No eating on rides under 4 hours

This is why I only train on a 50 lb bike with a rusty drivetrain and shoes that are a size and a half too small. When Race day finally comes I feel like the King of the World!


Coming in fasted speeds up the process, but is not necessary. The goal of coming in fasted of course is depleted glycogen stores…which can also be achieved by riding on the bike without supplementing with calories. I didn’t bring up fasting because that is a whole new can of worms. Of course we know fat oxidation increases with extended moderate time on the bike even with a meal beforehand, didn’t think this was a question since its been established for almost 20 years now.



Since when? Carbohydrate blunting of fat oxidation is a studied effect. It does not completely shut it off but there is definitely a decrease even at moderate carbohydrate loads.

Fat oxidation pathway signaling has also been shown to be blunted during and after when carbs are supplied


I don’t think it takes much mental energy to just go out and ride easy on just water. Z2 rides are the easiest to execute, and have the most fuzziness in terms of prescription. They shouldn’t be something to stress over and should not be so taxing that they require extraordinary recovery or fueling if they are being performed on a regular basis already.

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A lot of assumption that the entirety of the ride was at intensity. Just because it is so for OP doesn’t necessary means everyone on the ride is at or maintained it throughout. I could be wrong but it’s hard to monitor everyone else’s effort and ride in a straight line at all times. Could it be the guys are just riding mostly easy and wouldn’t need fueling? I go on solo lower tempo/upper endurance rides of three+ hours not needing anything but water. In a pace line, pushing that longer wouldn’t be a stretch. (On longer rides, yes I eat and start early.) Compared to some of the guys I’m riding with, at my hard tempo they not even breaking a sweat so are we really comparing apples to apples?


Backing up a quick second.

What’s your AP/NP for one of these rides?

Thank you for these studies. This is really interesting and I guess I did not do enough research. Tbh I think I just heard that from ISM or someone ‘smart’ on either TTS or Fast Talk.

Or is it blood glucose levels? An overnight fast does not make you glycogen depleted in the morning if you had a mixed meal at dinner.

Btw I was not disagreeing with the first study in my original statement. This is why long rides are important.

I guess as I conclusion from me I would go with this: if aiming for performance (hard group ride), then fuel well. If aiming for burning more fat, then don’t fuel. I still wonder if doing more watts on an endurance ride because of fuel would increase performance more than trying to focus on increased fat oxidation.

Early research by Coyle et al. [1] reported that feeding CHO maintained blood glucose concentration and CHO oxidation rates, and in turn, exercise capacity increased 33% (3.02 versus 4.02 h) significantly in comparison to just water

^Seems really relevant to the original question. I don’t think anyone is arguing that though.

Generally overnight fast results in depleted liver glycogen stores(and corresponding reduction in blood glucose) but full muscle glycogen. This is why fasted (short) training cannot completely replace long rides since some of the physiological adaptions only occur with depleted muscle glycogen.

100% agreed, hence my many posts in the 90g/hr fueling topics.

I think that is still not quite known, but if you are setting out to ride in Z2, I don’t think fueling is 100% necessary, If you decide to ride at tempo instead you should probably have some fuel as the skewing towards carbohydrate metabolism is pretty sharp. I don’t think fat adaption should applied year round either as there are other training and recovery concerns that need to be taken into consideration since individual training rides should not be taken in isolation. I was simply stating my opinion that 'fueling for the work" means carbs are not always necessary, which appears to be a controversial idea.


For the ride I had the discussion on, that would be 2h30 at 196 AP, 220 NP with a group of 7. Making it mid to high Z2 for me. In comparison, for last Thursday’s ride (where they would be done after the ride, while I could continue) we did 241 AP, 300 NP for 1h40 minutes with a group of 8. That’s with me sitting around 305 FTP or 3.8 w/kg.

Unfortunately, none of these guys has a power meter on their bike so can’t look at their numbers.

I have discoovered that a lot of people lie about how many calories they take in. I literally caught a former friend lying to me on the regular about how much he ate in training and for diet. Found out later he was mentoring some of his college athletes about how he has sabotaged rivals by doing this. Needless to say, we are no longer friends.

It’s tempting to think that you’ll lose weight by fueling less and letting the body do the energy farming from fat. Unfortunately, I have learned from experience that this just doesn’t work. I consume a LOT of fuel during training. If it is more than an hour, I’m always fueling, no matter then intensity. The only time I’ll do a ride without fuel is if it’s an hour or less and less than .7 IF.

