Cycling nutrition

What you eat and drink can have a big impact on your cycling performance. A good diet can help you recover quicker, reduce the risk of getting injured and improve performance.



On a day when you have a big ride, breakfast is key and you should eat 90-120 minutes before heading off. As the foundation of your pre-ride breakfast, porridge is hard to beat and omelette provides valuable protein that will help you to feel fuller for longer.

On the bike

Remember the mantra of feeding on the bike, little, early and often. Commercially available gels and bars are extremely convenient, but the cost can soon build up and homemade alternatives can be tastier and just as effective – try some homemade rice cakes or fruit and mixed seeds flapjacks

After the ride

The right balance of protein and carbohydrates will help kick-start your recovery. You are likely to be tired and hungry when you get home so convenience and prior preparation is essential. A recovery drink can be ideal but real food is always better. Try planning your meals in advance and cooking them the night before a ride.

Afternoon and evening

If you eat within 30 minutes of your ride you shouldn’t feel too hungry during the afternoon. Focus on hydration but if you fancy a snack go for fruit, nuts, seeds or even a slice of your homemade flapjack to keep you going until your evening meal.

“Basic nutrition starts with a healthy and balanced diet. Keep processed and refined foods to a minimum, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and opt for high quality protein sources such as turkey, chicken and oily fish. Get this consistently right and it will improve your health and your cycling.”

Lauren Delany, Great Britain Cycling Team Performance Nutritionist

Top foods for cyclists

Here are five great foods to add to your shopping list which could help you recover quicker and improve your performance on the bike.

1. Beetroot

The purple root vegetable contains high levels of chemicals called nitrates, which have been shown to boost exercise performance.

2. Eggs

Eggs are filled with protein which aid all your hard-working muscles to promote recovery after a ride. Quick protein snacks like baked eggs in ham cups are great for keeping you fuelled between long rides.

3. Salmon

Salmon is packed with omega-3 which has many benefits for cyclists. It can help improve muscle function and lung health – both vital if you're hoping to hit top speed.

4. Green tea

OK, so it’s not technically a food – but drinking green tea is great for keeping your fluid levels up. The health-boosting drink can also help to regulate blood sugar levels and prevent energy crashes which can slow you down.

5. Oatmeal

Oatmeal contains high amounts of carbohydrates – a key fuel source for cycling because they’re broken down into glucose and provide slow-releasing energy for your muscles, great for stopping you hit the wall or 'bonk'.

The fuel you put into your body is a massive factor in determining the performance you get out of it.
Check out British Cycling’s Insight Zone
for every aspect of cycling nutrition and how to keep optimally hydrated.