As cyclists we are always looking for anything that will give us an edge in the saddle. In order for you to achieve your best you need to be providing your body with the resources it needs to rebuild and repair after a grueling ride.
Supplements are products used to ‘supplement’ a person’s diet to ensure adequate intake of essential nutrients. They are ingested and found in many varying forms, including; gels, powders, tablets, liquids, and more. Supplements are used to fill the gap between your dietary intake and your physical requirements of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients.
Which Supplements Aid Cycling Performance?
Getting the basics right is the most important aspect of nutrition as a means of improving performance. We gave a list of the most common supplements cyclists use to (legally) enhance performance.
Protein is one of the most commonly used supplements as it promotes protein synthesis, growth of lean muscle tissue and reduces muscle damage. There are many forms of protein, each with a different composition and mechanism of action.
The best evidence that exists in terms of protein and exercise recovery relates to whey protein. It is considered to be the best as its profile (i.e. the mixture of amino acids that make up whey protein) very closely matches human body needs. i.e. Whey is rich in the types of amino acids that are essential to humans. The types of amino acids that whey is rich in include the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and glutamine. These are essential for muscle recovery and growth.
For this reason, whey is often the protein of choice when it comes to supplementing after training. It is also easy to absorb and has been shown to stimulate insulin release, which switches the body into “anabolic” mode, and this is beneficial during the recovery period. When choosing a whey protein, you may want to also look at what else has been added to the supplement. This helps you in deciding whether it meets your needs or not. For example, are you looking for added carbs, or low carb, is it free from artificial sweeteners, preservatives, etc.?