Introduction to sports nutrition for cycling
Cycling is a classic endurance sport. However, competitive cycling also relies strongly on the anaerobic-lactic acid metabolism, especially for shorter distances. Insufficient energy and hydration, and second to this, also lactic acid tolerance and cognitive performance, are the main performance limiting factors. Recreational athletes require lightweight energy-dense snacks such as bars or sports drinks that can fit into a pocket. Gels, bars and sports drinks are an ideal source of energy for long, intense training sessions and competitions. LONG ENERGY and COMPETITION® are ideal, well-tolerated sports drinks for competitive sports as they are non-acidic, hypotonic and mild-tasting. For low glycogen trainings to improve fat oxidation the effervescent tablets ELECTROLYTES or the powdered LOW CARB BURNER are the recommended fluid choice. Solid foods such as HIGH ENERGY BAR are recommended for training sessions lasting longer than 3 to 4 hours. For shorter high-intensity races LIQUID ENERGY gels are highly recommended, as they don’t disrupt breathing, nor do they require any chewing. Cyclists that experience excessive sweating especially during hot weather or have a tendency to develop cramps can benefit from SALT CAPS or MUSCLE RELAX shots. During sprints, the finishing or even the starting phases of the race in which cyclists dramatically increase their intensity, typically a shift to anaerobic metabolism occurs, which can result in lactic acid build-up. A high lactic acid tolerance is thus one of the key factors to success. In this respect, products such as LACTAT BUFFER and BETA ALANINE are especially advantageous to achieve maximum performance during competitions. During shorter and more strenght-related disciplines cyclists can also benefit from creatine supplements. However, creatine should be tested individually as its effects vary from person to person and may result in weight gain. Creatine increases short-term strenght and high-intensity performance, and it supports the development of muscle mass.
SPONSER® also offers highly specialized products, so-called PERFORMANCE OPTIMIZERS. The NITROFLOW PERFORMANCE2 or RED BEET VINITROX contain nutrients that support nitric oxide (NO) metabolism by dilating blood vessels. As a result, microcirculation is enhanced which positively influences performance but also recovery.
Apart from physical performance, also cognitive and mental factors contribute to success in cycling competitions. Reaction time, concentration and alertness, as well as mental focus are important performance contributors. ACTIVATOR is a caffeine-based product that targets these factors. Caffeine has been shown to enhance cognitive and endurance performance and is taken about 30-60 minutes before the desired time of effect. As sensitivity to caffeine varies from person to person, ACTIVATOR should be tested in different doses at first. SPONSER® also offers MENTAL FOCUS, a caffeine-free alternative specifically designed for cognitive and mental performance.
To promote recovery, SPONSER® recommends shakes with protein and carbohydrates such as RECOVERY DRINK or PRO RECOVERY. They are based on milk or water and are available in single portion sachets or bigger tubs depending on the preference and use. Athletes that travel often, go to training camps, bigger events or competitions are at higher risk of getting an infection. It is thus particularly important to strengthen the immune system and to take precautions against infections. Multinutrient supplements with immunoactive substances such as IMMUNOGUARD along with a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet will strengthen your immune system.