Discover our 12 favourite foods to keep you fuelled on the road and aid your recovery so you can perform at your best!
At Njinga Cycling, we believe that nutrition plays a vital role in optimising your performance, helping you achieve your cycling goals. That’s why Fuel Smart is part of our 360' philosophy, without a smart nutrition plan, you won't be able to perform to your full potential.
In this blog, you’ll find 12 foods for cycling pre, during and post-ride that can help boost your performance.
Bananas are a cyclist's best friend. Packed with easily digestible carbohydrates and natural sugars, they provide a quick and sustainable energy boost. They also contain essential minerals like potassium, which helps prevent muscle cramps during long rides. Bananas are readily available and easily fit in the rear pocket of a jersey, don't leave home without one!
2. Oats: The Breakfast of Champions Start your day with a bowl of hearty oats to fuel your cycling. Oats are rich in complex carbohydrates and fibre, providing a steady release of energy to keep you going for hours.
Add some nuts and seeds for extra protein and healthy fats, creating a power-packed breakfast that sustains you throughout your ride. If you don't fancy porridge, then overnight oats are a great alternative and can be prepared the night before.
Swap regular potatoes for sweet potatoes to boost your cycling performance. These are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates, providing a steady flow of energy.
They also contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that supports your immune system and overall well-being. Roast them, mash them, or add them to your favourite dishes for a tasty and nutritious meal. We like to chop them into cubes, bake them in an oven with a little salt and then use them as a delicious crunchy topping to salads.
5. Greek Yoghurt: Protein Powerhouse
Greek yoghurt is a cyclist's secret weapon for muscle recovery and repair. Packed with protein, it helps rebuild and strengthen your muscles after intense rides.
Additionally, Greek yoghurt contains probiotics that support gut health, which plays a vital role in nutrient absorption and overall performance. Add some fresh fruits and nuts to your yoghurt for a delicious and nutritious post-ride snack.
6. Berries: Bursting with Antioxidants
Berries are not only delicious but also a nutritional powerhouse.
Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are loaded with antioxidants, which combat oxidative stress caused by intense exercise. Including a variety of berries in your diet can help reduce inflammation and boost your immune system, keeping you healthy and ready for your next cycling challenge.
Popeye knew what he was doing. Spinach is like a superfood for cyclists, thanks to its high iron content.
Iron is essential for oxygen transportation in the body, and proper oxygen delivery to your muscles is crucial for peak performance. Incorporate spinach into your salads, smoothies, or omelettes for a nutrient-rich and performance-boosting addition to your diet.
8. Beetroot: The Natural Performance Enhancer
Beetroot juice has gained popularity as a natural performance enhancer for cyclists. It is rich in nitrates, which convert to nitric oxide in the body.
Nitric oxide improves blood flow and oxygen delivery to the muscles, leading to enhanced endurance and reduced fatigue during prolonged rides. Studies have shown that beetroot juice consumption can improve time trial performance and increase time to exhaustion during high-intensity efforts.
9. Dates: Nature's Energy Bombs
Dates are a cyclist's convenient and natural energy source. High in carbohydrates and easily digestible sugars, they provide a quick and sustained energy boost during rides.
Their natural sweetness makes them a delicious alternative to energy gels and bars. Dates also contain essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which aid in muscle function and hydration on the bike.
We recommend sprinkling some sea salt or Himalayan pink salt on your dates to help replace electrolytes too.
10. Coffee: Performance-Enhancing Brew
For many cyclists, a cup of coffee is an essential part of their pre-ride ritual. Coffee contains caffeine, a well-known performance enhancer. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, increasing alertness and focus, while also reducing the perception of effort during exercise.
Studies have demonstrated that caffeine intake can improve cycling performance by increasing power output and time trial performance. However, individual responses to caffeine can vary, so it's essential to experiment with caffeine intake during training before using it on race day.
11. Chia Seeds: Ultimate superfood for cyclists
Chia seeds are the BEST non-marine whole food source of Omega-3 & Omega-6 essential fatty acids, crucial for heart, health. They are also extremely high in fibre and calcium, supporting digestion and bone health, whilst their slow-release carbohydrates provide sustained energy on a ride.
Chia seeds also contain 20% protein with all essential amino acids, which our bodies are unable to produce themselves. Their hydrophilic nature means they can also absorb large amounts of water, making them great for maintaining hydration when out on the bike.
Ginger is a natural superfood that contains a range of health-promoting phytochemicals.
It can provide many benefits to your cycling due to its anti-inflammatory properties, which help to reduce muscle soreness and aid in post-ride recovery.
Ginger also has immune-boosting properties which can help to support your immune system during intense training periods. It can also help to alleviate nausea and aid digestion making rides more comfortable.
Bonus. Kimchi: The Perfect Probiotic
For those of you feeling brave, we highly recommend giving Kimchi a try. Kimchi is a traditional Korean dish of salted, fermented vegetables.
It has a sour, salty, savoury and often fiery taste but is a great cycling-boosting performance food as it contains natural probiotic bacteria, supporting gut health, anti-inflammatory properties reducing muscle soreness and aiding recovery and electrolytes which help to maintain hydration.
Kimchi is low in calories but nutrient-dense, providing essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Its prebiotics and probiotics also strengthen the immune system which is important during intense cycle training.
Fuel Your Ride to Success with Njinga Cycling Coaching
At Njinga Cycling, we believe that proper nutrition is a key component of your cycling journey. Whether you're training for a race, an endurance event, or simply seeking to improve your fitness, incorporating these performance-boosting foods into your diet can make a significant difference.
Remember, a well-fuelled body is a powerful body, ready to conquer any challenge that comes your way.
Join the Njinga Cycling Academy today to unlock a wealth of nutrition resources and recipes. You will also gain access to immersive on-bike training sessions, progressive training plans, off-bike training sessions plus bonuses.