Before a cycling race (or intense ride for that matter), there are some people who want to keep things as simple as possible from a food perspective. However, others know that in order to have energy for a long ride, they need to make sure that they consume a decent amount of food. That is where a full pre-cycling race meal comes into play.
Is it possible to ride your bycicle on a full stomach? As long as a person gives enough time to digest the food overall, they should be good to go. Finding solutions for the best type of pre-cycling race meals all comes down to picking the right foods that will actually feel like a full meal.
It might take some getting used to eating more substances in the morning, but the body will be very thankful for what that all brings to the table.
These are some of the best options out there that are a little bit more filling for meal purposes. Obviously, some dishes can be switched around to a person’s personal preferences.
The important part is getting a strong amount of caloric intake, with healthy portions of carbohydrates and proteins. This will keep the body energized and healthy, allowing people to cycle more and more without feeling as though their body can’t keep up the way they want.
Eggs are one of the true essentials when it comes to any type of high-quality breakfast. Whether a person wants to cook their eggs in a variety of ways, or even create an omelette or sandwich, the versatility is very hard to beat.
Eggs from a nutritional standpoint are very positive overall. They are very good as part of the recovery process, mainly because it contains high-level proteins and amino acids.
This means that the body can bounce back from a long ride easier, and a person will stay healthier overall so that they do not have to have any injury issues being on the bike.
Just eating eggs alone might not be the best idea for cyclists, but is very easy to combine it with a few different ingredients and make a meal of it.
They are pretty easy to prepare, and even boiling some eggs before the fact can make them a grab and go option. Make sure to add some carbohydrates to the mix, and the meal is solid overall.
Another traditional protein for breakfast hours is ham, as it provides a good amount of nutrients for cyclists who are trying to fill up with a good amount of food.
By itself it might not be the best of the best in giving a person energy for a long ride, but like eggs, it can help with the recovery process thanks to the protein it provides.
It also pairs very well with some of the other options that are on this list. It is a great way to round out a breakfast and actually make it a meal instead of a combination of a few different foods.
Give it a try either by itself, or combined with some other ingredients to make a sandwich, omelette, or something else. Ham is a pretty lean meat overall, and some people even consume it in bacon form instead.
Chicken seems to be more of an option for lunch or dinner, but this versatile white meat is certainly something to consider in the morning as well.
A lean, unbreaded option is the healthiest way to go, but just about any type of chicken is going to be beneficial for people who want to have some protein and some substance to their breakfast.
Chicken pairs well with just about everything, which is always a plus for those who want to spice things up a bit. It is pretty easy to consume as well, so a person does not have to worry about any stomach issues as they are riding around.
Chicken is great for protein, and will keep a person’s body going strong so that they do not have to worry as much about any injury issues that might pop up.
Chicken takes a little bit of time to prepare by itself, so think about that before determining the best course of action. Not everyone is going to have the time to cook for chicken, so do some preparation beforehand or look for an alternative option.
4. Greek Yogurt
Just about any type of yogurt is a good option before going on a bike ride, but Greek yogurt is probably the healthiest of them all. It has a good amount of calcium in it, which is going to help keep bones healthy.
There is also a solid amount of protein, so that is great for people who might not necessarily want to focus on meat products. It is a very healthy solution for vegetarians, and it allows for a person to customize their taste by adding some type of sweetener to the yogurt.
Greek yogurt has really exploded in popularity in the last few years, as there are more ready-made options than ever. It is a very easy option to grab and go, but it obviously needs to be refrigerated before consumption.
Give a few flavor options to try as part of a bigger meal before a race. By providing a good amount of protein, the focus can be more on carbohydrates with the rest of the meal.
5. Cottage Cheese
There are a great amount of similarities between cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. They both provide a good amount of protein, and it is a fairly healthy food option overall. For all of the substance that it provides, the caloric intake of cottage cheese is pretty low as well.
Adding to the fact that it also provides B vitamins, calcium, and other nutrients, and cottage cheese is a great side dish to a full meal.
