What do you eat on your “big” days?

I know this has been discussed on the pod but not in recent memory… wanted to discuss this on the forum—what do YOU do for food on big training days? and what are your thoughts on the below questions

I recently restarted logging my food on MyFitnessPal in an effort to trim down some of the weight that’s crept around my belt line after some major life transitions since April. Glad that I did because I wasn’t hitting nearly the protein macros I thought I was. I digress.

Sitting here at the end of my day, I’ve burned just under 4,000 calories between my bike and run workout. I am at a deficit of about 2k Cal (I mean 2000 Cals not 2kCal), even after 1/2 a bottle of wine! I’ve consumed 60-80g carb/hr during my exercise today. And, after my meals I have been quite satiated. However seeing that I’m still in such a huge deficit makes me think…

From a performance perspective, should I try to be eating more on big days like today and “chase” the fuel a bit more proactively earlier on? Or is it fine to average out the calorie deficit (e.g. breakeven or even a little surplus on subsequent days) over the rest of the week?

Or, how about from a fat loss perspective, does the big deficit ironically hamper my body’s willingness to shed excess fat or are one-off deficits alright so long as the average trend is down, given sufficient protein and nutrients?

Eating for fuelling rides has to be done proactively. So even if you are in a deficit today, did you up the fuelling yesterday for today’s work?

Also, are you riding tomorrow? If not, focus on protein and eat to satiety.

The deficit is better to look at as a rolling average, even if that can be broken down to individual days. Mostly so you make sure to fuel the work and then lower intake when it’s safe to do so.


I eat the same as normal.

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+1 on the comments about eating normally. Just because you did 4000kj’s of work on a given day doesn’t mean you ramp eating afterwards to square things up. It’s not a calories in/out math problem to fuel your future workouts. Depending on the nature of the ride and how you fueled while riding, you might end up that ride with a big glycogen deficit or possibly not.

If you are going to let a big day dictate specific/different eating behaviors outside of that ride, it should be day/night prior, not after (in my opinion). I’ll sometimes do a “mini” carb load the day prior if I’ve got a really big day planned, almost like race prep. While I’ll pound sugars during the ride, that’s never going to keep up with the rate of calorie burn. After the ride, I’ll immediately have something for recovery (the typical protein/sugar mix), but normal meals ongoing. Actually, a big ride day normally means missing lunch, so less normal meal calories is typical. Just remember that the 4000kj’s of work you did wasn’t all burning your glycogen stores, a large portion was burning fat. You want to replenish glycogen, not necessarily fat (especially if you are trying to improve body comp).

In my experience, you can absolutely run a calorie deficit while still fueling your future workouts well (ie keeping your glycogen up while not replacing all the fat you are burning).


I eat a massive 150gram bowl of cornflakes with honey on it after something like a 1500 - 2000 cal ride. Then a while later i’ll eat my dinner as normal.

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You can’t track calories out accurately enough to plan a diet.

Aim for balanced meals with extra protein.

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Yeah I think this was what I was forgetting. My thought was that with such a big deficit I’d be hampering recovery or muscle maintenance. I’m not stage racing or anything, just a weekly long ride

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