Feed the workout =?

On recent podcasts , they repeated many times to feed the workout.
Aside from not starving yourself, what does it mean?

  • eat during the workout to match the kJ of a ride ?
  • just have a normal meal 2-3hours prior? same after?
  • Just Top off with 100-200 kCal of gel or liquid fuel/hour to avoid reaching bottom of glycogen reserves
  • does it depend which energy system I work on? eat carbs for vo2max and nothing during endurance to rely on fat?

I typically do not eat anything on bike rides/ workouts & runs below 1h. If I do, I believe I risk becoming a sugar engine instead of a fat-burning one. Above a hour, I eat.
In my ironman training & event, I’ve learned I can tolerate 550 kCal/hour over a 5h30 ride so I come off T2 with fuel in the tank but then there’s a marathon to do. If I eat a lot then I need to digest and cannot push up the workout pace too much.

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Almost ~80g carbs per hour depending on the effort level and duration. You don’t need a gel for Taku-1!

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  • No
  • Workout in the morning, but try to load a bit night before
  • Yes
  • Anything Sweet Spot and Up (inside - I do fuel outdoor spins which are circa 4 hours, but could be just endurance depending on route/ group make up!)

“fasted” normally means glycogen depleted in this context, rather than just not having eaten.

I generally have a carb bottle mix for sweet spot and above, 1 hour and above workouts. Not sure it really helps the workout, but RPE tends to be down, and recovery seems to be better.

While I appreciate Ambers and the podcasts point of view, I don’t generally match kj before and during, but do try to fuel somewhat. I like to have the wriggle room to make up for it after or on the coffee stop, as part of my overall diet!

Study of 1, but I’m eating more now than I ever have ON the bike during workouts and it’s had nothing but a positive effect with being able to do more work and at a lower RPE. Honestly I only tried doing this as a personal experiment because I read a couple articles about nutrition on the bike (and it was way more than I had been doing), and then paid more attention to how Nate publicly mentions he’s been fueling for rides.

Typically, for me:

  • I don’t eat during the workout to match kJ, but I can/do eat ~90g carbs/hr lately
  • I AIM to have a carb-centric meal 2-3 hours before. The reality is often the day gets away from me with work and I end up doing a workout 4-5 hours after that meal. I get through with a gel at the start, but I do notice the difference. And I make notes on every. single. ride. about when I last ate and what I ate during the ride/workout
  • 80-100g carbs per hour is my aim - a combo of gels, chews, & Skratch currently.
  • for me, nope. But as mentioned above, for Taku or Petit -1 or similar I’ll have a bottle with me to sip on but nothing more.

Disclaimer on that is everything I do is based around cycling performance, not ironman, so experiment during training and tweak accordingly?

Oh! If you haven’t, listen back a couple podcasts (I “think” 233, not positive) where Chad discusses a breakdown of various foods and the time it takes to process those foods, I found it really really interesting.


By “they” you mean Jonathan and Nate. Both young, both ectomorphs and both already very light for their height. I’m 5’11” but I have a mesomorph build. If I ate like Nate I would build muscle on muscle and could easily get over 200lbs and still look very fit. We are the same weight and he’s 7” taller than I am and I get accused of looking thin. I’m just saying one shoe isn’t going to fit all of us. If you are over 40 or a natural mesomorph or endomorph, I would take what they say with a large grain of salt. I don’t hear the same enthusiasm from Chad and Pete when it comes to ingesting carbs in mass quantities.

For your questions I would say:

  1. You probably can’t get that much fuel back in. Take your pre ride meal + calories on bike and shoot for matching your total kjs burned.
  2. That’s what I do for the most part but I will fuel during the ride and I usually have a post ride smoothie (almond milk, 1 cup berries, 1/2 apple, banana, PBfit powder, kale). Otherwise yes
  3. Depends on the effort and the duration of the event/workout. Sometimes I would go higher but for Z2 I wouldn’t take in any additional carbs even if riding for 3-4 hours at Z2.
  4. Yes, more intensity = more carbs

Google “Carbohydrate Periodization” or James Morton and “Fuel for the Work Required”.

Morton is a sports nutritionist, academic researcher, and also works at Sky.

One thing that really stood out to me is that he studied carb loaded workouts and saw no post workout muscle adaptations.

There are various scenarios - carb up to the max for a race or hard intervals. Train low. Another is Train normal and then sleep low. By ‘low’ I mean low carbohydrate. Another is sleep low and then train low the next morning.

These are not fasted or keto workouts. The point is that they see greater adaptations working in depleted states. I think this is a next level thing. It may be a marginal gain but if you are already mid or high volume and been training for a few years you are probably ready for marginal gains as you’ve grabbed all the low hanging fruit. I also think this is one reason why ‘the long ride’ is beneficial. Towards the end you will be carbohydrate depleted unless you constantly sucked down gels for 4 hours.

Remember the goal is not to crush the workout but for the workout to generated stress which in turn generates adaptations. Fuel for and crush the race or Saturday group ride.


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That’s a lot of caloric ingestion. What’s the balance of macros in the 550? If it were all carbs, it’d be nearly 140g, which is at the absolute top end of what’s claimed to be possible.


If you want more information on this, directly from the podcast, I recommend checking out this quick clip:

There is a lot of good information on timing, what to eat, how carbs are different in ‘real food’ vs gels and more. I hope that helps! :+1:


It’s mostly carbs which has 4kCAL/g so ~ 110g of carbs or 1.4g / kg of body weight
I’m 5’11" and 174lbs (79kg)

Using gels, bars and liquid carbs,
At 300-400 / hour i ran out of energy during the marathon and bonked
At 400-500 / hour , it’s too much for my stomach and at some point, i stopped eating or i puke.

Using Maurten enabled the 550/hour. It’s 1 maurten320 + 1 solid bar for 200-230 kCAL. If I use it on a long ride without much running, I get home and I’m not hungry (weird feeling ) and not too tired… allows me to go to Home Depot as Pete said ftw!

Amber too.
You’re right we don’t hear Pete and Chad sharing that enthusiasm.

I’ll soon change age group (50) and more carbs in general doesn’t get more muscles - it gets me more fat.


just get one of these. hope you like oats


Got it.

I use Beta Fuel for long rides with pretty much the same effect. I don’t gain much performance during the ride, but the recovery is drastically improved. It’s the difference between being dead on the couch vs. cleaning the yard for 90 minutes late in the afternoon.

To answer your original question(s), for TR workouts, I fuel about 30-50% of the total calories expended, mostly in carb drink. Closer to 30% on a 60 min workout and closer to 50% on a 120min.

Regardless of the intensity of the ride, there will be some fat burning, so there’s no need to replace 100% of the calories expended in carbs. Likewise, there’s no need or benefit to being 100% topped off in glycogen at the END of the ride.


:rofl: Exactly! I’ve felt like I needed one of these ever since I started training with TrainerRoad. Plus, I usually eat oats before each workout. Well done sir.