What to Eat Before Cycling

What to Eat Before, During, and After Cycling

It is a fantastic form of exercise that can provide many benefits, from improving cardiovascular health to burning calories and toning muscles. However, to get the most out of your ride, you need to fuel your body with the right foods. 

Knowing what to eat before cycling and after cycling can help you optimize your performance, prevent fatigue, and promote muscle recovery. In this article, we’ll cover what to eat before and after cycling and some tips for fueling during your ride.

Cycling Diet Tips for Riders Before Riding

To keep up with the physical demands of cycling, it is important for cyclists to pay attention to their nutrition. Proper nutrition can help improve performance, reduce fatigue, and speed up recovery time.

Before your ride eat a light meal for 3-4 hours

Some good options include a turkey and avocado sandwich on whole wheat bread, a quinoa salad with grilled chicken and vegetables, or a bowl of brown rice with grilled fish and stir-fried vegetable.

Snack wisely

If you need to eat something closer to your ride, choose a snack that is easy to digest and high in carbohydrates, such as a banana, energy bar, or a handful of pretzels.

Avoid high-fat and high-fiber foods

Some foods can leave you feeling sluggish and uncomfortable during your ride. Avoid foods like fried foods, greasy burgers, and high-fiber cereals before your ride.

Consider caffeine

 Drinking a cup of coffee or tea before your cycling to give yourself an extra boost.

There are some foods you should not eat before a cycling

  1. Corn Flakes
  2. Salad
  3. Fizzy Drinks
  4. Chicken
  5. Pasta

What can we eat during the ride?

Here are some cycling nutrition tips to help you perform at your best during your rides.

Hydration is Key

Dehydration can significantly affect your performance and even be dangerous. As a rule of thumb, aim to drink 500ml of water for every hour of cycling. If you’re cycling for an extended period, you can also consider adding electrolytes to your water to replenish your body’s salts.


Carbohydrates are an essential source of energy for cyclists. It is recommended that cyclists consume a diet that is high in carbohydrates. Good sources of carbohydrates include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes. During your ride, aim to consume carbohydrates every 30-60 minutes to maintain your energy levels.

Protein is Important

Cyclists should consume a diet that is high in protein to help repair and rebuild muscles after a ride. Lean meats, fish, eggs, and dairy products are filled with protein and are best for cycle riders.

Don’t Forget About Fats

Fats are an important source of energy for the body, especially during longer rides. Cyclists should consume a diet that is high in healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids. Good sources of healthy fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, and fatty fish.

Snack Smartly

Snacking during your ride can help you maintain your energy levels and avoid bonking, a state of exhaustion caused by depleted glycogen levels. Consider snacking on easily digestible carbohydrates such as energy bars or fruits such as bananas or apples.

What do professional cyclists Eat after the ride?

Following a healthy and balanced diet is essential for optimal recovery after cycling. Consuming the right foods at the right time can help replenish energy stores, aid in muscle repair and recovery, and support overall health.

Foods to Eat After a Ride

Now that we understand the macronutrient requirements and the importance of hydration, let’s look at some specific foods that professional cyclists can eat after a ride.


Bananas are a great source of carbohydrates and potassium, which are essential for muscle recovery. They are also easy to digest, making them an ideal post-ride snack.

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is high in protein, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. It also contains probiotics that can aid digestion and boost the immune system.


Quinoa is a complete protein source that also contains carbohydrates and healthy fats. It is also high in fiber, which can aid digestion and promote feelings of fullness.


Eggs are a great source of protein and healthy fats. They also contain essential amino acids that can aid muscle recovery.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate source that can help replenish glycogen stores. They are also high in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and potassium.

Recovery Drinks and Snacks

If you don’t have time to prepare a full meal after your ride, a recovery drink or snack can be a quick and convenient option. Look for products that contain a mix of carbs and protein, such as a protein shake or chocolate milk. Some other options include:

  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Greek yogurt with fruit and granola
  • Energy bars or protein bars

What Do Professional Cyclists Really Eat? A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re an avid cyclist, you know that what you eat before a ride can make a significant impact on your performance. A well-fueled body can help you go faster and longer, and avoid hitting the dreaded “bonk.” Likewise, foods that are CHO-rich but low in fiber, low in fat, and low to moderate in protein are better for Athletes.

A balanced diet that provides sufficient energy and nutrients is crucial for cyclists to perform at their best. Before we dive into specific foods, it’s essential to understand what your body needs before a ride. When you cycle, your body primarily uses carbohydrates for fuel. These carbs are stored in your muscles and liver as glycogen, which your body can access as needed during exercise. 

However, your glycogen stores are limited. The goal of pre-ride nutrition is to top off your glycogen stores, so you have enough energy to get through your ride. It’s also crucial to make sure you’re well-hydrated and have adequate electrolytes, which help your muscles function properly.


In conclusion, what you eat before and after cycling can have a big impact on your performance and recovery. A balanced meal that includes carbohydrates, protein, fats, and hydration is essential for optimal performance. After cycling, replenishing your glycogen stores and repairing muscle damage with a post-cycling meal and snacks is crucial for recovery. Remember to stay hydrated throughout your ride and refuel your body with snacks to sustain your energy levels. Happy cycling!


 Can junk food be beneficial to cyclists?

Consuming small amounts of junk food can provide a quick source of energy, boost mood and motivation, and help athletes feel less restricted in their diets. However, consuming junk food in excess can negatively impact performance.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

The amount of protein an athlete needs varies depending on a number of factors, including their body weight, training load, and training intensity. The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) recommends a protein intake of 1.4-2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight per day for endurance athletes.

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