Cycling is a form of exercise that, while generally easier on the joints, still gets the muscles pumping. As a result, certain studies, including one influential study conducted at the International Center for Sports Nutrition, have concluded that cyclists need a greater protein intake to deal with the endurance factor needed by many rides. However, with carbohydrates equally important for the long road, it can be easy to overeat if bulking up on both. As a result, those looking to really boost their performance need to fine-tune their intake and search for smart nutrition.
Protein building blocks
Understanding amino acids is key in getting your performance plan right. At their base, proteins are amino acids strung together with polymer bands. The essential amino acids include lysine, threonine, and valine. Perhaps most crucial for cyclists is isoleucine, which is influential in terms of endurance and power. The impact of selecting the right amino acids in your protein cannot be underestimated. One study, published in the European Nutricion Hospitalaria journal, concluded that the use of the correct amino acids in endurance athletes lessened muscle pain, lowered perceived fatigue, and encouraged a better anabolic response.
The right foods
What can contribute to these amino acids? All of your common protein sources will be doing something right: meat, fish, legumes, pulses, and meat substitutes. However, certain sources are better than others. When it comes to isoleucine, tuna, soy, nuts, and whole grains are rich, and will provide that endurance-boosting impact.
What about supplementation?
Supplementation can be controversial, but when it comes to amino acids there isn’t much to be worried about. It can be beneficial for those who have a restrictive diet, whether for health reasons or for personal beliefs. For instance, many vegetarians have a sensitivity to soy but cannot get isoleucine from fish; therefore, having a whole-grain diet supplemented with extra isoleucine can help to give a rounded view of nutrition. This is where fine-tuning comes in – look at your foods and your meal plan, and isolate or add the foods that can add the most beneficial forms of protein for your performance.
Protein is beneficial for all athletes, but not all proteins are equal. When it comes to cycling, identifying which amino acids your protein source will provide is important to boosting your performance. Tailor your diet plan to your goals, and you will feel the positive effects.
And while we’re on the topic of building blocks, having the proper bike fit, bike parts, and cycling components makes a difference too. Fueling your body for your workouts is one component of a successful cycling regime. Having the right bike parts and bikes is the other. Stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop for all of your nutritional and cycling needs.