What to Eat Before Cycling in the Morning? Eating Before Cycling
If you are looking to improve your fitness and increase your training for set goals this year it is important to know what to eat before cycling in the morning.
Road cycling has increased dramatically around the world and now you can see elite riders covering more than 500km a week. Even amateurs are increasing the amount of riding they are doing compared to previous years. So, with the increased volume of training across both elite and amateur riders, diet becomes even more important. It will help you sustain performance and improve overall fitness.
In this article, we look into what you should eat before cycling in the morning. Foods that you should stay away from eating before a ride, and whether riding on an empty stomach is a good idea. So, keep reading to find out more.
What to Eat Before Cycling in the Morning?
Like most of us, you might always be in a rush in the morning, often forgetting to fuel up correctly. Luckily some easy options can help you get on the bike quicker while also providing enough fuel for your ride.
Fueling properly before a ride is vital in helping you to perform your workout to the best of your ability. Since the main fuel for cycling is carbohydrate, which is then stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen, it is important to keep it topped up.
Since the body is only able to store a moderately small amount of carbohydrates, it is important to fuel after fasting during the night.
This means before you go riding in the morning you should aim to top up your glycogen levels with a breakfast that is rich in carbohydrates. This means foods such as:
– Fruit Smoothies
Generally, an elite cyclist would eat around 8-11g of carbohydrates per kilogram of body weight over the day. Whereas the amateur cyclist would have around 5-8g of carbohydrate per kilogram of bodyweight.
This gives you an insight into how many carbohydrates you should be eating before your ride. As the majority of carbohydrates will be eaten first thing in the morning before your ride and then after you finish training.
If you are not a fan of solid foods, a fruit smoothie is an easy way to take in a decent amount of carbohydrates. So you don’t always need to focus on solid foods before you go cycling.
Is it Better to Cycle on an Empty Stomach?
This has been a hotly debated subject across a range of sports and not just cycling. Is it better to cycle on an empty stomach or not? Well, it depends on a few things.
One, are you just doing general low-intensity riding? Or are you performing a set of threshold workouts? The higher the intensity of the workout, the greater need to fill the muscles and liver up with carbohydrates (glycogen).
Two, are you looking to lose weight and improve glycogen storage?
Riding on an empty stomach has been shown to help control weight and improve glycogen storage. This is done through the body’s ability to increase the efficiency of muscle glycogen storage. This means riding without eating beforehand will teach your body to make better use of your current glycogen stores. This is not only an important thing for cyclists but also runners, triathletes, and other endurance athletes.
Lastly riding on an empty stomach has been shown to possibly help develop your v02max. When your body is forced to use more fat as fuel, it will then force the body to increase its mitochondrial density. Thus improving your body’s ability to take in and use oxygen while exercising.
So knowing all the positives from riding on an empty stomach, is it better to cycle on an empty stomach?
Generally, if you are riding fasted, your body may have the ability to burn more fat as fuel. In this case, you should be able to cycle in the morning before breakfast.
However, if your body isn’t so efficient at utilizing fat as an energy source, you might want to eat before riding. You should then Then slowly introduce fasted days which will help your body adapt better to utilizing fat as an energy source.
What Should You Not Eat Before Cycling in the Morning?
While there are positives and negatives to both eating and not eating before a ride, there is also another hotly debated question. What should you not eat before cycling in the morning?
Like most meals before riding, there are some general recommendations that you should stick to. This includes no:
– Foods high in sugar
– Foods high in fiber
– Foods high in fat
Staying away from these types of foods will prevent stomach issues during the ride for most people. Also staying away from foods that are high in sugars will prevent your blood sugar levels from spiking. This is especially important if you are doing a long or intense training session. These foods high in sugar should be kept for later in the workout when you need to rapidly restore glycogen levels.
However, it is important to note that what you should eat before a ride is highly individual. So, through trial and error, you should see what works best for you. Also for some people fasting (not eating before training), is too hard to accomplish first thing in the morning. So just like your pre-meal, fasting requires trial and error too.