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Mountain Biking Diets.

The Northern MonkeyThe Northern Monkey Posts: 20,783
edited December 2018 in Health, fitness & training
Credit goes to SilverSenator for finding this, but its a pretty good base to help people train and fuel their body for mountain biking.

Original Article Here

Shortened Summary of Information Found in the Article

Overview
    Cross-country mountain biking requires strength, endurance and anaerobic capacity. Downhill is primarily a strength, power and anaerobic sport.

Physical Characteristics
    Elite cross-country riders are generally lean and lightly muscled. Low body fat levels help keep the power-to-weight ratio high which is important for hill climbing. Downhill riders tend to be larger and more muscular. A larger body weight may result in greater speeds due to gravitational effects. Surprisingly, downhill riders have demonstrated high degrees of aerobic fitness in testing conducted at the AIS.

Common Nutrition Issues
    The long hours of training undertaken by elite cross-country mountain bikers calls for a high-energy diet - high in protein, vitamins and minerals, and high in carbohydrate for muscle fuel stores. Adequate carbohydrate during prolonged rides is important to maintain a strong immune system and prevent riders breaking down mid-season. Daily recovery between heavy training sessions requires a high total carbohydrate intake, but also clever timing of meals and snacks to enhance muscle glycogen restoration. Carbohydrate and other nutrients such as protein and vitamins immediately after a long training session will kick-start muscle glycogen synthesis and prepare fuel stores for the next training sessions, as well as promote other recovery processes. Recreational riders also need a diet that is proportionally high in carbohydrate and sufficiently varied to provide enough protein, vitamins and minerals. Female riders that try and keep their weight down have a risk of iron related problems such as anaemia due to an over restrictive food intake. Riders need to include sources of iron such as lean red meat, chicken, fish, green vegetables, wholegrain cereals and fortified products such as breakfast cereal regularly in the diet. Less is known about the nutritional requirements for downhill mountain bikers. Needs will vary according to the degree of training undertaken. A varied diet that includes sufficient carbohydrate and protein to meet training needs, optimise strength and maintain a healthy immune system is important. The diet should also provide a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and moderate to low amounts of fat.

Body Fat Levels
    Riders needing to lower skinfolds (reduce excess adipose tissue) should target excess kilojoules from fat, alcohol, refined carbohydrate and other energy dense foods. It is important to maintain an adequate intake of nutrient-dense carbohydrate such as bread, cereals, fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Some riders fall into the habit of consuming large quantities of foods when in heavy training then fail to cut back when they are less active = weight gain. Recreational riders can overestimate carbohydrate needs and consume too many products such as gels, sports drinks, bars and powders = weight gain.
Most recreational riders would gain greater improvement from improving technique and fuelling strategies than from small losses of body fat.

Fuelling and Hydrating Pre Rides
(more info about the importance of hydration HERE)
    The most important considerations are to consume carbohydrate and fluid and to allow adequate time for digestion before riding. EXAMPLE 1) Have a normal-sized meal approximately four hours before riding and a snack one to two hours before riding (see below for suggestions). 2) If you are riding early in the morning, have a high-carbohydrate meal the night before and a snack one to two hours before riding. 3) Choose high-carbohydrate, low-fat foods to ensure easy digestion and to top up carbohydrate fuel supplies. 4) Experiment with the type, timing and amount of food that works best for you. 5) Drink 200-600ml of fluid approximately 2 hours before riding. Follow this up with another 200-400 ml of fluid immediately before hitting the trails. This helps to prime the stomach and improves gastric emptying during the ride. 6) If you find it difficult to eat before riding, try a liquid meal supplement such as PowerBar Protein Plus powder, Sustagen Sport or a fruit smoothie.

Pre-ride meal ideas include
    breakfast cereal with skim milk and fruit + toast + juice muffins or crumpets + fruit + yoghurt + water pancakes + syrup + fruit baked potatoes with low fat filling + juice pasta with low fat sauce + juice/cordial rolls/sandwiches + fruit + yoghurt + water liquid meal (supplements or homemade fruit smoothies)

Pre-ride snack ideas include
    cereal bar fruit yoghurt toast sports drink fruit bun sports bar

Carbohydrate Loading
    Carbohydrate loading is a method of eating which helps to optimise the amount of glycogen stored within the body. It should only be necessary for very long or multistage events or rides. There are many different methods and ideas about carb loading, so it may be beneficial to talk to a healthcare professional, personal trainer or qualified nutritionist for personal advice

Hope some of this helps :)

B
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Posts

  • bfreeman0bfreeman0 Posts: 119
    Thanks for the information, any recipes for the smoothies that you would reccomend? And any breakfast cereals to keep away from?
  • hmm.. Stay away from putting anything acidic in a smoothy ie orange, apple, kiwi possibly.
    What type of smoothy are you after? Iced or milk?

