Using sports nutrition to help your bike commute

I know many of our readers use bike commuting as their form of exercise. Personally I’ve used my rides to train for mountain bike racing. With the mindset of training, there some key things I did to help me improve on my endurance,strength and recovery. I’ve always been a proponent of supplementation or some may call it sports nutrition. Currently I am taking DHEA, Creatine and Protein Shakes. This may sound quite a bit for a guy that rides his bike to and from places. Well if you looked at it as I do, I basically want to be fit enough to ride my bike, or in this case, race with it.

For the last 2 years all I did was Downhill(DH) Racing. Most race runs didn’t last longer than 3.5 minutes and most of the course I was sprinting from one rocky section to another. For my bike commuting training, I would do sprint intervals. If I was at a red light, I’d wait and as soon as it turned green, I’d sprint to the next light. I would do this as many times as possible. Then I’d mix it up by hitting the bike path and I’d do 30 second sprints. Mind you I’m doing all this with my single speed commuter bike with fenders!
Redline 925
Now that it’s 2013, I am not racing DH, in fact I signed up for XC racing. It’s something I like to do, but not so much race it. XC racing is totally out of my comfort zone and I know this is going to be challenging just to do it. Training for it won’t be easy either. With XC racing, I’ll be going against other riders side by side and there really isn’t much sprinting involved. I have to make sure I have endurance for the long haul. This is where some of those supplements I mentioned will help. The main one that I use for XC training would be protein shakes. I drink a shake after my rides to help aid muscle recovery. There’s actually a study that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, that stated I should be taking in protein after my work outs (bike rides); “20 grams is the best amount of post-workout protein to maximize muscle growth.” Sponsored Rider, RL Policar
The problem with buying protein is the source. You simply can’t go to Walmart or CVS and get their house brand protein powder. Some of those would be chock full of fillers and don’t really live up to the hype the claim. You’re better off getting your supplements from reputable sources like Maxishop or from personal recommendations from friends and colleagues.

So the next time you get on your bike to commute to school or work, consider using that time to train for other events or just to step up your fitness level.


  1. Ghost Rider

    Or, you could do as I do and just drink a glass of chocolate milk after a long workout. Carbs, slow-digesting protein, super cheap compared to “protein shakes”, and more effective than a number of sports drinks on the market:

    Plus, you can go organic and not have to worry about where the protein came from, what sort of scary additives/fillers are in it, etc. If I can’t pronounce it, it doesn’t go in my body.

  2. Ghost Rider

    And then, about an hour after I drink my milk, I drink a big glass of coconut water. Yep, coconut water…one of the best isotonic solutions on the planet. I guess you could say I don’t fuss with all that silly marketing hype and crazy additives, when natural, effective products are readily available.

  3. RL

    I’m lactose intolerant. I get the tummy rumbles.

  4. Ghost Rider

    So make Lactaid chocolate milk, or whatever the lactose-intolerant milk people drink. Me, I’d rather fart a bunch than take protein powder out of a can.

  5. bigbenaugust

    Sports nutrition? I can’t even keep a bottle on my bikes when the toddler keeps stealing them to water the carport with! 🙂

  6. Champs

    DHEA might be legal, but it is a banned substance. Just ask Tyler Hamilton.

  7. listenermark

    Couple of PBJ’s during today’s forty mile fun stomp, a few IPA’s for recovery.

  8. Raiyn

    Bananas, oatmeal raisin cookies etc etc. Once again I must agree with Ghost on this.

    Of course the best “Sports Supplement” story I have is when I convinced my (now) brother-in-law that Circus Peanuts (yes those weird orange candy things) were the peloton’s secret weapon.

  9. dgaddis

    I’m with Ghost rider, eat REAL food (aka plants and animals) and stay away from stuff made in a lab. And you should do some serious research on DHEA, what little I’ve read doesn’t sound good. Besides, amateur racers taking supplements like that is just silly.
    “No studies on the long-term effects of DHEA have been conducted. DHEA can cause higher than normal levels of androgens and estrogens in the body, and theoretically may increase the risk of prostate, breast, ovarian, and other hormone-sensitive cancers. Therefore, it is not recommended for regular use without supervision by a licensed health professional.”
    “Instead of DHEA leading to the increased lean body muscle mass and improved recovery linked to testosterone, it may just lead to an increased risk for prostate hypertrophy, or even prostate cancer. In, 2004, a randomized, double blind study out of UCLA looked at medium and high doses of DHEA in men aged 18-44. They found no increase in circulating testosterone. Instead, they found that taking DHEA increased the circulating blood level of DHEA and ADG—a growth factor for the prostate—but not testosterone. In another study from UC San Diego, researchers found that DHEA can raise testosterone levels, but only in women! In this study a group of men and women got DHEA supplements daily for six months. Testosterone levels doubled for women, but were unchanged in men.”

  10. bigbenaugust

    I will however second the coconut water mentioned above. Our midwife sold me on Zico, especially when I found out it is available in chocolate. I will often slug a chocolate Zico or two after a ride.

  11. BluesCat

    Beer! Some beef jerky … followed by MORE BEER! 😀

  12. Andrew Pearson

    Using protein will definitely aid recovery but don’t forget carbohydrates around 20-40 gram this will replenish your glycogen stores

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