Review: Fuelling The Cycling Revolution
Is it just me or are cyclists a lot more aware of nutrition these days? I don’t know if it’s just that I am myself or that I’m really interested in food (because I enjoy eating it!) but it really feels like there’s been a slew of cycling cookbooks recently, in fact I must try and get my hands on some of them.
Though I haven’t read them, I get the impression that Fuelling the Cycling Revolution is somewhat different to books such as Hannah Grant’s Grand Tour Cookbook and Velochef, which from what I can tell are collections of recipes. This book actually looks at the science of nutrition and it does so in a clever way, managing to be detailed whilst really easy to read and understand – I read it in two sittings.
‘Anyone can call themselves a nutritionist, regardless of qualifications,’ so it’s important to note that the author Nigel Mitchell is a qualified dietician, a protected title that enables you ‘to use nutrition in a clinical setting as a therapeutic tool.’ Thanks to his qualifications, Mitchell has worked for the NHS, Team Sky and British Cycling and is now head of nutrition at Cannondale-Drapac. With 25 years experience of clinical and elite sports nutrition he really knows what he is talking about.
The book begins with some nutrition basics before moving onto a section on gut health, which is an important consideration for a cyclists, firstly because you never want to get a bad stomach whilst racing a bike but also because poor gut health means you don’t absorb nutrients effectively.
From there we move on to hydration and then strategies for fuelling, looking in to what to eat the day before, during and after a ride. This is backed up with a great section filled with nutrition timelines that explain what to do and when in a variety of situations, for example, if you are riding an evening TT or if you’ve a morning cyclocross race.
The section on supplements is insightful, Mitchell talking about the psychological effects of some traditional supplements before giving a (short) list of the ones he actually thinks work. He also gives a few recipes for meals (24 in total) that include beneficial vitamins, minerals or particular ratios of macronutrients.
I found the book really enjoyable, accessible and useful and it’s interesting to peek into the world of elite cycling and see what those at the top of the game are doing when it comes to diet. Although this book is aimed at those wanting to maximise performance on the bike and give their body adequate support when racing or training, the advice is actually relevant to anyone (with the exception of the part about supplements) because it’s all about non faddy diets and eating quality food.
Fuelling the Cycling Revolution by Nigel Mitchell
£16.99 Paperback Original / £14.99 eBook