To Carb at 80-100gr or not

sure, maybe we need to start being explicit, since folks are so triggered by the 80-100 gr idea. You should replace what you estimate that you will burn. If you are burning 80 gr of carbs an hour during that workout, replacing it should not be a problem. If you are doing something low intensity where you would only burn 40 grams, don’t eat 80.


Absolutely balance out the intake over the day, week, month etc.

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I used to bonk all the time on long rides. I was hydrating well but only taking in a 30-40 carbs per hour. 4+ hours in I could barely turn the pedals. I upped my carb intake to 80 grams + an hour and haven’t bonked since. With the extra carbs I am still putting out my normal power in hours 4, 5, 6, etc. I think this is highly individual. I have my cholesterol checked qtrly and an annual physical and haven’t seen any issues with bloodwork.

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Seems that for whatever reason there is so much that is lost in translation/delivery when discussing fueling on rides. The goal should be to train the gut to be able to handle 80-100g/hr in a race. 80-100g/hr can also greatly improve performance in hard training sessions. Somewhere along the way people developed a belief that they need to eat during every single ride or they’re not getting appropriate adaptations and the training will not be optimal. Lots of stories of endurance athletes developing pre diabetic conditions due to this massively flawed belief - I really don’t understand it.


I think the thing is that diet and nutrition is complicated since it isn’t easy to just tell people how and when to eat and expect them to follow it rigorously long term. Everyone needs to figure out what works for them, for some that is easier to eat a lot on the bike and diet off the bike, for others pre loading or eating after the ride works better. Most people fall somewhere in the middle.

Cycling in particular is tricky because weight is so intermingled into performance


Yes, you’ve stated an example of a time where it would be more appropriate to play with more fueling - 4+ hour rides. Let’s say your generic ftp is 300 and you’re doing a steady z2 ride at 225w you’re going to be at 800kj/hr - so your net after a 5 hour ride at 80g/hr is still going to be a deficit of ~2400kcal. That’s different than a general 90-120 minute ride.

I’ll say it again. the time to eat sugar is on the bike. When you are exercising your glucose receptors are in overdrive. It’s the sugar you eat off the bike that can cause you to gain weight or perhaps develop “pre-diabetic” conditions. nutrient timing is an important consideration. When off the bike, eat real food. I don’t think the idea of eating every single ride is the problem. It’s the idea that you can eat whatever you want off the bike.


See my comment above, its easy to say this…but harder for many people to actually do. What people are often doing is overdoing it both on and off the bike. Drinking sports drinks on the bike does not have the same effect in terms of satisfaction as a donut or ice cream after the ride. Of course this is a psychological problem, not a physiological one


I’ve been riding for 40 years. On a 1 hour ride or less, I wouldn’t bring food. For a 1.5 hour ride, might take along a banana (27g). If my ride was a little longer (2-3 hours) I’d bring along a banana and a Cliff bar (44g).

I think I’m pretty well fat adapted. I’ve done 4-5 hour gravel rides bringing along maybe 1000 calories in food and I had good energy in the last hour.

I’m glad you posted this tale of caution. I’ve started doing a 3 hour intense group ride. I burned 1900 calories on it last week. I brought 2 bananas and the cliff bar for a total of 98 grams of carbohydrate over 3 hours. After the ride, I thought I probably should have brought more carbs since the ride is so demanding. I was going to add maltodextrin for the next one because it was actually difficult to eat the bars and bananas.

I still think I will only resort to sugar when the ride is very intense.

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I’m sorry this happened to you and I hope you find the solution. I’d be concerned too.

Just to reemphasize that this is going to be different for every individual, I want to share another example. I’ve been using the 60-90g homemade magic juice every ride I do, no matter the length, since the beginning of the malto/fructose thread. I just had bloodwork done and my triglycerides, sugar, HDL/LDL, etc numbers were fantastic. In fact, my doctor specifically said, “these are the best numbers you’ve presented in the last 5 years, you’re doing great, what have you changed?”. Well, I fuel my rides which has reduced RPE and allows me to ride more. I also gave up alcohol a few years back and gave up red meat about 18 months ago. I try hard to eat more plant based, but I do have a heavy sweet tooth that I feed pretty regularly after dinner. I need to work on that.

Just wanted to point out that it’s not as simple as “if you fuel your rides your triglycerides and sugar will be through the roof in the near future”. There’s a lot more to take into account.

Good luck and hope you see better numbers soon.


You’re not wrong. But eating sugar on the bike is not what these folks are doing. These folks are eating sugar on the bike AND sugar off of the bike - doing both leads to higher likelihood of health conditions than just one. While we’d all like to exist in a lab and only eat junk on the bike, unfortunately most folks are going to carry on doing what they’re doing off of the bike - the double is way worse than just stuffing your face with carrot cake and cream cheese icing post ride (that might be good??? - haha) while under fueling a little during a ride.

