Cyclists Racing

There are tons and tons of supplements marketed towards cyclists, but here’s five of them that do actually work and have been backed up by studies

1. Creatine

This is one for all the sprinters out there. It does work: it’s going to improve your peak power, it’s going to improve your 10-second sprints, and obviously (in turn) your 20-second sprints. It will also improve your recovery between them. You may gain some water weight from taking creatine, but it’s not something to be too concerned about – there is research to show that the added weight gain does not outweigh the added power effects.

Creatine is amazing for vegans to help improve performance in particular. It also helps to improve recovery and preserve lean muscle mass in a calorie deficit, which a lot of you might be doing for the summer.

Creatine is very inexpensive, but make sure you’re only getting creatine monohydrate.

2. Beta Alanine

Now I actually used this back when I used to race, and a teammate gave me some just before we went to breakfast before racing a tour series. I was shocked to find that it has a really weird side effect.

Well, to explain a little bit more, beta-alanine is an intracellular lactate buffer, so it helps prevent the build-up of that burn in your legs for the 1-4 minute effort range, and it’s pretty inexpensive as well and proven to work.

You need to take it for four to six weeks to load and then just go into a maintenance mode. The only side effect is paresthesia, which is a tingling, so take it with a meal and take it in smaller doses throughout the day rather than one large dose.

3. Nitrates

Nitrates gets converted into nitric oxide within the body, which is a vasodilator that helps expand all your blood vessels to get more blood through. This in turn reduces the oxygen cost of exercise, allowing you to produce more force for less cost. Typically, the more amateur or novice rider will gain more benefit compared to the elite riders – but they’ll still get a benefit as well.

If you’re at the amateur end you could probably take just one 400 milligram serving of nitrates two hours before a ride, and if you are more at the advanced end you probably want to load it for 2-3 days (up to 4 days) twice a day of 400 milligrams up until the event.

Nitates can come in a few different forms, but the supplements I’ve used are beetroot – either beetroot shots or beetroot juice. It’s definitely an acquired taste. You can also just add beet juice and a generally high intake of leafy greens in your diet.

4. Sodium Bicarbonate

I actually used this for the first time right before a race, which was probably not the best way to do it – because it’s absolutely disgusting! It is quite literally sodium bicarbonate that you can buy in the supermarket, and it’s super cheap. Put it in water and add some juice to make it a bit more palatable.

Sodium bicarbonate is an extracellular lactate buffer, and when combined with beta alanine is amazing. Once again, it helps you push harder for longer without getting the build-up and burn in your muscles.

You take about 0.2 to 0.4 grams per kilogram body weight, 60-90 minutes before your session. Generally, I recommend taking about 18 grams with around 20-40 grams of carbohydrates 90 minutes before your session. Make sure to test it at home on a turbo first, as it can cause GI distress – and if you’re particularly sensitive, you don’t to be out on your bike yourself

5. HGH Supplements

Finally, the last category on the list is also the most controversial: HGH supplements. Human growth hormone, also known as somatotropin, is a natural anabolic agent that’s secreted by the pituitary gland that stimulates cell reproduction and regeneration.

Increased HGH levels have been associated with many beneficial health benefits, including gains in lean muscle mass, a decrease in body fat, and enhanced physical performance. Obviously, these are all extremely positive benefits when it comes to cycling.

In the United States, HGH is only legally available by a doctor’s prescription, which is difficult to get, and has the potential for certain health risks. Its use has also been banned by every major sports-governing body and is classified as a performance-enhancing drug (PED).

Luckily, you can naturally increase your own body’s production of human growth hormone with HGH supplements. These products are formulated with a wide variety of legal ingredients, but will usually contain things like vitamins, amino acids, and herbal extracts, among others.

One HGH increaser that I use is GenF20 Plus, which greatly improved my results. For those seeking other natural versions of legal performance enhancing drugs, I recommend CrazyBulk products.

