We all know a good diet won’t turn an amateur cyclist into a record-breaking professional. But, on the flip side, a bad diet will make any cyclist’s performance suffer. If you set yourself just one ambitious goal for the year, getting your eating on track is a strong contender – and our list of the best books on nutrition for cyclists will help you do just that.
Whether you’re a time-pressed chef who wants to make quick meals or you want to try your hand at recipes from a Michelin-starred chef, our selection of books has something for everyone.
Why is Nutrition So Important for Cyclists?
There’s no two ways about it: Riding a bike, especially if you’re competing, is exhausting. If you’ve ever experienced the dreaded bonk, you’ll know your level of fitness can only get you so far. How you nourish your body is just as important!
According to sports nutritionist, Corinne Mäder, cyclists competing in the Tour de France eat between 5,000 to 7,000 calories per day! For comparison, the average man needs around 2,500 calories per day.
While you might not need as many calories as the pros, it does put into perspective just how much energy you burn while cycling. Sure, you could eat a pizza and drink a beer to reach your calorie goal. But, that probably won’t leave you feeling too energetic. That’s why proper nutrition is so important!
Balancing your carbohydrates, fats, and proteins can be complicated and it can be even trickier if you don’t want to resign yourself to eating bland, boring food that fills your belly but doesn’t give you the satisfaction of a great meal. Half the challenge is mental, and if you’re not enjoying what you’re eating, you’ll only make it harder to stick to your goals.
The Plant-Based Cyclist: Your Complete Guide to Plant-Powered Cycling
Putting together an eating plan if you have specific dietary needs can be complicated. If you’re on a plant-based diet look no further than The Plant-Based Cyclist!
Nigel Mitchell BSc, MSc, RD, SENr, has over twenty years of experience in supporting endurance athletes with a focus on cyclists. He prides himself on helping people reach their full potential. Whether you’re a gold medal pro or an athlete who simply want to maximise their performance, this book is for you.
Plant-based diets have become increasingly popular due to health concerns, environmental concerns, and ethical concerns but often, prep and recovery meals tend to revolve around protein-rich animal products. Seeing a gap in the market, Mitchell has put together a 241 page book that not only provides a range of nutritious recipes, but also delves into the research behind the ingredients he chooses.
If you’re the type of person who enjoys learning about the why just as much as the how, this book will quench your thirst for science-backed fuelling and recovery strategies.
The Endurance Diet
The full title of the book is a bit of a mouthful (no pun intended), but despite the long title The Endurance Diet: Discover the 5 Core Habits of the World’s Greatest Athletes to Look, Feel, and Perform Better, the book provides five succinct science-backed tips to help endurance athletes maximise their performance.
The book is written by Matt Fitzgerald, an acclaimed sports journalist and nutritionist who counts Olympic athletes as some of his fans. Fitzgerald spent close to two decades analysing the ways some of the world’s top-performing professional endurance athletes eat. Now he’s put them in a book for anyone who wants to look, train, or feel like a pro.
Drawing from these insights, he’s identified five essential habits of elite athletes, some of which may surprise you. In summary, his top tips are to eat everything, eat quality foods, include carbohydrates, eat enough, and eat for your body and goals.
Want to learn more? You can find the book on Kindle or paperback via Amazon here.
Fuel Your Ride: Complete Performance Nutrition for Cyclists
All cyclists know that proper nutrition is vital. But, without professional guidance, finding the perfect balance for your body and goals can be tricky. That’s where Molly Hurford and Nanci Guest come in.
Hurford is a fitness-obsessed journalist who is “in love with all things cycling, running, nutrition and movement-related”. Guest is a professional trainer with a host of impressive letters behind her name – PhD, RD, and CSCS.
Together, they wrote Fuel Your Ride. The book provide cyclists with a guide that gives them the tools they need to create nutrition plans that maximise performance. Whether you’re looking for information on what to eat on race day, how to avoid bonking, or how to lose weight, this book has it all. It even includes advice for specific dietary needs tailored to vegetarians, vegans, and those who are gluten intolerant!
Eat Race Win: The Endurance Athlete’s Cookbook
Hannah Grant is a professional chef who specialises in writing performance cookbooks for athletes. Hot on the heels of her bestseller, Grand Tour Cookbook, she teamed up with physiologist Dr. Stacy Sims Ph.D to bring to life one of her favourite mottos, “Eating right shouldn’t be a punishment!”
Together, they interviewed some of the world’s best endurance athletes. Some of their interviewees include cyclists Peter Sagan, Michael Valgren, Selene Yeager and long-distance runner Gwen Jorgensen. If those big names aren’t enough to convince you, the foreword is written by one of the greatest cyclists of all time, Greg Lemond.
Based on their expertise, research, and interviews, Grant and Sims have put together an impressive and versatile cookbook. If you want to become more disciplined in the kitchen, without sacrificing the joys of a delicious meal, check it out.
The Cycling Chef: Recipes for Performance and Pleasure
If you want to improve your performance along with your cooking skills, there’s no better book than one written by a Michelin-starred chef. Especially one who happens to be a world champion athlete and sports nutritionist.
But, if you’re not quite looking to become Gordon Ramsey, don’t let the Michelin star intimidate you. You can make all 75 of the recipes Alan Murchison includes in this book in under 30 minutes. Even better, you can make them with ingredients you can easily find at your local grocery store!
Murichson’s unique background as chef, a competitor, and an advisor to high-level athletes gives him a one-of-a-kind perspective on how to maximise your performance and your dining pleasure.