Dietary supplements are an integral part of any cyclist’s daily routine. The supplement market is a big, profit yielding business, and as such there are thousands of products available. Knowing exactly what you should be using, and how you should be using them, is never easy. There are many products out there that make lofty claims but don’t live up to expectations.
As a cyclist, whether professional or just looking to progress to the next level, you need some insight into what may work best for your long term goals. Here we guide you through the options that are available. If you are racing, be very mindful of what is allowed and what is not on the competitive circuit.
Carbohydrate and protein recovery drinks
These drinks contain a combination of sugars and protein and help to replace the carbohydrates burned during intense exercise. The protein replenishes the energy stores, while the fluid rehydrates. These drinks are to be consumed after training for the best results.
Usually electrolytes come in the form of liquid solutions that contain vital ions, such as potassium, magnesium, sodium and calcium. They assist with rehydration after training by replacing the fluid lost through sweat.
Multivitamins and minerals
These usually come in tablet form and contain a mix of vital vitamins and minerals that help you get your recommended daily dose of nutrients in one small tablet. You should take one per day in the morning to help maintain a healthy diet.
This is a form of milk protein and it helps enhance recovery; muscles repair themselves quickly and adapt to training. This dietary supplementation can also help with weight management. This should be consumed after training; especially a grueling session.
These supplements contain omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered particularly beneficial for strengthening your immune system, which can be weakened if you are training hard. You should take 500 to 1,000mg of omega-3 per day. They are also good for your joints.
Nitrates are substances that are converted naturally within the body to nitric oxide. Beetroot juice may not taste the best, but it’s a great source of nitrates. Take a shot a few hours before training or racing.
My personal Saturday morning favourite. Asides from being in my Caffe Latte care of my favourite St Kilda cafe, Caffeine also comes in tea and soft drinks as we all know, or even in tablet form. It has been proved to improve performance by decreasing the sensation of muscle pain during intense exercise.
This is a natural supplement found inside the muscle that helps provide that initial energy burst. It’s used mainly for building strength and power and will be particularly beneficial in gym work to assist with reps and weights.
This amino acid is proven to increase muscle carnosine. which helps your body handle acids within your muscles with more ease. This supplement is very effective over shorter distances and can assist with your sprint at the end of the race.
This is baking powder of course. Its benefits can be felt when high intensity performance is required. There are potential side effects to consuming this as a supplement, most notably diarrhea, so be aware of that.