17 Dicembre 2022

What supplements to use during cycling training?

We often see cyclists taking too many supplements during the training session. Knowing how to integrate in the best possible way allows us to sustain better performances and allows us to recover the energy lost and spent even in the very short term.

In this interesting article we will best explain when to take gels and liquid supplements during cycling or any type of cardio activity by explaining the reason for an extra need for energy.

The so-called “liquid carbohydrates” are balanced solutions of simple and/or complex carbohydrates (carbohydrates) capable of providing the body with energy in the very short and medium/long term.

The energetic action can derive from different sources such as dextrose (very short term), fructose (short and medium term), maltodextrins (medium term), Vitargo® (prolonged energy).

The constant use of the product during and after competitions or intense workouts helps to avoid depletion of glycogen (our energy “store”) and to replenish its reserves in the liver and muscles.

There are different types of gels on the market. The fundamental ingredients for effectiveness are the mixtures of sugars and any additions such as caffeine and branched chain amino acids (BCAA). Caffeine is a molecule that helps “disguise” the perception of fatigue, while BCAAs are very useful as an alternative energy source to carbohydrates and to support muscle mass.

Carbohydrates in liquid or gel form are therefore useful:

1) to maintain a balanced energy intake during intense and prolonged physical exercises;

2) to replenish glycogen reserves, especially at the muscle level;

The difference between the liquid format and the gel lies in the absorption times: everything that is liquid (usually) is absorbed by our body faster but has a shorter duration.

Precisely for this reason it is advisable to take supplements in liquid form especially in the final phase of a workout or a competition.

Providing energy during prolonged activity is very important, as the meal before training/competition would not be able to cover consumption during physical effort. In fact, if the carbohydrate stocks ran out, our body would recover the energy from both the fat mass and the muscle mass, weakening it.

Here are some practical suggestions for use:

  • Introduce a carbohydrate source only if the workout exceeds 90 minutes;
  • Take mixtures of carbohydrates and not just one type of carbohydrate (e.g. maltodextrin), since in this way the absorption of the carbohydrates themselves is maximized;
  • Take carbohydrates in gel form every 50 minutes of physical activity;
  • Use carbohydrates in liquid form such as in the final stages of training/competition;
  • NEVER try a new carbohydrate supplement on competition day;
  • “Training” the intestine to absorb concentrated foods under strain, trying them in training and drinking water when taking the liquid/gel.
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