Every hour of cycling adds an hour to your life, according to a study at Cambridge University. The benefits of cycling are indisputable; cycling can protect you from heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, some cancers, and even depression. The next question is how to make the most of your cycling experience. Many people use nutrition and supplements to give their bodies extra power to muscle up a hill or go that extra mile. Supplements infuse the body with vitamins, minerals, proteins, and phytochemicals that help support cellular repairs and upkeep. Supplements are a great way to give your body a boost both before and after cycling. However, all supplements are not created equal.
Increase Your Endurance
Cycling takes a lot of endurance from the body. While cycling, you breathe more deeply and the heart and blood vessels work overtime to perform an aerobic activity. You perspire, and your body temperature increases. Luckily, there are certain supplements that can help a cycler perform at their best. One such supplement is Beta Alanine. This supplement is good for a strong burst of energy, needed by track cyclists for a jolt of energy on the road or while riding a mountain bike. Make sure to take it in smaller doses of 0.8 grams for a total of 3 grams a day to start. Larger doses may result in the unwanted side effect of paraesthesia – tingling of the skin. Creatine can also help to build strength, as it increases levels of phosphocreatine, which is used by the muscles during high-intensity activity. Hydration is another important component of cycling that shouldn’t be overlooked. Minerals and carbohydrates in hydration and energy drinks help to balance out electrolytes lost in sweat and give energy for athletic performance.
After cycling, the fibers in the muscles have been broken down and need to recover to become stronger. Whey protein contains all nine amino acids that exist outside the body. It is absorbed very quickly into the body to help muscles rebuild. Whey protein is a byproduct of milk and can be consumed in a smoothie or even in a bowl of oatmeal. To prevent delayed onset muscle soreness, a vitamin C supplement can help. A study from the University of North Carolina Greensboro states that 3 grams of vitamin C per day drastically reduces post-workout soreness. The supplement L-carnitine L-tartrate can also help. It transports fatty acids into the mitochondria of the cells. These fatty acids are a fuel source for the cells. It cleans the blood of lactic acid, which produces the soreness that can be experienced post-workout.
Be Aware of What You Buy
Just because a supplement says it is for a cyclist or for post-workout recovery, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s full of beneficial ingredients. Watch for these ingredients in your supplements to make sure that you’re doing right for your body. Hydrogenated oils are sometimes used as a cheap filler in vitamins. These oils contain harmful trans fat that can prevent the beneficial chemicals from working to reduce inflammation. Sodium benzoate is a preservative that can cause allergic reactions, and is particularly harmful to blood health when taken in conjunction with vitamin C. Sibutramine is another chemical sometimes used in supplements to increase energy. However, it has been known to increase the chances of heart attack and stroke.
Supplements are a great way to make the most of your cycling experience. They can help with energy, endurance, and recovery. However, it’s important to read all the labels thoroughly to make sure that anything you put in your body is truly beneficial to your health.
Liked reading this post? Enjoy more posts on the subject of nutrition and recovery in these Peak Cycles / BikeParts.com posts:
- Keys to a Successful Cycling Race: Think Smart, Eat Smart
- How To Properly Fuel Your Morning Workout
- 3 Recipes for Increased Recovery
- Ride Hard – Recovery Harder: Ways to Speed Up Recovery
- How Well do Different Drinks Really Hydrate You?