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Our guide to a long distance cycling nutrition plan

Being out and about on your bike and enjoying long distance rides is one of cycling’s many joys. Competing on two wheels is an exhilarating experience and is often something that sets an athlete off down the path of fitness and athleticism. To do so, you must ensure that your body is prepared for such an exhausting task in order to perform at your highest level. Continue reading our guide and discover a great cycling nutrition plan that will help your body in your next long-distance competition.

Basics of endurance cycling nutrition

Before setting off on your long distance cycle, and by this, we aren’t talking about a casual ride down a country lane, we mean a cycle of approx 100 miles, you must first understand the basics of endurance cycling nutrition, and how important it is to keep your body in good shape.

World Tour cycling nutritionist, Nigel Mitchell, has previously spoken on the topic. He said: “The importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle alongside your fitness routine is key to ensuring you’re benefiting from the exercise you’re doing and the body requires a combination of all nutrients to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Taking part in a long-distance cycle requires your body to be properly energised, and for that, you’ll need carbohydrates. You can get your source of carbohydrates from fruits, grains, legumes, vegetables, sugary sweets, milk and dairy products, and supplements like energy gels.

There are other macronutrients that are great for endurance cycling nutrition, such as seeds, nuts, oils, meat, tofu and avocados.

It is not just important to fuel your body prior and during the activity, but you also need to put the correct things into your body afterwards. At this stage of your cycling nutrition plan, you need to utilise proteins like meats, eggs, dairy, seafood, nuts and vegetables. This is essential for helping your muscles to recover quickly and effectively.

Nigel Mitchell believes that the focus on nutrition is always on the quality of the food, saying: “The way I like to think of it is to try and maintain a diet that is quality over quantity. To ensure we get the right balance within the diet of riders at Team Sky and the GB team, the focus of nutrition is always on the quality of food, so we work really hard with the riders to make sure they’re eating plenty of vegetables, fruit, fish, chicken, lean meat, and carbohydrate sources. Having more wholegrain foods, such as rice, bread and pasta provides riders with vitamins, as well as carbohydrates.

“It’s a basic principle – if people keep it simple and if they eat real food, they will get all of the benefits that they put in.”

What type of meals should you eat on a cycling nutrition plan?

Of course, just knowing what types of foods are good for your body isn’t enough to fuel yourself before a long-distance journey. You have to know how to put these nutrients together to create the best possible endurance cycling nutrition plan.


In the mornings, it’s important to pack as much carbohydrates and protein as you can to give your body the proper nutrients and energy it needs to perform. For breakfast, eat oats or porridge and try to incorporate some eggs, or scrambled tofu as a vegan alternative, into your diet too.

You’ll need to keep topping your body up with the relevant nutrients so will require another meal (or snack) later in the morning, prior to lunch. At this time, eat fruit and yoghurt.


Like the morning, you’ll need to fit two meals into your afternoon cycling nutrition plan to keep your levels of carbohydrates and protein high. If you fail to keep up with your nutritional plan, eating meals at the right time of day, your body will fall behind and you’ll feel it in your performance.

For lunch, eat one of the following meals: a wholemeal bread sandwich, a jacket potato, or a pasta dish.

For your mid-afternoon snack, eat fruit or unsalted nuts.


The evening is where you help your body to recover from the day’s exertions and prepare for the next day’s, so this is a very important time of day and set of meals.

For your evening meal, eat lean meat, like a piece of chicken, fish or a meat alternative for vegans or vegetarians, with plenty of pasta, rice or vegetables. Before bedtime, enjoy a milky drink – possibly even a protein powder shake.

Energy supplements for endurance cycling

Alongside your cycling nutrition plan, you should also take advantage of supplements, like cycling energy bars and energy gels. These add a boost of carbohydrates into your system during your endurance activity.

Energy bars like the Beta Fuel Energy Chew are a great way of topping up your system with good nutrients before and during exercise. They’re an excellent addition to any cycling nutrition plan.

Stay hydrated

One final point that you must include in your cycling nutrition plan is water – and plenty of it! Always ensure you remain hydrated by consuming around 500ml of water (or other fluids) every couple of hours.

Cycling energy bars at Science in Sport

Our GO Energy bars provide a boost of carbohydrates – great for fueling before or after training and races. Our bars are available in a range of flavours to cover every taste. We have launched a GO Energy + Protein bar containing extra protein to help maintain and support muscle growth and maintenance. 

Our Energy bars are hand rolled and made from natural fruit ingredients, making them moist, delicious and great as a snack or as an energy boost.For any further information, or if you’d like help with your cycling nutrition plan, contact us at SiS today.

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