Pre training or competing

Are you a little unsure about whether you should be eating before training? Our resident nutritionist at Cyclist, Ali Dear, is here to help.

I am often asked, “should I eat before training?” or “what should I eat before competing?” What and when you eat before you train can have a massive impact on how you perform. We need to look at the proportion of macronutrients – protein, fats, carbs – and then ensure it is easily digestible. While every athlete should have an individualised plan based on the frequency, intensity, and duration of their training and body type, there are a few basic concepts that are universal.

Assuming you are going for a ride for a minimum of one hour and max of three hours, you would need to work within these guidelines:

Carbs should make up about 60% of your pre-workout fuel, but a little fat and protein can help fuel you for longer. The less intense the session the more flexibility you have to play with this ratio, up to a 3:1:1 split of carbs: protein: fat.

Choosing the wrong timing or the wrong nutrients to fuel your body could end up in a lousy training session, or worse, terrible race. Traditional carb-heavy options like pasta, bread or refined sugars can lead to inflammation, stomach upset (think we have all been there) or lethargy. All of which will drag down your session. It is important not to eat too much protein either as it uses more fluid to be properly broken down – which can cause cramping or pain.

Eat this:

The best options are non-starchy, whole foods. Think fresh fruit, sweet potato, spelt, quinoa, and seeds – basically something easily digestible that gives a balance between high and low GI for energy without the peak and trough. Then round out the carbs with a small amount of good fat and protein.

Spelt toast with avocado and ricotta is a great quick option, or make my green bars for a snack ready to go.


Make this: Ali’s Green Super Bars

1/3 cups rice flour

3/4 cups oat meal

¼ cup raw honey

2 tablespoons coconut oil

4 tablespoons pea protein powder

Combination of chia/sunflower/pepita seed/saltanas to your liking! About 1/3 cup full

1 tbsp vital greens (optional, or use chlorella powder)

1 egg

1 mashed banana

Mix all ingredients and then add enough boiled water to make into dough.

Place ingredients into a greased slice tin and cook at 180’ for approx. 20 min. (top will just start to brown). Remove from oven and cool.

 Ali Protein coconut bars-1 copy

Ali Dear

Sports Nutrition Expert