Most cyclists have learned the what, how, and when of cycling nutrition after a few years of riding. But there is a lot of ambiguity when it comes to supplements. Cyclists are naturally apprehensive, given the numerous accounts of “accidental” doping and concerns about side effects (even if they are only felt in the wallet).
There is a good variety of sports supplements available – powders, pills, and potions – that carry a lot of marketing power with little scientific backing. But others could help riders feel healthier or actually improve performance and results.
“The vast majority of sports supplements don’t have any data to back up their claims”. Says Anita Bean, author of the complete Sports Nutrition Guide. They are, at best, unneeded, and, at worst, damaging or unlawful. There are a few products, however, that are backed by a peer-reviewed body of study.
Here are a variety of supplements available that we believe are well supported and their uses.
Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy when riding a bicycle. Muscle fibres, on the other hand, break down during exercise, especially if the cycling duration is long. You become stronger as they regenerate, and eating protein aids in what the brain’s nutrition boxes refer to as “muscle protein synthesis,” or recuperation and adaptation.
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The protein is in the food: you will find 31 g per 100 g of pigeon breast, 19 g in the same weight of chickpeas, and 13 g in a large egg.
Whey protein powder, however, makes eating high-quality protein quick and easy, plus you’ll know exactly what proportion you’re taking.
You can mix it with milk and fruit to make a smoothie, or complete your morning porridge with a tablespoon. Stir well, or you’ll find yourself munching on what could also be a typical grueling gruel dish of complimentary chalk.
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Protein powders come in a wide range of flavours (soy, egg, casein). But whey is a milk protein that is produced as a by-product of cheese manufacture. According to Bean, it has a “high concentration of key amino acids, which help muscle repair. Especially the aminoalkanoic acid leucine, a vital trigger for boosting muscle development after exercise.”
“Choose whey supplements if you’re not getting enough protein from your diet – [which is] improbable in most instances – or as a convenient alternative to meal afterward,” Bean suggests.
The amount of protein you’d like varies dramatically based on your activity level and what you’re doing. A track rider who spends time in the gym will damage more muscle fibers than an endurance rider.
Recommendations range from 1.2 g / kg of body weight to 2.2 g / kg. However, one thing is unnecessary: it must be opened. Your body cannot effectively use 0.3 g / kg, or 20 g (whichever comes first), at a time.
Beta-Alanine has been shown to help with repeated sprints and power surges. Taken by both track and road cyclists seeking for a boost.
An optimal dose is about 3g per day, but Bean cautions: “It is better to divide this into several smaller doses, eg. Ex. 4 x 0.8 g for four to six weeks, followed by a maintenance dose of 1.2 g per day..
Beta-Alanine is famous for inducing a strange tingling sensation on the skin. Breaking down the doses helps reduce this. However, it is difficult to require a white powder in doses of 1 g at a time during the working day. You will buy capsules or take the dose all at once and accept the strange sensation, which usually lasts for about an hour.
Of course, creatine is available in food – you’ll find about 2g per pound of meat and 4.5g per pound of salmon.
However, you will be taking it in supplement form, and this is widely used by athletes where strength and power are important.
As a result, not recommended for individuals who place a premium on the load side of the power-to-weight equation.
There are a couple of dosage options (you will carry 0.3g per kg of weight, up to each week), taken in four equal doses throughout the day. Alternatively, a loading phase could be closer to 2-3 g / kg for 3-4 weeks. After the loading phase, you will reduce this to 0.03 g / kg each day.
Another popular supplement among trackies is baking soda; Often believed to dampen carboxylic acid buildup in events lasting between one and 10 minutes. A recommended dose is approximately 0.2 g / kg several hours before the competition. However, there is little research on the benefits, and therefore the potential stomach side effects are easy to imagine. So those who compete in longer races might be able to avoid it.
Cycling and the occasional go hand-in-hand, but it’s not simply due to the social benefits of an honest cut and a slice of cake shared with your coffee-riding buddy.
There is substantial evidence pointing to the performance-enhancing benefits of caffeine: A Spanish study found that while cyclists who received 0.2 mg per kg of weight did not show any increase in power. Those who ingested 0.7 mg/kg for 70 minutes before a test they saw the simplest improvement.
