Cycling for Fun and for Sport
Almost as soon as the bicycle was invented people have been racing them against one another and the sport has a rich and storied history. The first official race ever recorded took place in May of 1868 in Paris and the United States hosted its first bicycle race ten years later in the same month in 1878. There are now several different types of races from daily sprints to prolonged month-long events like the Tour De France. Professional international cycling is governed by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) and many countries also have their own local governing bodies. Everyone from teenage novices to multi-millionaire professionals engage in the sport of cycling. Bicycles have evolved from chainless, brakeless contraptions to the carbon fiber graphite road weapons we see today. Before it was a competitive sport, cycling was largely seen as a recreational activity that provided the cyclist a great way to get around, socialize and get quality outdoor exercise. Cycling is a great way to improve stamina and maintain cardiovascular fitness. Cycling also strengthens the athlete’s legs and core. Aside from the health benefits derived from cycling – athlete’s find it to be a great way to explore and connect with the world and develop relationships with their fellow cyclists. Charging down the road on a bicycle versus being confined in a motor vehicle connects the cyclist viscerally to his or her surroundings.
What Muscle Groups does the Cyclist engage?
It should come to no surprise that the main muscle groups engaged by a cyclist are the bottom, hips and the legs. When a cyclist is pedaling they frequently log over a hundred revolutions per minute in order to build and maintain the speed of the bicycle. The majority of the power generated happens at the midnight and six o’clock positions of the pedal and this is when the hips, calves and knees are primarily engaged. The hamstrings, feet and quadriceps are also active in every revolution of the pedals. As we’ve said, the key muscle groups used in cycling are located in the lower hemisphere of the athlete’s body. The glutes, quads, calves and shin muscles must be in good condition if one wants to be a cyclist. This is why you’ll often see cyclist’s referring to strong athletes legs as “tree trunks”. Elite cyclists will never be thought of as “top heavy”. The core will also be engaged in a meaningful way whilst cycling and, to a somewhat lesser degree, the biceps and triceps. Becoming a cycling athlete helps reduce the risk of heart disease as well as assists in building muscle mass (particularly in the legs). Cycling improves overall cardiovascular health and is very good at assisting in weight loss. Cyclists also tend to have better sleeping habits and a lower “biological age” because of their physical fitness and healthy active lifestyles.
Nutrition for the Cyclist
Eating plenty of complex carbohydrates is key for cyclists wishing to keep their energy up and steady throughout the course of a race or a long ride. This will also be key in helping the athlete recover after a race or a prolonged ride in the countryside. Perhaps the most critical piece of the nutrition puzzle is making sure that you are getting your nourishment throughout the entire course of a ride or competitive race. Athletes should be refueling with granola or protein bars and ingesting plenty of liquids as the ride or race carries on. When not on the bike, diets should take the shape of any competitive long distance athlete. Lean, healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables and abstinence from alcohol and sugary processed foods should be the crux of any cyclists diet. As the old adage goes – put good in and get good out. For both on and off the bike – energy bars, recovery shakes, tons of veggies and hearty rice and pasta dishes can all assist the cyclist in performing at their peak.
‘Aligned Focus’ for Cyclists
Anyone who has ever been in a competitive bike race, an enduro or just spent hours on a bicycle dodging traffic and all the other hazards that the thoroughfare can dish out knows the importance of staying situational-y aware and hyper-focused. For these and all the other challenges that cycling can dish out we here at Vitagaming recommend the ‘Aligned Focus’ supplement package. This advanced product is scientifically formulated to boost cognitive functions aimed at improving focus and alertness. This supplement features amino acids that heighten attention and promote relaxation as well as adaptogens that support mood stability, prolonged focus and mental clarity. ‘Aligned Focus’ will heighten the brain’s natural responses to stress, tension and mental fatigue. Used in combination with proper/dedicated training and the proper nutrition – ‘Aligned Focus’ will round out the recreational and professional cyclists ability to excel and enjoy this extremely popular sport and pastime. Game on!