How To Fuel Your Rides Like A Pro – The Best Cycling Nutrition


Soigneur is a French word and it means one
who cares for. In cycling soigneur means everything but the bike. One of the crucial components
of being a soigneur is making sure that the riders have proper nutrition and hydration
when they’re on the bike and there are basically three kinds of rides that we prepare them
for. Popping on the bike and doing an hour, a two hour ride or interval work would be
considered in the 2 hour segment or a long ride; 4, 4 and a half, 5 hours on the bike.
For a one hour ride we generally provide 2 bottles one water and one electrolyte mix.
Electrolytes are the salts that the body loses when you’re sweating and it’s very important
when you’re exercising to get your electrolytes back in after exertion, or during exertion.
Typically when it is 25 degrees or cooler we’re comfortable allowing the riders one
bottle of water and one bottle of mix, the electrolyte replacement per hour. When it’s
over 25 degrees we either make the strength of our electrolyte mix stronger to replace
more salts or we suggest 2 bottles of mix so that the intake of the salts is maintained.
In addition to hydration we also need to address food on the bike and the easiest thing to
do is to supplement your caloric intake with bars, gels, and other sugary dietary supplements
so we recommend for the 1 hour ride the guys generally go with a couple of gels in their
pockets and those are about 100 calories a piece and they provide sugars and carbohydrates.
For more videos like this go to youtube.com/gcn

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54 thoughts on “How To Fuel Your Rides Like A Pro – The Best Cycling Nutrition

  1. Great video! What's the best food to have before a 2-3 hours bike ride and how long in advance should i eat? Thank you! GCN THE BEST!!

  2. Similar question to Michele: what and how much food should I be eating during a 2-3 hour ride. Keep the nutritional videos coming – maybe one on the day-to-day diets of the pro riders; how they vary between sprinters, climbers, time-trial specialists etc; how they vary between the off season and peak race season. I can't get enough of this channel – great work guys!

  3. i always take a frutiy flapjack out while riding just incase i run out off carbs. i should find somthing els too really though

  4. Hi George, there are a lot of different factors that truly determine how much you should eat on a ride – how hard you ride, how much you weigh, how well trained you are etc etc.

    We'll definitely cover this in more detail soon, but as a broad rule, if you have energy drink in your bottles, you should aim to supplement this with a piece of food (bar, gel, banana…) every 45 minutes.

    If you hit the wall though, that's a sure fire way to tell you to eat more!

  5. Hi Michele, we'll cover pre ride food soon, but in the mean time, think starchy carbohydrates so that they release energy slowly and avoid simple carbs – keep these for during rides. MrStevemojo below suggested porridge which is a great call, or brown bread, rice, stuff like that.

    As for when you should eat, the golden rule for when racing is 3 hours before the start to allow you to digest it fully. If I'm just riding though, I can happily eat breakfast and then head out only 15 minutes later.

  6. i hit the wall/bonked while out on a sunny (we had one or two) Sunday last year…i was 35 miles from home and had to get off the bike before i fell off. i felt very weak, very faint and was very nearly sick on my shoes. why? because i left it too long before i took a gel. i had to sit down on a grass verge for 15 minutes to eat and recover. i never want to experience that feeling again…hydration is vital but don't forget to eat!

  7. i hit the wall/bonked while out on a sunny (we had one or two) Sunday last year…i was 35 miles from home and had to get off the bike before i fell off. i felt very weak, very faint and was very nearly sick on my shoes. why? because i left it too long before i took a gel. i had to sit down on a grass verge for 15 minutes to eat and recover. i never want to experience that feeling again…hydration is vital but don't forget to eat!

  8. I think an important detail that needs to be reinforced, especially for long rides, is that the rider should be sure to use this energy that is taken. Sometimes the ride makes a person not have an appetite for sugar or liquids. A rider should make sure they get a rhythm in consuming calories and hydration or after a couple hours, he is suddenly behind. And if nothing else, on a short ride, that energy is great for the post ride recovery.

