Once you get a good training plan in place, a good next step for cyclists is looking into their diet. And more specifically, supplements for cycling that help boost performance.
Many people can get tunnel vision when it comes to cycling and think that the only way to see improvement is to focus on their training. But the truth is, what you eat and drink has a huge impact on your performance as well.
Your food is the fuel for your engine and if your body doesn't get what it needs, it can't perform at its best. And while a well-rounded diet is an important first step, it doesn't always give you all the nutrients you need for peak performance.
That's where supplements come in. By filling in the gaps in your diet, they can help improve how you perform on the bike. In this article, we're sharing some of the best supplements for cyclists.
Benefits of Supplements for Cyclists
Before you start taking supplements for cycling, it's important to understand what they can do for you. Some people make the mistake of thinking that supplements are a magic pill or a fix-all solution.
But supplements don't work like that. They're not going to make up for a bad diet or turn you into a world-class cyclist overnight.
What they can do, however, is help your body work at a more optimal level so you can train at your best and see real improvements in your cycling performance.
The right supplements can help you:
- recover faster from a hard training session.
- improve your strength, speed, or power.
- build muscle.
- keep energy levels high.
- improve your immune system.
All of these benefits help you train harder so you can continue to get faster and stronger. And while supplements alone won't make you a great cyclist, they can give you an edge if you're already training hard and eating right.
The Best Supplements for Cycling
Here are 13 of the best supplements for cycling that can help boost your performance and help you train at your best.
1.) Whey Protein
The first supplement recommended for cyclists is whey protein. According to healthline, whey protein "is a complete, high-quality protein that contains all of the essential amino acids. In addition, it is very digestible, absorbed from your gut quickly compared with other types of protein."
It's especially popular among athletes because it promotes muscle growth. Because strong muscles help produce more power and speed for cyclists, it's a great supplement to add to your regimen to make sure you're getting the daily recommended amount.
Professor James Morton from Science in Sport recommends at least 1.4-1.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day and sometimes more. "Even if you train just 2-3 times per week, your protein intake is likely to increase towards 1.8 g/kg and can even reach over 2 g/kg for periods of extreme riding or carbohydrate restriction"
Whey protein is a great way to make sure you're getting enough protein each day without having to eat large amounts of food. It's also convenient because you can easily mix it with water or milk and take it with you on the go.
Here is the Whey protein that I've been using for 15 years.
The next recommended supplement for cyclists is beta-alanine. Beta-alanine is an amino acid that's been shown to improve performance, power, and muscular endurance.
Dr. Phillip M Bellinger, a researcher for enhancing athletic performance through nutritional modulation and supplementation, notes that beta-alanine "augments intramuscular carnosine content, leading to an increase in muscle buffer capacity, a delay in the onset of muscular fatigue, and a facilitated recovery during repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise."
In other words, it helps delay the onset of fatigue by reducing the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles. This means you can ride harder for longer periods of time before you start to feel tired.
For cycling, this translates to longer training sessions and having more in the tank when you need to sprint to the finish and go for a quick surge of power.
Here is the Beta-Alanine that I use.
Next on our list of supplements for cycling is creatine. Creatine is a molecule that's produced naturally in your body and it helps to supply energy to your muscles.
It does this by increasing the levels of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) in your cells. ATP is the primary source of energy for all muscle contractions, so having more of it available means you can ride harder for longer intervals with a shorter recovery in between.
Creatine has long been popular with bodybuilders and football players because it also improves muscle size and strength. So if you're cross-training by lifting weights, creatine can help you see results there as well.
According to Alan McCubbin from Cycling Tips, creatine can improve cyclists' high-intensity bursts of power, like sprints to the finish, building strength, and preventing muscle loss when down from an injury.
One caveat to be aware of when taking creatine is that it can lead to some weight gain. So if you're power-to-weight ratio is important to you, be sure to monitor your weight when taking this supplement.
Here is the Creatine that I use.
Another important supplement for cyclists is caffeine. Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that's been shown to improve focus, increase energy levels, and improve athletic performance.
Caffeine works by binding to receptors in your brain and increasing the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are associated with increased alertness, focus, and energy.
Studies have shown that caffeine can improve reaction time, vigilance, and short-term memory. It can also increase power output and reduce perceived effort, making it easier to push through fatigue during long training sessions or races.
Caffeine is a legal performance enhancer and it's something that many professional cyclists use to give them an edge on the competition.
I get my caffeine in my BCAAs that I use.
5.) Nitrate (Beetroot Juice)
The next recommended supplement for cyclists is nitrate. Nitrate is a compound that's found in leafy green vegetables and beetroot. It's been shown to improve athletic performance by increasing blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles.
Nitrate works by reducing the amount of oxygen needed to produce energy, meaning your muscles can work harder for longer periods of time before they start to fatigue.
For cyclists, this means being able to ride at a higher intensity for longer periods of time or being able to recover more quickly from hard efforts.
A number of studies have been conducted on the effects of nitrate supplementation and they've shown positive results in terms of increased performance.
Here is the Beet Root supplement that I use.
