A well-balanced diet may not be enough for athletes looking to optimise performance and build endurance. Cycling is just one sport where supplements can help support a healthy lifestyle to achieve peak performance and get the most from each session.
There are so many supplements on the market; it’s a minefield. Keep in mind that not all supplements will necessarily benefit specific cyclist needs. Cyclists require support for endurance, muscle repair, energy, bone density and connective tissue support.
We asked the experts at Supps R Us, Australia’s best supplement savings provider, to help gain clarity around the best supplements for cyclist enthusiasts and serious athletes. Here are their top four recommendations.
Muscle support with whey protein and creatine
We need protein to support muscle growth and help muscles to recover and repair after exertion. Cycling can be gruelling, constantly pumping the legs and calling on muscles to perform. Muscle fibres begin to break down, especially during extended or particularly intense sessions.
Protein helps the body facilitate muscle protein synthesis, which is how the body helps muscles recover and build strength after use.
While protein is available in foods such as meat, chickpeas, and eggs, whey protein is high quality and an easy-to-digest protein source that can be easily measured and monitored. Whey protein will help prepare your body for tougher, longer and more intense sessions, and is a highly recommended post-workout supplement to trigger muscle recovery.
While there are various protein powders on the market, Supps R Us recommends a high-quality whey powder with a high concentration of essential amino acids. Many whey proteins come in delicious flavours, making them perfect for consuming alone or incorporated into smoothies.
Creatine is also a popular muscle supporter. Creatine works to help give muscles power and is suitable for high-intensity activity such as sprint cycling or relatively short, steep hill climbs.
Sure, we’re all familiar with the weekend short black session after an arduous ride, but using caffeine as a supplement is another ball game.
Caffeine improves performance. It boosts alertness, reaction time and concentration, and has been shown to enhance high and low intensity exercise. In fact, caffeine can help reduce the perception of exertion during endurance exercise sessions.
It is significant to note that caffeine levels in coffee can vary, sometimes quite significantly. Supplementing with controlled caffeine doses is a safer, more reliable and effective way to enjoy the benefits of caffeine. Consume it 30-45 minutes before you want the benefits to kick in.
Replenish with electrolytes
All good cyclists understand the importance of good hydration. Drinking water alone is not enough to stay adequately hydrated. As we sweat, our body loses vital salts and minerals, known as electrolytes.
While you’re out enjoying a ride, you may not realise just how much is lost through sweat. Dehydration and low electrolytes can lead to reduced performance, dizziness, muscle cramping and spasms, fatigue, confusion and, in extreme cases, serious health repercussions.
It is vital to replace electrolytes.
Supermarket brand sports drinks contain some electrolytes, however, Supps R Us recommends specialist brands such as Optimum Nutrition, which contain higher levels of electrolytes and cleaner ingredients.
The importance of joint care
The repetitive motion of cycling can wear on the joints and ligaments. Maintaining joint health is vital for the longevity of athletes, pain minimisation and mobility and range of motion.
Fish oils and omega 3 fatty acids are vital for joint health. Collagen is another all-rounder known to support joint health. If you experience patella (knee cap) pain or pressure, or wish to maintain healthy cartilage and connective tissue, look for supplements containing glucosamine.
Keep those wheels spinning and in optimal condition with the help of a supplement regime consisting of quality ingredients.