This article is especially for riders who are vegetarian and do not include meat in their diet. Let us take a look at the vegetarian diet for cyclists. I have a lot of rider friends who consider non-vegetarian food a big taboo. If you take a look at our country India, most people do not intake any sort of meat in their diet plan. This is primarily because of religious bounds, beliefs, and a lot of animal lovers. In this article, I will layout a simple vegetarian diet plan for cyclists.
A lot of people who are vegetarian and are experts in this field like my rider friend Dr. Ajay Jain, a leading physiotherapist in Jaipur contributed to the making of this article.
Furthermore, Dr, Ajay Jain says there is a thumb rule of cycling diet plan.
He says “Thumb rule of Vegetarian Cycling Diet is simple carbs before workout and amino during workout protein after a workout then complex carb posts your cycling plan”.
Indian Food Habits & Vegetarian diet for cyclists
I insist on not taking any complex carbs during the workout. I have seen a lot of my cycling friends who ride around the city and then have complex carbs breakfast.
We Indians really can’t live without Samosa, Poha, shakes, and Kachori, Damn! 🙂 Even me!
Furthermore, Dr. Ajay suggests that sugar should be avoided if u want to derive more power from muscles. Black unflavoured chocolate is a more healthy energy source than dairy milk because later has sugars in high quantities.
The black unflavoured chocolate is available at almost all good bakeries. The brand Morde is a brand that you should look for as it’s good and slab can be used multiple times and is affordable.
Diet Pointers Suggested
Vegetarian diet suggested by Dr, Ajay Jain is mentioned below.
- Take simple carbs like include any fruits before you ride.
- Amino rich products like BCAA, amino acids majorly supplements can be taken during the ride.
- Protein-rich products like Whey, Paneer, Tofu, Boiled Pulses once you finish your ride.
- Avoid complex carbs like chapati, rice, and almost every complex carb food that we Indians love.
- Avoid street food at any cost.
Pro’ & Con’s Of Vegetarian Cycling Diet
If you are wondering if the vegetarian cycling diet that you have chosen is good for you or not? Here are the Pros & Con’s.
Pros of a Vegetarian Diet
- Vegetarian people have a longer lifespan as proven and suggested by a lot of studies.
- Vegetarians have a lower risk of developing heart disease. Almost 32% less as per studies.
- People who are vegetarian have a lower risk of developing cancer, Especially breast, bowel, and prostate cancer.
- Veg diets are more economical as compared with non-vegetarian diets and hence save a lot of money.
- It is better for the environment as livestock farming is responsible for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions.
“Hang on now, just hang on! it has some cons as well”
Cons Of a Vegetarian Diet
- Vegetarian diets lack nutrients. You should have a plan in place for compensating lack of certain things found in nonvegetarian diets. Else, you can fall short on protein, iron, zinc, omega-3s, and, for vegans, calcium and vitamin B12.
- Plant-based diets are not very calorie-dense. So you may unintentionally eat too few calories to fuel your cycling.
- Plant-based foods are high in fiber. Eating lots of high-fiber foods may cause premature satiety, gas, bloating, and GI i.e. Gastrointestinal discomfort.
I am a non-vegetarian and have a mix of both veg and non-veg both. However, I now conclude that being on a vegetarian diet has more perks than the non-veg diet by a significant margin as per studies.
Furthermore, if this is the case why are most of the athletes who are not of Indian origin perform better than us? Also, most of them are on a non-vegetarian diet plan. (Confirmed with various cyclists from other countries)
Vegetarian cyclist diet plan
I am including the stuff that I like to eat before my ride in a vegetarian cyclist diet plan. These pre-ride food items are easily available and liked by almost all cyclists.
- Oatmeal: Cook 1/4 cup raw oats with 1/2 cup almond milk or water. You can add more fresh fruit for additional calories.
- Bread & Spread: I absolutely love this. just make sure that you use 100 % fruit spread and it should not have any added fats and artificial sugar components.
- Fresh fruits before the ride: I usually go for a couple of bananas as they fill the stomach and also are a good source of energy.
Along with the above black coffee is something that you can take to get you ready for your ride.
The debate is long and never-ending. So with a few, I would agree to disagree and with a few, I will agree with the most.
However, the simple philosophy when it comes to extracting maximum performance while cycling as per my conversation with a lot of prominent people in the fitness industry are:
- Hydration support should be proper and should be available all the time.
- You need to get a sound sleep before you commence your ride.
- You need to take care of your meals, they should be timely and following products in the articles.
- Consume less sugar and salts as they tend to induce lethargy in your body.
- Don’t consume too much oil, however, always remember that fats are a must.
If you like the article please share it with your ride buddies and comment if there is anything to add. Experience riders can add on to the article and the article will have the contributor’s name. Just leave your additions in the comment section below.
Leave the comments and I will try to get back to you ASAP.
There are several issues which are individual person specific in diet too…1) vitamin and electrolyte deficiency mars performance and metabolism irrespective of type of diet.
2) the need for amino acid replacement during a ride ia subject to how much one rides…recreational rides or short rides for burning calories do not call for such supplements. The reason i say is because i am a practising dr as well , and as in everything else , we Indians love to mimic all a gimmick …our peope would want to buy fancy expensive supplements and stuff just to ahow off without realising health consequences of the same…underhydrated circulation with poor electrolyte balance with additional burden of ingested proteins /amino acids ..top it with a nice simple pain killer taken to relieve a simple catch or sprain or DOMS ..you have the perfect Recipe for kidney injury. So stress more on hydration, vitamins , micronutrients…agreed we should avoid too spicy n oily stuff.. a vegetarian source of soy or whey protein in small proportion is good as supplement for average cyclist..for professionals and ppl into endurance training, higher doses and additional isometric training would also help.
Avoid smoking and alcohol …avoid too much tea and coffee as well unless u really want to hurt your own self…antioxidant rich fruits and greens helps like no one else.
Rest is already detailed by you and a lot still remains to be discovered. ?
Thank you, Dr. Parag, for this information. This will certainly help me in further refining this article. The details provided by you are going to help a lot of riders in future who will be undertaking these treacherous mountain rides.
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