Protein during ride?

Hi - So my understanding is that proteins and fats are to be avoided before and during a workout - this is my take from the podcast.

However, I’m reading ‘Nutrient Timing’ and the advice suggested is to take proteins in during a workout (as well as post-exercise)? The book seems to be targetting body builders, so is that advice there for those athletes or is it outdated for all athletes? I think the book was written in 2004.

For rides under 3 hours, there is no need for any protein. For rides over 3 hours, I believe there is evidence that protein can be beneficial mainly for reducing delayed onset muscle soreness.

As for nutrient timing, it is a difficult subject where the scientific consensus seems to be shifting. It used to be that people believed there was a “window” of time where protein intake would maximize muscle growth, but newer research is showing this “window” may be more like a “garage door” and that it the timing is not so important so long as one consumes proper amounts of nutrients in their daily diet.

See this article, which was discussed on a podcast a few months ago:


I remember the folks at hammer nutrition are all about a 4:1 carbs:protein ratio for their endurance stuff. I don’t know if their site would have further studies cited in their literature or not, it’s been a while since I used any of it and longer still since I read their stuff.

But is this a recovery drink post ride?

Yeah, the recovery stuff is 4:1; the perpetuem is what I was thinking of that is closer to 8:1. That’s for during the ride.

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No science to back it up, but on my semi-annual double centuries, by about hour four the whole group (3-7, it varies) is craving protein. Gas station beef jerky is ambrosia. And it’s not for the salt, we all walk past the mountains of chips to hit the jerky first.

We discovered it quite by accident when one of us grabbed some because it sounded good. It turned out to be a serious pick-me-up, and now it’s a staple.

On shorter rides, I doubt there’s much (if any) benefit.


I can’t find it now, but a few years ago there was some evidence* that protein during exercise was beneficial. On long cycles (5 hours+/ audax) I try to have some lean chicken or turkey breast in bread rolls. Partly because if I didn’t consume during, it’d be very hard to get close to my daily target afterwards.

*so much nutritional information is “some evidence”/ “evidence suggests” - very little proper peer reviewed science.

Last year I was doing some 4-5 hour gravel rides. I started bringing along a couple peanut butter sandwiches plus a couple bars. The peanut butter with some fat and protein seemed to do the job of providing good all day energy. I’ve also used those Justin’s peanut butter packets on rides.

Anecdotally, I’ve heard an interview with a former RAAM racer and he said the secret food was olive oil.

A few years old but British Cycling recommend protein intake during exercise if you are doing fasted rides for fat adaptation.

“If you are fully fasted, as well as being low on carbohydrates, you are also in a nitrogen/amino acid depleted state. This potentially could have a negative impact on recovery from the ride. So, if you take protein on during these rides, can you still get the fat adaptation benefits of riding completely fasted without compromising your recovery? The answer appears to be yes so, during these rides it is a good idea to sip on a protein drink”.

No idea if this conforms to current science.

FWIW I’ll bet anyone a billion pounds/dollars/euros that for a short workout that fits between meals protein is not necessary or beneficial but if your ride crosses a meal time in which you would normally ingest protein then it would help.

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The last two tubs of High 5 energy drink I have bought have had added protein. I guess they wouldn’t sell it if nobody would buy it. Their claim:

Energy Drink with Protein comes in a scientifically formulated 4:1 ratio of carbohydrate to protein. The advanced carbohydrate and electrolyte mix is designed to help you sustain your performance during endurance exercise and aid your recovery of normal muscle function afterwards.

And a so called independent review: