GCN’s Guide To Cycling Nutrition | GCN’s Cycling Tips


– We all know that getting your nutrition and fueling spot on is
essential if you want to perform at your best on your bike. But, it becomes even more important if you are doing a multi-stage event, such as those organised
by the Haute Route. One of which you all very well know is being done by our very own
John Beaven very soon indeed. – That’s right, John,
you pay attention mate because Lloydy is gonna
set you a test after this, and he said it’s not even
gonna be multiple choice. And the reason that not only
John needs to pay attention, but anyone doing a multi-stage event, is ’cause it’s not about
fueling for one day, it’s about fueling for
the day after as well, and the day after that, and it’s about optimising your recovery so that you can start each
day as fresh as possible. – Fueling, of course,
involves both food and drink and we’re gonna start with the
latter, i.e. your hydration. Now, you might just about get away with not having the
perfect hydration strategy on a single day event. But if you get it wrong in the middle of a multi-stage event,
you’re gonna find it very hard to get yourself back on
track for the remaining days. – [Simon] Your hydration
strategy will depend on the weather, so the
hotter and more humid it is, the more fluids you’re going
to lose whilst you’re riding. So, our friends over at Science In Sport recommend drinking between
500 millilitres and one litre each hour of riding depending
on the temperatures. Now getting this dialled
will help significantly and that you’re getting
the best out of yourself, ’cause dehydration can lead
to a big drop in performance. Mainly, cause it can make
you feel pretty unwell. – However good your hydration strategy is, whilst you’re riding,
it’s still very important that you concentrate on your rehydration after you’ve been riding. Now different people have
got different sweat rates, but the good news is, that
it’s quite easy to calculate them, even for Si. That is because a litre of
water weighs a kilogramme. So, all you need to do is weigh yourself pre-ride and post-ride wearing
exactly the same things and you’ll know that, for example, if you’ve lost two kilogrammes,
that would all be fluids, and therefore that is two litres of water. – Yeah now hopefully you
won’t lose quite that much with your hydration strategy. But if you do, then
actually rehydrating after isn’t quite as simple as just
consuming two litres of water. Our bodies are great but
they’re not quite that efficient, so for every
let’s say 750 millilitres of water you lose, you’re
probably gonna have to drink either an extra half a
bottle or indeed a whole one just to make up. The rest of course you’ll be familiar with you just wee out. So the other thing you
can do, is also add in electrolyte tablets to the
water that will help you retain it much, much quicker. However you choose to rehydrate, you do have to do it gradually. Ideally, you’ll be starting
the next day weighing exactly the same that you
weighed the previous day. Rehydrate, nice one. – Now let’s get onto food,
i.e calorie consumption. This again is very important
to get right in your event, because any mistakes that
you make are very much going to be highlighted in a bad way when you’re doing a multi stage event. – That’s right. So, glycogen is going to be
our primary source of fuel. Even over long,
consecutive, and hard days. So, carbohydrate consumption should be our primary consideration. It’s going to keep us going
when we’re on the bike, and it’s also gonna
help us recover off it, ’cause we’re gonna be
replenishing those all-important glycogen stores in our muscles. Most of the rules which apply to nutrition in a one day event, also apply to a multistage event. And that starts at
breakfast, which you want to consume about two to three hours before your event starts, and what you want to consist of, mainly slow-release carbohydrates. Then during your event,
and immediately after, you want to be consuming
calories which consist of a very fast-release carbohydrate. – That’s right. So during the event, we’re gonna be aiming to take onboard about 60 to 90 grammes of carbohydrates per hour. Now, how you take those carbs
on board is kind of up to you. You could have energy bars, you could have my world famous GCN
Uber Bar, you could have more easily digestible carbs as well. So like, an energy gel,
or indeed an energy drink. Which of course isn’t food
at all, it’s a liquid. The way you’ll know what works for you, is by trying different things out and experimenting in training. – Now just as with your hydration, the likelihood is that you might just about get away on a one day event with not having the optimal
calorie consumption. However, do the same thing at the start and the middle of a multistage event, and you’re very much
going to know about it. And to reiterate, a multistage event is not the time, nor the place,
to be trying to lose weight. You want to start your
recovery process as quickly as you possibly can after
you have finished your ride. And nutritionally, you’re gonna get most of what you need from a well designed, good quality recovery drink like this one. From carbohydrates, to
electrolytes, to protein, which is a subject we will
get on to fairly shortly. Now, you will find that
most professional racers do tend to consume a recovery drink immediately after their races, and we would recommend that
you do exactly the same thing. Soon after your recovery
drink, a small meal of boiled rice, potatoes, or pasta will aid the recovery and
replenishment process, followed by a healthy and
balanced evening meal. Now, you can overeat, even
during a multistage event. So, if you’ve a particularly big appetite, that might be something
you need to keep in mind. But, it’s always far best to
overeat than to under eat. – Okay, time for some controversy. Let’s talk about protein. Now, any mention of protein
on GCN ignites some fairly passionate debate down
in the comment section. And while we’re absolutely,
fundamentally in agreement that carbohydrates should
be your primary concern in refuelling from exercise,
there is an awful lot of very robust, peer-reviewed,
scientific evidence that suggests that protein
is really, really important for recovery. – That’s right. Now, in longer rides, let’s
say of six hours or so, which might be something
that you contend with in a multistage event, some
experts say that you should consume a little bit of protein
every three hours or so, because your body will begin
to break down its own muscle. However, other experts
completely disagree on this, and certainly this is an area which needs some more research. – Yeah but post-ride, there
is almost no disagreement. Consuming the right amount
of protein is essential for recovering correctly. And that is to say, agreed upon by almost all respected nutritionists and exercise physiologists out there. So, the idea of consuming
the right amount of protein is that it promotes
anabolism, so the building up, and it minimises catabolism,
which is the breaking down. So two, rather awkward terms there. Essentially what it
means, is that your body is always building up and
breaking down muscle fibre. And so, providing your body
with the right building blocks make new muscle fibre is only gonna help. – This is particularly
relevant immediately post-ride. So that recovery drink
we talked about earlier, which is predominately carbohydrate based, but with some good quality protein also amongst the
ingredients, is really going to help you recover. The quicker you can recover,
the better you’re going to feel the following day. Particularly useful in a multistage event. – [Simon] If you’re not
into your recovery drinks, you could always add some
lean chicken or some beans to your rice, or some
peanut butter to your bagel, just to give you a couple examples. – Fueling then, is not rocket science, even for a multistage event. Just try to get into the
habit of constantly thinking about what you are supposed to be doing. Often, the problems occur
when your mind drifts and you forget to do what
you know you should do. – Yeah, I think we’ve
both been guilty of that. Right, so to recap then, you need to drink between half a litre and
a litre of fluid per hour, More if it’s hot, less if it’s cold. You’ll know how much, because
to be fair, you’ll get thirsty and that’s a great indicator. And, you also need to
consume between sixty and ninety grammes of
carbohydrate per hour on the bike. And then, pay particular attention to your post-ride recovery
drink, and then also meal. And also remember to replenish
those glycogen stores for the evening, so you’ve
got as much fuel as possible for the next day. – Follow all of that advice,
and you won’t go too far wrong. We’re not gonna say that you’re going to float around the event
without any pain in your legs, but you’re certainly
going to feel a lot better than you would do if you got things wrong. – That’s right. I guess all we need to say
now is good luck and enjoy. And also, one last thing, make
sure you subscribe to GCN. – Yeah, and two more relevant
videos to you right now, firstly, we got some
more in-depth knowledge on how to recover
quicker from your riding, there’s a video for that
on my side down here. – Yeah, or just down here. Hopefully it’s not too late, it’s how to train for multi-day
stage races and sportives.

