Fueling Zone 2 Workouts

So it’s even worse :joy: (outside of z2 if you factor in fat.)

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I’ve done enough of intervals like this - 30 to 60 second all-out - to know that it often causes my legs to sting for up to a week.

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1970s. So yeah.


Thats just 6 WindWarrior sized bowls of Ancient Grains (Kirkland/Costco) :wink:

You’ll need to figure this out for yourself. I eat about 6 times a day. Stable weight. No trouble riding Mon-Wed, Fri/Sat. Last 4 weeks been averaging around 10 hours/week.


Yesterday I did 3.5 hours of endurance riding, but stopped several times and added some extra time for a total of 4 hours.

While pedaling on the main set of 3 hours 20 minutes, I was averaging 193W normalized, and with the stops it was 174W so kJ work was 174 * 3.6 * 3.33 hours = 2085kJ. That is roughly 2085 kcals and matches up with data on TrainingPeaks, the blue bar is a target of 193W:

Fueled that ride with 230g carbs:

  • 60g bottle (28oz/828ml) the first hour
  • 40g Cliff bar the first hour
  • 90g bottle hours 2-4
  • 40g Cliff bar hours 2-4

which averages out to roughly 58g/hour for the 4 hours I was on the bike. But front loaded. Total work for the 3:59:03 on the bike was 2400kJ and I took in 1150 kcals, or roughly replaced 50% on the bike.

It took awhile to eat dinner so post-ride I immediately drank a 60g bottle of carbs and another 28oz of water only on the way to dinner. This 60g bottle was from the bike ride - I didn’t need it but had it just in case. Also in reserve but not eaten on the bike - another 40g Cliff bar. Always good to be prepared with extra fuel if needed :+1:

Before the ride I had about 250g carbs at breakfast and mid morning meals - coffee, egg sandwich, banana, yogurt, cereal, milk, fresh pineapple, pear, blueberries, and Ancient Grains.

Never faded on that ride, ready to do 2 hours of sweet spot intervals today to end the week at 12.5 hours.

I posted a link to CTS / trainright.com blog post on fueling rides to replace 30-50% calories. That has always worked well for me, but I eat enough carbs in the kitchen. Winning in the kitchen for the win :+1:


I’m in the kitchen right now making WindWarrior fruit plates for my wife and 25 yr old:

My wife and I have rolled this way for 28+ years.


Yeap… training to be sugar dependent.


80g carbs in a WindWarrior size bowl of Ancient Grains, which is about 1.5 cups (US measure) and using my winning in the kitchen sizing method its a little smaller than the size of my fist:

and 20g of blueberry carbs is about the size of my cupped hand:

plus another 15g carbs from milk.

Thats roughly 110-120g of carbs. Or about 1/6 of my carb target for the day.

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I’m a relative veteran of those 3-6 x 30-60 second max efforts, and I dunno about you but my legs feel the sting of acid/lactate for up to a week.

A month or two ago I did 6x30-sec with full recoveries between, and a week later did 6x45-sec with full recoveries between. A lot of leg sting for a couple weeks!

I have been on your train in the past. Off it now though.

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Thanks for the tips.

I think I’m not far off given my longest rides are just 90 mins. If I ride longer maybe I’d eat more.

I like the idea of fuelling half the total calories on the bike. Need to grab some bars and up the carbs in meals.

I’m not on any train you are making an incorrect assumption.

I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I’d like to double-check my thinking: I reckon to really get fat adapted, you have to deplete your muscle glycogen first, which AFAIK takes about 3 hours. (I base that both, on the graphs I have posted in this thread where muscle glycogen was measured as well as my experience and those of others.) So you’d have to do 4–6-hour rides, I reckon, correct?

Likely water weight from actually having sufficient cho in your muscles. Being fully carb loaded temporarily increases body mass. You are mistaking weight loss for body composition improvement. Similarly, 1.5lbs is well within daily fluctuations in weight. Big shit, small shit. Lots of fibre, less fibre (do you honestly know where your gut retention is?).

Why are you measuring success in w/kg rather than performance in the race?

My gut says you’ve got your FTP set too low and this is kept artificially low by your perception of work and your post workout surveys if using AiFTP. When was the last time it went up a chunk? What about PL progression?

You’re also missing out on the enormous benefits to healthspan from limiting carb intake to exercise and a specific period of the day, but that’s a whole other topic.


