CYCLE NUTRITION-Working out your food and hydration requirements.
The amount of food and hydration required on a ride depends on a number of factors including the weight of the cyclist, their fitness level,the intensity of the ride, altitude, weather and duration of ride. Underestimating your fuel and hydration needs can result in bonking with a drastic decline in your performance for that ride.
In general to stay hydrated during a ride:
1-2 hours before 16-20 oz (480-600 ml) water
30 min before ride 16-18 oz (480-540 ml)
every 15 mins during ride 4-8 oz (120-240 ml)
1 hour post ride 16-24 oz (480-700 ml)
A top cyclist will achieve more benefit during a race from correct nutrition and hydration than any upgrade in equipment.
A 2% loss in body weight during a ride can equate to a 5% loss in performance. For a 75 kg cyclist in a 2 hour ride this would be 6 minutes.
The daily fluid requirement for everyday needs is KG X 30-35ml per day.eg 75kg cyclist x 30 – 35 = 2250ml – 2625ml per day.
Individualize your fluid needs
A decrease in body weight after a race can indicate dehydration, this will impact on performance.To individualize your fluid needs for a race follow this formula.
Weight lost in kg during race x 16 oz (480 ml) plus fluid consumed during race = total to stay hydrated.
eg if you lost 1kg during a race and drank 16 oz during the race you need 32 oz(960 ml) to stay hydrated
There are variables such as weather, individual hydration status etc that will alter this.
As well as staying hydrated you have to replace the calories you burn during a ride.You can never absorb enough calories during a ride to replace what you are burning up so it is essential to have a plan the covers before,during and after a ride.
In general for weight maintenance you need 30 – 35 kcal/kg
You can replace calories consumed during a race with energy drinks,gels or food such as bars or snacks. On longer rides you will need energy dense foods.
For everyday living you need 30 – 35 kcal /kg body weight to maintain your weight. What you eat off the bike is going to more important overall than what you eat during your ride.Depending on your level of riding you need 60-70% carbs,15-20% fat,15-20% protein.To learn more about carbohydrates,fats and protein click HERE
1g fat=9 kcal
1g protein=4 kcal .
Pre race eating;
3 – 4 hours before 2g carb per kg body weight.
1 hour before 1g carb per kg weight
You want high carb/moderate protein and low fat/fiber food .Watch the video below for a more detailed explanation from Heather Schwartz.
During a ride:
Duration less than 60 mins 0 – 15 carbs/hour eg 1/2 cup orange juice in water
1-2 hours 30g/hour 500ml gatorade
2-3 hours 30g/hour 1000ml gatorade or 500ml + 1 gel
more than 3 hours 90g/hour 500ml gatorade + 2 bars + gel
Rehydrate, refuel, rebuild.
1- 1.5g carb per kg within 30 mins
2-4g protein per kg within 30 mins
500ml electrolyte drink within 30 mins.
Find whats best for you
Experiment with food changes during training, never during a ride.Try a variety of products to see what you tolerate best. Practice stopping for fuel and drink during training .