The great thing about being a cyclist is that you can flat out eat when you’re in the mid-season. It’s awesome. Now, you cannot fall off the wagon totally and binge on ice cream and cake (well you can, actually, if you don’t care about results), but you have a whole lot more freedom to eat when you routinely burn off 800-1500 calories each day.
As a cyclist, the key to good nutrition with such freedom is moderation, and intelligence.
The best fuel for your machine is Premium. 95 octane. There’s no magic to creating a cycling diet, no special miracle go-go juice, it’s just simple common sense eating. Make your place colorful: lots of green, lots of red, yellow, even blue is awesome. I still recall an episode of Swamp People where they filled their plates with fried gator, fried okra and some other fried something, the entire plate was nothing but yellow. Then the matriarch of the family said “you know, gator is one of the healthiest meats you can eat!” Maybe true, but when you dip it and fry it, something tells me its nutritional value gets “altered” just a hair. Stay away from the fried foods in general, they just aren’t worth it. Certainly you can have some French fries from time to time, but there comes that moderation thing again. But better options are grilling, baking, broiling and roasting. Experiment and enjoy!
While it’s tempting to eat everything in sight, keep the portions in check. About all the meat you need nutritionally can fit in your palm, and that’s a whole lot less than 12 ounces. Your stomach isn’t a whole lot larger than your fist, either. Try eating a series of small portions, then wait 10 minutes. If you’re still starving, then go back for a little more. Most of the time your stomach takes 15 minutes to send the “I’m full” signal to the brain, so give it a chance. No one should run around hungry, but there’s no need to overeat, either.
And liquids are pretty darn important there, too. Everyone knows the benefits of drinking more water, so just drink more. Carry around a water bottle. A good rule, if you aren’t one for watching how many ounces you’re drinking just consider: If you’re not peeing a lot during the day, something’s wrong. Drink lots.
Cycling nutrition is straightforward, so eat, drink, and take care. We’ve got a race to do!