Women's Nutrition

Ok, I’ve been following a lot of the threads on nutrition, but I think that with very few exceptions a lot of the discussions are by men. Nothing wrong with that, but I’ve found enough differences as a woman (especially now that I’m over 40) that I thought it might be worth starting a separate thread. In particular, fasted workouts don’t work for me. I know they’re very popular here by a lot of guys, particularly to try to lose weight, but I’ve found that they just don’t work for me, even for easy rides. My body just doesn’t seem to behave favorably to them.

Also, this article was pretty interesting about how women’s bodies behave differently with beet juice vs men’s. No real conclusions other than “more study needed”, but it’s interesting to see the analysis.

Anyway, I thought that maybe other women would want to chime in with your thoughts on nutrition, since, as Stacy Sims is fond of saying, we are not small men. I certainly am finding my mid-40s to be challenging, and am rereading ROAR and considering further diet changes.


The fasted workout bit is particularly interesting (really the sex differences between physiological responses to elevated cortisol, generally). It seems like such an easy win, and it gets written up in such a gender-neutral way, it would never have occurred to me that it’s (generally) male-specific.

Personally since reading ROAR I’ve started slamming protein and avoiding gels. :muscle: (And feeling mildly concerned about not owning a set of kettlebells, heh.)


Um, I used to ride 2.5 hour to work before eating/breakfast. Seemed to work for me. :thinking:

To be honest I think differences in what is needed in nutrition are greater between individuals than generalised between men and women. But that’s not to say it isn’t worth having this discussion, especially in a male-dominted sport like cycling. I’m just not very keen on generalisations when it comes to eating. :blush:


Sure, generalizations will never fit every individual, by definition! That said, research is finally being done into how women respond to exercise and nutrition, and given the option I’ll make that my starting point, instead of borrowing generalizations for an entirely different physiology.

I agree, nutrition is definitely individual, but there do seem to be general differences between men and women. Also, I’m finding that as I’m getting older, things are tilting more towards what Stacy says, rather than before. 5 years ago, I used to be able to do 1.5 hr intense VO2max workouts fasted… then I started eating a bit of yogurt/honey before workouts and that seemed to be better. I tried it again fasted a couple of years ago and found it just didn’t work (no energy). I can still go out and do easy rides fasted, but I find that I feel a lot better with the same bit of yogurt/honey. And I feel better through the day if I didn’t do it fasted, and I’m less hungry through the day if I didn’t do it fasted.

Mostly I just thought it would be nice to open the conversation. :slight_smile:


Thanks for getting us started. I’ve read Roar twice and a lot of it resonates, but some of it doesn’t.

I agree with you about fasted workouts. These days I hardly ever ride or run fasted but most of my swim workouts are fasted. I definitely notice a difference in my pep-level on the few occasions I swim non-fasted.

I’m with you there. It took me a long time to get over her enormous rant about birth control pills. I’ve noticed she’s taken a slightly less-hard line on her FB posts, but it’s still annoying. Most women I know are on hormonal birth control for the BIRTH CONTROL part of it. (Ok, I guess I’m not completely over it…)

I find talking with others to hear what works for them to be interesting, and Roar is another good resource, just not a bible. Mostly it’s trial and error to figure out what works for me.


Hahaha, that was exactly the part that rubbed me up the wrong way! I understand that hormonal BC doesn’t work for everyone but it works for me. Lay off my personal choices Stacy.

Not a nutrition question per se, but a what I put in my body question. How do you ladies find you do with metabolising alcohol? I stopped drinking for the 8 weeks of the specialty block leading up to my race and my impression (really should have done DEXAs to confirm) was that I lost some fluff around the midsection.

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Since I started structured training in February, it kills my sleep. I don’t remember it being a problem before, but I’ll fall asleep relatively quickly, then sleep terribly and wake up multiple times. It’s depressing, I’ve sort of stopped drinking and I freaking love a good sour.


Newbie here to TrainerRoad forum - what is Roar? Will look into it.

And yes, a bittersweet thing - cutting out the alcohol has helped around my midsection.


Roar is a book: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/592889/roar-by-stacy-t-sims-phd/9781623366865/

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@ambermalika Thank you for your prior participation in the TR Forum. Perhaps you may have input on @dhellman thread on Women’s Nutrition?

Unfortunately I don’t drink enough to be able to make any real comments about alcohol. I wish that it were as easy as cutting out alcohol to be able to lose weight for me… no low-hanging fruit like that for me at this point (no soda, no alcohol…). I’m trying fewer snacks right now.

I use roar as a reference as well .


Personally, I don’t find fasting has a positive effect on my training results.
I’ve been contemplating getting Roar.
I’ll give it a read…
Great thread :smiley:

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Hi, late to this convo but I just finished reading Roar. I’m 45 years old and was especially interested in her chapters on hormones and diet for masters age women. My issue is that I am vegan (I’ve been vegetarian since age 10, vegan for the past 15 years) and can’t seem to take in even close to the recommended daily grams of protein as suggested in Roar and other publications. I decided to track my daily nutrition for a few weeks to see where I fall and the most I could seem to get was 85g, most often I am around 65g, nowhere near the 120g recommended in Roar. It seems that I would have to take in a lot of extra calories to get close to that number. I’m neither trying to lose or gain weight, just wanted to improve the quality of my diet but my main protein sources of nuts, quinoa, beans, protein powder, are also pretty high in calories. Anyone in the same boat with some suggestions on increasing protein? thx

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I’m not vegan for the reason you described. I eat free range chicken and fish (hopefully ethically sourced).
I use Huel as a convenient meal or if I can’t think what to eat and don’t want to eat junk.
I don’t use flavours as they have artificial sweeteners. I put a teaspoon of manuka honey in and I don’t have it as thick as they suggest. My partner likes it as it is, unflavored

Thanks @Bullseye I will check it out. Had never heard of that product.