Pro cyclists ride their bikes a lot and thus burn an absurd amount of calories. For optimal performance these calories must be replaced with optimal nutrients and of sufficient quantity. How much a pro cyclist eats depends on their training and racing load as the more they ride, the more they eat. With the high activity level, metabolism follows suit and even if a professional rider isn’t training as much, their body is still burning ‘hot’ and metabolizing a lot of food. The average cyclist typically isn’t going to come close to the calorie consumption of a professional cyclist but they can try.
How Much a Pro Cyclist Eats For Breakfast
On a big training or racing day, the typical pro road cyclist is going to consume between 1,000 and 2,000 calories to prepare for the task at hand. This is generally going to be an assortment of oats, rice, pasta, eggs, bread, pastries, fruit, and sometimes juice and most of the time coffee; ample coffee. They will eat this number of calories at least three hours before the ride to ensure that it all isn’t just sitting in their stomach when they try and go hard.
How Much a Pro Cyclist Eats While Riding
A pro cyclist eats a lot on the bike as typically the length of races range from three to six hours. Liquid food simply can’t provide someone with enough calories without potentially getting an upset stomach so real food is eaten. Depending upon intensity, a pro rider can burn anywhere from 500 to over 1000 calories per hour and the general goal is to replace half those calories each hour. This is done by eating little pre-made sandwiches typically of ham, sometimes cheese, maybe jelly or Nutella or if you’re in Europe, Eurocrem. Also, rice cakes, bars, and an assortment of cookies will be eaten along with gels and other quick digesting pre-packaged foods toward the end of a race. Because the main energy source is from carbohydrates namely in the form of sugar, things like candy bars and Coke’s are also eaten and drunken in ample quantities.
How Much a Pro Cyclist Eats For Dinner
With a big day of racing or training behind a pro rider, dinner is thoroughly looked forward toward and enjoyed. The breakdown of the body after a hard workout is reparable by eating the proper nutrients; namely protein, carbohydrates, and fat with sufficient vitamins and minerals. The riders who can eat the same as or more of what they burned simply will be able to recover faster and become stronger as the body has what it needs to repair itself. For dinner, meals generally revolve around a main carbohydrate such as rice or pasta depending upon where you are in the world. The exact protein as well as side vegetables depends also on where you are in the world as in Europe there are a lot of different things available than say compared to Asia and cultural differences as say compared to the United States. Quantity wise, many pros will eat three full plates of food to recover and fuel for the next day’s ride or race.
Differences in Consumption During Training and Racing
There are two big differences to what and how much a pro cyclist eats relative to if they are racing or just training. Typically at races the menu is just whatever the hotel or restaurant is serving although a number of the larger teams have their own chefs to ensure their riders are getting exactly what they need. When out racing you can’t always have what you would normally make at home while training where you can make exactly what you want. Also while home training, pros are generally in a constant battle with losing weight. Training is the time to do it so calories are often limited so even though a ride may have burned 5000 calories, they may only replace 4000 of them.
While pro cyclists can eat a lot of food, they can also ride relatively far and fast on very little food and can rely on the efficient conversion of fat to energy. This is also where they differ from the average cyclist. Their bodies are so tuned at being able to eat, digest, and turn large quantities of food into energy that they can also use those energy stores and convert them to energy far after the average cyclist would have bonked and gone home.
The grand total of what a pro cyclist eats in a day can range from 3000 calories on a shorter day to upwards of 9 and 10,000 calories on massive race or training days. That’s the equivalent of one and a half to five times what the average person eats in a day. That’s simply a lot of food. When races roll into town, race hotel kitchens are briefed ahead of time as to the quantity of food that is needed otherwise they would simply run out before everyone had their fill. The more you ride the more you eat. To eat as much as a pro cyclist it would not only take a lot of riding but also years of building your metabolism. The more efficiently you can convert a lot of food to helpful things in your body to rebuild muscles, the better cyclist you will be and whether the pro had the natural talent or gained it over the years, they have their eating dialed.