Not so many years ago, when you needed a boost during a long ride a banana and a Mars bar were about as scientific as it got. These days, guzzling gels is the norm, and no cycle shop would be complete without its racks of brightly coloured supplements (although why so many of them taste so foul is a question that still puzzles us).
There are many different sports where performance supplements play an important part, and on a basic level it’s obvious enough why we use them: our muscles exhaust their energy reserves, and the reserves need replacing quickly if we want the muscles to keep functioning. Glucose-heavy gels are a simple way of doing that, and the Flyingeese support team always have a ready supply (ours taste OK, too).
We also use supplements geared to cycling-specific needs. One of the best things you can do is to increase nitric oxide levels in the bloodstream: this boosts oxygen supply in the muscles, helping you perform for longer and reducing soreness. Beetroot juice is becoming increasingly popular for this reason.
Coffee-lovers will be pleased to know that caffeine is also really helpful for improved recovery, thanks to its antioxidant properties (green tea is also quite good). The Portuguese really know how to make a decent cup, so our rides feature stops at local cafés for scientifically-sound performance reasons!
The other indispensable element is water. If you’re not properly hydrated, no amount of supplements will stop you suffering. We reckon on using a litre of water per 25kg of body weight per hour while riding, which adds up to quite a bit in the course of a day. The good news is you don’t have to worry about any of this, as it’s all part of the support we give everyone who rides with Flyingeese.