Fueling Workouts

I do the same - I fuel harder workours appropriately and on easier Z2 days I always get some carbs (around 60g-100g total). I also have a recovery shake after harder workours.

My idea is I have to fuel training block not singular workouts (i do 5-6 workouts/wk).


This guide is specifically for Sufferfest riders, and describes what and when you need to eat on the bike, how much protein and carbs you need and how you can structure a whole week of eating. They references specific Sufferfest workouts so you will need to read between the lines to understand how to apply the ideas to your own diet and training. You can always compare the intensity to whatever your “plan” workouts are. Or just read it and understand that people doing Sufferfest plan (like Jim Gauld) are working very hard, probably harder than most of us.

At the back of the guide are suggested eating plans and there is a list showing carb and protein content of different foods so you can better understand what to eat.

I added a few more web links below to useful guides. The more you read, the better choices you can make. Hope this helps.

Good Hunting.


  1. Sufferfest Guide to Eating:

  2. You can learn more about sports nutrition here:

  3. Want to burn more fat?:


Thanks again for all the replies. I’m not sure anything has been cleared up. One camp says eat well, no carbs during the ride. The other says bring on the carbs (during the ride)!

I think Im going to stick with carbing during the ride and try to moderate my intake off the bike, more greens, less starches. I think I’ll carry on through SSB 2 Mid Volume with this approach and see where I come out at the end of that and adjust as necessary.

PS-I use 2 fans, 1 Lasko in the front and a box fan on the opposite rear quarter, so lots of cooling. Also, I dont drink my calories, as suggested above, beyond some tart cherry juice. No sodas or booze for me.


Sorry to disagree, but this sounds like a bad idea. Is this your approach to all types of rides including those with high intensity? To give an example from the plans, I’d think 1.5 hour O/U workout like Leconte or Carpathian Peak +2 followed by a 2 hour SST workout the next day would benefit from some carbs…


:rofl: that’s how I’ve been reading it too!

I now count 5 podcast presenters all saying to fuel your workout. If you’re burning 1000kj in your workout then try to consume 1000kj during the workout (or as close to the workout as possible so immediately before or after). In your example yes, you have fueled your workout and no you are not overfueling (unless you are doing so off the bike)!

Intensity of workout is irrelevant and size / body composition of athlete is also irrelevant because 1000kj is 1000kj.

The one exception mentioned is that once in a while (max once a week) a fasted Z1/Z2 helps remind your body to oxidise fat.

Happy to be corrected if I’ve misunderstood all 5 presenters, but it sounds like very consistent advice to me.


There is a wide consensus that fueling your workouts makes training easier as it provides your body with much needed energy to complete the workout at hand.
TrainerRoad mentioned this plenty of times on the podcast, and once went into a really deep dive on the question of fueling. That said, Chad also mentioned quite some times that fueling isn’t absolutely necessary. Your body has enough glycogen stores to fuel even a 1-1.5h long harder ride, depending on your level of fitness, and Chad once mentioned he was able to complete 4 hour easy rides on nothing but water.
Also, working out fasted or in depleted state provides some benefits regarding better fat oxidation and enhancing your body’s ability to use fat as fuel (instead of carbs).
To add my n=1 experience: I started working out fasted quite some time ago and I’m able to complete 1.5-2 hour intense sessions (Stromlo+7, Antelope+5) on nothing but black coffee and water, and managed to do a 4 hour Z2 ride. I have no extra cravings during the day and no weight problems (quite contrary, I’m probably underweight).
That said, it’s up you to decide which option you’ll pick. It’s more “natural” to properly fuel your workouts, but you have to decide for yourself with regards to your fitness goals and your weight goals.

EDIT: To add one more thing: if you’re going to race you’re probably going to fuel pre-race and during the race. Not fueling properly can inhibit your body’s ability to utilize carbs as fuel, so that would be a minus. Fueling your workouts is therefore a great way to practice your nutrition plan and really nail it down, which always gives you an advantage in races, especially longer ones.


