Best Endurance Supplements for Cyclists
Having cycled for most of my life, I can tell you that cycling for over 190 miles a week is not for the fainthearted. It requires endurance training that pushes your body and mind to the limits. You are also required to be on a strict diet and endurance supplements.
For years, we’ve been led to believe that for you to improve your endurance you’d have to spend about 12-16 weeks riding low intensity miles as a way to strengthen your aerobic system before you can transition to harder training rides or races. Which is a fantastic idea if all you do is ride all day, but for most of us, this is not possible since we have other commitments. We are left with two options; you can either opt for polarized training or combine regular training with endurance supplements.
Fortunately, with the best endurance supplements for cyclists you can reduce the amount of time required to train, enhance your performance and recovery. If everything works out perfectly you could be looking at a new personal record.
Below are our top choices for best endurance supplements for cyclists
The physiology of a cyclist is unique as they have to work longer, sustain a high power output and cover more distance. A simple six-hour bike ride could easily deplete all energy reserves which begs the question, what is the best way to recharge?
The best way is with the help of supplements. However, there is always a challenge on which type of supplements to take.
Unlike track sprinting and weightlifting, cycling requires sustained high power and a balance between effort and efficiency. Due this cyclists require specialized and optimized supplements. Picture the amount of energy a cyclist burns in a single race. A typical 200 mile race requires approximately 50,000 pedal revolutions. Which means a cyclist needs to keep refueling.
Caffeine has been around for decades but it wasn’t until recently when cyclists started using it to boost their performance. Caffeine is like a drug almost everyone needs it function. It’s the ideal pick-me-up for an early training session. You need something to kick start your body and caffeine is the answer.
An early morning shot of caffeine will reduce the perception of effort thus delaying fatigue making it possible to cycle for longer. Unlike other athletes, cyclists have a special connection with coffee. For decades it has been part of Tour de France. It began in the 60s when Faema, a rich Italian espresso manufacturer sponsored a pro-cycling team. Since then, coffee has been integrated into pro-cycling and is now considered a performance enhancing supplement.
Benefits of caffeine
- Increase fat oxidation
- Benefits anaerobic cardiovascular exercise and increases power output
- Causes increase in aerobic exercise capacity
- Improves body concentration, alertness and reaction time
- Provides a quick jolt
Researchers suggest that the benefits of caffeine will kick in after 30-45 minutes. This means that your performance levels will peak around 45 minutes after consumption.
Rapid Rehydr8 Maximum Performance
Rapid Rehydr8 is a product of Elite Sportz Equipment and is formulated as a dietary supplement. Its main objective is to replenish lost electrolytes and counter painful cramps.
Cycling is a very intense sport that quickly depletes your electrolytes. Every drop of sweat coming out of your body is vital body salts that you are losing. If you don’t replenish the lost electrolytes your performance will slowly start to reduce. The best way to counter this is by rehydrating and keep going the distance or workout with a supplement such as Rapid Rehydr8.
Rapid Rehydr8 is also considered as an endurance supplement making it ideal for big races and endurance training. It contains a balanced blend of electrolytes which facilitate for faster recovery. You see, endurance training burns a lot of electrolytes and if they are not replenished you will be completely burned out. This is why Rapid Rehydr8 contains a blend of magnesium, potassium and calcium to help rehydrate any electrolytes that are lost through sweating. It also aids in muscle contraction and minimizes leg cramps during exercise.
Magnesium is one of the main electrolytes in Rapid Rehydr8 and can be found in green vegetables, nuts and whole grains. It activates enzymes which facilitate in the process of energy release. This means that magnesium supplementation has a positive effect on performance and endurance training in cyclists.
On the hand, Potassium which can be found in bananas helps manages several processes such as nerve function, fluid management and sweat. It is also essential in the breakdown of glycogen in the muscles which fuels repeated contraction that is necessary during endurance cycling.
