I ❤️CARBS! (and so should you!)

good you don’t drink it warm then! :smiley:

5kg of carby goodness!


It is for pettit if I had a hard ride the day before and the hard ride the next day.

I take the week/block’s workouts in context.

If I was doing 3x rides per week I probably wouldn’t go 90g/hour for pettit.


I’ve started drinking more carbs during my easy rides (about .75 IF, trying to stay below LT1/VT1, and using HRV alpha 1 to try to guide that) and have found that helps me feel better during and after the rides.
I’m mostly doing longer rides at this intensity (90-240 minutes), and am probably ingesting 60-80ish grams/hour. I pre-mix at about 10% concentration (so 100grams/liter), but add some ice to the mix, and don’t drink a liter per hour, although that depends on the temperature. (I’m also trying the cheap sucrose + gatorade mix that @Dr_Alex_Harrison suggests, and that is working well for me. Super sweet, but tolerable.) Pettit is a bit lower intensity than what I am usually doing, but I am seeing positive results (feeling better, less craving food, etc.) by fueling on the bike.
I did a 5.5 hour ride with this mix, coke (about same sugar concentration), and some gummy bears coming in at about 88 grams/hour, 70% of which was liquid. This worked well for me.

I’d suggest trying more fueling during your easy rides - even if you don’t go to 90+grams/hour for easy rides, you might find that you see changes in the RPE and/or how you feel after the ride or the next day. It has been hard for me to stop seeing easy rides as a chance to have a calorie deficit, and focus more on quality training and recovery.

Can also try swapping regular table sugar for brown sugar. It is significantly less sweet in taste.
80 grams of brown sugar per bottle is no problem compared to table sugar.


I’ll have to give that a try - the overly sweet taste of lots of sucrose is my main complaint. I haven’t tried maltodextrin/fructose, but will give that a go. Unless it is a significant improvement over straight sucrose I doubt it will be worth the extra cost/hassle for me.
I wish there was a maltodextrin equivalent of fructose - a way to get the sugars without the sweetness.

I’m done with severe calorie restriction now and I’ve done my last three toughest rides with a decent amount of carbs both before and during… and boy, it may only be psychological, but the performance difference has been immense.


It’s both psychological and physiological and there are multiple interplays between the two. Glad you’re enjoying the performance boost. I do too :slight_smile:

You can add maybe 10% of carbs from just maltodextrin to bring down the sweetness slightly and without harming ratio very much.

Adding more salt tends to make concentrated sweet beverages more enjoyable for me too. Either table salt or sodium citrate have similar reduction in sweetness perception for me.


I add salt to malto/fructo mix and personally quite like the sweet/salty taste. I don’t use any other flavouring :slight_smile:

Do you fuel every ride? I train about 12h/week, and usually my shortest ride is around 2h. It almost feel like everything is better if I take lot of carbs during ride(+90g/h), but I still keep questioning it time to time. I’m probably mostly concerned about my teeth, even though I rinse with water after carbs. Usually in life, nothing comes without some negatives :slight_smile:

Also feedbag for rinse bottle must cost me precious watts.

So if I do 60g carbs per hour, do I also need to watch overall calories?
At my intensity I burn around 700-800 kcal per hour (according to my power meter). If I get 30g carbs per hour through my drink and a 30g carbs gel per hour through a gel am I good? This would amount to 200 kcal overall.
I always heard overall caloric intake should at least be 50% of calories burned.

@Dr_Alex_Harrison I’ve found your contributions in this thread extremely helpful. Just wondering… I’m primarily a swimmer, and I’ve been trialing using more carbs before and during my swims in the last month or so and have a suspicion it’s helping. Would you make the same or similar recommendations re: carb ingestion for swimming as you would for cycling? I do most of my swimming at ‘critical swim speed’ - which is very similar to swimming and threshold work on the bike.




Maybe 10-20% less carbs per hour. All dependent on gut tolerance and proclivity for reflux. Burping up stomach contents because you’re prone and breathing hard isn’t a fun or ideal experience.

The total magnitude of carb need may be substantially lower for swimming for most folks because the primary determinant of intra-workout carb recommendations is duration of workout, and most folks don’t go swim for 3+ hrs!


Thanks for the fast reply Alex - helpful thoughts! It sounds a bit like having carbs BEFORE the workout might be a bit more important than INTRA workout, especially if proclivity for reflux starts being a factor (gut tolerance is already something I have under control).

For example - if I’m hitting the pool at 5am and not eating a meal beforehand (which is most often what I do), it might be better to have a 30g carb gel 15min BEFORE the workout (which doesn’t lead to reflux for me) rather than trying to slug it down between laps and getting burpy (which definitely happens when I’ve tried).

Would you agree?

And yeah - my workouts are usually 90min max, so good point on the total magnitude.

Let’s try and not let too many people know we’re talking about swimming here by the way, we might get kicked off :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

It’s always worth a crack - I’d be interested to hear how @Nate_Pearson would fuel his swim workouts, though I’m assuming it’s been a long time since he was working on his swim!

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I do love carbs these days. It’s not that I didn’t know I needed them, just not how much!

But I have a question for you you all!
How do you get them in while going hard?

The other evening I was on a group ride.

Every turn at the front I was going hard and with at times only 3-4 of us rotating I don’t know how to get enough carbs in as there was not much recovery time in between.
Ideally I’d like to get 2 bottles of mix and a pack of clif blocks or a couple of gels but it’s hard to reach for and get anything but the mix in while going that hard.

Any tips and tricks?

Sugar water, the best and cheapest! (I usually put about 70g in a la the Dr’s advice on here)

Yeah, I have carbs and elektrolytes in the bottles. But I find it hard making it even sweeter then it already is.

Yes. Consume gel with water. I might do 10min before.

Check out this thread if you haven’t already.

For shop rides like you described, where everyone is ripping each other’s legs off, there’s no time for gels/chews etc. Fuel has to come from your bottles for sure. It’ll be sweet. Chase with water. Reduce flavor intensity by using malto+fruc and/or sucrose.


I’d really like a copy of Dr Alex book but the format seems to fail on Kindle / Apple Kindle reader (UK). Is there anyway I can get another format e.g. PDF?

Let me check with our admin and get back to you. We used to sell PDF versions.

Edit: PS. Could you tell me the trouble you’re having with the Kindle failure? I’d like to report that to our admin as well.