You mention two important points I should have made, too: like you, I also get up at 5:00–5:30 am and train in the morning. So I haven’t eaten for about 10 hours. And I do vary the carb intake by feel depending on the workout type. Usually that amounts to 85–90 g/h for endurance workouts and 95–110 g/h for hard workouts. If the workouts are shorter, the average tends to skew on the higher side.
No, unless your FTP is <<200 W. 100 g of carbs correspond to about 400 kCal. At about 210 W you burn 780 kCal per hour. Even at 150 W average power, you’d burn more calories than you take in. More precisely, you’d still run a calorie deficit of 140 kCal per hour.
Yes, although that’s assuming you have enough time between your breakfast and your workout. Bananas are great workout food, although I don’t like to eat them during workouts because I don’t know what to do with the peels. (I am not a basketballer, so they’d just land on some random spot on the floor even if I had a trashcan nearby.)
yeah, the OP said 425-550kCal/hr burn on these high calorie burn workouts (vo2max / sweetspot / etc.) and fueling at about 300kCal/hr. I think guess that means <200w FTP. I would imagine that the hourly burn for endurance rides is less than the stated 425kCal/hr. It could be considered ideal to fuel at the same rate as expenditure, but with people advising pushing to 90-110g/hr the OP might even be at a surplus on endurance rides.
I’m not saying don’t fuel or cut it dramatically, but this whole idea of not scaling fuel intake to FTP / calorie burn blows my mind. A person with a 400w FTP has different fueling needs from someone with a 200w FTP. I can understand trying to max out intake for the 400w FTP person as their gut probably isn’t going to let them take in 250g/hr and they will always be losing ground, but different situation for 200w FTP person.
I commented above on fueling 120 g / hr for harder workouts. For reference, all of those workouts I’m burning 720-890 KCal / hr at my FTP and taking in 480 / hr. Even my Z2 workout today I burned 650 KCal and would have run a deficit, but elected not to fuel for that as I did it at lunchtime and had breakfast earlier.
I definitely agree don’t take in more than you burn.
You make a valid point: if the burn rate is 425–550 kCal/h, you are likely talking about a rider with a low FTP. Also, it is more likely that the rider weighs less and thus, can consume less.
It is for that reason that I’d expect/aim for a slightly lower consumption (e. g. 80 g/h on hard rides and 70ish g/h on easier rides). Plus, GI distress is a thing and you need to train your gut and experiment with various fuel sources. For sure I would not recommend fasting on endurance rides or to cut your carb intake to 40 g/h.
But I wouldn’t worry about a calorie surplus. Even at the burn rates given here, the OP would not have a calorie surplus if he took in 100 g/h (about 400 kCal/h). It is pretty much impossible for a trained cyclist to have a calorie surplus for longer workouts when they work Z2 and up.
You are not alone, I’m trying to cut 3 kg, too. But dieting on the bike is a bad idea, because (to quote Frank Overton from FasCat Coaching) 80 % of the dieting is off the bike. In my experience, it is much easier to have a steady, maintainable calorie deficit when I fuel all of my rides.
Believe me, I understand your logic perfectly. In the past, I was you!I did what you are proposing here in the past, thinking it’d make me a better cyclist, too. And it did not work as well as fueling properly. My FTP (absolute and specific) was about 12 % lower and I was often ravenous after hard workouts. I was so hungry, I ate half a loaf of bread. Especially during rest weeks and in the beginning of the off-season I’d gain weight, because it’d take my body 1–2 weeks to adjust to my changed calorie expenditure. Now my breakfast after training is more or less the same no matter what kind of workout I have. In fact, I have a full stomach already, so my appetite is moderate.
If you want more infor, have a look at the thread that I linked to earlier as it addressed weight loss and fueling specifically: the overwhelming consensus is that you should not cut calories while on the bike if you want to lose weight.
They say discussing nutrition/diet/eating is a bit like discussing religion! There is no universal truth… everyone needs to experiment and figure out what works for them. For performance give me a 60g carb bottle (Gu Roctane) an hour and start eating real food at the two hour mark. That’s what works for me!
There’s little question that taking in 90-100g/hr on every single ride will at least not be a detriment to performance, if not aid it. I’m firmly in the camp that for my 3+ hour rides, I fuel at that level. I do not “diet on the bike.” Instead, I recognize that even if I try to take in 90g of carbs on today’s 1hr ride, much of that 90g of carbs isn’t impacting the ride because it’s simply not being absorbed while I’m riding. So let’s say half of it is… 45g of carbs going in, bonus… but that other 45g… on an off day, do you sit around and pour 1/4c of table sugar in your mouth? Of course you don’t. It’s not healthy.
