What to eat before cycling


bicycleEating too much or not enough can land any cyclist in hot water. It is vital for any cyclist to be properly fueled for their training if they want to get the most out of their workout. Carbohydrates are power foods which store nutrients in the muscles and the liver as glycogen.  However, THE body is unable to store large amounts of carbohydrates, which is why it is important to keep carbohydrate levels up.

The waiting period before getting on the bike after a meal

Everyone is slightly different when it comes to eating correctly to fuel their exercise regime. What may work for one, may not work for another, therefore it’s important to find out for yourself what works for your body and stick to it. The general rule is to wait two to four hours before getting on the bicycle, after consuming a larger meal. As such, it would be to allow for proper digestion. However, if you had a light meal, wait around 30 minutes to two hours.


Eating before an early morning ride

Always eat before your early morning ride, especially if it will be for an hour in duration or a high intensity session. The body needs carbohydrates to release energy while you exercise, to keep you going. Our bodies use the carbohydrates to boost a high intensity workout, but if you have not eaten anything you can expect a lower quality of exercise.


Most riders find full stomach bearable on a bicycle due to their position on the bike and find it easier to tolerate food closer to their cycling start time. The human body is in its own way very much like a bicycle. A mountain bike needs good mountain bike parts, just  like the body needs the correct amount of fuelling foods that won’t consume too much energy ad leave you depleted.


Foods to avoid


There are certainly foods that cyclist should avoid at all costs before going for a ride. For a sufficient amount energy, most of your food intake should be high in carbohydrates. Never tread over the boundary to foods you are not used to. Eat foods that you are comfortable with to prevent gastrointestinal symptoms. Limit foods that could cause you gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhoea or bowel upsets. This would include the following:


  • Excess fatty foods
  • Excess fibre
  • Excess caffeine intakes
  • Alcohol
  • Unusually spicy foods


A high amount of glycemic index in your snacks will reduce the amount of fibre that you consume, so snack on foods that have a low GI intake. Should you feel the need to snack, do so an hour before the ride and have snacks in smaller portion sizes for it to be easily digested.