From a fitness pro's perspective, cycling is particularly interesting because it's the rare sport that can offer an intense, sustained workout of the largest muscle groups – glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calfs – at the same time as a robust cardio workout. (No wonder bikers tend to develop a great balance of strength and endurance.) Physiologists who study cycling have found that pedaling at about 90 rotations per minute is the ideal workout pace, because it evenly distributes the burden of work between cardiovascular and musculature systems.
So when looking for the best foods to fuel a biking workout, one needs to take both systems into account. There's also the matter of intensity to consider. The harder you push, the more your body burns glycogen (the stored carbohydrate in the muscles), while lower-intensity workouts use fat as the prime fuel source. The ideal is to fuel the body with the right amount of easily burned glucose (not too much) as well as fats so that your engine runs smoothly, powerfully, and efficiently. Here are a few simple and healthy natural foods that are easy to introduce into a regular diet.
Chlorophyll, the dark, green pigment that makes greens green, is essentially the blood of plants and what they use to turn sunlight into carbohydrates during photosynthesis. For humans, consuming chlorophyll provides blood-building properties that are key to endurance athletes like cyclists. For one, it enables our blood to carry more oxygen throughout our system without needing an increase in blood volume, which means we'll be able to ride at a higher intensity, with no extra cardio output. That's good.
Of course this directly enhances endurance in sports such as cycling. One big (four-cup) salad a day is sufficient, using any source of greens: spinach, kale, arugula, romaine lettuce, and dandelion greens.
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