Cycling and diet: what diet should you choose?

Friday 27 Mar 2020

The harmonious combination of sporting activity and a healthy diet inevitably promotes optimal physical condition and contributes to improved performance. To achieve this result, a specific diet is essential.

In this case, how to “eat well” without entering into heavy restrictions? Let’s take stock of these pertinent questions.

What is a “good diet”

Browsing the web, you might find different definitions for the term “good nutrition”. Objectively, it could be summarized as:

“Eating well means following a healthy diet where the nutritional intake will be sufficient for your activities. A deficiency in carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, fibers and minerals will therefore lead to a drop in performance or to feelings of discomfort that are not negligible?

In addition, a good diet will evoke an ideal frequency for your meals depending on your current BMI. In general, breakfast, lunch, a snack and dinner will be enough to ensure a constant supply of nutrients, and this, whether you are athletic or not.

What foods to focus on to maximize your performance

Cycling is an exciting sport that requires continuous effort. In other words, this discipline is ideal for cardio where many benefits will be beneficial for your body, but also for your mind. To find out more, don’t hesitate to consult .

Do you want to adopt better eating habits? The following daily distribution will ensure an ideal balance in your daily diet:

– 5 portions from the fruit and vegetable group (for example 2 fruits, 1 raw vegetable, 1 cooked vegetable and 1 soup)
– 4 portions from the cereals, breads and starches group (for example cereals at breakfast, bread at each meal and 1 rice dish)
– 3 servings from the dairy or cheese group (e.g. milk, 1 yogurt and 1 piece of cheese)
– 2 portions from the meat, egg or fish group (e.g. 1 white meat at lunch and 1 fish in the evening).
– 1 important water intake throughout the day.

The notion of portion is individual, to be adapted according to the food concerned and your activities. You might then ask yourself a pertinent question: how do you define a diet that is synonymous with weight gain, stagnation or weight loss?
Briefly, food intake that balances your expenses ensures a stable weight.

The energy adaptation according to an increasing or decreasing activity should be done in priority on the category of cereals and starchy foods, the global balance should always be kept and no food group eliminated. However, do not deprive yourself unnecessarily.

To deprive yourself is to follow a “sawtooth” diet. In other words, losing a few pounds will often lead to considerable deviations and then weight gain. On the other hand, consider fats as essential nutrients… At least, if they are “good fats” in the right proportions. Thus, a little fat (oil for seasoning and cooking in particular) and a few “pleasure” foods from time to time (desserts, chocolate. . .) will contribute to a healthy mind… For a healthy body!

Finally, hydration is an essential component of a balanced diet and performance: you must drink enough to ensure a diuresis of 1.5 liters per day. Very clear urine will confirm ideal hydration.

Some diet-related tips

– Consume foods from all food groups each day
– Avoid skipping meals and limit snacking to meet your energy intake
– Eat a balanced breakfast (one quarter of your daily requirements)
– Balance your diet as much as possible instead of abusing nutritional supplements
– Favour the consumption of fresh dairy products, poultry, lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables and starchy foods
– Moderate the consumption of fatty cheeses, fatty meats, fried foods, sauces and cooking with butter or pastries with cream
– Monitor your weight and BMI regularly
– Limit weight fluctuations to plus or minus one kilogram over the course of a season (each weight loss will result in a loss of muscle mass that is often not compensated for and replaced by fat mass)

Adapt your diet according to certain situations


Avoid excess raw vegetables. Drink only bottled water and remain cautious of unfamiliar foods before a cycling event.

On the plane

It is best to avoid soft drinks, alcohol, excitants, fermented products, creamy pastries and fatty preparations in general. Inactivity actually favors the storage of nutrients and therefore the constitution of fat mass. The dry air from an airplane’s air conditioning system can dehydrate you; remember to drink regularly.

Before exercise

For three days before a major athletic goal, consider improving your glycogen stores by focusing on carbohydrate foods while maintaining your dietary balance.
In addition, if possible, eat a meal three hours before the start of exercise that eliminates all fatty foods as much as possible and favors slow carbohydrates (starchy foods, bread, pies).

Between this last meal and the beginning of the warm-up, there should be no more food intake, but regular hydration until 30 minutes before the start. In the absence of a last suitable meal, it is possible to consume in the last 15 minutes before the effort 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrates in the form of a bar.

During the effort

It is essential to drink often (1 to 2 glasses of water per 1/4 hour) and to ensure a carbohydrate intake (duration of more than one hour) between 25 and 60 grams per hour, associated or not with the drink.

After exercise

You should compensate for your water losses by drinking plenty of fluids and replenish your glycogen stores by consuming 50 grams of carbohydrates within two hours of stopping. For short, intense workouts, it is especially the intake of carbohydrates at the end of the workout that is critical to improve their tolerance and thus allow for more repetitions.