Have you ever approached that final climb with your bike and wondered whether your body had enough gas to make it to the top?
It happens to the best of us. In all areas of life.
Cycling is an endurance sport that pushes the body (and mind) to its limits. There are times when you just want to quit. Where you think: "remind me again how I thought this was a good idea!?"
The good news is that you are pushing your body. And challenging your mind. That means you're loving life.
You're on an adventure
Here's some more great news: When it comes to that last mile (or 10), there are natural supplements that are scientifically proven to help any cyclist push through the struggle. These supplements will provide energy and focus and increase endurance and subdue fatigue.
So what are the best supplements for cyclists? Let's take a look at some of the supplements recommended by famous pro cyclists.
Here's a list of 5 famous cyclists and the supplements they recommend:
Chris Froome: The four-time Tour de France winner and Team INEOS (now INEOS Grenadiers) cyclist has mentioned his use of beetroot juice as a natural supplement to enhance performance and endurance.
Mark Cavendish: The British sprinter and former world champion has acknowledged using caffeine as a performance enhancer. Caffeine is a commonly used supplement in the cycling community to improve focus and endurance.
Geraint Thomas: The Welsh professional cyclist and 2018 Tour de France winner has mentioned using protein supplements to aid in recovery and muscle repair after intense training or racing.
Peter Sagan: The Slovakian rider and multiple-time world champion has acknowledged using branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) as part of his recovery regimen to support muscle repair and reduce muscle soreness.
- Lizzie Deignan: The British professional road cyclist and Olympic silver medalist has highlighted the importance of using electrolyte supplements to maintain hydration and electrolyte balance during long rides and races.
So why do pro cyclists use supplements? Because cycling is very taxing on the body and wears our energy systems down. Good supplements help speed up recovery and increase endurance allowing a cyclist to push harder for longer.
Here's a list of 5 reasons why cycling is so taxing on the body:
Cardiovascular Stress: Cycling places significant demands on the cardiovascular system. The continuous pedaling motion and the need to sustain a high intensity during climbs or sprints require the heart and lungs to work harder to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the muscles. This promotes cardiovascular fitness but also puts strain on the cardiovascular system.
Muscular Fatigue: Cycling engages various muscle groups, particularly the lower body, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Sustaining high power output or climbing challenging terrains can lead to muscular fatigue due to the repeated contractions and continuous load on these muscles. This fatigue can impact performance and necessitate proper recovery and training strategies.
Energy Depletion: Cycling is an endurance activity that requires a constant supply of energy. The body relies heavily on carbohydrates as a fuel source during intense rides. Prolonged cycling sessions or multi-day events can deplete glycogen stores, leading to feelings of fatigue and decreased performance. Proper nutrition and strategic fueling are crucial to maintain energy levels during extended rides.
Temperature Regulation: Cycling, especially in hot or humid conditions, poses challenges to the body's thermoregulatory system. The combination of physical exertion, increased metabolic heat production, and exposure to external heat can lead to excessive sweating and potential dehydration. Maintaining proper hydration, electrolyte balance, and implementing cooling strategies become essential for maintaining performance and preventing heat-related illnesses.
- Oxygen Utilization: Cycling places high demands on the body's oxygen utilization capacity. The muscles require a constant supply of oxygen to produce energy and sustain performance. The ability to effectively utilize oxygen, known as VO2 max, becomes crucial in endurance cycling. Training to improve aerobic capacity, lung function, and oxygen delivery to the muscles is essential for optimizing performance.
The 5 Best Supplement Ingredients for Cyclists
So let's get to that list of the best supplements for cyclists. Here are five supplements that can help any cyclist push harder:
Caffeine is a stimulant that gives you an energetic push to accomplish big, daunting tasks like starting a massive climb up the side of a mountain. One promising development in the world of sports nutrition are the longer lasting forms of caffeine like ZumXR ® Delayed Release Caffeine sometimes referred to as "slow release" - this keeps the focus, energy, drive and endurance of caffeine around for a longer endurance sport like cycling.
Benefits for Cyclists: Focus, Energy and Endurance
Dosage recommendation: 250-350mg of caffeine
Citrulline helps to increase blood flow and overall cycling performance. Increased blood flow allows for your muscles to be replenished with nutrients more quickly, and this helps delay feelings of fatigue. While L-Citrulline is naturally occurring in watermelon, it would be very hard to eat enough watermelon to get the recommended dosage requirements to make a dent in your cycling performance.
Benefits for Cyclists: Increased blood flow to muscles
Dosage recommendation: 4-8g of L-Citrulline
3. Beet Root Extract & Red Spinach Extract
Beet root and red spinach extracts are both forms of nitrates that have been scientifically demonstrated to improve cardiorespiratory endurance which is of critical importance for cyclists. Under endurance conditions these ingredients should help you get less winded.
Benefits for cyclists: Improved cardiorespiratory endurance
Dosage recommendation: 1-2g
Beta-alanine is known for dulling perceptions of fatigue. It one of the most well studied naturally occurring sports supplements. For cycling, it is beneficial because it keeps you pushing when you might otherwise want to give up. Beta-alanine helps a lot with the whole "mind over matter" push at the end of an endurance event, because it dulls the signals that say "stop." Beta-Alanine is found in many naturally occurring foods like beef, chicken and fish. While your body is capable of producing enough for every day life, there are well researched benefits to supplementation.
Benefits for cyclists: Anti-fatigue
Dosage recommendation: 1-2g at a time and 3-6g over the course of a day
Taurine helps with cycling endurance. It is famous for being included in Red Bull but it also naturally occurs in eggs, meat and fish. As a supplement, taurine has many postive effects in the body, but specific to cyclists it enhances overall endurance.
Benefits for cyclists: general endurance
Dosage recommendation: 1-3g
While you can always take these five supplements on their own, you can also get them in either of Shifted's two Pre-Workout products*.
*While Shifted Premium has beet root extract and regular caffeine, our Maximum product also has red spinach extract and ZumXR ® Delayed Release Caffeine.