Carbs per hour recommendations - Help me wrap my head around it

First of all - I am absolutely no expert on this but I would have thought if you are getting through your workouts feeling OK, not feeling the need to binge on food later on in the day or losing weight if you don’t want to, then there is little or nothing wrong with your fuelling. Everyone is different as regards the ratio of fat & carbs that they burn at different intensities. I found this the other day which I found very helpful. Fat Oxidation in Athletes: High Carbohydrate versus High Fat Diet - Glut4 Science
One of the advantages I understand of eating any extra carbs whilst on the bike is they get utilised better for energy and/or replenishing glycogen stores and so have little left to convert to fat. It’s something to do with the insulin response being muted during exercise.

I feel you completely. I’ve been doing this for quite a number of years and some of this is scientific, some anecdotal. You will need to increase the available fuel at some point, and simple sugars allows that. I would not try and go to the deep end and hog on 90g per hour straight away - this is not necessary. Get some haribo or, even better, portable fruits, and eat a small amount every 15 mins. 60g (carbs) per hour is completely enough for the time being - the 90g thing is very recent and requires some faff. As far as I’m concerned a lot of the advice given around here does not align with long-term health - there is simply no supporting long-term study on this and quite frankly, a lot of us do not burn the fuel high-level athletes do. Keep up with the well-rounded diet!!! :slight_smile:

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Some gels or bars really messes up my intestines and sometimes I will get a high and then drop off so I have to carb up again. In the past month I have been using UCAN, a slow release carb and so far it is working out really well. I will take 1 scoop 30 min before the workout and depending on intensity and duration, I may take another scoop right after the warm up period. I used to avoid carbs but with high intensity 2 hour sessions, it gets pretty difficult for sustained energy levels, especially with a Sweet Spot MV or HV training plan. Proper fueling will reduce the stress to the body and help maximize return on workouts.

No. But you’d benefit from doing so.

Maybe! You may be adapting nicely without it. You’d probably adapt even faster with it.

Increased carb consumption during training and the high glycogen replenishment that results independently promotes increased production of the enzymes used in the aerobic metabolism of carbs for energy during training. This promotes more rapid increases in 1- to 60-minute power bests, especially those in the 3- to 20-min range.

Recommendation: Dump sugar in your bottles. Eat more carbs in general. Performance is likely to improve even faster than it currently is.


@Dr_Alex_Harrison After hard training or even when the training session has been late on the evening i often suffer night sweats. Also the the need to urinate during he night increases. I have considered that this is due to low blood sugar etc and is linked to inadequate carbohydrate intake.
Is this something you haves even or can comment on?

Sounds like a very reasonable assessment. Timing and magnitude of post-workout carb consumption becomes more important as workouts move later in the day.


  1. Fuel well during training.
  2. Eat immediately after training. Carbs!
  3. Eat plenty of carbs asap, to restock lost glycogen and prevent blood sugar crashing from muscles vacuuming up all the sugar out of your blood in a midnight effort to restock their glycogen.

Doing all the above can reduce sleep latency (time taken to fall asleep) and reduce wakefulness during the night.

My personal strategy for mitigating urination demand at night: consume more sodium in final 4 hours pre-bed especially if substantial sweat loss happened recently.

I’m not sure the urination demand, and the sweats, are related. Sodium for the first. Carbs for the second. That’s my guess, anyway.


I use UCANN because fast carbs in gel packs and bars wreak havoc on my GI tract.

How much sodium do you take in the four hours before bed @Dr_Alex_Harrison?

As much as I can palate on my food. No idea honestly. I’m usually very calculated, but not in this case.

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It’s an interesting approach. I’ve done a quick consultation with Dr Google, which appears to suggest that increased/excessive sodium intake contributes to frequent nocturnal trips to the bathroom*. A classic case of YMMV?

  • I’ve only scanned the headlines of online articles and glanced through the articles. I haven’t read any of the papers or studies related to research in this area.

it kinda depends, which is probably not a helpful answer.
You want the salt concentration to be about the same level as your body~9g/l. Like when you get a saline drip its about 9g/l conc. If what you drink is too low in salt, you’ll need to urinate to maintain that level because you are diluting your blood concentration, but if you eat too much salt then it draws water to the kidneys to flush the excess salt.

It gets a little more complicated when carbs are involved also but that is probably a good place to start

Nah, a classic case of over-generalized advice resulting in opposite conclusions and recommendations.

Consuming lots of sodium all day, then presumably drinking plenty of water to match the thirst that follows, will absolutely lead to increased urination at night.

Consuming fluid and sodium as normal all day, then increasing sodium in the 2-4-hrs pre-bed, without a concomitant increase in fluid intake will result in fluid retention overnight and less need to urinate.

Do not drink 9g/L sodium in straight fluid form.

I mean… you CAN. :joy: :innocent: But the result will not be fun. It’ll have a strong osmotic effect and work like MiraLax or any other osmotic laxative, plus some gut cramps. Don’t ask how I know.


hmm I guess the absorption of water and salt would occur at different rates here, didn’t do the math last night but that makes sense haha

I failed to think beyond your recommendation when I first tried hyperosmolar sodium too. About 3 minutes after consuming, my stomach encouraged me to start crunching numbers. Was remarkably fast. So fast of a gut response that I thought it must have been a placebo… until I was sure my gut was unhappy.

This was at rest. During exercise, I’m sure it would have been infinitely worse.


Lol. I live where it’s really humid and hot and i tried something similar on an outdoor ride. I have been here. :man_facepalming:

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I see now my error when comparing to a whole bag of potato chips…which I’m currently eating and has about 150mg per serving


My 2 cents

I recently started to fuel during rides, I mainly do 60min workouts first thing in the morning (sans breakfast) and my fuelling rate varies depending on the type of workout and intensity rate. For endurance rides I don’t fuel much at all, maybe 20-30g. Sweet spot and above however, I try hit 60g/hr.

If you are into counting calories then look at the amount of energy you will burn and fuel appropriately.

I should also point out that I’m trying to drop a few kgs so I need to have some sort of calorie deficit, but also need to ensure I can get through workouts. I have a high level of compliance with workouts, a few months ago there is no way I could complete the types of workouts that I’m doing now (3 by 20min SS), and with a 12% increase in my ftp.

Start with small doses, see how you feel and monitor changes in weight (if that’s important to you).

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i know this thread is a month old but… two 15 calorie nuun tablets for a ride over 90 minutes? You’re basically not fueling. save your money.

I like the lime nuun tablets, and I’ll use them on easy rides (petit, something to sip during strength workouts or shorter runs), but my experience has been that its just not enough otherwise.

but I’m also IM training now. so maybe I’m biased. On long indoor rides I do 1 gel every 45 minutes, a bottle of gatorade endurance per hour, and experimenting with another solid (those stupid waffles at the moment!). Something as simple as upping my intake on the bike has made such a difference.


Wow, I’m on the exact opposite end of the spectrum here. I just did Pettit with 120g of carbs for that easy 1hr workout.

I’ve done the whole “not fueling” thing before and while it’s tolerable, man do I feel so much better later on in the day/evening! Give it a try.


one of the workouts in my plan, maybe even it is Petit, does talk about the fact that you may *not * need to fuel during the workout. I think you’ll undoubtedly feel better with the higher intake, but I find it not always necessary, especially based on time of day and/or what/when my most recent meal was.

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