6.) Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the next supplement on our list. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that's essential for many processes in the body, including bone health, immune function, and muscle recovery.
One study found that "Increasing vitamin D levels provides multiple musculoskeletal benefits. Increases in muscle protein synthesis, ATP concentration, strength, jump height, jump velocity, jump power, exercise capacity, and physical performance are achieved with increased vitamin D levels."
Vitamin D can be found in food sources like eggs, fatty fish, and mushrooms. However, the best way to get vitamin D is through exposure to sunlight.
If you live somewhere that doesn't get a lot of sunlight even when you're out for long rides, you may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.
This is the Vitamin D that I use.
Another really good supplement for cyclists is Iron. Iron is a mineral that's essential for many processes in the body, including the transport of oxygen to muscles.
Iron deficiency is a common nutrient deficiency and it's especially common in athletes. That's because iron is lost through sweating and increased blood flow during exercise.
Symptoms of iron deficiency include fatigue, reduced exercise performance, and difficulty concentrating. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to get your iron levels checked by a doctor.
Iron supplements can be helpful for increasing iron levels and improving performance. However, don’t skip talking to a doctor before taking iron supplements, as too much iron can be dangerous.
Next on the list of supplements for cycling are electrolytes. Electrolytes are minerals that are essential for hydration, muscle function, and nerve function.
The most common electrolytes are sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. When you sweat, you lose electrolytes through your sweat.
It's important to replace those electrolytes by drinking fluids that contain them. Otherwise, you may start to experience dehydration, cramping, and other issues.
Many sports drinks contain electrolytes, but you can also get them from foods like bananas, sweet potatoes, and leafy green vegetables.
As a cyclist, it's especially important to make sure you're staying hydrated and replacing electrolytes during long rides.
My electrolytes of choice are these.
Collagen is the next supplement on our list. Collagen is a protein that's found in the connective tissue of the body, including tendons, ligaments, and skin.
It's an important part of the body and it plays a role in joint health, skin health, and wound healing.
As a cyclist, collagen helps with injury prevention and recovery. Cycling is a sport with lots of receptive motions. Add in the sheer amount of hours spent on the bike and it’s no wonder that many cyclists deal with joint pain.
Collagen is a really useful supplement to help cyclists stay strong and healthy and continue to push their training.
Besides supplements, some good sources of collagen include bone broth and collagen peptides.
This is the collagen supplement that I use.
Another important supplement to improve your cycling performance is carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy.
They're especially important for cycling because it's such a physically demanding sport.
During long rides, your body will start to run out of glycogen (a stored form of carbohydrate). When this happens, you may start to feel fatigued.
That's why it's important to consume carbohydrates during long rides. You can do this by drinking a sports drink or eating foods like bananas, honey, or energy gels.
If you're training for a race or event, you may also want to consider carbohydrate loading. This is when you consume extra carbohydrates in the days leading up to the event. This will help ensure that your glycogen stores are topped off and you have enough energy for the race.
11.) Omega 3
Next on our list of supplements for cycling is Omega 3. Omega 3 fatty acids are a type of unsaturated fat that's found in fish, nuts, and seeds.
They're an important part of the diet and they've been linked to many health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved heart health.
For cyclists, Omega 3 supplements can help reduce inflammation and soreness. They can also improve joint health, which is important for a sport that puts a lot of stress on the joints.
This is the Omega-3 supplement that I use.
Next on the list of supplements for cycling that can help boost your performance is Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that's found in many foods, including dark chocolate, nuts, and leafy green vegetables.
It's an important nutrient for the body and it plays a role in muscle function, energy production, and protein synthesis. And besides Vitamin D, it's one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in developed countries.
As a cyclist, magnesium can help improve your energy levels, endurance, and recovery. It can also help prevent and treat muscle cramps.
All of this can help make sure you can train harder and perform your best.
This is the Magnesium supplement that I use.
13.) CBD Oil
The last supplement that's good for cyclists is CBD oil. CBD oil can indirectly help with your cycling performance due to its many potential health benefits, including reducing inflammation and pain relief.
CBD oil also helps with daily wellness, better sleep, faster recovery, and improved immunity.
Just like with Omega 3 and collagen, CBD oil won't make you magically faster or stronger, but it will help you recover from training sessions faster and reduce pain, which can lead to improved performance in the long run.
While its potential benefits are still being studied, CBD oil is a promising supplement that may be able to help you in your cycling training.
Convenient forms of CBD to take would be CBD oil/tincture or CBD gummies. These are simple to consume and can be easily added to your supplement regimen.
I use the most potent CBD Oil on the market, the Rouse Fit EXTREME STRENGTH CBD TINCTURE 5,000MG CBD.
Conclusion to 13 Supplements for Cycling
So, there you have it, a list of supplements that can help improve your cycling performance. Remember, supplements are only one piece of the puzzle. A healthy diet, adequate sleep, proper recovery, and a good training plan are also important for optimal performance.
And don’t forget to talk to your doctor before adding any new supplements to your diet.
Do you take any of these supplements? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!