beer will only make your cravings for them worse, which will probably lead to an eventual night of binge eating or drinking. Instead of starving your body of the occasional treat, limit your portions. It’s okay to reward yourself for your hard work every now and then. Just remember to try and do it in moderation.
Three good meals a day
If you commit to three good meals a day you will have a much easier time resisting temptations and avoiding intense hunger. Plan your meals ahead and cook on the weekend if you don’t have time during the week. And remember each of the main meals has to contain a sizeable portion of protein and fibre.