Fueling for Galena (3 x 20m)

Hi all

Working on sessions like Galena and other 3 x 20m/3 x 30m at high % FTP (top of sweet spot) what would you all eat and drink for this kind of session? I ten to survive on water then have protein after, but feel I should maybe fuel during the sessions too?

Thanks for the advice!!

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I definitely don’t start low on fuel. Then a little gel and few slugs of water during every rest interval for me.


I’m not familiar with that session, but if you’ve fuelled properly in preparation for the workout then I think 90 mins without eating would be normal/achievable. I’d still drink though. Roughly 500ml per hour depending on intensity and temperature

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I did it this weekend, had a 500ml of SiS energy drink along with a regular bottle of water. Think I had about half the bottle of energy drink, just had a slug after each interval. I’ve done it before without anything though, as long as you’ve plenty on board prior you should be fine i imagine.

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I find sometimes the psychological effect of having something to look forward to helps with these longer sessions even if my body could probably cope without it.


For these sessions, I usually have ~3 bottles of water (2 with Skratch, 1 just water) and fuel throughout the workout with either 1-2 packs of Skratch chews or gels, or whatever else I feel like eating - sometimes a banana, waffles, fig bars…

Thanks all - I think fuelling is one of my biggest failings… Will add some gels/chews etc between intervals and see if that helps!


Below threshold I tend to do something like a Clif bar. I’d break it into a thirds and eat a third prior to each interval. I’d probably do one bottle with Skratch as well and then have another available of just water. As @Nate_Pearson has indicated on the podcast, fueling these efforts can help with RPE but also help from getting overly depleted so you are better prepared for your next workout.

Gels/chews between intervals is another option. Right now I’m tending to use gels mainly on intervals that are at threshold or above, but that really is a personal preference thing.

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I just rode and finished Tray Mountain (3x20 @ 90%) probably could have done this ride on an empty stomach, but I felt hungry. Here are the details:

Ride started at: 5:18 am
Pre-ride fuel: 2x Natures Bakery fig bars (220 cal/40g carb) consumed during warmup
Mid-ride fuel: 1x packet Simply Balanced fruit snacks (70 cal/18g carb) consumed prior to the start of interval 3

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I think it’s important to note that it’s not just about getting through the intervals, it’s also about recovery. There can be a big knock on effect from underfueling workouts.


I’ve always been confused by @Nate_Pearson rationale for eating on the bike during workouts as a means to fuel for the next. It’s certainly viable, but it doesn’t really seem necessary unless we’re avoiding meals post ride—which you shouldn’t.

You should be well recovered from a nutritional stand point if you eat your regularly scheduled meals post-ride.

If rider A does her workout at 6pm, she will have dinner, perhaps a pre-bed snack, breakfast and lunch prior to the next workout. I would be curious to know if food eaten on the bike prior to the subsequent workout would even be a fuel source for the next workout. My guess is that it wouldn’t.

You are starving your body of material to repair itself, dragging out recovery longer.

It’s not about fuel that will be burned in the next workout.

At higher FTPs it becomes increasingly difficult to replace calories. A 2hr sweet spot workout might be 1800-2000kj and even if you ate the max amount your body could process, you are looking at being 400kcal behind even a 50% replenishment.

Glycogen levels can steadily drop over the course of a training cycle and if they drop too low, can impair future workouts.

Not everyone will require this level of fueling, but Nate is a bigger guy to begin with so his caloric needs are higher at par value so it makes sense that he likes this strategy.


So you’re saying that if I eat a recovery-focused meal immediately after the workout that I’m starving my body? I think you’re over-thinking it.

Everything is personal. I’m not saying what @Nate_Pearson does is wrong or unnecessary for him, but I wouldn’t consume that much food during a workout for a variety of reasons.

Sort of a rule of thumb: You can store enough glycogen to fuel an endurance workout for 60-90 minutes. For anything longer and/or harder, you should be re-filling as soon as you start pedaling.

I’ve done Galena and similar length sweet spot and threshold efforts several times. Pre-ride fuel (carb + protein) 1 -2 hours prior is a must.
During rides of these efforts I use:

  • Hammer Nutrition’s Heed and Sustained Energy (carbs, electrolytes) in water bottles
  • Clif Bar’s BLOKS (similar to gels)
  • Hammer’s Endurolytes (electrolytes)

I looked at my history and saw the last time I did Galena I bailed part way through last interval. I had written I had not eaten enough prior to the ride.

No. What I’m saying is glycogen intensive intervals are depleting your reserves at a rate that is going to slow your recovery if you don’t eat while doing them. The post ride meal is good, but your absorbtion rate means you can only get so much back at that time, and it will be a longer process than if you hadn’t depleted so much.

There’s plenty of legitimate reasons to ride without eat, and good adaptations to be had, no one is disputing that. You just need to be clear about your goals, and understand you are trading recovery time for other things.

Ok, gotcha. It would be an interesting study to see how the body consumes/uses the food you eat while during the workout. Is the food being consumed fueling the next interval (or replenishing from the previous) or is it fueling post ride or both?

I was confused by the logic of eating on the bike to fuel the next workout (or get an early start on recovery) because I would think that the fuel you eat during the ride would be used to fuel THAT ride.

You want maximum glycogen in your muscles. Uptake is best during and immediately after workout.

Even with other meals during the day you’re most likely not hitting the 8-10 grams per kg of body weight for carbs so there’s room for improvement.

I don’t have a study to back this up but I think you can prove it to yourself in training.

Do a fasted ride and ride yourself down to depletion. I bet the next day your legs feel thrashed and it would be hard to train.

Now do the same power output as the first ride but come in topped off, and consume lots of carbs during the ride. I bet the next day you’ll feel significantly better and be able to preform quality intervals sooner.