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Getting your cycling nutrition dialed is critical to your performance and enjoyment as an enthusiast-level rider.

Most of us enthusiasts are busy people who don’t have the time to keep up with the latest research about what, when, and how much to eat on and off the bike to power our training and recovery.

Worse, some of us depend on outdated guidelines or beliefs that can prevent us from getting the most out of our riding.

Since the beginning of the 2020s, cycling nutrition practices have undergone many important changes. In this article, I’ll share with you which ones enthusiasts should follow in 2024 after surveying what researchers, nutritionists, coaches, and common sense have to say.

In a separate piece later this spring, I’ll tell you what my five fellow testers and I think of the leading gels, chews, bars, drink mixes, recovery powders, DIY blends, and real foods from our own experience trying to do cycling nutrition right and after BTD (BikeTiresDirect) opened their cupboards for us to test the wide assortment of cycling fuel they stock.

In The Know Cycling is ad-free, subscription-free, and reader-supported. If you want to help keep it rolling without any added cost to you, buy your gear and kit after clicking the store links on the site. When you do, we may earn an affiliate commission that will help me cover the expenses to create and publish our independent, comprehensive and comparative reviews. Thank you, Steve. Learn more.


To make a point, and keep your attention a bit longer, I’ll start with a few pieces of advice long held as cycling nutrition gospel that, based on the current research, you should drop like a group of lazy wheel suckers when you sprint to the town line.

  • Fasted rides help you burn fat and lose weight.
  • You can only absorb 50-60 grams of carbohydrates or 200-250 calories an hour.
  • You must start refueling your recovery within a 30-45 minute window after your ride.
  • Spread out your daily protein consumption with no more than 20-30 grams per meal.


Let me step back a minute and give you an overview of the basics.

Like everything else in this article, these basics apply to cycling enthusiasts who ride 4-6 days or 6-12 hours a week, several thousand miles or kilometers a year on some combination of the road, gravel, and a trainer. We typically ride at an average pace of 17- 25 mph or 27-40 kph on the road and 12-18 mph or 19-29 kph on gravel, on solo and group rides, in amateur races and events, for health, friendly competition, and the joy of being outside with old and new friends.

These guidelines are not for recreational cyclists who ride more casually and less frequently or pros who ride as their job and have unique needs and capabilities.

For us enthusiasts, then, here are the cycling nutrition basics:

The calories you expend per day come in four ways

1) At rest – your RMR or “resting metabolic rate” calculated using the ten-Haaf equation

    • For men: (11.936 × weight in kg) + (587.728 × height in meters) – (8.129 × age in years) + 220.306
    • For women: (11.936 × weight in kg) + (587.728 × height in meters) – (8.129 × age in years) + 29.279
    • This omni calculator gets you pretty close.

2) In your normal daily activity – your PAL or “physical activity level,” not including your training

    • Add 0.3 x your RMR if you spend most of your day at a desk (a good default for most people)
    • Add 0.7 x your RMR if you spend most of your day working on your feet

3) During your cycling and other training

    • For cycling, use the number of kJs or kilojoules expended during your ride as your number of calories (actually kilocalories)
    • For weight lifting, yoga, or other types of exercise training, multiply the number of METs (metabolic equivalents) for the exercise from this compendium x your weight (in kg) x the hours you actually do the activity (for example, 15 minutes of actual time lifting weights is 0.25 hours; a 60-minute continuous yoga work out is 1 hour)

4) After cycling and other exercise training, as your body recovers, repairs, and returns to its pre-exercise state – the EPOC or “excess post-exercise oxygen consumption,” often called the afterburn.

    • Add 0.06 to 0.15 x the calories burned during cycling and other exercises. The harder the exercise, the higher the amount you should add.

As an example, take a 50 yr old, 5′ 10″ or 1.78m tall, 150lb or 68kg male cycling enthusiast who works a desk job and gets in a 90-minute cycling workout and 15 minutes of actual time doing moderate resistance training, yoga, or mobility exercises in a day.

