The 4 Best Supplements for Cycling Sessions — Bike Hacks
Cycling is an intense sport that requires strength, endurance and the ability to recover quickly after a long run. For many athletes, getting the right combination of nutrients and compounds to propel their performance requires careful planning and dedication. Yet by introducing a handful of powerful supplements into their routines, cyclists can build lean muscle and the power to drive it forward.
A combination of creatine and caffeine can give cyclists the power they need to put on miles without hitting a wall of fatigue. During their performance, the added electrolytes can help replace essential minerals lost through sweat. Then, after returning home, riders can benefit from the addition of whey protein to increase muscle development.
If you’re a cyclist looking to improve your performance, keep reading to learn about 4 incredible supplements that can give you power, energy and endurance, and help you recover after a long run.
This guide will tell you where these supplements come from and explain how they work for your body.
Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive compound in the world. It is found in common beverages, such as coffee, tea, energy drinks and colas, as well as in some foods, such as chocolate and chewing gum. It is widely known to increase alertness and improve concentration, which can also improve reaction times, increase power output and reduce perceived exertion, making it an essential tool for many athletes.
For cyclists, caffeine can be a boon. It can help you get through a long drive when your body is begging you to stop. It can also help you avoid feeling tired during or after a run. Caffeine’s ability to improve reaction time can also be beneficial for cyclists as it can help you react quickly to changes in terrain or to other cyclists.
Cyclists can get their caffeine fix from a variety of sources. Coffee is a popular choice because it’s easy to find and relatively affordable. However, some cyclists prefer to take caffeine in powder form as a pre-workout supplement because it is easier to control dosage and avoid the calories from consuming sugary coffee drinks. Pre-workouts are usually sold at supplement stores.
Energy drinks and gels are also popular choices because they are designed specifically for athletes and usually contain other beneficial ingredients, such as electrolytes. The disadvantage of these products, however, is that it is difficult to measure an exact dosage before a ride.
Although the average person does not consume pure creatine on a daily basis, it is one of the most commonly used supplements in the athletic and bodybuilding communities. It has a long history of research and development to back it up and has been recommended by doctors, nutritionists and trainers for over three decades.
Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid naturally found in vertebrates that helps provide energy to cells, especially muscle cells. It is found in red meat and fish and can also be produced in the liver, pancreas and kidneys. Once consumed, creatine is converted into phosphocreatine and stored in the muscles to be used during high intensity exercise.
When phosphocreatine is broken down, it releases energy which helps fuel muscle contractions. This process is known as the phosphagen system and is the body’s main source of energy during short, explosive bouts of exercise, such as sprinting or weightlifting.
For cyclists, creatine can be beneficial as it can help increase power and delay fatigue. It does this by providing energy to the muscles during long journeys and by reducing the buildup of lactic acid, which can cause muscle cramps. Creatine may also help improve recovery by reducing muscle damage and promoting new protein synthesis.
Creatine is most commonly consumed in powder form, although it is also available in capsules, tablets, and liquids. By taking it in powder form, you can easily mix it into a shake or other drink and drink the nutrient throughout the day.
We should however note that it is important to take creatine with carbohydrates. This will help increase absorption and reduce possible stomach upset.
If you are new to creatine, you can also choose to load the product, which means you take a higher dose for the first 5-7 days to help saturate your muscles with the compound. After that, you can reduce the dose to a maintenance level of 3-5 grams per day.
Electrolytes are minerals that dissociate into electrically charged particles called ions when dissolved in water. These ions are essential for a variety of bodily functions, such as regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction, and nerve impulses. The four main electrolytes are sodium, potassium, chloride and magnesium.
For athletes, electrolytes are essential as they are lost through sweat. As such, it’s important to replenish these nutrients to avoid cramping, dehydration and a drop in performance. During a long ride, cyclists can lose a significant amount of electrolytes through sweating.
As such, it’s important to replenish these nutrients to avoid cramping, dehydration and a drop in performance.
The best way to do this is to drink an electrolyte-rich drink, like a sports drink, before, during, and after your ride. You can also find electrolyte supplements that come in powder form and can easily be mixed with water. This can be a convenient option because you can control the number of electrolytes you consume and avoid the sugar often found in sports drinks.
4. Whey Protein
Whey protein is a type of protein derived from milk. It is made up of a variety of compounds, such as beta-lactoglobulin, alpha-lactalbumin, and immunoglobulins.
Whey protein is a complete protein, which means it contains all of the essential amino acids the body needs to function optimally. When dosed appropriately, these compounds help produce new muscle tissue and support healthy bodily functions.
There are three popular types of whey protein, each with their own strengths and benefits. These include:
- Whey Protein Concentrates (WPC): This form of whey protein is about 70-80% protein, with the rest made up of lactose, fats and minerals. WPC is the most affordable form of whey protein and is a good option for people on a budget or with protein-sensitive stomachs.
- Whey Protein Isolates (WPI): WPI is a purer form of whey protein because much of the fat and lactose has been removed. As such, it is around 90% protein. WPI is a good choice for those looking for purer protein powders.
- Whey protein hydrolysates (WPH): WPH is a pre-digested form of whey protein that has some of its amino acids broken down. This makes it easier for the body to absorb and use. WPH is the most expensive form of whey protein, but it can be beneficial for those who have trouble digesting protein powders.
Whey protein is a popular choice for athletes because it is quickly absorbed by the body and helps promote muscle growth and recovery. For cyclists, whey protein can help increase muscle mass, which can improve power output. It can also help reduce recovery time by encouraging muscles to repair and rebuild after a ride.
Whey protein is most commonly consumed in powder form and is often mixed into shakes or smoothies. It can also be added to oatmeal, pancakes and other recipes. If you are lactose intolerant, you may opt for a plant-based protein powder, such as pea protein, as whey protein can be difficult for some people to digest.
Cycling is a demanding sport that puts a lot of strain on the body. To perform at their best, cyclists must carefully plan their nutrition and supplement regimen.
By incorporating a few key supplements into their routines, however, cyclists can give their bodies the nutrients they need to take on long rides, recover quickly, and build lean muscle.