Fueling 2 hour TR workouts

TR Hive Mind,

I’m curious to see how others fuel on a day in which you have a 2 hour workout. For example, what does your pre-workout meal look like (assuming your workout isn’t first thing in the morning), on the bike nutrition and immediate post workout nutrition? What would you estimate to be your calorie intake to be?

For context, I’m heavier than I want to be right now (195 lbs-ish). My FTP is 367W so a 2 hour SS workout can require around 2000 KJs. So I’m trying to find that balance of losing a bit of weight (10lbs or so) but make sure I’m fuelling my workout properly. I’m wondering if I’m not eating enough pre-workout, on the bike and immediately post-workout, resulting me to snack too much later in the day.

So yeah, just curious to hear how others are fuelling - particularly those that are reasonably content with their weight. Thanks!!

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I’d shoot for 90-110g/hr(360-440cal/hr) of carbs, and then consume from other meals throughout out the day to about a 250 calorie deficit.


Sorry about the lengthy response, this is something I think about a lot haha

I guess there are a lot of variables. But for a bit of context, I’m 147 pounds and fluctuate from 142 - 150. So I’m near the “top” of my range, which means I’d prefer not to put on weight, but I’m very concious of not putting myself in a hole as I ride 15 hours a week. My standard goal is 2,600 caloris before exercise.

Today I’ll be doing 2 hours of Z2, ~220w for ~1500kj. Breakfast, lunch & snacks will put me at 2,000 calories before I even get on the bike. My biggest pre-ride snack is about 500 calories (a PB&J) which I’ll eat 1-2 hours before hopping on the bike.

During my ride I’ll drink 2 bottles with 66g of carbs each for 525 calories and then right after I’ll drink a recovery drink for 182 calories.

I know I have messed up if I get home and I’m feeling snackish before I even hop on the bike. And there’s a big problem if ~30 minutes into the ride I’m already reaching for an emergency gel. I always keep some on hand and never try to ride through that empty feeling.

After all of this and before dinner, I’ll still be at around a 1400 calorie deficit. This is plenty of room for snacking before and after dinner, which I don’t think is a bad thing. If I’m off the bike by 7pm, out of the shower by 7:30 and in bed by 9:45… that only gives me 2 hours to make up that deficit.

I started tracking my calories specifically because I was worried about undereating too often. I think it’s very easy to do if your workload is high. Apps make tracking surprisingly easy and I’d really suggest trying it out just to get a general ballpark for your intake and maybe you’ll be able to see trends with how you eat and feel on and off the bike.

I generally try to hit my number as close as possible, but preferably not over and no more than 300 calories under. My weekend rides are 2500-4500kj each, so making sure I have plenty in the tank to enjoy those is important.


Generally I’ll do little to nothing for a 2hr ride or less. Maybe a small 50g bottle if it is an extra spicy one. Follow up with a snack or smoothie right after. I find that works for me, but not for everyone else.

Longer rides I’ll aim for 50-100g/hr, depending on intensity and length. I tend not to overthink for sub-2 hours, keep things simple.


I’m generally 56.5-57kg

For a 2 hour ride I will do 3 bottles (aim to finish a bottle every 40 mins) with 35g of carb mix each (105g carbs), and eat something with ~25g of carbs every 25 mins (100g with last snack at 1h40mins). So 205g of carbs in 2 hours.

I don’t change how I eat before or after riding, eat my regular diet, am generally on the trainer 5 days per week so. My ideal is to get on the trainer about 1h30min after a meal, most often after supper.

I don’t count calories so can’t help ya there, I would rather continue to increase my volume while maintaining my caloric intake to influence my body composition but I’m at a different starting point.

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Really appreciating the different perspectives so far!

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I’m 180-185lb and about 12% body fat (very happy with my weight). I usually eat breakfast and then ride 1-2 hours later. Breakfast is almost always oatmeal, which consists of 1 cup oats, 3 tbsp chia, 1 scoop protein powder, 1/2 banana, 1 cup blueberries, and maybe 1.5 cups soy milk. All together that’s about 890 calories, 27g fat, 123g carbs, 45g protein – if you try this just know you need a pretty large bowl. Sometimes I’ll also eat a bunch of dates too.

Right before I ride I eat 2 Clif Shot Bloks. When on the trainer I have about 1 bottle per hour of water and Tailwind, about 75g carbs per bottle. If I ride 1 hour I’ll still do a whole bottle with this same 75g mix. If I ride 1.5 hours I’ll sometimes stretch out one bottle or will do 2 bottles with the second one only having 50g carbs. I usually only ride a max of 2.5hrs and thus just use a max of 2 bottles.

After a ride I make a smoothie with 1/2 to 1 banana, 1.5 cups soy milk, 2 scoops protein powder (sometimes extra water to make it thinner). If I do a hard or long ride I’ll also eat a snack of 3 ‘Thin Stacker’ rice cakes with about 1 tbsp nut butter each and a bunch of raisins (~450 calories). Other than that I just eat normally.