He would burn 1700 calories with his resting metabolic rate (RMR), 500 calories from his normal daily activity (PAL) not including his training, 750 calories on the bike, 80 calories from the additional exercise, and another 80 calories during recovery (EPOC).

In total, he would expend 3110 calories that day of which 2200 come from his resting and normal activity and 910 from his training and recovery.

For more on all of this, listen to Alan McCubbin and Scott Tindal on episode 74 of the Fueling Endurance podcast. The ebook from this podcast is also a comprehensive and excellent source of up-to-date nutrition information for endurance cyclists, runners, and triathletes

The energy you need comes from the right amounts of the right foods

Macros: Cycling enthusiasts stay healthy from an average macronutrient (or “macro”) combination of 50%- 65% carbohydrates, 15-25% protein, and 20-30% fat.

But, since our training varies in intensity and duration from day to day, week to week, and block to block, nutritionists tend to avoid setting macro percentage targets for endurance cyclists.

The more you train, the more carbs you need to fuel your training. And since protein supports the process of building and repairing the mitochondria in your muscles, which use those carbs and oxygen to power your training, you need more protein as an enthusiast than a generally healthy, less active person does.

However, since recovery is a bit more of a steady process than training, you don’t want to vary your daily, weekly, or block protein levels with changes in your training duration and intensity as much as you do your carb intake.

Fat doesn’t burn as efficiently as carbohydrates and doesn’t contribute to recovery as protein does, so there’s little reason to vary the amount you consume with your level of training.

Some of you may be following along just fine with the concepts and numbers I’m working through. Others may be dizzy already and fear what’s to come. That’s o.k.

When it comes to cycling nutrition, I find there are at least four types of enthusiasts:

  1. Believers who keep up with and follow the latest cycling nutrition recommendations and count every carb and calorie to adhere to those recommendations
  2. Experimenters who hear and understand all that is being said about cycling nutrition but try enough different things to find what works best for them
  3. Simplifiers who look for a few key cycling nutrition guidelines to follow and consciously do until there’s enough momentum around a new guideline to displace one of those they’ve adopted
  4. Habitualists who have adopted cycling nutrition habits and keep doing them with little conscious thought or awareness about what else they should consider

While you may associate with one or another of these types, many also progress through two or three of them over time. For example, you may be reading this article as a Believer looking to become a Simplifier after going through a stage as an Experimenter

Or, you may have jumped into the topic of cycling nutrition as a Simplifier and, after a while, became a Habitualist who doesn’t much think about it anymore.

With this and my next article, I’m hoping to catch you where you are, and because cycling nutrition has changed so much in the last couple of years, move you up or down this progression to get to a better place in your cycling nutrition.

Amount: Rather than considering your carb, protein, and fat intake on a relative macro calorie level, it is usually easier to target them in relation to your body weight.

Since food labels show the amount of macronutrients in grams rather than absolute calories, it’s pretty easy to focus on the grams of each macronutrient.

Labels do show the calorie percentage of a recommended daily value, but those are for the general population rather than endurance cyclists. I find those percentages distracting and try to disregard them.

It may help to know that one gram of carbs and protein produces 4 calories, but a gram of fat serves up 9 calories. And, of course, those calories serve very different purposes in our cycling and general health.

The recommended ranges for enthusiasts holding a steady body weight are as follows:

  • Carbohydrates: 6-12 grams per kg of body weight per day
  • Protein: 1.2-1.8 grams per kg of body weight per day

Admittedly, those are pretty wide ranges, and there’s no guidance for fat. In recent years, research has shown that eating at the middle to the higher end of these ranges will keep your glycogen stores topped off when you begin your next rides and build or change your body composition to one with more muscle and less fat for the same body weight. And there’s usually enough fat in Western diets to avoid eating below unsafe levels.

Let’s go back to the example above of the 150lb, 68kg rider.

If he targets a mid-range 9g/kg/day amount of carbs and 1.5g/kg/day amount of protein on the day when he’s doing a 90-minute ride and 15 minutes of other exercise, he should consume about 610g of carbs, 100 grams of protein and 30 grams of fat.

