Monday, February 29, 2016

Creating a Diet That Can Help You Pedal Easier

Today, we have a guest writer (Shelly Stinson) who is an avid cyclist with a huge focus on nutrition. I am so glad she has been able to share some knowledge to readers about how to make sure your diet is appropriate for the energy levels you need to cycle. Enjoy!

Have you ever been in the middle of a long and relaxing cycle ride only to suddenly feel like your energy tank was so low that you’d have to coast home on fumes? Or what about the times you’re cycling to get your heart rate going so you try to make that chain rotate faster by pushing yourself a little harder, yet you just can’t seem to hit the speed and intensity you’d like? While it may be tempting to blame your fitness level for these types of happenings, the problem may actually be with the foods you’re eating, or not eating as the case may be.   

The reality is that your diet can make your rides easier or harder as some foods and ingredients give you more energy while others tend to take it away. Which ones do the former, making your cycling—whether for fitness or for fun—an activity which offers less stress and greater rewards?  

Here are five to consider: 
  1. Fruit: Between its natural sugars, high fiber content, and multiple vitamins and minerals, fruit can provide you with the energy and nutrients you need to sustain longer or more grueling cycle-based routines. Some of the best energy-enhancing fruits include peaches, oranges, papaya, and pineapple. Eat them whole, enjoy them in a smoothie, or add them to your protein shake. It doesn’t matter how you get them in, just get them in. 
  2. Green Veggies: Most people are aware that green vegetables are good for them, but did you know that they are a great source of energy, primarily due to the iron that many of them contain? Therefore, by making iron-rich veggies like spinach, broccoli, and collard greens part of your regular diet via salads, side dishes, or juicing, you’ll notice that you can do more without feeling so drained.  
  3. Whole Grains: If you’re going to be cycling for an extended period of time, you need to eat foods that offer long-lasting energy, which is what whole grains do. Because they’re harder for your body to digest, it’s almost like you’re consuming time-released energy, making it easier to power through your lengthy cycle sessions. Some of the healthiest whole grains include barley, brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread. 
  4. Spices: Research has consistently found that certain spices can speed up your metabolism, which means that they give you more energy. By adding them to your meals, you’ll likely find that you pedal with more ease. A few energy-boosting spices to consider include turmeric, black pepper, red pepper, and garlic. 
  5. Green Tea: Not only has green tea been touted as a great way to help prevent cancer and other major medical conditions, but many studies have also found that it gives you more energy in addition to helping your body oxidize fat. Enjoy a couple cups a day for the greatest effect. 

Adding these five foods and food ingredients into your diet can make your cycling routines easier than ever. And if you’re going to eat other not-so-good-for-you foods that give you less energy instead of more, at least save them for a treat day. That way you can literally have your cake and eat it too.

Cheers Eights & Weights!

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