When fueling, I’m taking a minimum of 300 calories per hour. I’m often pushing it up over 400 cal per hour on hard rides. My stomach is a nuclear reaction chamber, so I can easily take in 90g of carbs per hour. (I’m also 6’6" tall… so I’m using a lot more energy.)

This all being said, since I started fueling properly while ON the bike. I have now discovered that I am able to moderate my eating much better when OFF the bike. It used to be impossible for me to turn a salad into a meal. I would get too hungry before the next meal. But because I’m fueling while training much better, I almost always eat a salad for lunch now. And - surprise surprise!! - I’ve lost about ten pounds since making this shift (about 6 months ago). Yet, my FTP is higher than it’s ever been.

So… my opinion: Don’t listen to those chuckleheads. I hate to overuse the term, but “Follow the science.”


I just did 4 hr at 0.66 IF (220w NP) and consumed ~600 cal in bars, and stopped at McDonald’s for a McDouble and fries (~600cal). Oh, and I went through 4x 24oz bottles of hydration mix.

This was a 2900 KJ ride.

There is no way I could have done this ride on plain water and no food. In fact, anyone that would do this strikes me as dumb.


So I’m estimating 650 kcals burned per hour on the 2.5 hour ride for a total of 1625. Factoring in your FTP and NP, you were burning roughly 40% fat and 60% carb, with a total glycogen expenditure of about 1000 kcal. If it were me, I’d fuel with about 3 bottles of carb drink totaling 8-900 kcal, arriving home with virtually no glycogen depletion.

No fueling is totally possible, but I’d arrive home pretty hungry. Probably overeat and veg for a bit, and maybe not want to ride the following day.

Also, fueling reduces the need for a carb-rich recovery drink.


This is the biggest difference ive noticed since going hard on the fueling during rides. Previously, after a long ride id be insanely hungry and tired. These days I fuel a lot during the ride and im pretty much as normal throughout the rest of the day


I try and stay out of what other people eat as a general rule. Cycling nutrition seems to be one of those weirdly contentious topics and I think I’ve become less and less interested in it as a result.

I did, however, have to start politely declining riding with a group- who are otherwise pretty cool- because they spent the first half of every ride ribbing me about “how much I ate” and how they “couldn’t believe I didn’t get fat” (I’m a fairly small female so I can’t help but wonder if this was a part of it.) They would then down possibly the largest pub meals I’ve ever seen along with several beers while complaining about how they couldn’t lose weight, and how I was able to go on a run that afternoon while they were on the couch for the next day or so. (Apparently it’s just because I’m young :woman_shrugging:)
I mean, at the end of the day it’s their choice, but I do think people should be a little more careful when it comes to providing health/nutrition advice to others.


Since Newell et al (2018) has been mentioned above. Ironically, this was one of the studies which made me basically ditch “targeted” fasted training. I found the impact on fatox too marginal and the impact on self-experienced sustainibilty too negative:

Now I would not fuel for a 2h endurance ride either. But my context is different, I don’t consider a 2h endurance ride to have any value for me. This would be only active recovery. The exception would be when doing a 2-a-day which I do pretty often.



With increased fitness, the fatox curve moves to higher intensity, so it’s very feasible for your riding mates to ride up to tempo pace in their fatmax zone. They wouldn’t feel much need to fuel then. For the shorter, harder ride, they are also more dependent on glycogen, but unlike you, they are not used to fueling that much, so they run out quicker.

My personal theory is that for longer endurance rides, you gravitate towards riding at fatmax. So if the long rides are at their pace (and not a set pace or time, or a set power), they’d unconciously ride at a pace that makes it possible for them to not eat much. That doesn’t mean it’s the same for you - your zones might be different.


Bit of a broadbrush approach. A bit like like telling someone to set their heart rate zones by the 220-age “rule”

When you do your 2-a-day rides do you find that your body feels a bit sluggish on the 2nd ride? I’ve done them a couple of times and it just feels like legs and heart are like “wtf?” w riding again.

Yes, very often. I guess the body is in recovery mode. But it’s similar to doing one long ride with longish climbs. After descending those first few moments climbing again always hurt the most. Or when doing intervals, this first minute is often tough. This is probably why many coaches prescribe “building into an interval”.

TheBandit best advice ever!

Exactly my experience, at the beginning of the ride everybody is pissy because i’m eating every 30 minutes, then at at end of the ride when we get a headwind, guess who’s at the front smashing…


You can seriously cause bodily harm by not getting enough fluids replenished.