On a day when he does a 3-hour solo training or group ride, increasing his carb intake to 11g/kg would add another 140g of carbs, and the same amount of protein and fat.

On a rest day, he could back down to 6g/kg of carbs or 400g overall, the same amount of protein, and 10 less grams of fat.

The beauty of this approach is that you merely need to vary the amount of carbs you take in with the intensity and length of your rides, something I have more to say about in the next section, rather than work through macro percentages every day.

You do need to back off a bit of the fat on rest days.

Eating throughout the day and fueling well with carbs on every ride reduces blood sugar spiking, more efficiently and comfortably balances energy demand and supply, and promotes more even recovery. It also begins to explain why research has shown that old beliefs like not needing to fuel much or at all for short rides, worrying about a 30-minute post-ride anabolic recovery window, or limiting the amount of protein you eat at each meal are less effective for cycling enthusiasts.

Foods: Consuming the right foods at meals and snacks and fueling with the right cycling nutrition products while riding is key to consuming and processing the energy you need as efficiently and comfortably as possible.

Generally, you want to eat as much variety of natural, unprocessed foods as you can that are “nutrient-dense” or pack a relatively high quantity of the nutrients you want into the food’s overall amount of calories. As an enthusiast with high carb and protein needs, you should try to eat some amount of high-quality carbs and protein in every meal and eat until you are full but not more. Within these principles, eat what works best for your tastes and how it makes your body feel rather than what someone else might recommend or be promoting.

For more on this, check out Matt Fitzgerald’s book The Endurance Diet, which documented the nutritional habits of elite endurance athletes nearly 10 years ago and still holds up quite well today.

Here’s a list of natural, nutrient-dense foods to consider. Most are probably no surprise to serious cycling enthusiasts.


  • Vegetables like potatoes, broccoli, beans, or peas
  • Fruits, including bananas, oranges, blueberries, and apples
  • Grains like oats, quinoa, rice, and pasta


  • Lean protein like chicken, turkey, yogurt, and eggs
  • Plant-based protein including tofu, black beans, chickpeas, or edamame


  • Avocado, Nuts, and seeds
  • Salmon or tuna
  • Olive oil

I’ll say more about what to eat on the bike below and specific cycling nutrition products in the next post.


Some of my cycling enthusiast friends are quite established in their thinking. Clincher tires, manual shifting, comfortable jerseys, no power meter.

They also show up with just water in their bottles, a gel or two in their pockets, and a banana, sandwich, or bar to eat at the mid-ride break.

I think the superior genes they got from their parents are what makes them such good cyclists. But they could be even better if they paid a bit more attention to their cycling nutrition, including what they eat on the ride.

Fueling your ride while it’s happening, as well as before and after it, is central to your performance and overall cycling nutrition.

Before: How well you keep after your cycling nutrition in the days before each ride is equally if not more important than what you eat in the hours just before it. If you haven’t been attentive to eating the right amounts of the right foods as I’ve described in the section above, a pre-ride meal or snack is only going to help you so much.

But, if you’ve stayed on top of your nutrition (and sleep) with as much focus as you have on your cycling plan, eating smart before a ride can bring you to the start of it ready to go.

The more time you have before the ride, the more you can eat a greater mix of carbs, protein, and healthy fat.

The shorter the ride and the less time before you start, the closer you should stick to simpler, quickly absorbed carbohydrates and steer clear of slower-absorbing, complex carbohydrates and fiber-rich foods, proteins, and fat.

Here are some specific time frames and foods to consider, depending on how much time you have before you start your ride:

  • 4+ hours before your ride, eat a regular meal with carbs, protein, and fat. The longer the ride ahead, the bigger the meal.
  • 3-4 hours before the ride, eat a normal-sized meal, but one dominated by complex-absorbing carbs and some protein.
  • 1-2 hours before the ride, eat a meal of 1-2g/kg of body weight of complex but not too fiber-rich carbs and fast-absorbing, less fibrous carbs. Eat toward the higher end of that range if you are doing a Sweet Spot (Zone 3-4) or a harder ride and toward the lower end if you are planning a Zone 2 ride.
  • <60 minutes before the ride, eat 1-1.5g/kg of fast-absorbing, less fibrous carbs in real foods or a few gels, bags of chews, or a bottle of drink mix.
  • Complex carbs – Oatmeal, brown or wild rice, quinoa, veggies including sweet and white potatoes, corn, whole-grain bread, chickpeas, cereal, pancakes, waffles, honey, most fruits including apples, blueberries, raspberries, oranges.
  • Fast-absorbing carbs – White bread, jam, white rice, pasta, syrup, strawberries, grapes, bananas.

