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Nutrition key when pedal goes to metal

DUBAI // Health and nutrition are key to pedalling to a fitter future, experts told UAE Cycling Girls.

Crossfit coach Dalal Hamza spoke to the all-female cycling group recently after they completed a weekend ride at the Al Qudra track.

She cautioned against following diets that cut out vital foods.

“Some people conflate food with fat, and it is important to talk about this. All people think about is how to eat less, and girls have in their mind that they need to exercise and cut carbs to lose weight,” she said.

“I ask women to listen to their bodies. Other people can tell you to eat less carbs, but you know what works for your body.

The food in every household is different, so you cannot just cut something out. Eat from all food groups. Calcium and macro nutrients from carbohydrates, proteins and fat are important.”

Watching the women ride would motivate others, she said.

“The girls are more confident getting out with group cycling.

They feel safe knowing there is somebody who can guide them and this will bring more girls into cycling.” Samira Bu Humaid, a marketing executive with a car company, said the health session taught her that a balanced meal should be a part of her daily life.

“We should not call it a diet but think of good nutrition as part of our lifestyle. The talk helped me a lot because I need energy for my sport,” said Ms Bu Humaid, a horse riding enthusiast who recently joined the group.

“When I ride I feel weak. Now I know I need both proteins and fat. I learnt some important tips to gain strength.”

Co-founder Roudha Al Awadhi said they decided to include the health talk immediately after the weekend ride to strengthen the message. “We thought it would be more social to include health and nutrition advice while we were sitting together and eating after cycling.

“They must know that the diet of people doing sport differs. This is for better fitness so girls know how to take care of their bodies and themselves.”

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The National