Main menu


Cycling nutrition - what and when to eat on the bike

The basics of circular nutrition are simple and can be summarized in two questions. What and when?we chat eat my ride CEO Joram Kolf and nutritionist Lisa Nijbroek examine.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Joram Kolf, CEO of eat my ridean app designed to help cyclists do this (complete nutrition) and Lisa Nijbroek, a nutritionist who works with many professional teams including EatMyRide and Quick-step Alpha Vinyl, asked them : What do you need to know to fuel? Efficient?

you should eat carbs

Start with the most important aspects. carbohydrate. As cyclists, we primarily use carbs for fuel, so think twice before starting a keto diet. is unlikely to burn all of its reserves.

Carbohydrates are a whole other thing. You can only store a limited amount of carbs, and emptying those stores can result in “hitting a wall”. Carbohydrates can be stored.

Generally, carbohydrates can be divided into dietary fiber, starch, and sugar. For athletes (aspirants or professionals), sugar is the primary source of energy during exercise. glucose and fructose. Our bodies can process and take in different amounts of each of these at any given time. Mixed is always preferred.


Ideally, you aim to consume the optimal amount of carbs during your ride, but sometimes this amount can be very high. You’re burning a combination, and the percentage of each depends on the intensity of your workout.On a hard ride, you can burn up to 400% more carbs.”

The maximum amount of carbohydrates you can consume per hour is a hot potato topic, but 90 grams is often considered the upper limit per hour. Aim for 30g per serving. For reference, a medium banana contains about 25 grams of carbohydrates, half of which are fructose and glucose.

You need a nutrition plan and gut training

“Try eating 90g of carbs for three hours on a bike. If you’ve never done it, you’re probably going to have digestive issues,” says Korff.

If you’ve ever ridden too soon after a meal or eaten too many jelly babies, you know the feeling of wanting to sit on the potty rather than the saddle. That’s why you should train your nutrition plan as much as you train your fitness on the bike: without training he won’t run 100 miles (100 miles). The same applies to nutrition.

Consuming the maximum amount of carbs on a long, intensive ride takes a toll on your digestive system, and it takes a toll on your taste buds as consuming the same flavor for hours on end can become boring. Our bodies are technically capable of utilizing a ton of carbs per hour, but without practice we don’t know how. So a sudden heavy consumption in a race won’t give you the best results. You should already implement and test your nutrition plan on your training rides.

Giro Stage 10 Ride - Eat cake.jpeg

Giro Stage 10 Ride – Eat Cakes.jpeg by Dave Atkinson

Start with 30g of carbs per hour and increase on subsequent rides to find the perfect balance. This way, you can also test different products to find the best fit, rather than bombard your system.

When choosing a fuel source, Nijbroek recommends using a mixture. Not only does this mean incorporating different textures, but it also means combining solid foods with liquids, and you don’t want to consume just one product, especially on long rides, says Nijbroek. emphasizes Mr. If you rely on bars, in a 3-hour ride he’ll be using 9 bars, which isn’t very appealing.

Once you’ve trained your gut to tolerate heavy carbs, your fueling regimen could be, say, 1 bar, 1 gel, and 1 sports drink an hour. :1 ratio, which is to inform consumers that the three products are almost equal to 90g,” he explains Nijbroek.

Don’t use just one brand and one product

2022 Fidlock Bottle Mount orcc recommends.jpg

Rather than using just one brand or type of product to meet your energy needs, you should aim for nutritional flexibility. At the event, you may only be able to resupply with brands you have never tried. This can cause problems if the body has never eaten the same type of product before.New products.

“Limiting yourself to one brand is dangerous. For example, if you’re going to a race with a nutritional partner, the number of carbs may vary, so it’s difficult if you’re always training with a different brand. They may have different fructose ratios, some brands are simply better than others,” explains Nijbroek.

But experimenting with different brands will not only help you adapt your body to use them effectively, but it will also help you find flavors and products you like. There are a thousand, and sometimes what works for your friend may not work for you at all.

Whether you consume more liquids or just bars and gummies comes down to personal preference, but planning your fuel intake in both liquids and solids is an advantage. Sports drinks may not be available on some rides. This means you may be restricted to solid foods to meet your energy needs.


