The Importance Of Protein For Cyclists

When it comes to diet and supplements, cyclists tend to have a very strict regime. In many cases, cyclists will load up on carbohydrates (carbo loading) before a major event, as this gives them deep energy stores to help see them through the event, and perform to their maximum ability. However, too often, many cyclists forget about all the other elements that go into keeping them at their best. One of the most commonly missed elements of any type of diet is the correct use of protein. Ideally, protein for cyclists should be taken right after an event (within 30 minutes), but with the buzz of event completion, it can be easy to forget and overlook this optimum recovery nutrition window.

If you don’t know much about the use of protein for cyclists, you may well be wondering why it is such an important part of your cycling nutrition regime. When you hit the road on your bike, and take part in any type of training or racing that see’s you push yourself, especially if it involves going above FTP, muscle breakdown will naturally occur. This muscle breakdown will likely be why you feel pain in your legs after a long ride, and why sometimes you feel sore and stiff the next day. This muscle breakdown and soreness is a natural part of the recovery process, and cyclists know that it takes time for the muscles to recover, but can cyclists speed up this recovery period with the use of well timed post workout protein supplementation?

Science suggests yes. There is an optimum recovery window of 30 minutes after training or racing where cyclists should supplement with protein and carbohydrate to maximize recovery speed time. Taking on adequate protein and carbohydrate within this 30-minute window will give the cyclist maximum recovery benefits and help speed up the whole process by providing the body with the correct fuel required for the process. The beauty here is that you don’t have to drag your tired and aching body to the kitchen to make protein-rich foods, although that is certainly an option. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of protein supplements for cyclists to choose from. From protein bars to protein shakes, these recovery foods are extremely convenient for you to get down your gullet with minimum fuss or effort. There are going to be aches and pains that come after putting in a solid effort, but getting protein in your body as quickly as possible after your event will give you a real jump start on the recovery and healing process.

The beauty here is that you don’t have to drag your tired and aching body to the kitchen to make protein-rich foods, although that is certainly an option. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of protein supplements for cyclists to choose from. From protein bars to protein shakes, these recovery foods are extremely convenient for you to get down your gullet with minimum fuss and effort. There are going to be aches and pains that come after putting in a hard effort, but getting protein in your body as quickly as possible after your event will give you a real jump start on the recovery and healing process.

While protein is great at helping cyclists with recovery after a hard day in the saddle, this doesn’t mean that you should pile in as much protein as possible. There comes a point where you can take in too much, which will deliver an adverse effect. On average, a person needs to take in about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, but that number obviously needs to be increased when you are engaging in a lot of activity. For cyclists, that means raising the amount to 1.2g to 2.4g, based of course on the amount of cycling done on a given day.

You can certainly get some of your recommended daily protein intake via food, but when you are working hard on the bike, chances are you are also going to need to supplement the amount of protein you take in via shakes, powders, and bars. Just make sure that you stay within the recommended daily amounts and you will quickly see that your recovery times start to become a whole lot more manageable. That means you can get back on your bike and back to training that much sooner.

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