While fasted rides were once thought to enable you to burn fat and lose weight on rides, that approach has been debunked and is not recommended by modern-day cycling nutritionists. Research shows that higher intensity and/or longer rides than you normally do have a far bigger effect on fat burning. Fasted rides work against your ability to do those kinds of rides. Pre-fueled and fueled rides enable you to do them better.

Anecdotally, riders who go into a ride fasted tend to eat more, including more fat, after the ride than they would if they had fueled for the ride appropriately.

The research also shows that managing your fat consumption as part of your daily nutrition is the best way to reduce fat, lose weight, or shift your body composition to less fat and more muscle at the same weight.

If you are one of many who roll out of bed and right onto your bike without the time or stomach to eat before you ride, you’re not seriously disadvantaging yourself as long as you’ve eaten well in the days and night before and start eating soon after you start riding. You’ll draw on the glycogen stored in your muscles from your last meal and refill the glycogen depleted from your liver that kept your blood glucose levels stable overnight once you start eating on the bike.

During: How much and what to eat during your ride is probably the place where research has shown the greatest and most beneficial change in guidance and performance in the last 2-3 years.

Until recently, the conventional wisdom was that short rides or races and low-intensity rides of any length require little to no on-the-bike fueling. We also thought that more intense and longer, spirited rides of 3 hours or more should fuel with no more than 60 grams of carbs an hour because that was as much as your body could absorb.

On longer rides, the recommendation was to eat a combination of 1-2 gels or chews along with a bar every hour to get in 50-60 grams of carbs. Adequately hydrate, get your electrolytes in, and plan to replenish the 2 to 1 or greater deficit of calories burned vs. calories consumed after the ride, especially within the first 30-45 minutes. Eat some whole foods along the way for taste, cost savings, litter prevention, to throttle the cycling nutrition industrial complex, and because you’re groovy. (Thinking of you Dan H!)

The most recent research has shown that enthusiasts and pros may have been throttling themselves or at least limiting their performance and cycling nutrition with those approaches.

Instead, we’ve learned that most enthusiasts can absorb up 90 to 120 grams/hour of carbs from a combination of about 60 grams of fast-absorbing glucose and 30-60/grams of slower-absorbing fructose through different pathways. Depending on how sensitive your gut is, it takes some time to train it and can require a combination of glucose and fructose in different forms to reach these higher carb levels, but they apply to almost any intensity and length of ride and any size enthusiast.

Remember that enthusiasts burn about 1 kilocalorie or “Calorie” per kilojoule or kJ. Even zone 2 workouts at 60-75% of your threshold burn 400kJs or calories an hour. With carbs delivering 4 calories per gram, the 240-360 calories of energy you get from eating 60-90 grams of carbs will help replenish the 400 calories/hour you burn on easier rides and the 600 calories/hr or more you can burn on Sweet Spot or interval training rides and races.

Eating as many carbs as your body can absorb and your gut can tolerate improves your ability to feed your muscles closer to the calorie level they are burning for the hours and hours endurance cyclists often ride. You’ll also dig a much smaller hole in your glycogen stores that you’ll need to eat out of after you ride. Your muscles will thank you for the greater balance you achieve between the carbs they burn and replace both on the ride and during recovery.

For training rides or races of less than an hour and Z2 training for up to a couple of hours, you can get away with small amounts of carbs or rinsing your mouth with a carb drink mix to stimulate your brain’s pleasure and reward sensors. That’s assuming, of course, that you’ve eaten right before the ride.

