The Cyclist’s Complete Guide to Optimal Nutrition – Increase Your Vitamin Intake

The food we eat is the fuel we burn is an adage we already know all too well. So let’s talk about which foods you should eat to maximize your vitamin intake and improve your antioxidant absorption and peak metabolic function for peak performance in this little guide of sorts.

Regardless of whether you believe vitamin supplements are superfluous to a good diet or otherwise, the indisputable fact remains that peak cycling performance relies on a constant supply of vitamins and minerals.

And the indisputable fact is that the best way to get your vitamins and minerals is from the food you eat everyday. Simples, right? Not so fast.

Just as much as no two bikes are ever created equal, the same is true for food. Not every food is created the same when it comes to vitamins and minerals – even the foods we consider as “healthy”. Actually, you may be surprised just how “healthy” your diet really is.

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered – we’ve come up with a list of food groups that are guaranteed to maximize your performance. We’re going to be classifying the foods that are best for your nourishment based on their main classes. But before anything else, let’s take a look at why vitamins are important in the first place.

Water-Soluble and Fat-Soluble

Vitamins are further divided into fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. The latter vitamins (such as A, D, E, and K) are, as the name implies, soluble in fat, and are deposited into our livers in excessive amounts, and are vitamins that perform specific functions; their absence produces symptoms of vitamin deficiency.

The latter, on the other hand (such as vitamins C, the vitamin B family, niacin, and folate) are soluble in water, do not settle in our livers, and are easily disposed of via our urinary tracts. They play an important role in our metabolic processes.

The Top Tier: Proteins

The main thing you want are proteins that are packed with high amounts of protein at a minimum of fat. Chicken and turkey breast, rabbit, veal, and fish are all excellent sources of this protein. The absolute best part is that if you’re a pescetarian, you already have a rich, varied selection of fish and seafood to choose from (ALL OF THEM!). Lean cuts of lamb, and not the ones laden with that ambrosial fat we all love lamb for is excellent too. Additional sources include egg whites, feta cheese, and ricotta cheese.

The Top Tier: Carbohydrates

We know the drill – get your complex carbohydrates. Vegetables are a prime source of this, apart from being sources of vitamins as well. If you prefer cooked vegetables, go for veg like asparagus, cabbage, or any similar green leafy vegetable as well as broccoli, artichokes and chickpeas (an excellent protein source too). For the raw end of the spectrum, you may choose to include onions, beans, zucchini, turnips (or any similar tuber), spinach, aubergines, bell peppers, lentils, and mushrooms (a real treat for me personally). Fruit like apricots, pineapples, watermelons, citrus fruits, cherries, strawberries, apples and pears are also fantastic sources of carbohydrates, while cereals such as muesli, oatmeal (avoid the sweet, quick-cook ones), rice, and whole wheat pasta should be staples.

The Top Tier: Fats and Lipids

Get your lipids from the one of the best sources available to all performance athletes: nuts. Cashews, peanuts, almonds, avocados, and walnuts are all rich, fantastic sources of protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids. If you have to use oil for cooking, go for extra virgin olive oil or peanut oil for frying.

Getting your nutrition from these sources guarantee that you get the most out of your body in terms of performance.

Don’t take our word for it – gradually introduce them to your diet and see the difference in time.

An Absolute Honor

I am a beautician and make up artist by trade, it is a great job. I love make up and I was fascinated by it from a very young age. I used to make up my dolls, my family, my dogs and cats (much to their bemusement) and I always asked for make up for birthday and Christmas presents. I absolutely loved it.

Travel

I was successful. I travelled a lot to fashion shoots, I did a couple of those a month, usually for large magazines, I would do the make up for the models. I had also done a few fashion shows, I loved the buzz of the shows. I was so lucky.

It happened by accident. One of my good friends is a photographer and he called me one day to say that one of the make-up artists was sick, could I stand in. I was only a 10 minute drive away, so I agreed. That went so well that now I am requested by models, agents and bookers. It is hard juggling my time, so much so I hired an assistant as I double booked myself when I was managing my own diary.

Backstage

I was booked for another fashion shoot for a famous lingerie company. The girls were so beautiful and were buzzing around wearing next to nothing. I know the girls get knocked for being skinny but when you see them up close, they are so tall and lean, the clothes just look naturally good on them.

The fact that most of the girls were naturally beautiful also made my job putting the make up on them, a lot easier. In fact, it took very little effort.

In my experience, the models look after themselves. I am not saying they eat a ton of food and lift weights all of the time but most of them eat healthily and go to the gym, which means they usually have great skin and hair and so in terms of foundation, minimal amounts are needed as their complexions are fresh and clear.

Fashion

As part of my job, I had to keep up with fashion trends, colours, techniques, basically what is everyone wearing. I always put my own twist on things too, so some of the trends were actually created by me.

A lot of the fashion designers would have themes too. The most crazy theme I had to work with was a woodland theme. The models were all dressed in bronze. I had to make up their bodies in bronze and gold colours, as well as their faces.

Their hair was styled to look like branches. It was spread out high on top of their heads and tied to pieces of hardened cardboard. It took hours and those poor models had to sit there the whole time, it must be quite boring for them, the poor things.

Hair

I started to branch out (excuse the pun) and started to style hair. I found it easier to create an entire look that way. It was always a bit more difficult getting across the look you were trying to create with the make up, to someone else who had their own ideas about the overall look. So I always felt the looks could become a bit disjointed.

I bought a huge hair kit full of brushes, serums, styling tools, hair clips, bands and general adornments. The thing I spent most on was straighteners. I bought these with the help of Deziree Astra, there is lots of information on the site about straighteners etc. and was a big help.

Busy

I am glad I have an assistant, as my phone never stops ringing and I am on the go constantly. My assistant organises me and gets me from A to B without a hitch.

I really do feel like the luckiest girl in the universe. I get to fly all around the world, paid for. I attend lots of glamorous parties and mix with celebrities and beautiful people, I get free make up because manufacturers want me to use it and to give feedback and also they like it to be seen on the top models that I work with, it is great for their brand. The best thing of all is that I get paid to do a job I love, I am so happy and my job is perfect.