Nutrition Plan: What to Eat on Your Next Training Ride

Cyclists hear plenty about the science behind how much to eat and how to balance the ratio of carbohydrate and proteins. But sometimes people just want to know, "what should I eat?" Being able to visualize a suggested eating plan for the day will help you to decide what to consume before, during and after a ride.

Below are two example days, one for a long endurance ride and one for a shorter training ride. The illustration of calorie burn versus calorie intake doesn't get too scientific about nutrition requirements, energy systems and biological functions, which can sometimes be confusing. These examples are meant to help you get a baseline for what and how much you should be eating based on your level of activity.

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The following is based on assumptions about your personal data (To measure what you need accurately, you should work out your own data):

  • Basic calorie requirement before exercise: 1,600 calories. You should estimate your own here. Please also note, this calculation is used for a sedentary and relatively inactive person-add exercise calories separately.
  • Calorie burn on a long endurance ride including some short breaks = 400/hour.
  • Calorie burn on a shorter, higher intensity training ride = 550/hour. You can estimate your own using a heart rate monitor, or better still get a very accurate picture using a power meter if you're lucky enough to own one. If you don't have either of these I find this website to be pretty accurate.
  • The basic calorie requirement is split between the hours of 6am and 8am for the purpose of the illustration.

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