    Milk I'd def recommend Banana. Helps (somehow) to remove cramp and tastes great. (oh and a great myth is that full fat milk is unhealthy. In moderation its fine in a healthy diet especially when you compare the fat content to other foods out there, full fat milk has been found to have enzymes that can stop fat being stored in adipose tissue! - but take that quote with a pinch of salt :wink:)

    Iced i'd recomend any berries - blue, straw, black etc etc. Berries have a very high vitamin c content and made up with enough water would be pretty good at rehydrating you.

    Most breakfast cereals are as healthy as they come. I'm currently enjoying alpen tropical which is lush. Possibly high salt content though (one of the main problems with some of the cereals out there).
    Best way to look at it is that having a decent breakfast ie cereal and a slice of toast is a million times better than nothing. Just check the packets and look at salt content, the lower the better. By comparing cereals in the supermarket, you'll soon get a rough idea of whats healthy and whats not :)

    Oh, and don't have the cuppa until you get to work! Cereal is one of the main sources of iron in the UK diet, and drinking tea with or immediately after can reduce your iron uptake!
  • bfreeman0bfreeman0 Posts: 119
    ok thanks, no cup of tea that is okay have cut down my intake of the stuff recently due to a medical condition.
    But because of this same condition I haven't had consistent breakfast for many years so will be a good chance to implement it into my daily regime while convincing myself it will let me last longer while riding.
  • Yup, its an old saying but breakfast is the most important meal of the day :)
  • My pre-morning commute ride is....

    Mug of green tea
    Fruit Smoothy
    Bowl of porridge with a dollop of honey


    Serves me well
  • llamafarmerllamafarmer Posts: 1,893
    bigbenj:

    What's the best thing to have for lunch on an all day trip? I often go to Afan, do a trail in the morning, stop for a sandwich and something sugary (cake/flapjack) for lunch and then find I'm cramping on the climb in the afternoon.
  • the "cure" for cramping is bananas (something to do with potassium content apparently). Worked when I played rugby anyways.
    Plus they're full of natural sugar so are a good energy source.

    Generally, sugary carbs in the form of your cake/flapjack is good, so is a SW.... a banana SW maybe?! :lol:

    Cramp can also be prevented by a good fluid uptake, so take on water while your resting :)
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Hey Benj, I drink about 3 cups of de-cafe tea perday with semi skimmed milk, and about 1 cup of coffee (filter) in the morning. will this hinder any weight loss at all?

    I am approx 182cms and weight 88.44kgs..... the BMI counters say I am over weight, however being into MTB legs are very large and I dont have any visable excess fat, altough am not "cut" so to speak.

    any advice?

    cheers mate

    G
  • Nope... tea/coffee shouldn't have any effect on weight loss... ie, they won't stop you losing weight.


    Instead of using BMI.. use a waist to hip ratio (WHR).
    http://www.bmi-calculator.net/waist-to- ... alculator/
    the results chart can be found here
    http://www.bmi-calculator.net/waist-to- ... -chart.php

    They are much more accurate with regards to people who are more muscular (muscle weighs more than fat), but remember... BMI and WHR aren't strictly a measurement of obesity. They are used in the nutrition sector to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease, and are used alongside other health indicators.
    The reason that WHR is used is because central obesity is an indicator of CVD.

    Because cycling uses the biggest muscle groups in the body (legs - quads etc) there is a chance that cycling can actually cause an initial increase in weight.

    A few months ago, I was training in the gym, cycling and eating healthily and putting on a few lb... but only because my muscle mass was increasing.
    Obviously this would depend on you physique etc, as i'm quite a muscly bloke anyways.

    Basically my take on nutrition is...... eat healthily - if you think its unhealthy, then it probably is!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    thanks Benj, your info is appreciated. best, G.
  • heathy_76heathy_76 Posts: 276
    +1 for the banana cure for cramp.
    Been having a lot of probs recently with cramp.
    Since eating a banana day I've not had a problem. Been eating two with breakfast before a ride too.
  • heathy_76 wrote:
    +1 for the banana cure for cramp.
    Been having a lot of probs recently with cramp.
    Since eating a banana day I've not had a problem. Been eating two with breakfast before a ride too.

    I've got one for my lunch today.... could live off them! Go well with a glass of milk :lol:
    I always have one for after a ride :)
  • heathy_76heathy_76 Posts: 276
    bigbenj_08 wrote:
    heathy_76 wrote:
    +1 for the banana cure for cramp.
    Been having a lot of probs recently with cramp.
    Since eating a banana day I've not had a problem. Been eating two with breakfast before a ride too.

    I've got one for my lunch today.... could live off them! Go well with a glass of milk :lol:
    I always have one for after a ride :)

    Calcium deficiency is also a contributing factor to cramp I think. Don't quote me on that though!
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    Now I'm a sweater (no not Val Doonigan) and used to suffer a lot from cramps in the calf muscles when I was playing 11-a-side football (was a centre left midfield in my glory years) and afterwards I used to wake up in crippling cramps....

