Oatmeal for Energy

If I eat a standard portion of oatmeal at say 8:00 AM will i still see benefits in my TR workout if its not till 4:30 PM?

Probably not a huge amount of direct benefit on your workout, I’d say. And if it’s a big bowl with lots of honey or other form of sugar, then probably counterproductive if you’re sedentary most of the day.

However, a moderate and reasonably low-sugar portion of oatmeal could be beneficial in terms of keeping you full up and keeping you away from unhealthy snacks before you actually need to start fuelling again.

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Ahhhh…my favorite dish. I eat oats raw with milk, chia seeds, banana, and craisins. I think to eat oats consistently throughout the week would give best benefit for what you’re looking for


What would be the best time to eat oatmeal to maximize benefits?

Well you can get some benefits other than fueling from oats (especially overnight oats) as you can get some resistant starch from it…which will help your guts flora therefore nutrient absorption and energy levels can go up among other things.

But i’d say that the 8AM oatmeal is not gonna be of great direct energy value at 4:30PM for most people.

For fuelling benefits, 2-3 hours before getting on the bike. So works great for a weekend morning ride.

If I was riding at 4:30, assuming it was a hard workout I’d have a light breakfast (but enough to keep me going through the morning), a light lunch around 12, then some higher carb food around 2. For me that’s usually malt loaf (Soreen here in the UK) with nut butter, but it could equally be a bowl of oatmeal. There’s no law against having it in the afternoon!


Purely anecdotal, but when I eat oats (steel cut, ordinarily soaked in milk and not cooked, with Splenda, chia, and some sort of fruit, either dried or fresh), I find that they don’t fill me up as much as say, a Clif bar, and I don’t get the same energy boost I do from a Clif bar and some fruit. After even 1 cup of dry oats, I’m starving within an hour.

My wife is the exact opposite - she gets an energy bump AND is full for quite some time.

I think YMMV in terms of energy benefits, but oats almost certainly won’t still be beneficial nearly 8 hours later due to digestion and bioavailability of the nutrients contained within.

Could you fuel with a late afternoon snack? My go-to is rice cakes on the drive home, coupled with a gel right before a workout that I expect will be taxing.


A tip to make oatmeal more filling is to top with some nuts, or stir in some nut butter. Apparently that (a) helps satiety by introducing protein and fat into the meal, and (b) slows down the digestion of the whole meal, including the oats, so in theory it should be providing you with energy for longer.


Great advice! And certainly one to be considered in a period when I’m not counting calories and dropping weight :sweat_smile:

LOVE PB and nuts - HATE the hefty calories. And they disrupt my 50/30/20 Carb/Protein/fat ratio that my body seems to enjoy when I’m cutting.

I should have added that to my anecdotal commentary!


What are overnight oats? Oats made overnight? Why not just cook them in the morning?

Great Episode on Nutrition and on how to fuel pre-ride: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/semipro-cycling-podcast/e/57704812?autoplay=true

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Oats, soaked in milk (or water, I guess) overnight. They absorb the liquid, and are ready to go in the morning - as opposed to cooking them. Benefits are time savings, and I prefer the texture as opposed to cooked oats.


Steel cut oatmeal and water cooked in my instant pot with a little maple syrup is my every day breakfast :+1:


Several reasons, you can meal prep them to make it more efficient too.

Basically, get a few tiny mason jars
Measure your oats out
Put in your fruits and other solids
Then the night before you eat it you put in the liquid you want (could be water, milk, soy/almond/cashew milk)
You can also just put in the liquid in a few days before.

The morning after you just take it out of your fridge and can eat it easily. No cooking required. You can heat it up too if you want obviously but even if its not cooked it should be soft and easy to consume. But then it’s still “raw”
If you type in overnight oats on google you’ll get 1 million recipes

Also i can’t find a scientific source cause i’m at work but you get a more nutrient dense oat that way, as the cooking breaks down some of oats i’m guessing


@PhilippePhlop Thank you. I googled after I responded and saw the million+ links. :slight_smile:
I will try this. It loooks like Uncooked Oatmeal is the way to go.

That article doesn’t seem to tell you anything useful. You may as well compare 100g of raw with 100g of cooked rice.

If I have overnight oats, I take 60g of raw oats and soak them. If I have porridge, I take 60g of raw oats and cook them. The only difference is how much liquid they take on.


In fact, this brief Q&A from a Professor of Nutrition at Harvard suggests that cooking oats helps release nutrients that your body won’t get from raw oats*

*to be fair, he’s answering a question about raw oats “moistened with water”; it’s possible that overnight soaking may have a similar nutrient-releasing effect to cooking.


I agree, as I said, wasn’t able to find a good, reputable source in the limited time I spent on this.
I guess we can agree that uncooked oats provide:

  • more resistant starches which is great for the gut flora
  • easier for meal prep/convenience
  • more options for the liquid (alternatives to water or milk)
  • more recipe options (meaning you’re not just stuck with cooked oats recipe options but have another set of different recipes available to keep it more interesting)

Little things that might help with fuelling in long term meal planning.

I might be misreading things, but doesn’t resistant starch also mean that you would get less carbs and therefore less glycogen from it?

(It’s always difficult to distinguish between reputable science and quackery when it comes to nutrition on the internet…)

Perhaps uncooked oats should be for non-cycling mornings, and cooked oats before you go out on the bike…

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I cook steel cut oats in the instant pot. Let them thicken up a little bit then spoon them into a muffin tin sprayed with olive oil. Let them cool down then throw them in the freezer. Next day, run warm water over the back of the muffin tin and the steel cut oats come right out. Throw one serving in a bowl, the rest in a freezer bag. 2 minutes and 30 seconds in the microwave and they’re ready to go. Mix in some raw honey and nut butter and I’m good for several hours.