We are all different, which means the definition of ‘a balanced diet’ differs from person to person. If you have decided to take up the challenge of cycling for charity it’s important to know what you are going to put your body through and understand how to fuel it properly.
As easy a regular training program sounds, it’s important to understand the basics and follow general guidelines to ensure you are eating as a cyclist should eat.
Carbohydrates should make up 50-60% of your diet (rising to 60-70% before longer training sessions or an endurance event) and protein should make up between 15-20% with the remainder being made up of fat. You should focus on complex carbohydrates made up of whole grains as well as lots of vegetables. Ensure you are getting enough protein also through lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products as well as beans and pulses. And don’t be scared of fat, just remember to focus on ‘good’ fats, such as those found in nuts, seeds, oily fish and avocado.
If you follow this approach you will also automatically be ticking many of your vitamin and mineral requirements. It is often difficult to know when you are deficient in a particular vitamin and mineral, so the best step is often to speak with an expert.
And finally, every cyclist must stay properly hydrated both for performance and health reasons. There is a lot to be said for learning to listen to your body - it will usually do a pretty good job of telling you what you need!
As always we recommend that if you have any concerns or questions about your body and diet that you consult your GP or a health care professional.