    I find a salty solutiuon of water and an isotonic drink helps loads....

    also, I found that a pint of half and half water/pure orange juice reHydrates just as well as lucozade sport. just my own experience though..
  • is there a substitute for bananas as i cannot tolerate them, i think im allergic to them,
  • rhyko7rhyko7 Posts: 781
    i make my own sports drink
    ive got a smoothie maker, so i use 2 bannanas, one apple, a bit of salt, a bit of high juice squash and the rest is water. i believe a bannana has most the electrolytes you need and is excellent source of energy. And due to evolution, natural foods are always better for you and more usefull than supplements, our bodies have evolved to process natural foods, not highly concentrated supplements, there is plenty of scientific evidence to back this theory up-many times have they isolated the nutrient that is beneficial and made supplements from it, only for it to turn out no where near as effective as eating it in its natural form from food.

    i have done a lot of research into sports nutition and mainly post exercise and discoverd energy depletion to be the significant subject.

    with that said all about natural stuff i shall now contradict myself and admit to using supplements for post ride recovery, I use EAS Myoplex race recovery with a bit of added extra protein. i would prefer to do this from food, but this is more convinient and much easier just to take a shake drink. then eat some proper food as soon as i return home.

    by the way protein is a waste of time unless your body has suffucient glucogen and enough carbohydrates to transport nutrients and repair muscles. if not then the protein will just be burnt off as energy and not used for muscle rebuilding. i know there are people who drink protein shakes straight after riding, this is just expensive fuel unless you intake it with another energy source you will not get anymuscle re-building benefits from it, same thing goes for taking it after a heavy weights session, a high energy intake straight after exercise is far more beneficial than protein for muscle recovery. however take the protein not long after you have restored your energy sources and your on to a winner and protein will help rebuild muscles.
    Dont look at it-ride it! they are tools not f*cking ornaments

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  • SoggzSoggz Posts: 221
    What about Hemp Protein?
    You tried that?
  • colintravcolintrav Posts: 1,074
    Being a Chef and my mate is as well he had to do a course in nutrition due to the job because he looks after Players of a football Club .. ....

    But still I myself wouldn't bother following any such meal plan even for bike riding .. because It's my own personal choice I find doing such things as meal plans borders on Compulsive behaviour disorder ..

    I just head out even if I aint had anything to eat or drink and still route my route in record time .. other times I just doddle along no give a fk cos I ain't in any rush
  • I eat chicken (skinned and trimmed prior to steaming, steaming removes intramuscular fat) steamed fish, vegetables with a negative calorie content, pasta and rice, not a very varied diet but one that will keep your body lean and healthy, I eat this for six days a week and on the seventh I treat myself (usually a chinese take away) I drink plenty of green tea, fruit juice and water, and maybe a couple of alcoholic drinks on every other none diet day (every 2 weeks) I am 43 in a few weeks and find this regime has done me far better than some of my friends who choose to be less active and diet conscious. I will occasionally use energy bars and supplements when I can afford them but this diet is not as expensive as one would think. It works for me and I do varied sports, mountain biking, aikido, weights, and mixed martial arts, you are what you eat and various sports shape your body to what it is. As long as it is healthy why worry about what your sport dictates that you should look like.
  • I always make food that I enjoy. For me, I enjoy a good dinner just as much as a good bike ride. However I think that good food is usually healthy food. I love seafood, vegetables, chicken, eggs, mushrooms etc. My favourite health-packed meal is Ratatouille made with less aubergine (so tomato, courgette, onion, garlic, peppers), no cooking oil, the veg cook in their juices served with brown rice and home made meatballs. I always use the best quality mince from the butchers or supermarket (less fat), it could be healthier if I used turkey but all of the veg is negative calorie and the only carbs are of the lowest GI. Anyway, it's delicious, healthy and, if followed up with a good bike ride, can help you lose weight. My favourite lunch is a 4 egg omelette with porcini mushrooms, takes about 5 mins to make and tastes delicious, packed with protein, no carbs, unfortunately quite a bit of fat but there we go, live a little
    I had to beat them to death with their own shoes...
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  • heathy_76 wrote:
    +1 for the banana cure for cramp.
    Been having a lot of probs recently with cramp.
    Since eating a banana day I've not had a problem. Been eating two with breakfast before a ride too.

    Hope this does the trick - I cramp up all the time and most muscles in my legs which is agony. I usually have a Banana on the ride as a boost (couldn't belive how much of a difference it made when I first tried it).

