Cycling Diet and Nutrition Tips for Weight Loss and to Build Muscle

Heather Campbell
 min read

You’ll get the most benefits from your biking efforts if you support your training with a healthy cycling diet.

cycling diet and nutrition tips for weight loss and to build muscleBeware of the different food groups, learn how they support and nourish the body, and focus on the goal to incorporate them into your diet every day.

Note that you must adjust the amount you eat according to your workout levels and consume less food on non-training days.

Fats in a healthy cycling diet

There are good fats (unsaturated) and bad fats (saturated).

Unsaturated (good) fats are a vital part of our diet plans. They can be used as fuel for your diet and training objectives and for long-lasting, low-level activities.

They also help the body soak up essential vitamins from other food sources.

On the other hand, saturated (bad) fats:

As a basic guideline:

Bad fats are generally solid at room temperature. Good fats are usually liquid at the same room temperature.

The fat in and around meat is bad for you and needs to be avoided. On the other hand, olive oil is excellent.

Look out for secret bad fats in foods such as cakes, biscuits, and processed foods.

Check out labels and avoid foods containing lots of saturated fat.

Carbohydrates in a cycling diet

The body breaks carbohydrates down into glucose (sugar), which it uses as a source of energy for our muscles.

There are only two types of carbs: simple carbs and complex carbs.

Complex carbs take longer to break down, so energy is released slowly but consistently because of their more complex structure.

Excellent sources of complex carbohydrates consist of:

  • Whole wheat bread
  • Pasta
  • Beans
  • Basmati rice
  • Couscous
  • Bulgar wheat

These are ideal foods for your body to provide the long-term energy it needs for cycling and endurance running, for example.

Basic simple carbs, which are basically sugar, are broken down rapidly and provide the body with a quick rush of energy, resulting in a blood sugar spike.

However, this will be followed by an energy dip. Try to avoid:

Vitamins and minerals: Essential for a cycling diet

Vitamins and minerals are nutrients found in a variety of foods. They are essential for:

  • Development
  • Rejuvenation
  • Specific metabolic processes

These are often destroyed by cooking and storage, so try to include many fresh foods in your diet.

Raw fruit and vegetables are the healthiest sources of minerals and vitamins.

We highly recommend you to eat well, so you will last longer in the saddle. Snack on fresh fruits, for example.

Include oily fish in your diet plan since it contains many nutrients and healthy fats. Choose whole-wheat bread over white.


Our digestive system breaks proteins down into amino acids, which are one of the building blocks in a healthy diet to repair tissue and build brand-new muscles.

Animal protein includes all the amino acids the body needs.

Vegetarians should combine different foods to guarantee they get all those vital amino acids.

Good mixes are:

  • Corn with beans
  • Rice with peas
  • Lentils with bread

Meat, cheese, beans, seeds, nuts, and eggs are all excellent sources of protein in a cycling diet.

Nutrition tips while training

Whether you are following a cycling program to drop weight and burn fat, or training for a regional race, be sure to stick to a healthy diet plan.

The things you eat will fuel your body for maximum efficiency.

Keep the following healthy eating guidelines in mind when cycling and training:

Eat varied

Combine foods from each group in your everyday diet, in a ratio of roughly five parts carbs, to two parts of protein, to one part of fat.

And keep in mind: eat only good fats and try to get rid of bad ones completely.

Have enough fruit and vegetables throughout the day

Aim to eat at least five different fresh fruits and vegetables daily.

One portion is one piece of fruit or about three spoons of vegetables.

You can include fruit juice as one portion of fruit.

Lower your simple carbs intake

Try to have five smaller meals during the day rather than 3 big ones and lower the intake of simple carbs to a minimum.

This will avoid energy dips and peaks, which can lower your ability to train effectively.

Have a snack after a workout

To help you recover after training, try to have a high-protein snack within thirty minutes after a cycling session.

Your body’s ability to process carbs increases after a workout.

Combining carbohydrates with protein increases the speed of their absorption even more.

Stay hydrated!

Lastly, but most importantly, stay hydrated. Drink water or a sports drink during training and sip water all the time.

Try to drink at least 2.5 liters (5 pints) a day or even more when it’s hot.

Cycling diet plan, training and weight loss objectives

Generally speaking, if you cycle regularly and support your training with a healthy, balanced diet, you will slim down.

Many nutritionists agree that the best way to lose weight is to lower the amounts you eat and increase the number of workouts.

Tip: Have a look at our list of the best bikes for fat guys & plus size people if you are planning to invest in a solid bike to support your weight loss efforts.

Buying the proper equipment is a good idea to increase your personal safety. Read the best bicycle safety tips for (plus size) adults for more tips and tricks!

The following are a few ways to make subtle changes to your diet to help you to satisfy many training goals.

Tips for long-distance rides

To complete a long-distance ride, you should eat plenty of complex carbs, like:

  • Pasta,
  • Bread and
  • Rice

But only on the day before your cycling trip! This is also known as carb loading and will provide your energy reserves for the next day.

Tip: Read our other post and learn to avoid wasting energy and how to improve pedaling efficiency.

Ideas to build your muscles

To build muscles, you should eat a balanced, healthy diet plan with an increased protein intake.

You should daily consume 0.07 oz (2g) of proteins for every 2.2 pounds (1kg) of body weight.

Final tips to stimulate weight reduction with a cycling diet

Lower the number of carbohydrates you consume and increase your intake of fresh vegetables and fruit.

The ideal plate needs to contain the following: 50% veggies, one-quarter carbohydrates and 25% proteins.

As soon as your weight has minimized, slowly increase the number of carbs you eat until it balances the amount of energy you use in a day.

Do this until you reach a balance point where you neither gain nor lose weight.

Weigh yourself frequently but only adjust your diet plan based on a clear trend, not on individual readings.

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More