Nowadays, dietary supplementation is very common. No one is surprised to see a guy at the gym with a shaker in his hand or a cyclist drinking from a water bottle during a short break. Regardless of whether we want to improve the figure, physical condition or do sports professionally, supplementing the diet with appropriate supplements can significantly bring us closer to our goal.
What supplements should you choose
Cycling, regardless of its type, is an extremely specific and at the same time very demanding discipline. Especially when it comes to the type of muscle work. Undoubtedly, aerobic type of metabolism dominates here, although in some cases we also deal with anaerobic work. Endurance disciplines require a specific, individualized diet plan and appropriate training methodology, with additional supplementary support.
First of all, we should take care of the body’s energy, optimal hydration and regeneration. Elements of racing or training driving, which are dominated by anaerobic energy metabolism, are extremely important for the final results. We are talking here, among other things, about rapid turns to achieve a better position, climbs on the slopes, or acceleration just before the finish (developing high speed in a short time). In this case, glycogen and produced phosphocreatine become the main energy source.
Best supplements for cyclists
According to research, in the context of improving performance, the longer and regular use of carnitine (especially the acetylated form) works well. It is worth remembering that fat metabolism is an important element of long-term effort efficiency. However, maintaining an adequate level of carnitine and its availability may extent the aerobic capacity of our body.
A good idea before the actual training unit or race is to take branched-chain amino acids called BCAA also. This helps to reduce fatigue and minimize its possible effects. Amino acids of this type significantly help maintain a balance between the time of glycogen consumption and its utilized amounts. They also give a boost of necessary energy. All these thanks to their specific structure. They have methyl groups that are the backbone of a chain composed of carbon and hydrogen molecules. BCAA supplementation gives the possibility of metabolizing the mentioned carbon skeletons and their use as a real fuel for working muscles.
Too rapid occurrence of physical fatigue is a real problem for athletes of all disciplines. However, it can be especially felt during typical endurance effort, in which we sometimes need to implement intensive acceleration. Beta-alanine works great in these conditions. Energy expenditure increases as the effort continue. This, in turn, means more intense energy transformations, and thus increased concentration and production of molecules which are lowering pH in our muscles.
Beta-alanine is a precursor of carnosine, which acts as a specific intramuscular buffer. It delays the occurrence of fatigue, minimizes its effects and has a positive effect on muscle fibres, significantly improving exercise capacity. Studies confirm that supplementation with this compound in cyclists has a positive effect on both average and maximum power.
Endurance sports are a considerable and long-lasting load on the body. A colossal loss of vitamins, minerals and water can occur with it. In order to minimize the consequences of water and electrolyte losses, and to prevent excessive drops in blood sugar, athletes often use isotonic beverages.
Isotonic contain glucose, which is a short time increases the total blood sugar level. The body uses it as a fuel to continue the effort – in result muscles and the nervous system can work at their full efficiency. The function of sugar in the right concentration (isotonic nature of the drink) is to improve not only the body’s water management but also the absorption of electrolytes. Potassium is another element whose large losses are noted during prolonged exercise. Its supplementation in conditions aggravating the body is additionally associated with the influence of our organism’s acid-base balance.
Supplements for joints
The musculoskeletal system is not only muscles but also tendons, ligaments and joints. Every physical effort puts a huge load on the skeletal system, resulting in the formation of micro-injuries. These, in turn, in the long run, can turn into a much more serious injury, excluding for a long time from physical activity. A good idea would be to buy a joint regeneration supplement based on ingredients such as glucosamine or chondroitin.
Other dietary supplements
Lastly, we left behind such supplements as betaine, beet extracts and some adaptogens.
Betaine, in addition to health-promoting effects, has a positive effect on the use of oxygen by our muscles. In addition, it actually can be called a precursor of creatine molecules. It actively participates in protein synthesis, methylation and methionization processes. So it not only affects muscle development but also limits the harmful effects of excessively produced amounts of homocysteine (gives a methyl radical and promotes the production of methionine).
In turn, taking beet extracts results in increased oxygen supply to the muscles.
Some adaptogens (e.g. Rhodiola Rosea) significantly reduce the effects of stress and improve our physical performance.