So there’s your five supplements to super-charge your cycling. These are all natural, but be sensible and consult a medical professional before trying them. Everything on this list has been proven scientifically to work. Let us know in the comments what supplements you use for cycling and if we missed any really good ones.


Can cycling really cause sexual dysfunction in men?

This topic has been increasingly discussed and debated in recent years, but studies do show that men who engage in prolonged bicycle riding without a proper saddle fit may be at risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED), especially in older men. However, this risk is dependent upon several factors, such as weekly number of cycling hours, the cyclist’s weight and skill level, and the bike’s fit.

Erectile Dysfunction – What is it?

Erectile dysfunction (also referred to as “impotence”) is a condition marked by the continual inability to attain or keep an erection firm enough to engage in sexual intercourse. Normally, the cause for ED is health-related, such as heart disease, low testosterone levels, diabetes, atherosclerosis, neurological conditions and chronic alcohol consumption. Smoking, obesity, and an inactive lifestyle are the most common examples.

How Can Bicycles Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Besides the health conditions listed above, there can be physical causes for ED when damage occurs to the nerves, muscles, blood vessels or tissues associated with getting an erection. Long-term perineal pressure (the area between the anus and penis) caused by prolonged cycling in the same saddle position can create this type of damage and lead to temporary ED. However, if the underlying problem is not addressed the damage to penile tissues could become permanent.

Some of the factors which contribute to bicycle-related erectile dysfunction include the style of saddle used, the cyclist’s weight (more weight equals more perineal pressure), and how intense the cycling is. Cyclists who race tend to have a lower risk for developing this type of ED because so much of their body weight is distributed to the pedals, relieving much of the saddle pressure.

What Are the Symptoms of Bicycle ED?

Reduced blood flow to the perineum causes pain, numbness or tingling in the perineum long before men develop ED. If you don’t have problems with pain, numbness or tingling, stop worrying and enjoy your ride. If you do have pain, address the problem before it gets worse.

Some symptoms of constricted perineal bloodflow include pain, tingling or numbness. These signs will manifest well before any ED issues come along. Luckily, for those who do develop symptoms of bicyle erectile dysfunction, reversing the condition before permanent problems occur is not difficult. If you don’t have any of these symptoms, don’t worry about it and enjoy the ride. However, if you do experience any pain or numbness, take the necessary measures to correct it before things get worse.

How to Prevent ED From Cycling

If you’re a guy experiencing numbness, pain or discomfort while riding your bike, try using the tips below:

  • For longer rides, try standing on the pedals every so often to stretch the legs and allow bloodflow to return to normal.
  • Keep in mind to alternate your position often as you ride, by standing and shifting back or forward as necessary.
  • Make adjustments to the saddle in order to minimize pressure points.
  • Try using a “no-nose” seat, or a seat with a cut-out area to eliminate excess perineal pressure.
  • Ironically, seats with a too much padding can actually create more pressure and numbness; use something that’s on the firm side.
  • To avoid unnecessary pressure, remember to always tilt the saddle downward or level, not in an upward position.
  • Raise the handlebars if necessary in order to prevent leaning forward too much.
  • Make sure to wear high-quality cycling shorts with a good pad.
  • Position the seat just high enough so your knee is only slightly bent with the pedal

What Type of Bike Saddle to Use

Fortunately, there are more saddle designs and styles to choose from than ever before. One type available is a saddle with a cut out area in the middle which dramatically decreases pressure on the perineum and penile tissues. Studies have shown that this design is effective and many riders have found them to be superior in comfort when compared to traditional seats.

Other seats not only have a cut out middle section, but a nose which faces downward as well. Research has indicated that this design in particular seems to be best at reducing any restriction of penile bloodflow.

Other studies have also shown a benefit from using a wider saddle compared to a narrow one. According to computer analysis, the rider’s weight is more evenly distributed on a wider saddle, reducing more pressure on the perineal area relative to a narrower saddle.

By keeping a few of these guidelines in mind you’ll save yourself from any potential problems down the road and enjoy more comfortable riding, too.

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