Fueling on workouts/activities on Z1 and Z2 (VT1)

Hi there,

I’m looking forward a general guidance of fueling x intensity.
I’ve read all about 60gr/h, 90gr/h, up to 120gr/h(?), frutose, malto, etc on high intensities workouts and activities like races.
But what I can not find is about fueling on workouts/activities on Z1 and Z2 (VT1) or even at Z3 (no men’s land).
Appreciate any help.


  1. No fueling necessary during early base.
  2. No fueling necessary if less than 2 hours.
  3. No fueling necessary if you train 4-5h/week
  4. Don’t do them fasted unless you specifically want that extra strain.

I fuel even easy rides pretty aggressively, getting to 100g/hr doesn’t just happen for me, it takes effort. I absolutely do not need to fuel the ride to complete it, but I have goals beyond just just completing a z2 workout. I guess it depends on your goals.


I’m not eating a ton on them. I probably average a clif bar plus a bottle of sports drink every 60-80 minutes (about 350 calories, for reference I’m ~85kg). The only real goal is to keep my stomach from being distracting.

I’d rather just eat more off the bike food after (or before).

For endurance rides I fill as usual a bottle with a carb drink I might not use as much as I would on a VO2Max session though. I tend only to eat something solid on recoveries between intervals and Endurance rides don’t have them often (recoveries) whereas more intense sessions do.

I would err on the side of more carbs than less. Personally, I consume anywhere between 20 and 60 grams for all endurance rides.

If you think INSCYD model is useful, you may find yourself burning 60-90 grams of carbs at pretty low %-age of FTP, requiring you to feed to ride. Hope this helps.

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Just started doing 20-40 g of carb per hour for 1-2 hour z1/2. I Increase my carbs/hr on longer rides. Used to do most endurance rides under 3 hours fasted last year but my recovery and performance suffered enough that it’s not worth it imho.

Not sure i agree with any of this, to be honest. Fueling can be used in any of those scenarios. Diet off the bike, a 2 hour z2 ride without any fueling might be a nightmare for some. Especially after a few hard days.

OP i would say try for 60g of sugar (or mix) in a bottle if going longer than an hour, and just sip to your needs. If you have a good breakfast or good dinner the night before you might be fine. The stuff after the hour mark on the trainer might be a different story! Everyone is different so just see what works.


It depends where in the zones you are, or rather what your power is and your caloric burn.

For me, 60g / hr is more than enough, but only when 90+min. I tend to use Skratch Hydration Mix (20g/scoop, 80cal), for the flavor, and some quick solids when on 3+hr rides, because I need something more substantial than fluids on easy effort rides. 1 scoop per 16oz + honey stinger waffles/Skratch rice cakes. 16oz bottle / hr. Take more if you feel like you’re burning more. My Z2 work is at ~180W, that’s generally what I do as a baseline.

Fueling helps your recovery. If I have a hard day the next day, I would consume more during the ride.


This is madness…perhaps they need to rethink their training zones. Or improve their off the bike nutrition. OP is talking about z1, z2 rides. I do eat 20-40g/h for z3 rides. 40-80g/h for races.

Agree to disagree :slight_smile:


I think this is a very well written article on the subject:

Includes reasoning for each recommendation.

  • high VT1 vs low VT1 (e.g. metabolic demand)
  • stature of rider (big guys vs smaller guys)
  • time of day, e.g. training in the evening/morning vs during the day
  • overall training volume
  • character of the training block
  • pre-workout fueling
  • of course, duration

Start with more carbs rather than less and experiment and find what works for you. There’s many different factors at play, length of session, are you riding the next day, have you fuelled well before the session? Just don’t be afraid to take on nutrition, we’re training in the modern world now, not 40 years ago.

It sort of depends on how you eat over the rest of the day. Your body should have enough glycogen stores for a 1-2 hour easy ride, so strictly speaking, you don’t need to specifically fuel it. However, even an easy ride will likely burn about 400-500 kcal per hour, and if you’re strict about what you’re eating off the bike, it is likely better to fuel while riding.

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What qualifies you as the expert? Genuine query :slight_smile:

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There is a podcast episode of That Triathlon Show which should answer most of your questions. I made some nutritional changes on and off the bike after listening to it and am very happy with the results

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I’m 6’3” 180ish pounds and have tried fasted training/low carb training and it was never fun, I end up eating more later in the day. Had me binge eating some days.
This morning I fueled a z1/2 ride with 100g of carbs :scream: but I won’t be hungry later. I feel better, recover better and keep improving.
Asking what to eat on a forum you’ll get more confused IMO, try fueling with some carbs and see how your body feels. Then ask yourself a couple questions; do you eat less during the day and not feel like you’re starving? Are you sleeping 7-9 hours a night. You can try not fueling and ask yourself the same questions. Low energy from food can disrupt sleep, make recovery take longer and prevent gains.
Depends on who it is but some people feel good not fueling rides and some people feel great fueling rides up to and hour.
Asking people what to eat on this forum is like asking what FTP test is the most accurate. You’re going to get a wide variety of answers and end up more confused.
I’m on the camp that feels great when I fuel every ride.


Never, I’m on a hunger strike

I’m confused though because I’m always tired, grumpy, and my power has dropped to 75W over a few hours. Then my wife divorced me. Not eating on the bike turns your life into a country music song.


You get grumpy not fueling because you are not fat adapted but fueling with carbs will never make you fat adapted. You have to be very strict not eating carbs for 6-12 weeks at least if you do that you’ll never need fueling on the bike again.

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