By putting energy products in your drink, you can efficiently refuel when conditions heat up, whether it’s before the final sprint, before a big climb, or when you’re riding off-road in general. The product gives you over 80 grams of carbs in a single bottle, Corfu says. Taking a sip from a bottle may be a lot easier than unwrapping a bar or squeezing a gel. hydration and carbohydrate intake.

When it comes to staying hydrated, Nijbroek stresses the importance of filling your bottle with more than just water. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have a support team to hand us a bottle of carb mix halfway through the ride. Note that it will disappear.

“That means you have to make up for it by eating more, but many people forget that and end up overeating,” Nybrook sums up.


2022 nutrition-11.jpg

2022 Nutrition-11.jpg by Svi Loponen

I see professional riders eating breakfast 2-3 hours before the race, and that’s what you should aim for as well. Be prepared to fuel your mind and body with plenty of time between meals and rides. If you still feel very full at the start of your ride, you probably didn’t eat enough during your ride.

“Eating just before you hop on the bike increases the risk that your body won’t have time to store all the carbs and is still busy digesting your breakfast,” says Nijbroek.

2022 nutrition-14.jpg

2022 Nutrition-14.jpg by Svi Loponen

Using technology to remind you to eat and drink regularly is a great way to fuel up on your bike. Various apps and widgets can be downloaded to the head unit. Many have built-in nutrition timers that can be adjusted to suit your riding style, intensity and personal preferences.

If you don’t have a cycling computer or smartwatch, Nijbroek recommends eating every 30 minutes.

make your own ride hood

2022 nutrition-13.jpg

2022 Nutrition-13.jpg by Svi Loponen

We all know that consuming only gels and bars can take a toll on your wallet, so making your own ride food is not only fun, it saves you money. If you want it to be perfect, you have to be a little more careful about what you put in it.

“At least one of the benefits of making homemade products is that you don’t get bored with sports brand products. But when making your own, it’s really hard to know how many carbs are in one slice of banana bread. [for example]adds Nijbroek.

She emphasizes that it’s relatively easy to use nutrition apps to calculate the nutritional value of homemade foods.

Nijbroek recommends using homemade products for training rides and low-intensity races. Maintaining a proper glucose to fructose ratio is essential in high intensity and demanding races. This will ensure that you are on the podium.

hit the sweet shelf

Homemade doesn’t just mean baking cakes or making mochi by yourself. Goods for cycling can be found at your nearest supermarket, which usually sells sweets and baked goods. Gummy bear packages and mini croissants with chocolate are standard. If you’re looking for something high in carbs, look for icing sugar or marzipan.


But like any homemade product, buying non-sport products means you should only get what you need and not too much of anything else. For example, many fitness bars contain high levels of protein and fat (often in the form of nuts), which Corfu emphasizes can actually delay carb intake. Yes.

measure statistics

2021 coros apex pro heart rate time.jpg
2021 coros apex pro heart rate .jpg by Liam Mercer

Knowing the numbers is very helpful to get a solid picture of your nutrition. Heart rate zones, power zones, normal sedentary calorie requirements, fat percentage, perspiration and more. Not all of these are essential, but even just measuring a few of them can help you better plan your nutrition.

For example, Nijbroek highlighted the topic of sweating.

If you’re lucky, you might sweat very little, or you might break a bucket of sweat and need to drink a lot of water on every ride. We all sweat, says Nijbroek, but how much we sweat is largely based on genetics, and also on external conditions such as the weather.

Is nutrition different for off-road riding?

2022 yt coupler core 2 riding 7.jpg

Is there anything I should be aware of when driving off-road? Both Corfu and Nybroke say the basics are the same in any field. However, there are some things to consider.

For example, when you’re riding gravel, it’s bumpy, rocky, and sometimes swampy, and getting your nutrition can be your biggest stumbling block. is very difficult.


Similarly, some terrain may not allow you to hold anything in your hands. So keeping fuel in your drink is probably the easiest solution. Unless, as is often the case in mountain bike circles, you want to stop eating.

Overall, it’s important to take your time and find the refueling strategy that works best for you. “It’s not true that if you’re a good athlete, you know a lot about nutrition,” emphasizes Joram Kolf.

You’ll probably also like: