For more than 100 years cyclists have searched for that magical supplement that will increase their performance and give them the edge in their next race or ride. For some of you, supplements may create the image of an Arnold Schwarzenegger style character pumping weights in a gym, however these days the majority of sports require some form of supplement to compete at the highest level and cycling is no exception.
As you know, cycling is one of the most enjoyable experiences we have on this spinning rock we call Earth, however it can also be the most gruelling with a hard ride sapping everything from you both physically and mentally. Sometimes the day after a good but hard ride can be just as brutal on the body as the previous day. We’ve all read the articles about eating healthy super foods and the benefits to our training this can have but sometimes downing a jar of beetroot juice or consuming a whole chicken straight after a ride just isn’t the first thing on our agenda. If only there was a tablet we could take which would turn us into Eddy Merckx in his prime. Well there probably is something out there that proclaims to do just that although the long arm of the law may have something to say about it and that’s even before you consider the negative health implications of such a substance. Sports science has come on leaps and bounds over the last 30 years producing a range of supplements aimed at enhancing performance safely and effectively.
Obviously the taking of supplements is no quick remedy for an overnight increase of pedal power. There is no quick and easy fix to replace putting in the hard fought miles on the tarmac or trainer, but supplements can certainly make the process of preparation and recovery slightly easier. Supplements also need to be taken with a specially devised training plan and a healthy nutrition program otherwise you may not achieve the benefits you seek. For those beginners starting out on two wheels, supplements may not be the way forward, but for those wanting to take their cycling to the next level supplements could be the answer. To get the most out of your supplements your diet should be sufficient to complement your training and recovery.
Goals and Supplements for Cycling
In the past supplements in sports have mainly been regarded as a professional’s prerogative. However now-a-days supplements are now available to the every day rider and can be used to optimise a time starved cyclist’s training regime enabling them to make the most of their time on the bike. Ask any top athlete and they’ll tell you that goal setting is vital in a performance enhancing training regime and similarly it is just as important when using supplements. These goals may include trying to build up extra muscle on those skinny chicken legs of yours or, at the other end of the scale, you may be trying to shift those extra pounds and get your lean cycling physique of a bygone age back. Whatever your goal you should think about the end results you want to achieve. Goal setting is a major factor of focus and achievement and time should be taken to consider what your overall goal is and how the supplement you are considering will benefit this.
As in any training regime knowledge is power and knowing what you’re taking is vital. Supplement roulette is not the way forward. Knowing nothing about what you are taking may hinder progress with something as simple as correct dosage holding you back. This doesn’t mean you have to obtain a degree in chemistry before taking anything, just that you should be aware of the desired effects of the supplements in question. Make sure your supplements compliment your training regime and actively assist in achieving your end goal and you will see benefits.
It’s always advisable that you purchase supplements from well known brand names that put an emphasis on laboratory testing. Any Tom, Dick and Harry can cobble together a list of ingredients in their garden shed, but the long term testing of specific formulas from brands such as ZipVit and PowerBar gives you the confidence in what you’re taking is safe (and legal).
Supplements at ProBikeKit
Now we take at look at some of my personal favourites in terms of supplements sold at ProBikeKit.
Hard working muscles often build up lactic acid as they start to fatigue after extended sessions of exertion. This is the burning feeling that you may have experienced during a hard ride. The goal of supplementing with beta alanine is to increase your muscle carnosine levels which helps buffer lactic acid in muscle tissue and allows you to fire on all cylinders for longer before the onset of fatigue. This in turn enhances your ability to perform at a higher intensity for longer periods of time. Research has shown that the benefits of taking beta alanine during intensive exercise can be extremely positive with many pro cyclist putting their trust in this supplement. The new Beta Alanine formula from PowerBar offers a high intensity sustained release of beta alanine in the form of a dietary supplement tablets offering a higher concentration for greater muscle uptake. Designed to push the limits of your intense performance this supplement is perfect for the performance driven cyclist looking for that edge.
Studies have shown that the immune system can be weakened after strenuous exercise so it’s imperative that you fuel your body with the correct vitamins and minerals it needs. ZipVit ZV Sports Multi Vitamins Sometimes we can push ourselves so hard that we ‘re actually doing more harm than good to our bodies without realising it. ZipVit ZV Sports Multi Vitamins basically helps you keep on top on all your vitamin needs to maintain a strong immune system in just one tablet. ZipVit ZV Sports Multi Vitamin tablets are an advanced multivitamin tablet which have been specially developed for cyclists to excel during training. A comprehensive formula helps maintain optimum nutrient levels meaning you get the most out of your training. It has to be remembered that these tablets have been specially formulated for cyclist so are unlike any of the vitamins you find in the local supermarket. Additional vitamin and mineral supplements are not required when using this product and they don’t leave that horrible taste in your mouth that some other cheap vitamins do. ZipVit have formulated an intemperate multivitamin for both men and women helping you to keep healthy and training at optimal performance. Perfect for the performance driven rider.
ZipVit ZV Opti Burner is a unique fat loss support formula with a blend of effective nutrients to support weight loss and a healthy metabolism. A potent, research supported formula of ingredients helps optimise the fat burning process during training rides. Simply add the capsules to a sensible eating plan and regular exercise to reach healthy fat loss goals. ZV Opti Burner contains the highest quality herbal extracts, including green tea, bitter orange, hot cayenne powder, black pepper, caffeine with guarana, L-tyrosine and chromium. All ingredients are supported by extensive research to aid fat loss goals in conjunction with a balanced diet and regular exercise. Ideal for the performance driven rider looking to shed some extra pounds.
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Protein is a word that’s been flying around the sport and fitness communities for the last couple of decades and has become a bit of buzzword. Protein is a key macronutrient and the building block of human muscle tissue. Protein shakes are a great way of increasing the amount of high quality protein in your diet. Obviously the amount you need depends on your diet and how much protein you currently consume but for the time starved cyclist PowerBar Sports ProteinPlus 92pc Powder is a great way to repair damaged muscle tissue after a hard ride. PowerBar has devised a satisfying formula that comes in a range of flavours offering a superior source of nutrition. A combination of high quality soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, and calcium caseinate will ensure improved recovery and help increase muscle mass. With protein being an essential part of a healthy diet PowerBar developed this product according to the needs of world class athletes and cyclists to be a great tasting and excellent source of protein which is easily consumed.
So there you have my personal recommendations. If you want to take your cycling to the next level why not check out the all the supplements available at ProBikeKit here.
As always we want to hear from you. Are you currently using any supplements and if so what are you using and how has it made an impact on your cycling?