Finding information on supplements and sports nutrition is not difficult; what they are, how to use them, what works and what doesn’t, and how you can take advantage of them to improve your performance on the bike. Still, not being as regulated as the drug industry, sports supplements can be surrounded by myths and information from less than ideal sources. To help you understand your options well and distinguish which specific supplement can help you be a better runner, we created this guide for you. We’ll also dispel some of the tales you hear out there, and we’ll give you examples of what the habits of a professional cyclist look like.
What are Cycling Supplements?
As the name suggests, supplements give your diet an extra edge to ensure you get the right amount of nutrients. You can take them in capsules, gels, bars, and whatever method you can think of to ingest this nutritional bomb. They serve to fill the gaps that you could have with your daily diet with respect to vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients that you will need to run in optimal condition. A deficiency in any of these areas could result in poor physical fitness and make you more susceptible to disease; And in the case of athletes, it will be even more important to give you a competitive advantage. Not all supplements work the same, and they will have different modes of operation and results depending on what you want to strengthen. You can find supplements made for:
. Improve your performance.
. Boost your Muscle Gains.
. Prevent or Reduce Muscle Wasting.
. Avoid bruising your muscles.
. Recover Minerals and Salts Lost with Exercise.
. Help You Recover Faster.
. Improve your Immune System.
. Improve your General Health.
Different supplements will have different goals, for example, BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) help stimulate protein synthesis and reduce the wear and tear of your muscles. On the other hand, Coenzyme Q10 is essential for the energy production of your cells, as well as being a powerful antioxidant that can support you in other aspects such as maintaining proper blood pressure and better cardiovascular health in general.
What Supplements Have the Most Impact on My Performance?
The first thing is to have the bases covered, make sure you are consuming a healthy diet, rich in plant nutrients and good quality protein, as well as giving yourself adequate time to rest.
When it comes to boosting your performance, it varies from person to person, however there is evidence that some supplements can give you tangible and lasting results. The best starting point will be protein, make sure to ingest rich sources of it as soon as you finish riding and for the next 12 hours, to maintain your stores of branched chain amino acids and glutamine in the muscles, for optimal recovery. Protein supplements (such as serum or casein) will be your best friends, as they are an easy and effective method of consuming protein. Whey in particular is rich in the specific type of amino acids you need for muscle recovery after exercising.
Consuming carbohydrates before and during training is also essential to keep a source of energy on hand, so having a food bar with you when riding will always be a priority. You can also absorb them from gels or powders, usually combined with electrolytes and designed to be diluted in the water in your caramel. Speaking of electrolytes, for high intensity workouts or for long periods of time (e.g. more than an hour), an electrolyte source will be essential to retain your hydration. Additionally, supplements like caffeine, beets, beta-alanine, BCAAs, and creating have good arguments to support their potential to give you that extra boost during and after your rides. And of course, no one could forget our favorite super food in Colombia, Aguapanela; loaded with vitamin A, B, C, D and E; minerals like iron, phosphorus, calcium, and zinc; carbohydrates and a little protein.
What are the Bases We Should Consider When Choosing a Supplement?
Keep in mind that each body will work differently, so what works for you may not work for others. Focus on your needs, supplementing what you consider according to your diet. When looking for a supplement, it is important that you look at the quality of its ingredients and avoid chemicals of dubious origin that could lead to undesirable side effects. We recommend avoiding all types of artificial sweeteners and flavors, and in some particular cases, those that contain added gluten and fructose to prevent gastrointestinal irritations. Any new supplement in your repertoire must pass the litmus test, use it in your workouts. Don’t wait for race day to try a new supplement that you don’t know about and don’t know how it will react to your body.
What Supplements Will Help I Give More As A Cyclist?
Keeping your bases well covered is the most crucial aspect of your nutrition and of enhancing your performance, among the supplements that you can use (legally) to take off is:
One of the best known and most used supplements; it promotes the synthesis of protein in your body, the development of muscle tissue and the reduction of wear and tear. There are quite a few types of protein, each with its own composition and mechanism of action.
