As an avid cyclist myself, I just cannot exist without hopping on my bike each day, may it rain or shine. I am passionate about feeling that all too familiar burning sensation in my muscles, my heart racing vigorously, and the expansion of my lungs as my entire body is working in a perfect sync to provide every cell and organ with their much-needed oxygen and nutrition.
Speaking of nutrition; have you ever wondered just how many calories you are burning through during a cycling session? I know I have, along with pondering -while feeling alive, enjoying the sunshine, fresh air, and my favorite physical activity- exactly how fast my muscles are using up their carbohydrate reserves, leading to the sudden and overpowering sensation of hunger, while being out and about on a country bike path or wilderness forest trail.
Indeed, cycling is an invigorating sport that is mostly aerobic -although in the case of competitive cyclists, anaerobic, or muscle-mass increasing- activity, which requires a nutritious snack during or right after cycling; a snack that is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and healthy carbohydrates to refuel the body immediately and efficiently.
It is, however, somewhat challenging to find the ideal meal to eat while on the wheels: aside of high nutritional value, it obviously needs to be small enough to be carried along with ease, take little to no effort to unwrap and consume, generate minimal waste products that are easy to dispose of, and does not create a lot of sticky mess that is hard to clean off the hands or face while being on the road.
Enter the perfect candidate for this “cyclist’s superfood:” bananas! They fulfill all our previously stated nutritional and practical requirements and then some! Keep on reading to discover why we consider them our favorite and compact snack to reach for!
Bananas Nourish Your Body
Bananas come in various sizes, with the average medium-sized fruit containing about a 100 calories, primarily in the form of carbohydrates. Health- and weight-conscious readers needn’t fear, though, especially if involved in a robust calorie-burning activity, like cycling: it provides the much-needed boost for muscle working, brain activity, and concentration alike.
An excellent source of potassium, vitamin B6, and vitamin C, bananas are also powerful antioxidants, supporting your heart and circulatory system, and fight high blood pressure; even aiding your skin with developing a healthy, sun-kissed, tan color while enjoying your outdoor times.
As previously mentioned, bananas are rich in carbohydrates: they are primarily present in the form of starches in greener and unripe fruits, while soft, ripe ones contain these mainly as sugars. As a result, they undergo a fascinating transformation relatively quickly: while ripening, starches essentially disappear and the sugar content begins to rise drastically.
This process, interestingly, can be even speedier than the usual when body heat is involved: a cyclist who keeps the fruit near themselves in a pocket or pouch will experience this ripening at a dramatic speed, receiving a healthy sugar boost as a result of eating them towards the end of a ride when it is needed the most, as the body has burned through all its sugar reserves by that time.
Despite their high carbohydrate content, bananas are considered low glycemic index food, not leading to sudden blood sugar spikes; instead, they provide slow and steady nutrition after consumption throughout the duration of your physical activity. This fantastic quality is mainly due to the high percentage of fibers present in the form of resistant starches and pectin, allowing you to enjoy these delicious fruits without guilt.
Bananas Are Handy
What fits better to your hands while on the wheels than a compact-sized, organically packaged, easy to open, user-friendly, conveniently shaped fruit?
Bananas are a cyclist’s dream: they are simple to carry along, inexpensive, do not contain seeds that may be difficult to avoid, and your hands are usually exactly as clean after consuming one than before!
Bananas Are Green
Actually, they may come in any shade of yellow or even brown!
All joking aside, bananas are very environmentally friendly: while a banana peel may take years to decompose, they are far better packaging for a snack than plastic or any other non-organic material. If you are conscious about preserving the natural beauty and original state of those breathtaking trails you love to cycle on -and I am confident that you are- then this is not an insignificant factor to consider when packing your meal!
The Bottom Line on Bananas for Cyclists
All the vast benefits and practicality of bananas don’t go unnoticed by lovers of various sports: professional cyclists, for example, are known to replenish themselves by eating these at the feeding zones, or immediately after a race is over.
It would probably do a world of good for hobby cyclists to imitate this habit to improve their cycling performance on the road, as well as their overall health, while most of us would probably also enjoy witnessing less litter and artificial waste products defacing our beautiful and beloved bike paths.
So when you decide to head out to cycle the next time, don’t forget to grab a banana -or two- instead of reaching for sugary snacks, and keep in mind just how amazingly beneficial these fruits are for a cyclist like yourself – I know I will!