Instead, you could take in half that amount, then eat two bananas immediately after the ride. Same caloric intake, same grams of carbs, one is actually beneficial for your health and certainly won’t impact your recovery.
There’s an overall health perspective here that I’m taking. I can’t willingly throw a blanket “performance” on every single ride and pretend I need that much sugar. I frankly think it’s a mistake to do so.
Lots of people are throwing around the word “properly” as pertains to fueling their rides and just talking about one single (large) number. The reality could be - I’d argue that it is - that “properly” means tailoring it to the ride duration and intensity rather than just throwing the same amount of gasoline on the fire no matter how big you might need that fire to burn that day.
On top of this, a lot of people also take in recovery drinks and such, so there’s the real possibility with this “new” mindset of always fuel at high levels that you’ll get someone downing 400 calories worth of sugar on a one hour .7IF ride and then taking in another 300 calories of mostly sugar immediately after. They then look at it and say “I burned 800 calories on the ride, so I’m golden!”
That just doesn’t make any sense at all. Where those calories come from matters, and if you can get it from real food without affecting performance, you’re going to be better off 100 times out of 100.
My advice is to not try to throw a single number out there so you don’t have to think, but instead thoughtfully consider what you really need to perform during your ride, and then take that in. Then rely on real food before and after as much as possible.
Dr Alex thinks most people are over doing by fueling every ride at this level and also isn’t what he personally does. Varying carb intake for the type of ride and duration is easy to figure out and as others have already summarized above emphasizing before/after nutrition as well as throughout the day nutrition is arguably more important and also IMO mpre essential for finding the right caloric balance in life.
This needs to be posted 100x. I feel like especially for cyclists there is an unhealthy relationship with food by overthinking it from both ends. Enjoy your food. Fuel when appropriate. If you’re worried about calories to this extent where you are micromanaging calories and timing every day you’re going to end up in bad place. The pros arent even doing this
I get what you want to say, but I don’t think it is that simple. How are you supposed to know what “fueling appropriately” means when you don’t have the experience? Some people thought they were over fueling when they would be running a calorie deficit even if they took in more.
Fueling is an essential of our sport and something you have to learn if you want to become good. So I don’t think it is right to say “Don’t worry about it!” I completely agree with the sentiment “Don’t obsess over it!”, though.
I don’t want to put words into his mouth. I linked to a related thread for a more nuanced discussion with a broader set of voices. I singled Alex out, because his posts are almost always worth reading carefully.
Finally someone who mentions eating off the bike… First 20+ answers in this thread haven’t even mentioned that.
The key to nailing workouts isn’t by fuelling 80-90g of carbs for 60-90min on the bike, eating properly before (the evening before and the morning of) is key.
The reason why 80+g of carbs for each workout is pushed for so hard by the TR team is because most people don’t know how to eat properly for the type of training we do, so it lowers the number of failed workouts.
Its not that hard to fuel properly by eating right, but it needs some conscious choices in food choice the evening before a ride, for breakfast etc.
For example, you have a 90min threshold ride tomorrow
Am I riding today, if yes, then I need to eat plenty before and after that ride, especially during dinner. Plenty of pasta/white rice.
The morning of the ride, you need plenty of carbs, plan your breakfast accordingly. Look at how many carbs your breakfast has. If you’re having oatmeal you’re likely to get too full before you get enough in. My go to is either pancakes or 3-4 pieces of toast with some honey/jam on 1.5-2 hours before the ride.
Are you having a rest day the day after the hard workout, or easy ride like Pettit? Then cut back the carbs and focus more on protein.
Always keep unnecessary fats low. If you are fuelling properly with carbs and protein, you have to sacrifice some of that unnecessary fat, otherwise you’ll end up taking in too many calories.
Final thing, for any endurance ride under 90min, you don’t need carbs if you have eaten properly the day before and the morning off. You have enough glycogen stored.
But anything over 90min and/or any types of intervals, you really have to plan your intake.
Off the bike you can eat healthy whole foods on the bike you are stuck with tooth rotting simple carbs. If you race I’d start training fueling for the race during specialty and stay away from a continuous feed of simple carbs when you are on your bike unless you don’t care about your teeth of course