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.
Minerals like potassium, iodine, magnesium, and sodium are electrolytes that are extremely valuable to athletes. We lose them when we sweat, and when electrolyte levels get too low, the result is muscular inefficacy and eventually cramping. Unfortunately most North Americans lack adequate mineral intake, thanks in large part to the declining levels found in our food.
Sea vegetables such as kelp, nori, and dulse – better known as seaweed – are exceptionally rich in minerals and low in calories, and when added to your daily diet will keep your body balanced without the need for sugary Gatorade-style sport drinks. Tearing up two nori sheets and putting the strips in your daily salad are enough to make the difference.
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