Indoor or outdoor? Morning or later in the day? If it’s evening most likely nothing. I’ve fueled well during the day Probably too well.

If it’s morning inside or out:

Pre ride:
1-2 Waffles = 205-410.2 calories
2 tablespoons of untapped syrup.
Black Coffee

Inside 60-75 minutes in:
1.5 -2 water bottles with LMNT or Nuun
1 skratch lab rice cake.

Outside with friends at some point:
Bakery stop. Coffees. Pastry. I’ll get grumpy that I’m completely sweaty sitting around with people trying to enjoy their Sunday and I’m going from warm to cool. To cold.

Ditto on the water bottles. I might add calories to a bottle just in case we don’t stop. And we don’t stay z2. Cause after all it’s bikes.

Finish the ride:
My completely unnecessary ingredient Smoothie:
Vegan protein
Power greens
SP2 spirulina

I really don’t need all that in a smoothie. I just like making it. I have a second fridge with pre made water bottles and veggies for smoothies. And I usually make 2 at a time. So I have did the next post ride taken care of. I’ll often grab a couple of weights and move them around post ride. 20-30 minutes.

The veggie for smoothies got the kids into eating and blending veggies and off crap food. So it’s worthwhile for me just as an example to pretend my house is a smoothie bar.

Cheers and tell your friends to yell TR when he/she/they are dropping riders.

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According to James Morton - who should know a thing or two about this - said it does not make a difference for signalling how long you ride on low glycogen. Relevant is glycogen content at the end of a session.

However, there is no evidence out there yet that increased signalling translates to actual expression/adaption.

However, there is evidence that high training volume increases chronic fatox but the evidence on the impact of low glycogen is quite weak. So high training volume does not necessarily work through low glycogen.


Is it weak or missing? In other words by weak do you mean not many studies have looked at it over timescales measured in months or multiple studies have been done with little impact seen?

In my case, did not have the impression it was muscle fatigue, since I was fine at the start and the burning feeling went away as soon as I ate.

That reaction is not psychological at all, but I know what you mean. Only the taste of sugar in the mouth is sufficient for the body to release some more glycogen from the reserves, that it was hanging to in order to be able to still escape the chasing lion later on.

Today I went out again for another 100km ride at endurance pace. This felt totally normal again, that is no burning feel in the legs, only the sensation after 1.5 hr+ that it starts to feel harder and harder to do more than endurance. 1350 kCal into the ride I ate 50g of carbs and for the rest the 2 bottles with 60g of sugar each was enough to complete the 1700 kCal ride comfortably. So I took in only 680 kCal of sugar during the 3.5hr ride, but breakfast right before the ride was 100g of carbs in the form of oatmeal and fruit (I was inspired by @WindWarrior breakfast today)

If it was water retention it’s meaningless to your (Slightly overwhelmingly obsessive) goal of losing weight without caring about performance, so it shouldn’t impact your decision making.

Base season started two months ago in the UK. And your FTP is relevant. My gut says you’re not working hard enough - if you were, you’d be failing workouts without carbs. If you don’t use TR, how are you pegging FTP IOT determine how hard to train?

Finally - what we know about exogenous carbs is that they don’t massively impact fat oxidation on a workout to workout basis, unless you are in a state of ketosis. Stop peddling this - it isn’t well evidenced.

I’ll ask again - what did your performance in the race tell you about your carb intake? Nothing much else matters.


Unless you’re just not taking in anything, you’re not going to deplete muscle glycogen entirely during an endurance ride (nor should that be your goal), and fat utilization is not dependent on expired stores of exogenous glucose or stored glycogen. That misconception has been repeated in this thread multiple times - again, you don’t have to deplete your body of sugar in order to burn fat.

But the other short answer to your question is, “Yes”, once you regularly get into that 4-6hr range you are going to see performance benefits from myriad aerobic adaptations over time, and one of those is going to be improved fat utilization because our bodies seem to become better at using fat the longer we go (that’s what it is designed to do, after all).

The question I keep coming back to is, from a performance perspective, why is improved fat utilization a concern? For ultra-endurance athletes who may be fuel consumption limited, it makes some sense. For most of us, chasing improved fat utilization seems like a good idea, but it hasn’t been shown to deliver any actual performance benefits to my knowledge.

Ride longer, improve your endurance, and take the myriad adaptations that come with that… one of which may be improved fat utilization.