As an aside, I started riding road bikes in 2018 and did some longer distances in the early pandemic days. I can remember one ride specifically when I rode 95 miles up the coast. I didn’t want to stop anywhere, for fear of getting covid. I ended up doing the entire ride on 2 bottles of straight water and 1 package of Clif Bloks (I didn’t even stop once). No wonder I’d feel like absolute crap after those rides, hah!


Hydration, for me, is the challenge. Indoors I sweat at double the rate compared to outdoors, so will finish a bottle in 20-25 mins. My max indoor ride will be 1.5 hours, so fuelling is not as difficult as staying hydrated. For a workout the OP is describing, done in the afternoon/early evening I would be fuelled up through the day, to then do the workout slightly over fuelled. The workout will put me in a deficit, but dinner would take care of that.

I don’t count calories, and although a weigh myself daily, I don’t need to get too concerned. Weight goes up a bit, eat a little less.

Carb heavy diet during the day. Carbs at breakfast (granola, fruit, tangerine juice). Carbs at lunch (veggies and rice). Two bananas to start the ride, and sometimes nothing on the bike. If I didn’t eat enough carbs I’ll pack a 90g bottle of carbs on the bike, or two Clif bars (90g). With the 2 pre-ride bananas, its basically 65g/hour unless its just 2 bananas and thats 23g/hour. Sometimes just a Clif bar and that splits the difference at 45g/hour on the bike. On the bike carbs is dependent on on the dinner menu and tomorrow’s workout. Mon-Wed is usually 2 hours, Fri often 1.5 hours, and a longer ride on Saturday. Mostly 1300-1500kJ except for Saturday. Carbs at dinner.

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Nice information so far :smiling_face:

I’m doing 2 hour workouts most days so hopefully this is useful.

Working out early, I eat something as soon as as possible; usually a couple of slices of toast and jam.

Then I’m on the bike and consuming anywhere from 70-100g per hour, depending on the intensity. The higher the intensity, the more liquid based it is. Essentially, it’s either sugar water or bananas.

Afterwards is a protein shake with some carbs in immediately and also soon after some fruit, usually apples, as they’re very portable, as I rush to work.

Then it’s meals from then on, usually starting an hour afterwards.

Generally speaking I’ve found my workouts much improved since fuelling adequately and also the hunger later in the day much more manageable.

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Are you tracking macros?

During base season and season I tend to yes. But to be honest, I’m that used to it I’m not paying so much attention to it. My volume is also between 15-20 hours a week, meaning it’s hard not to meet the protein targets for example.

I do something similar but bigger, about 1300 calories. But I’m not using protein, I wondering: How does it dissolve? Do you blend the milk with the protein first. I like the concept but perhaps the bowl ends up too thick.

I do something similar but bigger, about 1300 calories. But I’m not using protein, I wondering: How does it dissolve? Do you blend the milk with the protein first. I like the concept but perhaps the bowl ends up too thick.

The best way to dissolve the protein is to mix the dry ingredients first – oatmeal, chia, protein. Once that is mixed then add in banana and blueberries, and last of all add milk/water and then stir. There won’t be any clumps because it will be evenly dispersed in the oats. I microwave it but you could add hot water if you prefer.

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My rule of thumb is usually on bottle for 1h and one and half bottles for 1.5h (I might not drink it all but its there) and 1 banana for both periods. Whilst its been a while since I last did more than 2h, for 2h I’d probably fill 2 bottles of carbs and have 2 bananas. Post with all workouts I’d have a recovery shake which mostly stops me craving but there is exceptions usually driven by boredom. Other than being a little light though I am reasonably content with my weight so if I graze I don’t worry.

Thanks again for everyone’s input.

Just for context, here’s what I did yesterday.
-Breakfast (3 hours before workout) - bowl of Vector cereal (around 550-600 calories)
-Workout: Wright Peak -2 (2038 KJ); 3 bottles of Gatorade (360 calories)
-Post workout meal/lunch: green lentils/eggs/spinach (550 calories)
-grazed a little between lunch and dinner (not sure how many calories - as much as 500 calories given that a couple of Girl Guide cookies were involved)
-Dinner: salmon with quinoa/veggie/feta side (800 calories)

So in the range of 2800 to 3000 calories consumed in total for the day.

My workout felt great, so the bowl of Vector for breakfast and 3 bottles with Gatorade certainly did the trick.

I workout early in the morning. Unless my stomach is grumbling when I wake up, I eat nothing before riding. If it is then I’ll have a banana, raisins, or craisins - basically fruit that gets my stomach to quiet down.

On the bike I fuel with a DIY mix in my bottle of about 90-110 grams of carbs. It usually lasts a two-hour workout plus another bottle of just water. I occasionally also take a gel (or two) if I’m struggling or if it is a very intense workout.

Then I have a coffee on my drive to work and eat breakfast in the office.