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How much carbs should I eat during training to maximize my cycling performance?

To boost your cycling performance, all cyclists, no matter your gender or body type, can have up to 60 grams of glucose per hour during multiple hours rides. For rides lasting 2.5 hours or more, consider adding 30 grams per hour or more of fructose. Practice your nutrition plan in various training conditions to find your best carb intake per hour and prevent race-day digestion issues.

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Written by: The Athlete’s FoodCoach, on 17-11-2023
Sepp kuss eating on the bike

Why should I eat a certain amount of carbs to maximize my cycling performance?

Science has produced clear evidence that eating carbs during performance helps to maintain blood glucose, high rates of carbs oxidation and reduces glycogen breakdown, boosting your performance:

  1. For all types of exercise: It can help maintain keeping focus, especially when you're tired
  2. In short, intense workouts (<1 hour): It can improve exercise performance.
  3. During longer sessions (>2 hours): It delays fatigue, increases time to exhaustion, and leads to better overall performance.

How do I get my carb intake on point?

Follow this practice proven by elite teams and science-based:

  1. Find your favorite products: Drinks, gels, bars and “normal” foods can be mixed and matched. Just ensure you stay hydrated and keep protein, fat, and fiber low.
  2. For rides lasting over 2.5 hours or in hot conditions: Consider products that contain glucose:fructose and combine them to a 2:1 ratio (60g glucose + 30g fructose).
  3. Match your food intake: Match your carb intake to your (race) intensity to reach your target carb intake per hour. Some evidence suggests taking a significant carb portion (e.g. 15-30g of carbs) every 15-20 minutes may offer a slight advantage over small bites or sips of carbs every 5 minutes.
  4. Practice regularly: Practice during training to find products you enjoy and train your gut to increase your carb intake.

Use The FoodCoach App to plan your training and get personalized recommendations for your ride.

Example of FoodCoach app

Popular products to mix and match to reach carbs targets

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