As far as breakfast is concerned, cottage cheese blends in well with just about any other food out there. It has enough taste by itself that people will enjoy snacking on it a little bit.
Some like it plain, while others will mix something like fruit or vegetables on the side to change things up a bit. Both Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are great complementary pieces to a tasty breakfast set up.
There is a lot like about avocado from a health perspective, and right before a race, that is no different. Not only does it help with having a healthy heart and controlling cholesterol, but there are benefits such as high amounts of fiber and potassium as well.
Think of an avocado as another option for a fruit, only with slightly better nutritional value overall. It is also a bit of a more neutral taste, which makes it perfect to combine with other foods as well.
A lot of people like putting avocado on toast, but it combines well with a lot of other foods on this list. Even though it is a bit trendy nowadays, there is some substance behind that trend. Give avocado a taste and see exactly what type of impact it might make on a pre-cycling meal.
The one negative aspect to avocado is that it is a little bit on the inside. There’re some people who are going to be a little frustrated with spending a lot of money on food like this, but it might be worth it if it is tasty and nutritious.
Some people will also treat it as more of an indulgence option instead so that a person does not feel as guilty.
One of the best energy sources a person can opt for during breakfast hours is granola. It is a pretty practical snack overall, and is versatile enough to be put in bars, cereal, or as a topping to something else. Eating a little or a lot can provide benefits, and long-lasting energy certainly pays huge dividends.
Opting for a long chain carbohydrates means that the energy will be at least a little bit slower than some of the other foods out there.
Instead of getting that quick burst of energy and then everything fades away, granola provides long lasting options that will power a person through a longer race.
This is great news for people who want to keep things relatively light, while also not burning through all of the energy that they take in.
Granola is very easy to pack as well, which is another added benefit for all cyclists out there. Some will eat it shortly before a race to give themselves a little bit of a pick me up right before taking off.
As a meal, eating it with a bunch of other food choices makes sense at least an hour before. If it is closer to the actual race, it might not be enough time for a person to process everything.
Opting for the staple that is oatmeal is a choice that has been around for a long time as far as cyclists are concerned. It provides a good amount of carbohydrates, as well as healthy fats and proteins.
It also is pretty easy to digest, so people do not have to worry about having an upset stomach when they take off.
What really makes oatmeal so great from a breakfast perspective is that a person can customize it the way that they want most.
If a person wants to focus on adding some sweet taste to the oatmeal, they can put fruit or other options like that in. For those who want to keep things a little more savory, they can go in that direction as well.
Every cyclist should try oatmeal at least once or twice to see if it works for them. It is very easy to prepare, and it is affordable as well.
It can be used by itself as a meal, or people use it as a main dish with some other side dishes as well. It really just depends on personal preference, and varying things up as far as adding additional grains as well.
Toast, or even plain bread, can seem pretty basic, but it is included in a lot of breakfast meals everywhere. From a cycling perspective, getting those carbohydrates from some of the healthier options certainly helps out considerably.
The reason why toast is so popular is that it can be used as a way to consume other foods. Some people will put just about anything on toast, and it provides all the benefits of those foods as well as the bread itself.
Toast is for those who enjoy a slightly warmer snack, but obviously just grabbing a slice of bread is easier to implement.
Try to offer for multi grain, whole wheat, or Rye bread options instead of something like white bread. They are a little healthier overall, providing some additional nutrients that can keep a person a little more powered throughout the day.
10. Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is one of the most beloved options when it comes to a little bit of indulgence, while also staying somewhat healthy.
Getting the benefit of nuts in a tasty form is great for breakfast, as it can be extremely versatile. People add peanut butter to granola, toast, and just about anything else they can possibly find.
There are obviously some people who have peanut allergies, but there are other ways to get these type of of benefits from other foods.
Those who want a very strong and unique taste with peanut butter can certainly benefit from throwing some into just about any meal. Even if it is just part of a shake or smoothie, it makes sense to add a little bit of indulgence to a breakfast.
