Confused by nutrition tips on podcast 357

Hi all,

After listening to Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast 357, I’m confused by some tips about taking on carbs during a workout. Mainly if it’s applicable to less than 2 hours.

It’s in contradiction (or more I’ve misunderstood) to advice by Allen Lim in Feed Zone portables. Essentially your body has way more carbs stored than it’s going to need to complete a workout less than 2 hours.

So why should I eat during a workout of 2 hours or less. My assumption here is that I would eat 1-3 hours before a workout so carbs would be topped up.


Your muscle glycogen stores are roughly 1500-2000Kcal, it varies from individual to individual, I think the liver stores around 500Kcal. So, yes you can ‘get through’ a 60-120m workout with no intra-workout nutrition, but you are burning those stores which need to be replenished, if you do this regularly, you can see how chronic depletion may negatively impact your performance on subsequent sessions. There is a lot to this subject, it depends on intensity e.g. 2hrs endurance will use more fat relative to a 2hr sweetspot session.

As for pre-workout I would not eat with less than 2 hours before a session, you may experience rebound hypoglycaemia, where the insulin response + the increased demand from exercise makes your blood sugar plummet - essentially you feel awful.


or top up within 15 minutes before work out?


Technically you’re right. But in my experience, consuming carbs on the bike, even for 1 hour endurance rides, makes me feel better on the bike and after the ride. Also, there have been studies (this one has been mentioned on one the the podcasts, not sure which one tho) that suggest that just the taste of suger/carbs will decrease RPE.


Yep, I generally wait, and take a big gulp(s) (1/4-1/3 bottle) in the warmup stages of an intense session personally.

Thanks for the info all. The low blood sugar thing was something I’ve never heard before. It would be nice to remove that risk but it could be tough for early workouts which I prefer.

Would starting the workout with taking in some carbs be a way of handling this maybe? Or I guess I’ll have to toughen up and get up earlier to get a good breakfast in !

Yes, Asker Jeukendurp comes to mind:

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If I do a morning session, its usually around 5am, I just make a strong bottle(s) (60-90g carbs) the night before and keep in the fridge. I aim to fuel for ~50% of the calories of these sessions, as I am going in fasted. Seems to work for me!


This is a simple one in my eyes. No need for studies and papers. Do a ride fasted and then do the same ride with fuel and see if it makes a difference. It’s a massive difference for me, personally.

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This is worth a read:

Lots of info condensed into handy charts. Also includes links to recommendations for pre-ride and during-ride fueling.

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