Among them, the one with the most supporting evidence is serum protein, or whey (which you will generally see as “Whey Protein” on the packaging). We consider it the best option because its amino acid profile (i.e. the mixture of amino acids that makes it up) is very similar to what the human body needs, all the essential amino acids that your body could ask for will be present in this type of protein. It contains the branched amino acids that we mentioned in addition to glutamine. Which are essential for the recovery and strengthening of your muscles? For this reason, whey is the most recommended option by the nutritionist community as supplements for after training. It also has the benefit of being easy to absorb, and has been shown to stimulate your natural insulin release. To put your body in an “anabolic” state that could help with your regeneration. When choosing a whey product, you’ll also want to review what else was included in the package, and whether or not these extras align with your needs. I mean, do you want to consume extra carbohydrates? Does not have sweeteners right? And condoms; Etc.
With this said the other types of protein are also very beneficial and recommended in your daily diet. Red meat, chicken and fish, nuts, eggs, legumes, etc.; all excellent sources of additional nutrients that are very important to your health, so the richness is in the variety; And for vegans or dairy allergic, rice or pea protein will also be a reliable source for your needs. Just be sure to choose the brown rice option, it comes with more nutrients naturally.
Some of the most common protein supplements are:
Whey Protein: one of the best known supplements, it is one of the two key proteins in milk, the other being casein. Both can be separated, generally curdling and filtering milk, whey is the liquid that is squeezed out of the curd. It is considered a “complete” protein, with all the necessary amino acids to supply you, retain muscles and promote the development of new tissues.
BCAA: the acronym in English means “Branched-chain amino acids” All are essential amino acids, since the body cannot produce them on its own, you will need to ingest them, almost always through foods rich in protein such as meat, chicken, fish and eggs. Very similar to whey, BCAAs will help you retain muscle mass, build tissue, and synthesize protein.
HMB: A substance that you produce naturally, which is responsible for stimulating the production of proteins and inhibiting their breakdown in muscle tissue, which will help you avoid being crushed and recover more quickly.
Beta-Alanine: Another amino acid, used as a “cushion” to deal with acid build-up in your muscles. Like creatine, it works best for short, high-intensity events by reducing your fatigue and boosting the function of your muscles.
What are they? They are an essential component in many of your bodily processes, including: regulation of hydration, regulation of muscle and nerve function, blood pressure, and rebuilding of damaged tissues. The electrolytes that you will surely know are Sodium, Potassium, Calcium and Magnesium. Your electrolyte levels alter with your hydration level, so as you consume more or less water, your electrolyte amount will rise or fall in turn. In addition, when you exercise you will lose electrolytes, creating an imbalance.
What do they do? They are essential for your overall health; improve your recovery, especially after sweating.
What it is: It is a very common stimulant and studied in the world of sports (and it happens that our country is recognized for the quality of its coffee) you can find it in many foods in addition to the obvious, such as cocoa and tea, and you can also supplement it. It is a compound that works on several fronts to increase your energy levels and reduce your “perceived exercise” (which means that you can work harder while training, without even feeling it). Doses start on the sides of 100mg.
That makes? By binding to specific receptors in your body, caffeine makes you feel more awake, increases your energy reserves, speeds up metabolism and stimulates thermogenesis (“burning fat”), improves your performance in physical activities and gives you an advantage in concentration and endurance.
What is it? It is a compound that is preserved in your body, and during moments of effort, it is released to help your cells function. This makes it useful not only to boost your strength, it can also give you brain benefits! With greater reserves of creatine thanks to supplements, you can not only improve your maximum power. But also increase your capacity for high intensity efforts and muscle mass. The micronized versions of creatine have smaller particle dimensions, this helps to dissolve them more easily and in turn, to absorb them better in your body. dosing almost always involves a loading phase, followed by a maintenance phase.
That makes? The proven results of creatine are associated with improved athletic performance thanks to a higher stress bar, and higher number of repetitions in high intensity exercises.
