Finding the balance between taking in enough energy to fuel those long weekend rides, but not taking in too much so that you can shift those couple of kgs you've been looking to get rid of for a while can be tricky. We enlist the help of nutritionist Joanne Hart who sheds some light on the most effective way of dropping weight while still fuelling your body for exercise.

food on the bike lose weight ed

Q: I am trying to lose a couple of kgs at the moment. There are so many different diets out there. What is the best approach to drop the weight but maintain my energy for my cycling?

"Energy is mainly provided by carbohydrates, and its carbohydrates that are generally the ones you’ll need to manage for weight loss. Assuming you mainly cycle at the weekend or a couple of times a week then you can split your diet plan into two parts; part one is your normal daily eating and part two is the food you need to maintain your energy for cycling.

Part 1:

Normal daily eating towards weight loss:

For your carbohydrates choose slow releasing grains such as wholemeal rice, wholemeal pasta, quinoa, buckwheat, barley and oats. Aim for ¼ of your meal plate to be grains, accompany this by a ¼ plate protein (2 eggs, fish, meat, beans or pulses), and ½ plate of non -starch vegetables (green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, asparagus, tomatoes etc.).

Eat a small morning and afternoon snack such as a small palmful of nuts or seeds, this will help to reduce cravings and overeating. If you’re hungry during the day then start by increasing the amount of protein you eat (chicken, eggs, fish, meat, beans and pulses) and vegetables.

Part 2:

Evening ride or weekend ride:

If you feel like you need extra energy for an evening ride or weekend ride then you need to eat extra food on these days. You could have a larger afternoon snack like some cottage cheese and an apple, or a larger bowl of porridge and natural yoghurt. If you need to you could have a banana or some juice nearer the ride to provide faster releasing energy.

It can be tempting to treat ourselves after exercise and it's common to overestimate how many treats we deserve after some exercise. If this applies to you then try setting yourself non-food rewards like a long bath, new book or some shopping.

Also worth a read:

Refined vs Unrefined Carbohydrates

4 Common Myths about Protein Busted

5 Breakfasts to Keep you Fuller for Longer

Joanne Hart of health & hart is a Registered Nutritional Therapist, Yoga Teacher and Motivational Coach. She is a long time runner who has now got the cycling bug! Offering one-one consultations, consultancy and writing, you can contact Joanne at or , and follow her