If you’re a cyclist, then you know the importance of fuel for your rides. What you may not realise is that eating breakfast does make a huge difference.
“You are what you eat.” You might have heard this phrase before. Nutrition, overall, plays a major role in your cycling performance and well-being. And breakfast, being the first meal of the day, is crucial to have a good day in the saddle, especially on a morning ride.
Here are a few reasons why eating breakfast is so important when it comes to cycling.
Why You Shouldn’t Skip Breakfast Before Bike Ride
You overslept a few more minutes and ended up in a hurry for your big bike ride. So, you skip breakfast to save time, opting for a cup of coffee instead. After all, this could get the energy levels you need on the road, right? Wrong.
That pre-road cycling breakfast is essential, and the same goes for what’s in it. When you don’t feed yourself enough in the morning, your body will be low on fuel. This can compromise the rest of your day, affecting your training ride.
Mainly because of what you eat:
Affects your strength
A proper breakfast before cycling can provide the energy you need to sustain long rides. All the same on shorter ones, helping to improve performance. Skipping it can result in a lack of carbs. There’s also a high chance that your muscles won’t keep up due to glycogen deficiency.
Complex carbohydrates are an ultimate energy provider needed for riding. So, on your breakfast feast, make sure to include foods high in carbs. These can be oatmeal, whole grain bread, or fruits. They’ll help curb hunger and cravings and provide more sustained energy all the way.
Glycogen, meanwhile, provides a strong source of fuel for your body. Replenish with wheat bran, fruit such as bananas, sweet potato, and fibre and fructose. Combined with carbohydrate stores and a balanced diet, you’ll be in your best condition.
Impacts your stamina
Some cyclists tend to drop their energy stores after three or four hours into their morning ride. The typical culprit is having just a morning snack and a bottle of water or sports drinks. And therein lies the problem: not enough fractions of the energy they need. In turn, they run out of gas in the middle of a ride.
You wouldn’t want your endurance performance to sap while on the road, would you? Professional cyclists recommend eating the right foods to improve your stamina.
Include extra protein in your breakfast option, such as eggs and cottage cheese. Or, avocado on whole grain toast with peanut butter. Also, skip sugary foods, e.g. cereals or packaged goodies, for a quick morning fix. They’ll only leave you feeling tired shortly after eating them.
A nutritious breakfast also helps maximise your full potential because it:
Helps you re-hydrate
Getting the necessary fluids isn’t always easy during long rides. But having a good breakfast can help make sure that you get enough water. Doing so will keep you from feeling dehydrated, which can cause fatigue.
The addition of grapefruit to the table can provide you with an extra high water percentage. At 91% water, this fruit juice can be extremely hydrating to your cycling and daily diet. Starting your day with at least a glass can contribute to your fluid count. Even better, it adds antioxidants and builds up your immune system.
Prevents premature hunger pangs
Skip, and you may find yourself getting hungry sooner than you would have. This wouldn’t be the case if you took the time to eat something substantial beforehand.
Eating breakfast rich in protein sources can significantly improve appetite control. It may also help avoid overeating later in the day. So, start your morning slow and have a big breakfast to get the energy you need for the bike ride.
Provides your body with essential nutrients and energy
A nutritious breakfast provides essential nutrients like iron and vitamins B6. They give your body the boost so it can endure longer distances without fatigue setting in too soon.
Eating nutritious food can also boost recovery time, minimising soreness besides fatigue. What’s more, proper nutrition can supply you with key macro and micronutrients.
Overall, following great nutrition practices will help you achieve your goals. Be it touring heights on mountain roads or setting personal bests in time trials races!
How Big Is a Big Breakfast?
This will depend on many factors, including your:
- Activity level
- What kind of riding or exercise you perform
Suppose you typically eat 300 to 400 calories at breakfast. Make sure you’re fueling up with quality, not just quantity. You can get a 700-cal breakfast that includes complex carbs, protein, and healthy fat. You may try some of these menus, courtesy of Bicycling.
Total calories: 615
- 2 eggs (150 calories)
- 1 medium sweet potato (115 calories)
- Sliced ½ avocado (160 calories)
- 1 cup Greek yoghourt (190 calories)
Total calories: 670
- ½ cup steel-cut oats (300 calories)
- 2 T of peanut butter (190 calories)
- ¼ cup raisins (100 calories)
- ½ cup Greek yoghourt (80 calories)
Total calories: 650
- Egg burrito with diced potato and spinach, and salsa (530 calories)
- ½ cup yoghourt with ½ cup berries (120 calories)
This type of morning feasting is far better for your health and cycling performance. It only requires minimal planning, and it doesn’t take much more time than a Starbucks stop — maybe less.
Many cyclists ignore the importance of properly fuelling up before a big ride. The truth is, a to-go coffee won’t cut it. Eating a light breakfast, let alone skipping it, can affect not only your performance. Your overall well-being could also be at risk.
Feed yourself, or your rides and health will suffer.