I think we probably agree on this topic, but it’s not easy to tell online. Essentially, if you’re eating appropriately (be it on the bike and off), doing endurance activities are going to very likely improve 95% of your basic health metrics. Someone doing endurance activities should not be gaining weight or having metrics trend the other direction - if the trend is wrong, you’ve done something wrong.


Except that if riding Z2 at that energy burn rate at least half the energy demand will be met by fatox


I think this is the only piece of information that really matters.

You went into a caloric surplus. This could have happened a number different ways, on or off the bike. Your fueling could be fine, but if you overeat on top of adequate fueling, you end up in a surplus.

Beer bellies are genetic. Your excess calories went there. Doesn’t matter whether it came from fructose, glucose, or fat.


From what I can tell, pro’s don’t do this either and especially not elites. And when they do, it’s in specific high intensity long sessions, and HARD races. And even then, they’re using solid forms and not just chowing 3 bottles of sugar. Or a bottle everyday.

But most people on here that’s not really relevant? As a lot are training minimum 4 days a week? If someone’s training 6 days a week, plus taking walks, what day does their body decide to cut half its bmr 6x???
Study/article targeted at the masses who might decide to exercise once in a blue moon, not athletes. Plus it’s probably funded by a nutrition or diet company

I don’t understand the fascination here with fatox relative to glucose. It’s about fueling the work, whether it comes from carbs or fat a calorie is a calorie. The difference is it’s less efficient to get fuel from fat. Your body has to do more “work” to convert it. Therefore if you can fuel with carbs, you will likely feel “better.” To me, it’s kind of pointless to ask your body to use fat stores when it’s still possible for your body to feed off of available glucose. It won’t make you healthier or help you lose weight to burn fat. At the end the day, a calorie is a calorie. Any excess will be stored as fat regardless of where it came from.

I think folks use this excuse not to eat on the bike to increase their calorie deficit, which I think we all know doesn’t work in the end most of the time. I have yet to hear anyone say they perform BETTER not eating, just that they don’t “have” to. Seems kind of pointless to not eat when glucose is the better fuel when available.


If your body can use the fat, why wouldn’t you? And why wouldn’t it allow you to burn fat better, if the two possibilities were burn fat while you exercise or carbs?
Its repeated that congesting carbs doesn’t turn off fat oxidation, so then if you’re consuming more carbs than you’re burning (of carbs) then where does that carb go? If you’re already got full glycogen stores because you already eat high carb off the bike aswell, probably your gut!!!

There’s actually an in between of 80-100g/hr and not eating. And eating 40-60/hr (and with real food) is still fueling the work. If I start am endurance ride with a high carb bottle I feel like crap, even if I start some efforts, still crap. If I fuel normally and then use a high carb bottle to finish when I have efforts at the end of the session (like how pro’s seem to train and race), i feel great!!!

Two reasons.

  1. It’s not as effective. If we had unlimited stores of glucose onboard, no one would want to burn fat. It’s harder to utilize meaning your body will work harder for it and it’s limited in the intensity level it can support.
  2. Because calorie deficit management has NOTHING to do with whether you fuel with carbs or use fat stores. If you are going to eat low calorie dense carbs off the bike, it doesn’t matter what you did on the bike. It is virtually impossible to eat more calories on the bike than you burn on the bike, so the excess calories are not coming from what you eat on the bike. What you do off the bike is an individual problem, but I would argue, if you fuel better on the bike, you will be less likely to overeat off the bike.

I’m not sure if anyone has brought it up yet, but do you have any underlying health issues or are you doing more testing with the doc? I needed a point this year to fuel all of my rides with 80-120 grams per hour (except for noodling rides or recovery rides) and all of my vitals and my power have improved.
I’m not saying you are doing it wrong, I just want to make sure you are addressing any potential health issues before you worry about tweaking your workouts.
I was able to do this ride today in preparation for everesting. I would never have been able to sustain powers and efforts like that before until I started fueling this way. I do try to maintain as healthy a diet as possible off the bike though

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Yes! Both you and the prior comment are spot on! My assumption is that your issues are coming from off the bike fueling, not on. There was a deep dive last year on the topic IIRC, and Chad talked about how even at lower intensities, the sugar that you consume is basically broken down very quickly and used as energy. There’s no residual impact on your overall health- unless you’re consuming excess calories and added sugar or highly processed food in every day life.

They’ve mentioned this on the podcast a few times, but it’s really worth while to just for a few days track your food intake. Then go back and look at total calories consumed, and how much added sugar you’re taking in from your regular meals. Also take note of how much processed food you-re eating- they tend to spike your blood sugar and not satiate you, creating a higher blood glucose response and leading to more calories consumed.