British Cycling: Nutrition for the working cyclist

Cyclescheme, 02.04.2014

British Cycling: Nutrition for the working cyclist

Commuting to and from work on your bike is an incredibly time efficient way to get your weekly miles in and, for many riders, it’s the only realistic option for fitting training around job and family commitments. Knowing what and when to eat to maximise your commuting fitness gains is key so follow this advice from Nigel Mitchell, Great Britain and Sky Cycling Team Nutritionist.

Breakfast and Ride In

Having time to have breakfast, digest it and be ready to ride can be a push, so it can be better to just have a cup of tea of coffee to get going and ride on an empty stomach. As long as your commute is no more than 60 minutes and you ride at a relatively low intensity, such fasted riding can improve your ability to burn fat as a fuel. If you’re riding longer in the morning, you might want to consider having an energy drink to sip at on the bike.

Once you get in, porridge is an ideal way to start the day. You get quality carbohydrates to keep you fuelled through the morning, B vitamins, protein from the milk and calcium. You can add some fruit such as blueberries to get an anti-oxidant and vitamin C boost but go easy on the sugar and golden syrup.

Mid Morning Snack

It’s been a couple of hours since breakfast and hunger can strike. It is really important to keep your blood sugar levels up, as this will keep your concentration and motivation levels high through the working day and more importantly for the next ride. As we move through the day a lot of people do not maintain a good blood sugar level, one of the mistakes is that they often go too long before they eat. A midmorning snack will maintain blood sugar and energy levels. This snack can be very simple, a banana and natural yoghurt or a handful of nuts and seeds with an apple.


You’re far more likely to eat well if you bring your own lunch in with you and avoid the canteen or the dash to the sandwich bar. One of the things I recommend is having Bolognese or a risotto the night before, save a bit back and bring it to work the next day for lunch. This is very simple to do and it adds a variety rather than just having sandwiches. If you’re unable to do this, always look for carbohydrates, such as rice, potatoes, bread or pasta along with some quality protein like a bit of rice, chicken or some lean meat. Remember, this meal is providing you with your fuel for your ride home.

Get Nigel’s’ expert advice on what to eat for the rest of the day at the British Cycling: Insight Zone

Want more advice like this? The British Cycling Insight Zone is full of comprehensive cycling advice and know-how from British Cycling’s experts, to help you improve your riding. The Insight Zone is available at

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