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Cycling injury, recovery and health issues.
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Alright, I've come to a dead end... I do almost all of my cycling in the morning, first thing in fact. That being the case, I generally haven't eaten ANYTHING prior to a ride (excluding the night before). Now most of these rides aren't huge distances, usually during the week I'll ride say 30-40km, and on the weekends perhaps 70-100km. I have started to notice that on my weekend rides (when I sometimes take food along) I can perform a huge amount better after a snack. It's got me thinking, how do you guys manage your cycling/food intake for training? I'm not talking about your diet, but about what you eat before and during a ride. If I'm only riding 30k, or for approx 1 hour, should I still be eating something prior to and during a ride?
I remember reading somewhere that 50g of carbohydrate was recommended for every hour of exercise - but I'm not sure how accurate that figure is?... Often on the weekend ride I'll take along a white bread, jam, and peanut butter sandwich (two pieces of bread, cut into 1/4's with the crusts off - for ease of eating). Now I've got no idea how many grams of carbohydrates would be in that but I'm guessing about 40g in total - ~10g per slice of bread, and ~20g in the jam/peanut butter. Going off my recommended 50g/hour this is too little for a 2.5 hour ride... Assuambly, that's about what I'd need for my 30k mid week rides - when I have usually had nothing... Would you guys reccomend that I try and eat something prior to EVERY ride, no matter how long it is, and try and keep to the 50g/hour figure as well? If so, what's a good thing to eat maybe 20 mins before I get on the bike, can't be any longer than that as I am still asleep I figured some fruit, or even some lollies might be the best bet if I don't have much time to digest the food, but I'm sure there are people on here who know a whole lot more! I guess I should probably be drinking sports drinks while riding too in order to supplement the carb intake without having to carry food, but once again - I'm a bit of a noob when it comes to this stuff!
Would really appreciate any advice. Cheers,
The exact amount will depend on your burn rate/intensity, but I budget 30g per hour. A good bowl of cereal/muesli bar, a banana and a second bar/gel sees me set for just over 2 hours on the saddle at a good pace.
No 'real' food will be digested in 20 minutes, mind you. A banana takes around 40 minutes.
Also, on any particularly challenging ride, don't neglect water and electrolytes.
From Sports Dietitians Australia
For all events, 2g/kg bwt 2 hours pre ride.
Obviously this is an issue for early morning starts.
I recommend you experiment with your own metabolism to see what you can tolerate.
I've tried everything from
- weetbix/muesli and milk
- toast and jam
- nuts and berries.
Having something is better then nothing for me, but I have about half of what I'd have if not riding.
What I am more careful with pre ride is fluid intake. I drink as electrolyte what I pee'ed off since 8pm the night before. The salt helps stop the fluid from going straight to the bladder.
1. < 1 hr, nothing should be required apart from water.
2. 1-4 hrs, 1g CHO / kg bwt / hr after first hr.
3. >4 hrs, 1g CHO and 0.1g Pro / kg bwt / hr after first hr.
Fluid intake should replace fluid and electrolyte loss. This can vary from person to person and with weather conditions.
It's best to carefully weigh yourself pre and post exericse to calculate individualized rate of fluid loss under varying climate conditions.
Cool, appreciate that advice. I guess for anything pre-ride I am looking for something with carbs that can be very quickly absorbed into the system. I suppose carb rich fluids could work well there? Does anyone happen to know if any particular fruits are "faster acting" than others? I would have though muesli bars and the like might take a little longer to be digested than something like a banana but if not that would be equally suitable. Maybe even just some honey or something... I think perhaps my best bet when I'm actually on the bike will be sports drinks/water, and a white bread sandwich with peanut butter/honey (I'd much prefer real food than gels and the like). Seems like with two pieces of bread and the spreads + the drinks that should be enough for a 2-3 hours, if I get something into the system prior to departing. I'm not a big guy (65kg) and have a quick metabolism (for the moment anyway ) so I shouldn't need too much I guess.
Cheers for the help,
Have a look at the nutrition and fluid intake articles at the Australian Institute of Sport and Sports Dietitians Australia
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