61 thoughts on “GCN’s Guide To Cycling Nutrition | GCN’s Cycling Tips

  1. What are your top tips for getting your nutrition right on multiple day rides? Let us know in the comments here! 🍽

  2. You should be well hydrated prior to any sports as well. That means your urine should be clear to very light yellow. You can overhydrate and get water poisoning so do not over do it to the extreem. Water is far better than "Sport" drinks that can contain more sugar than soda.

  3. Every time GCN drops a nutrition video I gain 1kg. The reason for that is the enormous amount of popcorn I eat because of the comments.

  4. Who else here doesn't even have a road bike but still watches this. I have a mountain bike.

  5. rice cakes (aka skratchlabs recipes) and home made cookies are much better than bars! Tastes way better and you can make it exactly how you like it!!

  6. Fair enough, we need Protein post-ride to repair muscle damage etc. but consuming red meat (type 1 carcinogen) is surely not worth the negatives it comes with (saturated fat, cholesterol etc.)? Remember that potatoes, pasta and other carbs aren't 100% carbohydrate, they still contain protein, and more than enough of it if you consume of them!

  7. Finally GCN talk about protein without telling you to eat it like a body builder. Not giving a recommended amount of protein to eat and recommending you get your protein from natural sources like whole foods is a massive step forward in having people eating right and preventing the theme of people thinking that they have to eat protein like a body builder

  8. At 6:40ish, are you saying that the angry shouty Australian guy isn't actually a respected and trusted source of nutritional expertise?! 😰😰😰

  9. I though maybe I could comment before the "hardcore vegans", but nope, I see a few already LOL

    Things like ginger helps in digestion (stomach). Activated charcoal if you have intestinal issues. These two are common so a good idea to pack some.

    Don't forget to add… good sleep too!

  10. Do some videos like how to peak before a road race, criterium etc. Like a bit more racing focus videos, cheers! 😀

  11. I just saw jon bevan while he was riding up the alpe d'huez today. He looked like he was sufferig but does that mean he has a right not to #sayhionyourride ?

  12. 8:02 – Um, Actually… The myth that you need less water while exercising in cold temperatures is just that, a myth.