  9. I do a 50-60 mile club ride every other week and bonk 2/3 times, obviously I want to totally eliminate this from happening in the future. I know that to do this I'll have to fuel myself better with more carbs. What meal would you recommend for the night before a ride and the breakfast before? Thanks.

  10. I think the key is to eat regularly on the ride, before you get hungry – if you're hungry then it's pretty much too late. Probably eating something within the first hour of riding would help. Personally I go for a pretty light breakfast as I struggle to deal with a huge amount of food in the morning.

  11. This kind of thing is pretty dependent on the individual. I like just electrolytes in one bottle and plain water in the other and all the sugar/carbs coming from gels/food. Some of the other guys on the team like to use energy drinks though. Post ride? A beer or a nice cup of tea 😉

  12. Love the videos, GCN, very helpful thanks! I'm doing the UK 3 peaks challenge by bike in August this year and hoping to break 72 hours. What would you recommend for nutrition for roughly 60 hours' worth of saddle time? Prep/during riding and recovery?

  13. Hi Tim, sounds like a great challenge!

    In terms of nutrition strategy, that is a really complex one as it is such an extreme effort. Quite frankly it's a long way from our roots in procycling too, but we'll give it a go.

    As much as possible you need to maintain your carbohydrate stores, but we'd avoid dependance on simple sugars. Regular complex carbs, and also fats like nuts are a good idea. Don't forget to keep on top of your protein too.

    Not enough space to do it justice, sorry!

  14. Actually, I think the way to fuel is to make sure you get stuff in regularly before you feel hungry or thirsty. It's a matter of discipline. Drink something every 30 minutes, and eat something every 45-60mins. This way your body can process the calories before you run out. What happens with bonking is that you've run out – there is always a time lag between your stomach processing the food and your muscles receiving it from the blood.

  15. I read somewhere that the body shuts down the digestive process if you are working at the top end of your heart rate, and so if you are working very hard for too long it's unlikely that eating will help until you reduce you effort/work load. This is why it's important to know your HR zones and when you are working hard/too hard over longer rides.

  16. I'm doing the Raid Pyrenees this summer. It's likely to be hot, with lots of climbing and I estimate I will be in the saddle roughly 6-7 hours most days. Would you recommend having one water, one carb bottle? Or two bottles of carbs on the bike? (Obviously regularly replenishing these when and were I can). Should I also think about having macro-nutrient (fats/proteins snacks) or simple sugar bars and gels? Or a mix?

  17. Those gels and energy bars are poison for your body. Stick to dried fruits and bananas on the bike.

  18. I used to use all that crap last year and it didn't do anything for me. Good for you to read up on that stuff, what you put in your body has every effect on performance. What I do is make some organic green tea(or any herbal tea) and put 1 tablespoon of brown sugar(you can put more but don't go over 3) and a pinch of salt for electrolytes. I don't find any difference between what I make and those High5 caffeine tabs, I used to get weird knee pain from them.

  19. Wow I might even try that. Today I put some honey and half a lemon for more electrolytes and carbs, it was really good. Just make sure you mix everything well and then put it in the fridge so it can all blend nicely.

  20. Oh for sure, regular chocolate milk is filled with sugar. These processed and artificial foods is what's making the entire world sick. We shouldn't have sickness in the 21st century like we do now.

  21. Isn't it a little overkill to eat two gels during a 1hour ride? Or did she mean two gels per hour for longer rides?

  22. Okay. That's what I thought. 🙂
    By the way, your videos are really nice and informative! Thank you for producing them and putting them on the web!

  23. why eat at all? When I train i never eat enything. It improves your bodys ability to burn fat and its cheaper. And why dont just eat high nutrition when you come home instead of having a lot of artificial minerals in your drink? 

  24. thought the trick was to get steaks from the same butcher as alberto contador and drink the same whiskey as floyd landis 😉

  25. Howdy! Have you tried Binnot Amazing Cycling Training (search on google)? Ive heard some pretty good things about it and my work buddy achieved amazing results with it. 

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