Cycling is a fairly unusual sport in that, while there are elements such as bike tech, tactics and handling skills, ultimately it comes down to a simple question: can your body work more efficiently than your rivals? Even if you’re not in head-to-head competition, can your body conquer the ride as effectively as you had hoped?
In either case, the old cliché runs true – your body is your engine. And an engine is only really as good as the fuel you put in it.
If we were talking about a straight metaphor, the answer would be easy: fill up with enough calories to get you to the finish line and away you go. But the human body is far more complex than any machine, so you need different substances before, during and after a ride. For example, you need essential salts and minerals for your body to effectively hydrate. You need protein to rebuild your muscles and make them stronger. And, of course, you need carbohydrates to give you the energy to ride.
So, in practical terms what do you need to consume, and when?
With the help of Enervit’s range of nutrition products – including its new C2:1 Pro series of mid-ride energy options – we’ll talk you through your body’s requirements and how to satisfy them.
Of course, your training for a big event should begin a long time before you reach the start line. Equally, your nutritional strategy should be in place a while before the big day, too. But Enervit also has some great products that can help you face the challenge ahead, even in the immediate run-up to the start.
For big cycling challenges, your pre-ride nutrition routine should have started at least the night before, loading up with slow-release carbohydrates. Then, on the morning of the event, Enervit’s Pre Sport Jelly (energy gel) is the perfect addition to your breakfast.
Enervit Pre Sport is a highly technical energy supplement based on a concentrate of different carbohydrate sources and enriched with Isomaltose and Vitamin B1. Isomaltose is particularly important because, unlike other sugars, it causes only a minor increase in blood glucose so perfect for the early stages of a ride.
Available in Cranberry or Orange flavours, or Cola with an extra 50mg of caffeine, take two 45g sachets between 1 hour and 30 minutes before the start, and set off in the best way possible.
Your body requires more than just carbohydrates during a ride – for example, you also need essential salts to help the body rehydrate effectively. So we’ve broken mid-ride nutrition into separate specialities, starting with energy.
We’ll first focus on Enervit’s new flagship products: the C2:1 Pro range. Created in collaboration with some of the world’s top UCI World Tour road race teams – most notably, Trek-Lidl and UAE Team Emirates – the C2:1 Pro range has been designed to meet the targeted needs of all athletes. This includes maximising carbohydrate absorption, minimising intestinal stress risk, minimising the sweetness, minimising the feeling of satiety, and providing a wide variety of textures and formats for a 'tailor-made' strategy.
While the origin of the word ‘Pro’ in the range’s name is obvious, the ‘2:1’ refers to Enervit’s formulation of maltodextrin DE1 and fructose in a 2:1 ratio. This, research has shown, allows the body to exceed 60g of carbohydrates per hour and push beyond 90g to sustain peak performance, while minimising the risks of intestinal stress.
Enervit’s C2:1 Pro Isocarb Energy Drink is the ideal ride partner to support you during your most intense sports performance efforts. Its versatile formula lends itself to preparing isotonic as well as hypotonic drinks, depending on the dosage strength, and allows a dose of up to 90g of carbohydrates per hour.
Available in lemon flavour – and featuring reduced sweetness, mild taste, and no colour, artificial flavours or sweeteners – simply mix two scoops in 500ml of water, or three scoops in 750ml for an hour’s worth of energy maintenance.
For a quicker hit of 2:1 energy goodness, the C2:1 Pro Carbo Gel is convenient to carry in a back pocket, but can deliver a whopping 40g of carbohydrates in just 60ml of its gluten-free, no-fat formula.
Available in orange or lime flavours, and with added Vitamin B, consume one or two gels during every hour of activity.
One vital aspect of ride nutrition that goes beyond knowing what to consume and when, is knowing how your body reacts to different food or drink options. For people who find gels or solids hard to stomach, Enervit has all its C2:1 Pro nutrition technology available in an innovative patent-pending ‘jelly’ that perfectly combines the typical chewiness of a bar and the ease of consumption of a gel.
Available in tropical fruits flavour, each 50g jelly provides 30g of carbohydrate, so take one or two during every hour in the saddle.
Using an innovative high-energy formula around an exclusive oat base, the C2:1 Pro Carbo Bar has been designed to provide more carbohydrates at each bite, while reducing consumption time. Its reduced fat (5%) and protein content (less than 5%) enhance absorption and chewing, with each bar providing 30g of carbohydrate.
Available in brownie or natural flavours.
Finally from the C2:1 Pro range, something to really get your teeth into. These are no typical sweeties, though: the C2:1 Pro Carbo Chews are exclusive gummies with maltodextrin and fructose in the ideal 2:1 ratio. Developed to be easy to eat, each pack comes with six chews, allowing you to distribute carbohydrates exactly when you want along the ride.
Available in orange flavour, they provide Vitamin B1 for effective energy metabolism along with 30g of carbohydrate in every pack. Consume one pack for every hour on the bike.
Mid-ride nutrition isn’t just about energy and water: to keep your body able to effectively use the fluids you are taking on, you also need salts or electrolytes.
Enervit’s Isotonic Energy Drink Powder is the best of both worlds, combing a mix of four carbohydrates – sucrose, dextrose, fructose and a mix of maltodextrins – along with a combination of vitamins and minerals, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and Vitamin D, to ensure prolonged effective hydration and energy maintenance.
Available in orange or lemon flavour, simply mix two measuring spoons of powder with 500ml of water for roughly an hour’s worth of mid-ride support.
Another option for your salt intake is Enervit’s Salt Caps. Perfect for use during intense physical exercise, the capsules provide sodium, which is a key electrolyte involved in maintaining the fluid balance in the body; Vitamin D, which contributes to the normal muscle function; Vitamin B1, which contributes to fatigue reduction; and Vitamin C, which contributes to maintenance of the immune system during and after intense physical exertion. Take two capsules with 500ml of water for each hour of physical exertion, up to a maximum of eight capsules per day.
After a ride, effective nutrition is vital for three reasons – restoring water and mineral levels in the body, replenishing energy (glycogen) stores, and repairing damaged tissue. To help achieve that, it's important to consume food and drink containing: minerals; high glycemic-index carbohydrates, such as maltodextrins, with proteins or amino acids (glutamine in particular); and proteins and leucine for tissue repair.
To that end, Enervit has some fantastic recovery-specific products.
You’ve reached the finish and you’re basking in the satisfaction of a ride well done – but your nutritional requirements aren’t done yet. It’s time to consume some effective recovery products to help your body heal from the exertion.
Enervit’s R2 Recovery Drink has been designed for consumption directly after intense exercise with an innovative formula based on maltodextrins and branched-chain amino acids, and enriched with a vitamin mix, to aid energy and protein metabolism, and helping your body recover.
Available in orange flavour, mix 50g of powder – about three scoops – with 350 ml of water, shake well, and drink straight after exercise.
If there’s one thing you’ve probably learning during this article, it’s that you can satisfy your nutritional requirements in a number of ways, and post-ride is no exception.
Enervit’s Protein Bars are perfect for after an event and will help to repair your muscles with up to 20g of gluten-free protein and valuable nutrients, thanks to a unique composition based on milk and soy proteins with added vitamins.
Available in dark choco, coco choco, chocolate cream, vanilla yoghurt, hazelnut, lemon cake, triple chocolate and choco orange flavours – there’s really no excuse not to find a version you like. Eat one or two bars within an hour of your ride finish along with a drink of water.