Beyond an hour of hard effort and 2 hours at any intensity, enthusiasts should consume 60-90g/hr or more of carbs. Otherwise, you’re just withholding the fuel your muscles need to help you perform at your best. Why do that if you’ve been training hard and dialing in your gear to go as fast as you want?

As a part of some training strategies, a coach may recommend withholding carbs during some rides to stress the body to promote specific adaptations.

The fewer carbs you need, the more you’ll want fast-absorbing glucose that goes directly into your bloodstream and to your muscles than slower-absorbing fructose that first goes to your liver, which turns it into glucose. Above 60g/hr, you’ll want a glucose-to-fructose ratio of around 2:1. Between 90g/hr and 120g/hr, a 1:1 mixture will most effectively enable carbohydrate absorption.

The exact ratio you should use depends somewhat on what your gut can adapt to and prefers, though research and rider experience suggest that the 2:1, 1:0.8 (or 2:1.6), and 1:1 (2:2) range is most successful these days.

The specific amounts and types of glucose and fructose combinations used to achieve those ratios vary and aren’t always transparent in proprietary cycling nutrition products. Making homebrew drink mixes allows you to experiment to find the ratio that suits you best.

To reach these higher levels, it’s not practical to double or triple the food you used to carry in your back pockets and just eat them more frequently during a ride.

Some of today’s gels and drink mixes contain 30-40g or more of carbohydrates per package, far more than the 20-25g we’ve historically seen.

Of course, consuming more carbs requires making some tradeoffs to achieve the sweetness and taste you prefer, how frequently you want to or can easily consume them during a ride, and whether and how to combine your nutrition and hydration.

Putting greater concentrations of carbs in your water bottles can increase your carb consumption, but riding on hotter or cooler days that require more or less hydration for your unique sweat rate can complicate the calculations.

There are new products and strategies to deal with all of this. In my next post on cycling nutrition, I’ll share with you what my fellow testers and I experienced, each of us with unique ride profiles and nutrition strategies, after testing these products.

What is clear is that eating more carbs on the bike improves your performance and recovery and your satiety levels throughout the day. The health and growth of your mitochondria, muscles, and training fitness only happen when you have enough nutrition and hydration to support them, not when you deny what they thrive on.

After: Post-ride refueling for cycling enthusiasts depends on a few things:

  • How intense and long your just-completed ride was,
  • How well you fueled on that ride,
  • How intense and long your next ride will be,
  • How soon until your next ride,
  • How evenly you eat and snack during the day

Enthusiasts tend to do shorter, interval-type rides during the week just before or after work or sometimes at lunch. Longer rides, events, and races are usually our focus on the weekends. One day is usually a harder ride, and the other is an easier, often endurance one. If we’re racing, we may do a short opener the day before and a hard ride, race, or series of races the next day.

Since you’ll almost always finish a ride with some or a good amount of reduced glycogen stores even when you eat as much as you can on the ride, you’ll want to refill those stores with a combination of glucose and fructose. You’ll also want to consume protein to repair and build the mitochondria that help power the adaptations we want from training and convert carbs into energy to store and use in our muscles.

Enthusiasts should eat a 3:1 or 4:1 carb-to-protein ratio, at a rate of 1-1.2g/kg/hr of carbs and 0.3-0.4g/kg/hr between the end of your ride and your next next regular meal. So, the 150lb/68kg enthusiast I used as an example earlier will want to eat about 70g of carbs (simple and complex; glucose and fructose) and 20g of protein an hour. A post-ride recovery shake plus a good breakfast, lunch, or dinner after the ride will usually do the trick.

The more intense and long your last was and your next ride will be, the more you need to follow these consumption levels. And, if the time between rides is short, say you are doing multiple, intense training rides or races separated by less than 8 hours, the more important it is to woof down those carbs soon after your ride to get the recovery and replenishment going rather than to fit within an “anabolic window.”

The latest research suggests that the window, the period when your body is best able to replenish your glycogen stores, is open for closer to 2 hours than the 30-45 minutes it was once thought to be. Most enthusiasts I know will most definitely eat within a couple of hours after finishing their workout; just remember to eat the right amounts of carbs and protein.