Benefits of Rapid Rehydr8
- Replenish electrolytes lost through sweat
- Provides sodium & Potassium
- Prevents muscular cramps and spasms
- Enhances endurance performance
- Improves endurance and stamina
Recommended dosage is 1-3 capsules before a strenuous exercise, during and an hour after the exercise.
Creatine is a supplement that is often used by sprinters and weightlifters. Creatine is the kind of supplement you consume when looking for speed, strength and power. There are over 100 research studies published on the benefits of creatine and they all agree that creatine aids in improving muscular strength. Which begs the question, how does creatine improve endurance in cyclists?
The direct benefits of creatine include improved anaerobic performance, increase in ATP production and phosphocreatine stores. Aside from these, creatine offers indirect benefits to triathletes, runners and cyclists thus improving their performance to the next level.
The indirect benefits include a reduction in recovery time and an increase in power output. This translates to improvements in power, speed and running economy for a better race-day performance.
Benefits of creatine supplements
- Increases ATP production
- Promotes gains in sprint performance
- Produces maximum intensity effort for longer
Even with its impressive benefits to cyclists, creatine is not recommended for cyclists whose power-to-weight equation will be affected by a slight gain in weight. This is because one of the most discussed downside of using creatine is weight gain.
Recommended creatine supplements include: Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate, Muscle Feast Creapure
Research studies show that Beta-Alanine improves performance and delays fatigue during high-intensity workouts. How does this help an endurance athlete? Being an endurance athlete does not necessarily mean that you always train at low-intensity exercises. Race pace, weight lifting and tempo runs are also part of your endurance training.
During high intensity training sessions, the body accumulates hydrogen ions which lowers the body’s pH and ultimately results in fatigue. This is where Beta-Alanine supplementation comes into play. Studies show that Beta-Alanine increases intramuscular carnosine content which helps the body buffer hydrogen ions. This improves exercise performance by delaying fatigue and reducing the perception of fatigue.
Cyclists prefer taking Beta-Alanine as it helps them last longer which could be the key to winning a race. Studies show that Beta-Alanine supplementation can significantly improve sprint performance especially towards the end of a race. Picture yourself in a race with only 500 meters to the finish line, Beta-Alanine will give you the boost you need to get to the finish line and reduce post-ride fatigue.
Benefits of Beta-Alanine supplementation
- Delays fatigue
- Reduces post-ride fatigue
- Increases intramuscular carnosine content
- Improves sprint performance
Recommended Beta-Alanine supplements include: ON Beta-Alanine Powder
Whey protein is seen as one of the most common source of protein for pro-athletes. It’s the go-to protein source for a work out, meal replacement or a post-race drink.
Whey is produced during the cheese making process and is considered to be among the richest source of BCAAs. It comprises of three amino acids; valine, leucine and isoleucine. These three are critical for muscle growth and provide energy during workouts. Whey protein also contains active protein micro fractions that boost immune function, enhance muscle recovery and provide antioxidant benefits.
Recommended Whey protein supplements include; Gold Standard 100% Whey -Optimum Nutrition, 100% Premium Whey protein-USN
Are cycling supplements for the average cyclist?
Scientific studies that analyze the effects of supplements in sports are often limited to subjects that are well trained and athletic. This makes it hard to compare the results of such studies with those of an average cyclist who may not be as athletic or well-trained.
When taking supplements always consider the subjective experience. There are several aspects of a supplement that cannot be quantified by biomarkers. You can use the numerous test published showing how effective a supplement is but always comes down to how supplement works for you. Is it as effective as you want it to be? Are you experiencing any side effects?
Collect data before and after using the supplement and compare the two. Cycling is a data-driven sport and it’s not just about the GPS and speedometer, it also includes all other tools that track, measure and collect data. Analyzing the data collected is a good place to start as it will help you understand how the supplements affects your body. A supplement that works for a fellow cyclist may not necessarily work for you. This is why collecting and analyzing your data is important.
If you decide to incorporate any of the above endurance supplements into your diet, be sure to check the brand. You want to source your supplements from a reputable brand with proven results. Also, be sure to confirm that the supplement is approved by the FDA.