A cross-sectional study of 2550 amateur cyclists shows lack of knowledge regarding relevant sports nutrition guidelines
Background: Amateur cyclists use a wide variety of supplements and nutritional substances to increase performance in addition to their training.
Objectives: The intended nutritional supplement use, carbohydrate (CHO) use and hydration practices of amateur cyclists before, during and after endurance cycling were analysed. Evidence of ignorance regarding the use of sports supplements and CHO, as well as the disregard of hydration strategy was hypothesised.
Methods: Amateur cyclists, of all age and sex groups, were requested to complete an online survey anonymously on the 2013 Momentum 94.7 Cycle Challenge website, a few days before the event.
Results: Responses were received from 2 550 out of 30 640 race entrants (8%); representing a distribution of 75% males, 25% females, with the majority between 25 to 45 years old. Nutritional supplements were used by 59% of respondents, with 77% dose adherence, and 29% with supplement ingredient knowledge. Half of the respondents (48%) planned to carbo-load two-three days before the event, while only five percent used professional advice to scientifically calculate their carbo-loading requirements. CHO were consumed by 81% during the event. Hydration preferences during the race were sports drinks (59%) and water (22%); and after the race 45% preferred a sports drink and 40% water. Ingredients, taste, colour, and temperature were criteria used to choose a sports drink. Only 18% of respondents knew to use both colour of urine and thirstiness to determine post-race fluid requirements.
Conclusion: The authors concluded that amateur cyclists had insufficient knowledge regarding nutritional supplement ingredients and usage, CHO requirements and carbo-loading practices, and hydration strategies before, during and after the event.
Keywords: ergogenic aids, nutritional supplements, carbohydrate use