While it doesn’t hurt, there’s no need to consume the protein so soon between multiple rides on the same day, as protein synthesis goes on for a couple of days after each ride. But if it’s easier to get it in at the same time as part of a recovery drink, there’s no harm in doing so.

A post-ride alcoholic beverage or two won’t affect your recovery as long as you are consuming enough carbs and protein in the same time period. But more than a couple of drinks or beers will affect your rehydration and who knows what else unrelated to your recovery.

Otherwise, eating and snacking on the right amount of the right foods during the 12-24 hours between most enthusiasts’ rides will ensure we replenish our carbohydrate stores and continue to repair and build our muscles before our next ride. That’s good to know if you’re one those who have difficulty stomaching much food right after a hard ride.

Again, fueling well while on the bike and throughout the day makes refueling and repairing after the ride much less pivotal to your training and event performance.

Hydration: Ride intensity, weather conditions, and personal physiology affect how much you’ll need to hydrate during a ride. It’s usually good to have some electrolytes in your bottles, whether part of a drink mix or something you add to your water.

The old guidance about drinking a bottle of water an hour is a good reminder to stay hydrated during your ride. It also helps if you use a drink mix when trying to reach higher carbs/hr goals. Of course, bottles come in a range of sizes, so it may be worthwhile to have shorter ones for cooler days and taller ones for hotter days.

If you lose a lot of weight during a ride or get salt stains on your jersey, you aren’t hydrating enough. You can weigh yourself pre- and post-ride and drink more in future rides to match the weight loss you see. For example, if you lose a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of weight after a 3-hour ride on a hot day, you should drink another liter (33 oz) of water on similar rides in the future.

FYI, water bottles typically range from 500-750ml (17-25oz) in volume.


Next, I’ll bring you my test team’s take on the best gels, chews, bars, drink mixes, and recovery mixes available for cycling enthusiasts and some home brews we use.

The team includes Cat 1 racers, hill climb podium finishers, bullet train group riders, gravel grinders, all-day endurance enthusiasts, and Saturday morning club riders. In other words, we cover the cycling nutrition needs of road and gravel riders, racers and social enthusiasts, the very fastest and think-they-are-getting-faster, and the climbers and flatlanders.

We’ll be sharing with you our take on what we think matters most – how these products taste, how easy it is to access and consume them during a ride, how well their ingredients perform to the carb levels we need, how much they cost for the nutritional level they deliver, and a few other evaluation considerations we come up with along the way.

Use the popup form or the one at the bottom of the sidebar to get notified when this next cycling nutrition review and all of our new reviews are published. To see what gear and kit we’re testing, follow us by clicking the icons below.

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Thanks, and enjoy your rides safely! Cheers, Steve


  • Steve,
    Your excellent article is classic advice followed by world class athletes for years. May I suggest that there is a growing population of athletes who follow a ‘low carb’ approach to training and racing? I started a Carnivore diet 18 months ago, at age 69 and keep my daily carbs under 20 grams, usually in small amounts of dairy. I now go hours on the bike with nothing but water; my recovery meals are meat and I haven’t felt this good in decades. I was the top ranked 70+ year old in the USA Triathlon National Aqua Bike rankings last year so I’m racing pretty well also.
    If you want something other than an anecdote, ‘Google’ anything that Tim Noakes has written in the last 10 years. He is one of the worlds top sports science nutritionists and has made a major change in his advice since publishing the famous book, ‘The Lure of Running about 20 years ago. You can find numerous video’s by him on YouTube and if nothing else his research will cause one to consider that there are more ways to fuel oneself as an athlete.

  • Corky, yes I’ve done the same. I come from the trail running background and back when I was on LCHF diet I use to do 5-7 hours training days on nothing but water. I did runs after fasting for 36 hours with no problems whatsoever. But those were endurance runs, no hard efforts and definitely not racing. What I want to say, in endurance training one can get away with little to no carbs – once your body starts tapping into the fat reserves it continues to use it as preferable fuel. But for harder efforts, there is a hard line where your body starts depending on sugar rather than fat for fuel. Once there, you either bonk or start taking in carbs.
    Long story short, endurance training (start to finish) can get away with fewer carbs, anything else you’re better off taking in some sort of carbs (higher the effort, more carbs are required).
    Anyway this has been my experience during the last 15 years of training (running and cycling).

