There is a saying that says “you are what you eat”, is this true for cyclists? Could your secret weapon really be what you are fueling your system with? We did some investigating!
The internet is your best friend when it comes to researching and there’s certainly no shortage of info or viewpoints on this topic in particular. You can simply type “cycling diet” into your preferred search engine and you will be bombarded with pages of search results.
So where does one begin? Does what you eat really make you faster or do you simply need to spend more time on your bicycle…surely more hours spent turning the pedals makes your legs stronger and before you know it you will be riding the Tour de France?
Well, as with most things in life a well balanced approach is key and thus nutrition and how you fuel your body will impact on your cycling performance! It’s key to note though that everyone is different, so your body may respond well to a ketogenic diet while your riding partner may swear by carbo-loading (pasta for the win)! Research has shown that fueling the body (this includes sleep, but more on that another time) correctly allows your system to recover better therefore allowing you to get the most out of your training.
So, considering all of this…what are the views of the pro peloton? After all they do ride bikes for a living and need to use every bit of advantage (legal that is, we strongly advocate drug free sport) to perform at their highest level.
GCN, the Global Cycling Network, is a cycling specific youtube channel covering all things cycling! Their team review tech, bikes, kit, climbs and also answer some great cycling questions–I guess you could call them the mythbusters of the cycling world.
The GCN team are following the Giro and recently took to the streets at the beginning of a stage to ask a few members of the peloton “what they had for breakfast”. Breakfast is after all the most important meal of the day!
The answers varied, from eggs, to porridge, to pancakes, to bread, to rice cakes to pasta, to plain race (how exciting)!
I think you get the picture, the pros are not restricted to one specific diet, but the one common breakfast ingredient which did stand out was eggs. This begs the question, maybe as cyclists we should be eating more eggs… we will let you figure that one out for yourselves.
It’s clear that there are different views within the peloton and some of the teams take nutrition far more seriously than others, Team Sky is one of those who take nutrition monitoring to the next level! Team Sky burst onto the cycling scene in 2009 and have been at the forefront of adopting professionalism to give the riders in their team all the advantage they can–they even have an app for riders to manage their nutrition plan. It’s called “Todays Plan” and you can read more about it here if you want!
There is truly a wealth of information out there in terms of what is good for you to incorporate in your diet, what can help you perform better on the bike and what you should stay away from.
PS, Here’s some food for thought and something that will probably play with your mind a bit–would you give up coffee if science told you it would make you faster on the bike? Now that would be a tough diet to follow!