What is it? We all know what a beet is, but the vast majority of the benefits it has to offer you are not obtained by taking what you buy at the supermarket! If you can find a reliable source of fresh beets, you will have the secret to adding beneficial nitrates to your diet, which promote a higher level of nitric oxide in your body. This oxide is essential for vasodilation (the relaxation of your blood vessels), which translates to a more efficient distribution of blood throughout your body, that is, more oxygen while you ride. You can consume beets in your day to day to enjoy the benefits of this super-food, or just before training for an extra boost.
That makes? Evidence shows that beet juice can increase your ability to exert yourself and your athletic performance (such as when competing at heights, faster sprint times, and better decision-making in team sports, for time trials).
Diary of a Professional Broker;
You wonder how these supplements look on any given day for a professional; more or less this is what a runner consumes in the middle of heavy training season:
. Creatine + HMB, one serving per day (after loading phase)
. Magnesium UM, one serving a day;
. Electrolytic Formula, 45 mins before the event / heavy training;
. Pre-workout energy, 30 minutes before;
. Caffeine + D-Ribose energy chews (gummies), 15 minutes before.
During a Session:
. Electrolyte formula every hour (after the first hour);
. Energy bar (or Gel) every 1-2 hours (for longer sessions / events);
. Caffeine + D-Ribose Energy Chews (for longer sessions / events as needed)
. Refill and Conditioning immediately after finishing the training / event.
. Electrolyte formula to sip on during recovery period (to replenish lost electrolytes, fluids and carbohydrates)
Some Myths About Supplements, Dispelled.
Is there a supplement that works for everyone? In reality, what works for one may not work for others, so the most important thing is to listen to what your body tells you. Some individuals will prefer a Ketosis diet, while others will perform better using carbohydrates as their main source of energy. Some athletes consume large amounts of caffeine during their workouts to peak performance without side effects, but for others, this could mean stomach damage when consuming more than 30 mg. We are all different, and therefore it is crucial to measure your own needs, and design nutrition / supplement program that fits your body.
Another common myth is that “Supplements are a waste of time, you just end up peeing expensive”, the answer is, and generalizing always ends with half-truths. There is no doubt that the true key to performance is a healthy diet, with a body at its maximum potential, the supplements will be only extras for a high bar in itself. But, there are some situations where this extra support will be the advantage you need, especially when it comes to competitions. A run will put you at greater risk for deficiencies from exerting such absurd amounts of movement and strain on your muscles, and the accelerated loss of nutrients that comes with them. In these situations, the appropriate supplement could minimize the negative effects of this immense pressure that comes as a liability of the trade when running.
Other Important Considerations;
Supplements are not regulated by the pharmaceutical industry. With drugs, there are rigorous medical tests between the laboratory and your body to show that a pill will do exactly what it says it will do, and with what side effects. On the other hand, supplements don’t need this kind of scientific rigor to hit the market, so before taking whatever you find, you should consult with a medical professional and find out on your own online.
Timing is everything in the world of supplements, and their potential can often only be realized if you have chronometric precision when consuming them. For example, there is a tiny window of opportunity right after training in which your body is most receptive to supplementation; this window is the target you should be aiming for to replenish protein and carbohydrates as quickly as possible to aid your recovery. . This is the same reason post-workout shakes are so popular; liquid can be absorbed and processed much faster than solid food.
The Ratio, very similar to the time, will be very important for the benefits you could receive from your supplements. More will not always be better, so before you start taking protein or creatine buckets read the recommended dosage and follow it exactly. It will also help you start small and work your way up, to keep track of how your body reacts with each supplement. The same goes for protein drinks after training, more protein will never be the easy answer; in fact, combining the exact ratio of protein with the correct carbohydrate is much more advantageous for your recovery and muscle development.
This article is purely informative and should not be used as a supplemental prescription. What we recommend the most is to go to your trusted doctor to guide you with a correct supplement program according to your needs, and to put a balanced diet as the first priority.