  • Also, I forgot to mention that there is definitely a learning curve for the body to adjust to using fat as fuel in training. It takes time to brake the dependency on carbs.

  • Steve, I gain a lot of insights from your tireless work, some I have found consistent with my experience, others not, all fair. I applaud you for taking on nutrition as it applies to enthusiast level cycling. This domain is certainly a factor in why we are seeing the rise in performance in the professional peloton, teams are taking nutrition science seriously, the products available such as higher carb loading via hydro gels and the like are pushing prior boundaries. But beware Steve, as out of the woodwork the diet tribes (pun intended) will emerge. Your first comment is case in point. Training to low carb diets, ( I don’t even know how you can eat less than 20 percent carbohydrate as cited above, certainly not with a balance in macro nutrients) or training in a state of ketosis for as long as they can manage, or meat only, paleo, all this no that diets…here we go a tidal wave of I only eat sausage McMuffins and have never felt better comments will surely follow. Don’t be discouraged by diet wars, please do continue to explore and real world test and comment on nutrition for endurance sports. Look forward to reading your stuff, and maybe the odd comment on the all I drink is wine diet and I’ve never felt better diet promoters. Cheers.

    • Brad, Thanks for your encouragement. As you know, I write about what what my fellow testers and I find from our testing and research. We have no agenda other than to learn and share in hopes that it will make those we ride with and others who love riding as much as we do enjoy riding even more. Raising the tide for all boats, so to speak. I respect what someone who sees it differently might be committed to. Perhaps I’ll learn something from them, perhaps not. But as long as they are respectful of others, cool. Steve

  • Steve, great article, thanks as always for your detailed research and insights. In your example for macro calculations, you mention the 150lb, 68kg rider, targeting carbs at 9g/kg/day and protein at 1.5g/kg/day, when doing a 90-minute ride and 15 minutes of other exercise, should consume about 610g of carbs, 100 grams of protein and 30 grams of fat. What are you considering here for calculating this fat target? You mention there’s no guidance around fat so curious if there’s still some method used in your example. As a follow-up, curious if you’ve encountered any research about riders who are also setting goals for weight loss (or gain), since you mention that the carb and protein targets are for those holding a steady body weight.

    • Hi Vincent. The grams of fat was what was left after subtracting the protein and carb calories from the total for the day. So 3110 total calories – 9g/kg x 68kg x 4cal/g or 2448 calories of carbs – 1.5g/kg x68kg x 4cal/g or 408 calories of protein = 254 calories of fat. Since fat is 9cal/g, that gives you 28g of fat. When I track my foods, I personally have a hard time getting down to so few calories from fat and that high an amount of carbs. Rest days are especially hard.

      As to weight loss, the guidance is often rider specific and about sustainably changing your habits and metabolism over months. What it seems to come down to though is to cut back on the amount of fat which is often much more than the 20-30% or so of total calorie intake that is seen as the normal range for endurance athletes and replace it with carbs that you burn on the bike and protein you use to build and maintain mitochondria and muscle. If you run a calorie deficit, the nutritionists say to do it in small doses, perhaps 5-10% of total calories a day, do it in fat or carbs if you’ve got the fat amount in control but don’t expect top performance on the bike. Do it in the base training season. Steve

  • Steve — great, comprehensive article (as usual). The only thing I really bumped up against was you listing honey as a complex carb — I don’t see how that’s possible.

    • Todd, Thanks! Yeah, there are different views about what’s complex and simple or slow vs. fast absorbing. Honey is mostly fructose so it’s slower absorbing than pure glucose. Maple syrup is similar but perhaps a bit quicker absorbing. Of course, it differs somewhat based on the specific honey or syrup product you’re getting. You are the best one to determine whether it’s fast enough for you.

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