Nutrition tips to prepare beginner cyclists for the Cape Town Cycle Tour


Nutrition tips to prepare beginner cyclists for the Cape Town Cycle Tour

Preparing for a big cycling event can be challenging, especially when you’re not sure how to. While professional cyclists who cycle big events often might be able to prepare in their sleep, beginner cyclists need to take the right preparation steps to make a difference in their performance.

Knowing when, what and how to consume specific foods will help you to plan your training and eating schedule leading up to the big day. Whether you’re cycling for fun, competitive reasons or simply trying to get fit, following the right nutritional steps will give you all the energy you need to perform.

Here are a few tips for preparing for the Cape Town Cycle Tour:


  • Keep hydrated at all times

Whether you feel the need to drink water or not, try to get into the habit of consuming fluid as often as possible. Whether you’re cycling out on the road or on a mountain, filling your body with nutrients is essential for maintaining your body temperature and giving you the energy you need to complete the race. Depending on the weather, you may need to give your body more than just water. Look into the different nutritional supplements to see what would work for your body, endurance and activity level.

Try not to blow off hydration as a regular preparation tip, because you’ll be surprised at how much water your body loses during a cycle race. Be it through sweat or urination, excess water loss will make you feel dehydrated which may lead to muscle cramping and poor performance.


  • Don’t leave your food until the last minute

Carb loading is a real thing, and particularly so before any intense fitness activity. Before you exercise, make sure that you’ve topped up on energy at least two hours before your race. Do not overdo it, as your main carb meal should be the evening before. If you eat too many carbs the morning of your race, it will leave you feeling bloated and lethargic, which is one of the most common mistakes that cyclists make.


  • Eat regularly, especially when exercising for longer times

Over the course of your training period, try to get into the habit of eating regularly throughout your training intervals. Many experts have advised that your body can store enough energy for 90 minutes, for strenuous exercise, before it starts running on empty. When you eat regularly, you’ll maintain your performance and avoid your muscles from cramping and getting jelly legs. Be it through energy bars, nutritional or natural supplements, it’s important to stock up with snacks to get you through your race.


  • Practice your nutrition strategy when training

In your last few cycles before the actual event, make sure that you have practised your food and drink strategy so that you are comfortable with how the event might play out. You need to know how different supplements and energy bars make you feel in different moments of your energy levels, so do not purchase something you’ve never tried before for the day. Not only could this affect your performance but it could set your stomach off, which is the last thing you’d want on a long distance cycle tour.


  • Focus on recovery

Learn to work with your body. Think about how much your body has changed over the course of your training schedule and treat your body accordingly. When you take part in a cycle tour, your body uses up so much more energy than normal because of adrenaline. Without replacing that energy throughout the day and directly after your race, you’re going to struggle with your recovery period.

Your body undergoes a stressful experience when you take part in such events, so take the right proteins and eat the right carbohydrates to positively influence your performance. Good recovery should include protein, carbohydrate and electrolytes. Try to avoid milk-based recovery as these types of supplements usually slow down the recovery period. Ideally, you want to recover as quickly as possible.

Another tip is to contact a sports massage therapist who is willing to massage your muscles after the race, while you refuel your body with carbs. A sports massage therapist can work out the tight muscles and move any lactic acid that has built up after such an intense endurance workout.


Final words

If this is your first ever large cycling event, try to make the most of it and prepare yourself as much as possible. You never know how your body might react to shock and nerves. While you’re losing calories, you need to keep refilling your body with more to keep your performance consistent and your energy up.

This is especially true when you’re exercising for several hours, over long distances.