Bean recommends a little more: “Low to moderate – 1-3 mg/kg of bodyweight – caffeine doses improve alertness, concentration, and response time. There is good evidence that it improves performance in high and low-intensity exercise and reduces the perception of effort during resistance exercise. Levels peak between 30 and 45 minutes after consumption. “
It’s important to remember that the amount of caffeine in your coffee varies. In 2011, researchers from the University of Glasgow examined 20 locations across the city and discovered that a cup of coffee may contain anything from 51mg (at Starbucks) to 322mg (at Patisserie Françoise, a stand-alone coffee shop).
If you want your dose to have military precision, TrueStart coffee is what you need. This sports-specific brand guarantees exactly 95mg per 2g dose.
NITRATE (IN BEETROOT JUICE)
There is some research to suggest that beet juice, or more importantly the nitrates in it, causes urine to turn purple.
According to Bean, “research demonstrates that beet juice can improve endurance performance and lower the oxygen cost of submaximal exercise, as well as improve performance in repeated sprints.”
The recommended dose is 300-600 mg of nitrate. You would have to eat about 200g of beets to urge it. Therefore the alternative is to buy beet shots or tablets.
Take this with a pinch of salt though, says Bean: “The results are more convincing on untrained subjects. So if you’re already in shape, don’t calculate big gains.”
The key purpose of vitamin D is to help regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate within the body; thus keeping the bones and muscles well nourished. Low levels of vitamin D can result in weakened muscles and bones and a distressed system.
Although it is available in some foods, our bodies primarily create vitamin D from direct sunlight. And therefore the NHS advises that most people get enough of it naturally from late March to September. From October to the beginning of March, the people living in the UK are hospitable and deficient.
“Your GP should be prepared to evaluate your vitamin D level; if it is 50 nmol / l, you will benefit from a supplement: the highest limit is 100 mg per day,” Bean advises. If you don’t have access to the evidence, Public Health England recommends taking a 10 mg daily supplement in the fall and winter.
Being low in iron can lead to fatigue, abnormal shortness of breath, and loss of stamina and power. You will get iron in beans, dark green leafy vegetables like spinach.
Your doctor will diagnose a severe iron deficiency and prescribe supplements.
Women, especially those with heavy periods, are more likely to suffer from iron deficiency, so we suggest to eat more iron during menstruation.
Most cyclists will be quite familiar with drinking electrolyte tablets and drinks.
Salts and minerals called electrolytes include sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphate, and bicarbonate.
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They are lost through sweat, which is some of the things that most athletes do a lot during exercise. Dehydration and loss of electrolytes can result from a drop in performance, so swapping them out is crucial.
Although the data from the studies are not fully accumulated, there is a staggering amount of anecdotal evidence that points to the conclusion that low sodium levels can result in the paralyzing dominance of cramps.
Most sports drinks contain around 200mg of sodium per serving, but the amount you’d like will depend on the salt content of your sweat and how much you’re sweating. Precision Hydration specialty brand beverages contain up to 1,500 mg per serving and will be an answer for people suffering from cramps and fatigue related to sodium loss.
This is less of a “cycling supplement” than a “general health support supplement.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that people eat one to two servings of fish each week to contribute to overall health.
Fatty fish contains Omega-3 fatty acids that is linked to reduced inflammation, joint and bone health, and improved immunity. you will notice by eating fish; otherwise, you can take one capsule daily to make sure you get enough.
Another supplement associated with joint health is glucosamine, which is linked to maintaining healthy cartilage and animal tissue and preventing injury, and some cyclists take it to overcome the effect of pressure on the kneecap (kneecap)…
If you plan to incorporate one of these well-researched supplements into your diet, make sure it comes from a reputable brand; check the label before loading up your innocent kale shake. You don’t want to become a later victim of beef steak doping.
Bean says: “If you are subject to anti-doping rules, please confirm that your supplements come from a reputable company that provides a certificate showing that a recognized sports anti-doping laboratory has performed batch tests for prohibited contaminants. Look for the Informed-Sport logo on the label and check the lot number on the Informed-Sport website, ”he says.
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