By: William Sanders RD, LD, ACSM-CPT
Mountain bikers, like other athletes, vary in terms of their nutrient needs compared to the general population. Mountain biking is one of the most energy demanding sports in existence; therefore, these athletes require greater amounts of energy to support their endeavors. Additionally, these athletes may also have greater micronutrient (vitamin & mineral) demands. It is possible to meet all nutrient requirements through a balanced diet, but some athletes may benefit from the addition of supplements. To meet these marco- and micronutrient needs, there are some dietary strategies athletes can use to maximize their performance on and off the trail.
These strategies are:
· Never stop hydrating; replace electrolytes in extreme conditions and prolonged activities
· Keep snacks and meals simple (high carb, low fiber, low fat) before and during your ride
· Sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc..) and snacks (high carb) if riding more than an hour
· Supplements (protein powder) may be a good choice for recovery if no access to food for 30mins or longer post-ride
· The harder the ride, the more you need to eat to recover
· Listen to your body and do what will work best for you (eat intuitively)
· Keep your diet balanced off the bike
Speaking from experience, meeting your nutritional needs after a hard day of riding makes the difference between feeling like you fell down a flight of stairs or like you’re fresh and ready to send it. I utilize the tips above so that I’m always ready for whatever challenge I plan to undertake. As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN, RD), I aim to simplify nutrition so that my clients can best understand it, utilize nutrition to their advantage, and be prepared for whatever challenge faces them. I offer nutrition counseling and exercise/physical training services to keep my clients healthy and performing to their best ability. If you want to learn more about nutrition for athletes and/or my services, check out my website. I can also be found shredding the local trails near Saint Louis, MO.