    By the way how much carb in grammes does the body digest also how much protien we can digest?
  • riddleriddle Posts: 41
    Have a look at a product Pace, by Phoenix Metabolic. I have been using this for almost a year and I can ride all day without feeling cramped or tired and then do the same the day after and the day after...
    Blue Skies Always
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  • what do you guys have as a post ride snack and drink?
    been on one or two rides and been really hungry when i finish. i know its prob havent had the right food pre ride but im still trying to get the hang of what to eat and drink and when etc.

    cheers,
    Steve
    If in doubt - flat out!
  • D4V1DD4V1D Posts: 233
    This thread is very helpfull, I'm 6'3 and weight in at 95k's and I want to get down to 89-91K's.
    I'm not a racer, but I like to churn out 2-3hr rides,
    I love Cannock and Llandegla cycle parks.
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  • riddle wrote:
    Have a look at a product Pace, by Phoenix Metabolic. I have been using this for almost a year and I can ride all day without feeling cramped or tired and then do the same the day after and the day after...

    Just had a quick look for this stuff and drawn a blank. All the retailers they list on their own site don't list there product.

    Where did you get it from?
  • Any thoughts on this NM? All comments welcome as the original article is worth a read through.

    The one thing I have learnt over the years is the very real benefit of pasta. I have a bowl of it cold just sitting in the fridge and nibble on it from time to time between meals as well as having it for main meals.

    I expunge bread from the diet as you simply no longer know what's in the stuff. I do like ciabatta (sp?) though!

    Rice is 2nd in my list to pasta as sometimes another bowl of pasta simply turns the tummy and some of the chuck-wagons at races (Bonty 24) do a mean chicken sweat 'n' sour! Couscous for a change, likewise a baked potato.

    Chips from the chuck-wagon when in the middle of a 24hr race always makes me smile, but it's heavy on the fat so takes energy to digest and probably not a wise idea as such.

    When not training I never mix proteins and carbs in the evening meal. I am losing weight as I will be a Super Vet' in 2.5yrs! Podium here I come!

    When training hard, lots of salt in the food and electrolyte mix in the water bottle / bladder and a dash of apple juice too (fructose) and Elete seems to work, I cramp very easily, but be aware, experiment well in advance of races as it's very easy to make the mix a little too rich without ever realising it and you end up dehydrated and bonk with a headache! Eat every 45 mins when racing. Too many gels and the world will fall out of your ring without a second's notice - but it does take a few hours.

    Post ride: Rego mixed with banana milk plus a tin of tuna. I was quite shocked one winter just how much leg muscle I gained!

    I kicked alcohol into the long grass once I started taking my riding more seriously (polishes halo). My vice is black tea, one sugar.
  • A nurse friend of mine told me years ago that tonic water is good for cramp, something to do with the quinine. i used to get bad cramp at night after doing a run or hard ride during the day, i started drinking one of those little tins from a Schweppes 12pk after a hard training day and never had cramps again!
    2009 Trek 4500. Grand Canyon CF 9.0
  • Yeah, quinine (from tonic) and potassium (from stuff like banana's) are supposed to be good for cramp, but its whatever works for you really.
  • gowerpowergowerpower Posts: 12
    After an intensive ride regardless of length, I find I suffer from uncomfortable hungry pains in the following mornings until around lunch time/ mid afternoon, this can last for a couple of days after a ride. I tend to follow the majority of the above recommendations, but an starting to think my body is suffering form a deficiency in a particular food group.

    My general diet on the day of a ride is below, if anyone has any ideas what might cause the hungry pains I would be please to try it out.

    - Breakfast: Wheat based cerial with bit of sugar, cup of decaf tea, toast and jam, with an orange juice and couple of glasses of water.
    - 1 hours riding medium intensity, constantly drinking water.
    - Snack: Flatjack or nut based cereal bar
    - 1 hours riding medium intensity, constantly drinking water.
    - Post ride snack: Flatjack or nut based cereal bar
    - Lunch: Jacket potateo with tuna or beans and cheese, or pasta and chicken with roasted veg plus a couple of pints of fruit squash.
    - I then tend to have mid afternoon snacks like a sandwich or crisps or some cake, with continuous drinking.
    - Evening meal, not super health steamed veg but not a takeaway.

    Cheer
  • colintrav wrote:
    Being a Chef and my mate is as well he had to do a course in nutrition due to the job because he looks after Players of a football Club .. ....

    But still I myself wouldn't bother following any such meal plan even for bike riding .. because It's my own personal choice I find doing such things as meal plans borders on Compulsive behaviour disorder ..

    I just head out even if I aint had anything to eat or drink and still route my route in record time .. other times I just doddle along no give a fk cos I ain't in any rush

    +1
    but I guess it depends on whether you view MTBing as a sport or a leisure activity. I'm with the second group. I eat what I consider to be a well balanced diet and that does it for me. Drink plenty and occasional snack on longer ride for me is the sensible option. But then again.............each to their own.
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