Like I said in my earlier reply, the best answer is invariably “it depends”. You haven’t given enough info to give a yes/no answer, and there is no one correct answer anyway. I suspect you want to know more widely than specifically how to to fuel one workout in isolation anyhow…

You should fuel the rides that your body needs fuelling for. Pay attention to how you feel when you do and don’t fuel. If in doubt, experiment (cautiously). We all have different physiologies and levels of fitness. If a coach assigned me a full week of Carillion every day, I wouldn’t need any carbs to complete those rides at 100%, however if you’re a fast-twitcher or if a week of Carillions is way more TSS than you’re accustomed to, then you probably should fuel it.

In my block I posted above I drank many bottles with 90g carbs over the course of that week, plus a sickening amount more carbs in the recovery shakes (3:1 - 4:1). You can be sure I smashed the carbs on Thursday’s 174TSS ride. So I am 100% a proponent of hardcore fuelling when it’s needed. I just prefer not to consume more refined sugar than I need in order to train properly.


Just today, Scientific Triathlon published a new episode with Robert Gorgos (Bora-Hansgrohe nutritionist). It fits very well with this topic, I suggest you give it a listen.


It depends - I do 90mins o/u on Saturday at about 11am - have a big bowl of porridge at 8am and lunch straight after. Same for 2 hour SS Sunday - meal before and after are a decent size. Even when I ride a 50mile TT flat out I will have 500mls of energy drink but that contains only about 140Kcal (having had breakfast 3 hours before and if it’s a Saturday pm race 3 slices of toast and honey 2 hours before) - in fact on my PB I only drank a 1/3 of the drink as a/ it was a cool day and b/ I was on a good day in float conditions and was focusing to hard! :laughing: My bowl of porridge would probably feed all 3 of the bears and goldilocks though!


Nothing better than a huge bowl of porridge before a ride YTMV (your toppings may vary)


How long before a ride?

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Adding some extracts from TR podcast:


100g of oats (before cooking) is what I usually do +/- 1.5 hours before a workout.

Even though it’s better with milk, I often make it with water to speed up digestion.


I train to perform better on hard group rides and epic (3-12 hour) events. So practicing eating on the bike is important in my opinion, and is backed up by science.

Lets take a random week in SSB-2 MV:

I’ve added the calorie burns based on FTP = 248W.

When training I eat about half those calories on the bike. Most of what I eat is conveniently 90-120 calories, or I can package it that way, for example a medium banana is 90 calories and a fig bar is 90 calories and half a cliff bar package is 125 calories. By going with carb rich foods I simplify things and just work on eating the calories. So using that simplification, that week looks like this:

  • Mills (622 cal burn) requires on the bike eating of 1 banana, 2 fig bars, and the 25 calories in my hydration mix
  • Mary Austin -1 (~1100 cal burn) requires on the bike eating of 1 banana, 4 fig bars, and the 25 calories in my hydration mix
  • etc, etc.

I always eat carbs after the workout. When getting closer to an event I start to pay attention to the amount of carb intake (vs simplifying down to calories).

Hope that helps.


It really depends on what else you’re eating throughout the day.

I haven’t seen anyone else mention the importance of gut training. I Like to drink an 80g bottle during 1-hour workouts, even though it may not be strictly “necessary” because it helps me get better at processing those carbs during longer rides when it is necessary.


hi TwoWheels, if your workout is an hour then you are probably overfueling because your body has remarkable blood, muscle and liver glycogen stores. You can get a ballpark estimate of carbs needed for any ride duration (and even match that with one of 100 snacks) in our simple raceday fuel calculator, if this helps!

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Muscavado sugar!! :laughing:


Running - 3 hours - riding - 2 hours :grinning:


I just wanted to check in here. I’ve been trying to consume calories equal to each workout during and after the workout. Otherwise, Ive been trying to eat reasonable sized portions and stay away from the kids snacks. Im down a pound already after this. I still feel that i have an increased appetite throughout the day, but it hasn’t been insatiable and Im trying to meet it with good choices like fruit. Ill check back in again in a few more weeks and see how the weight and body composition comes out.

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I am finding the “consume the calories burned around the time of the ride” to be a good strategy for me. One reason I haven’t seem mentioned is the ease of adjustment (or elimination) of the workout fueling

On the trainer, I aim for 2g/minute of 2:1 maltodextrin/fructose which is a little more than half the burn rate.

Pre ride is a big whole grain pancake with two bananas

The rest of the day is vegetable rich, healthy food.