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In most sports nowadays, athletes have to maintain a healthy diet and train on a regular basis to compete. Elite mountain bikers understand that they need to have very little body fat if they want to cycle fast. The top cyclists in the world know what damage excess weight can have on their career. They are well aware that it can cause stress on their joints, slow them down while racing, and it also makes them burn more energy. When cycling a mountain bike under difficult conditions, you’ll want as much energy as you can get. 

"Mountain Bikers at Mount Baldy"

Although mountain bikers know that it is impossible to alter their basic physiology, they can maintain or reduce their weight to help them perform at the highest level. Sticking to a good diet and getting involved in weight and cardio training can make a big difference. 

Diet is Key

For elite cyclists to reach their optimal weight, eating quality foods can help. They must avoid eating processed foods and other meals that contain very little nutrients. There is no point in a mountain biker eating quality foods one day, and the next eating day eating junk food. They must stay consistent, and by planning their meals ahead will help the process. Consuming food packed with nutrients and that have a low calorie density are ideal for mountain bikers. Here are a few examples:

  • Fruit
  • Lean proteins
  • Vegetables
  • Fatty fish
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Whole grains
  • Low-fat dairy products

They should avoid consuming the following:

  • Processed foods
  • Fried foods
  • Soft drinks
  • Fatty proteins
  • Desserts
  • Food that contains a lot of refined sugar

It’s not just what a cyclist eats, but timing their meals is also very important. They must eat early during the day because it will help them avoid over-eating later on in the day. Experts advise cyclists to eat a quarter of their daily intake within one hour of waking up. By eating healthy food on a regular basis, cyclists can boost their metabolism. This will allow them to burn more calories. Cyclists should avoid eating meals at least two hours before they go out for a ride. 

Technology can help

Technology has changed the way athletes prepare for sports. With a wide range of electronic devices readily available on the market, many seasoned cyclists take advantage of these products and use them to improve themselves. 

Smartwatches are common these days, especially with elite mountain bikers. They easily allow cyclists to track their performance, their heart rate, water intake, the list goes on. Most smartwatches are connected with another smart device, which will send its recordings and store them safely so the cyclist can access the records whenever they please. 

There are a lot of smart scales out there too. Unlike a traditional scale, smart scales will provide you with lots of information, not just your current weight. They have different modes, and many have an athlete mode. The scales will know that you are in training and it will take that on board when it is showing you your results. When a person enables athlete mode on a smart scale, the cyclist’s muscle mass is valued higher than a person who is not an athlete. Also, their fat muscle will be valued lower. This makes these items an ideal purchase for elite athletes. Most dieticians ask cyclists to keep a diary, and with a smart scale it will automatically save records on a smart device so cyclists don’t have to. 

How do Elite Cyclists Manage their Appetite?

Cycling can increase a person’s appetite, especially at the top level. For anyone to compete at the highest level in almost any sport nowadays, they have to be extremely careful about what they put in their mouths. It is almost impossible to compete with other mountain bikers who are at an elite level unless they maintain a healthy diet. Athletes must be careful not to do the following:

  • Eat food because they are feeling emotional: When some people are feeling down, they turn to food as an escape. 
  • Eating food just because it is there: When some people see food, they eat it, even when they are not hungry. 
  • Unconscious eating: This happens a lot when people are watching television. They tend to eat snacks without even realizing what they are doing.

Elite cyclists need to focus day in day out if they want to maintain their weight and muscles. They should focus on eating fiber, and certain proteins that will help increase their muscle mass. Instead of eating large portions of food, eating small portions can make a big difference. If they enjoy snacking on foods now and again, fill the kitchen with food items like nuts and low fat yogurts. If there are plenty of unhealthy snacks stored in the kitchen, it will be very difficult for them not to indulge now and again.