    You can easily become dehydrated exercising in cold weather long before your body / brain tell you to drink water. The color and volume of your urine output is a great indicator: the less you pee and the darker your urine, the more dehydrated you are. Properly hydrated, urine should be a clear, pale yellow.

    Physiologically, the processes in your brain chemistry that signal thirst / monitor hydration are affected by the cold. This means by the time you "feel" even a little thirsty while exercising in cold weather, you're already mildly to moderately dehydrated.

    If you're exercising in cool or cold weather you should hydrate as if you were exercising in hot weather, which means drinking even when you aren't thirsty.

  13. Bodie fuels from ur muscle if it lacks glycogen. So keep ur carbs high.. i have seen on myself muscle mas that just burns away cuz of cycling amount and lack of carbs and proteins.

  14. #torqueback What to do first post ride: foam roll + strech and then eat or vice versa? I have had IT-band trouble so I do my streches and shower first. But it takes more than 45min. Is it too late for the protein?

  15. The controversy with the protein breakdown phenomena is caused by different sources of experimental data collection. Those scientists who were looking for nitrogen components in urine, found nothing, but those who was collecting sweat samples, discovered that cyclists do break protein. And it's not that simple actually, but long comments are hard to read for most viewers.

  16. Hang on. At 1:50 you are claiming that the only cause of weight loss while cycling is due to water loss.
    Really!?!?
    So zero fat loss from exercise?
    Surely not true, certainly not my experience.
    I'm not saying weight loss from water is not significant or not important but to say it is the only weight loss seems incorrect

  17. Dan on your canyon where did you get the garmin front mount? I have a trek madone 9.5 and can't get a out front mount. Thanks Ps great video !!

  18. I've got my diet dialed in for longer, multi-day rides. Breakfast, oatmeal, fruit, and maybe a few nuts. During the ride, as much fruit as i can possibly eat. Fruit smoothies are great, when available at a stop. After the ride, first water rich food, like watermelon or cucumber, and then it's off to starchville. Rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, vegetables, or any combination thereof. Massive amounts of carbohydrates! For the rest of the night, only water and fruit. NO MEAT, OIL OR DAIRY if i can avoid it. It slows me down and makes me hot. CTFU and hydrate, or else bonk!!!!

  19. Im doing John ogroats to landsend next year for charity so this video will be really helpful! Great work guys.
    Just ask a wuestion though. There are so many different training regimes out there and a guy in my cycling club has suggested polarised training. What is best for over the winter when you cant really get out on the road in Scotland! I'll be training for both TT and my endurance event. Thanks. #torqueback

  20. how the heck do you down 60-90g carb each hour?! Popping haribo all the time? I don"t eat nearly that much carb and my legs are fine in intense sessions.

  21. I predict a beer sponsorship one of these days. Nice one Dan! So i am thinking about doing the 320km enduro lake Taupo challenge in NZ but am put off but the insane 1:30am start time. How can a fuel for this prior? Perhaps more importantly how can i adjust my sleeping pattern to go to bed around 5pm? Assuming that i need to be up by midnight to fuel up?

  22. I found that Coconut water is good too, a bag of "mountain trail" snacks is also delicious while you ride, the only thing is that the m&ms melt a little, dried dates and snickers are good too

  23. Your right Dan, nutrition isn't rocket science, it's far more complex! I think you'll find there are some fairly basic very long standing physics for getting a rocket off the ground. E=Mc² for instance has been around a long time now and university agreed on. Where as it seems no one really knows what any one individual needs to eat. Yes there's some basic rough guide lines that most agree on, but far from all. After that it's just a hot mess of competing ideas from either companies trying to sell products or diet gurus on the internet ect.

  24. The protein part shouldn't be that controversial. You even suggest beans and nuts. Seemed pretty open to us plant based athletes. Keep up the good work guys.

  25. I'm a newbie to road cycling ( started after my 50th birthday) and I'm training for Velo Birmingham. I did my first 80 mile ride today in training, and have been taking the advice about using SIS gels, bars etc throughout the ride. For the first time today towards the end of the ride I felt I was getting slight stomach cramps. Is this normal or perhaps a reaction to the lemon/ orange flavouring in the SIS products? Any advice welcome!

  26. You say the mean way to re fuel is carbs but I remember in a older video you say Chris frome keeps the carbs low and the fats high can you get the guy team sky back to advise on recovery he seemed to really know what he was talking about

  27. happy cleaning of this camelbak bottle after puting in recovery drink…
    As much as they are superb for drinking while riding, they are also pain in the ass while cleaning.

  28. Consume food 3 hours before an event, but get alot of sleep!
    How do you do both when a ride starts at 7am? Eat then go back to sleep?

  29. Go vegan! High carb low fat FTW! Plus it has the benefit of being cruelty free, and you will look and feel amazing! That's me in the pic, I'm getting close to 50, and I'm 188cm at 78kg, 6 pack year round. You can do this too, there is nothing special about me. Go vegan, love yourself and the rest of the world!

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