Cyclists, what should you eat during winter

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Winter is a season that can strain our bodies. The energy needs are usually increased. Making physical exertion in low outdoor temperatures increases the amount of energy used by the body.

The body can get used to the cold as you train, but remember that good physical shape also requires a proper diet.

Energy needs

The energy needs must be adapted to the energy expenditure in order to sustain the workouts. These needs are estimated with regard to the quantity of energy you take and the quality of food you eat.

Needs in quantity

The energy needs may be increased in the winter season, particularly for cyclists who keep on training. It is also a time of the year when the diet is usually richer, which may result in weight gain. The objective is therefore to keep your weight stable while monitoring the energy intake and expenditure to ensure they are equal.

Below are a few average daily energy intakes - these values may need to be adjusted based on your training load:

  • Rest day: Men 2700kcal, Women 2000kcal
  • Light training day:Men 3000kcal, Women 2200kcal
  • Intensive training day: Men 3500kcal, Women 2600kcal

Quality needs

The energy intake should be balanced in order to provide macro and micro nutrients needed by the body, and therefore limit the weight gain that can occur during winter:

  • Protein: 12 to 15% of the daily intake,
  • Fats: 30 to 35% of the daily intake,
  • Carbohydrates: 50 to 55% of the daily intake,.

Regarding carbohydrates, prefer complex carbohydrates (starch) that are richer in energy and have a low glycaemic index. They are filling and provide a lot of energy.

Don't forget to eat fruits and vegetables, they provide vitamins and fibres, and they are much needed during this season.

A varied and balanced diet will provide all the vitamins and minerals required for proper body function.

A balanced diet

Popular beliefs: You need to eat fats to fight the cold!

In order to fight the cold during workouts, you need specific clothes and muscle contraction, i.e. movements. The most appropriate foods for movements are those containing carbohydrates, not lipids. To train in winter, the diet should therefore cover the needs in carbohydrates, and not be richer in lipids.

In addition, a well-equipped cyclist in terms of clothing will not need to be fatter for winter sessions.

Of course, we are all aware that winter is the season of rich meals, such as raclettes and cheese fondues. These meals are a source of pleasure and conviviality - they should not be avoided, albeit in a reasonable fashion.

Hydration during winter

Hydration remains essential in all seasons. Winter is often associated with dry air that is twice as much dehydrating, hence an increased risk of dehydration. This risk is further worsened by the fact that cold does not usually gives an urge to drink, and there is the trap!!!

It is therefore essential to drink enough and regularly when you ride your bike. 

Marie Fauchille
Dietician | Nutritionist
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Advice

Healthy eating and physical exercise are the golden rules to ensure good health and a steady weight.
Nutrition should be part of your lifestyle, it is your best ally for keeping in shape all day long.
Here are five nutrition tips to follow so you can keep going from morning to evening whilst exercising during the day.

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Advice

The festive season, at weddings and at birthdays, etc. results in a long series of rich meals. Often too greasy and too sugary, they create a build-up of toxins in the body which leads to various discomforts such as general tiredness or stomach pain, and overall weight gain may be experienced.
It is high time to take control again and work to achieve your ideal weight as effectively as possible. You’ll then be ready for your future events.

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