Pro cyclists need to consume almost three times the number of calories when racing or training as the average person—about 6000-7000 calories per day.
Pro cyclists can burn up to 10-15 calories per minute during a hard training session or race. Since many races last up to 5-6 hours, the pros can burn 3000 to 5500 calories on the bike each day, not to mention the energy required for normal metabolism, recovery, and during sleep.
Be skeptical of meat-based diets marketed to athletes. Pro cyclists eat a lot of carbohydrates (60 to 70% of their daily calories) in the form of rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables, and simple sugars. The rest of their calories come from proteins (10-15%) like eggs, chicken, fish, and some red meats with the remaining calories coming from fats (15-20%).
60-70% of a pro cyclist’s daily calories come from carbohydrates. Of those carb-based calories, nearly half come from the simple sugars in their sports hydration drinks. In other words, drinking the right sports drink for you matters a lot.
Like anyone else, pro cyclists need fat as part of a healthy diet. Believe it or not, Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream isn’t a bad treat for a pro cyclist on race day. At 1360 calories and 80 grams of fat, one pint would be about 20% of the daily calories a racing rider would need in a day.
In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.