Too much peanut butter can be a little bit of concern from a caloric standpoint, but most people are pretty good about limiting themselves at least somewhat. Try not to consume nothing but peanut butter, and everything else should be fine.
Any Additional Tips For Eating Before a Race?
For very long cycling races, a person needs to make sure that they have just the right fuel to put themselves in the right position.
That means taking the extra bit of time to try new food combinations, seeing what works and what does not, and so much more. These are some additional tips to keep in mind if a person has yet to find something that works perfectly for them.
Eat Two Breakfasts Instead of One
For those who wake up very early before the start of a race, it might be better to eat two breakfasts instead of one. The breakfasts can be pretty much the same size, but it helps split up the meals and make a person feel a little less bloated.
Try to start eating the first breakfast at least three hours before the race, and then split the time and eat a second breakfast an hour or an hour and a half before.
This means that a person has to focus less on loading up on carbohydrates the night before or early morning, and they can feel like they are not riding on a full stomach.
Find a Routine that Works
It might seem a little monotonous to eat the same thing all the time before a race, but some rider swear by that. There is something to be said for the stomach knowing exactly what it is going to get.
There are no surprise issues as far as digestion is concerned, and there is a certain level of not having to worry about coming up with something new on the morning of the race.
Before finding something that works, try out a bunch of different combinations and see what sticks. There is no point in settling if there are so many different options out there, but everyone is slightly different.
There is no one magic meal out there that is going to provide more value than the other, as every person’s body reacts differently to foods.
Do Not Overeat
There are some riders who believe that since they are about to go on a very long ride, they can’t eat as much as they want because it will burn off eventually. This is not the right way to think, as there are a few complications that can come from that.
First, the body can start to feel very bloated at the beginning of the race. There is nothing worse than feeling very sick right before taking off, as it is going to be a very long ride to power through everything.
Another thing to keep in mine is that too many calories and bad foods overall can still have a negative impact on a person’s body. It could be extremely frustrating to stay the same way or even gain weight despite putting in so much exercise on the bike.
Even though a lot of calories are burned, it is still fairly easy for a person to overeat and have too many calories during the day.
Too Much Sugar Can be a Major Negative
Every person’s body reacts differently to sugar, but this is another thing to avoid if the body does not seem to be reacting that well.
Consuming a high sugar diet right before a race can provide some temporary energy, but it might not be the long-term solution that a lot of people are looking for.
There is also the issue of having blood sugar issues, so keep that in mind as well. There are a lot of energy drinks and bars that promise that they can deliver, but the negative to some of them is that they have too many bad sugars that end up doing more harm than good.
Make sure to read up on any new foods, especially if they are not natural.
A Great Pre-Race Meal Can Start Tonight Before
Some people like to eat a heavy dinner the night before a race instead of focusing so much on breakfast the day off. This is particularly good for those who might take a little bit longer to digest food and really benefit from them overall.
No matter how much a person eats the night before, their body will have hours and hours to digest everything and convert it into energy. When a person wakes up, they can feel energized right away, and they might only need something light to keep it all going.
The strategy does not work for everyone, but it is worth a try now if breakfast is just not something that a person can get too excited about.
There are a lot of people who just do not have much love for breakfast in general, and there is nothing really wrong with that at all. Finding an alternative solution is what will end up happening.
Do Not Ignore the Importance of Protein
Proteins are going to help slow down the muscle catabolic process early in the day. Not only that, but it is going to keep the body healthy as it encourages muscle repair and muscle growth.
There is a reason why people who hit the gym consistently are always opting for a lot of protein in their diet.
Carbohydrates might be the fuel that is most needed when going on long rides, but protein will help with long-term results. The combination of both is the ideal situation for any meal, which is why balance is the key.
Why Eating a Pre-Cycling Race Meal Matters
Even if it is something relatively small, eating a meal before a cycling race makes a lot. A person needs to get enough fuel so that they are not feeling sluggish in any way, and they might be going hours and hours without having anything whatsoever.
It does not have to be the biggest meal in the world, by consuming a few important foods like the ones listed above can make a pretty big difference for most.