How Much Carbohydrates Should I Eat While Training?

If you’re preparing for long ride training it is more than important in getting your nutrition right. But, as they say: it’s easier than said than done. If your nutrition is subpar, you’ll run of energy and stamina. Overeat and you’ll feel bloated and bogged down with stomach problems. So, it’s complicated.

However, here’s the kicker: The more you train, the more efficient your body becomes to turn the stored fat into energy. As you keep training, you’ll notice that you’ve more energy and also able to ride further without eating too much like before.


“No special refuelling is needed for any event that is less than 90 minutes. The calorie requirement varies based on the exercise duration, intensity and your body composition. For events more than 90 minutes, it is recommended to have extra carbohydrate during exercise. However, the amount also depends on the duration and intensity.” -Ms Ling Ping Sing, Principle Dietitian at Changi General Hospital 



Just How Much Carbohydrates Should I Eat While Training?

The standard recommendation from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests 30-60g carbohydrate per hour of exercise.

According to Principle Dietitian Ms Ling Ping Sing, she recommends that a pre-ride food should be low in fibre but sufficient in carbohydrate. Some examples of common local foods that are good for pre-ride are noodle soup (wanton noodle soup, fish sliced beehoon, fishball noodle soup or mee soto), dry noodles (non-spicy, less oil), mixed rice (with low fat side dishes) and sandwiches.



There are plenty of debates regarding how much carbs should athletes eat while training. To make things simple, it all depends on the individual, his or her personal goals, and what the individual is attempting to achieve through the ride.  For high-intensity long ride training session, a high intake of carbohydrate is required. For low-intensity training, less carbohydrate is needed.

However, there is a catch here. You can train faster and harder without taking in much carbohydrate. There are athletes who practice a low-carbohydrate lifestyle or a ketogenic diet, making their bodies fat-adapted. They will only take carbohydrates during race day so they will be able to burn fuel from two sources; carbohydrate and fat stores.


Why Is A Balanced Diet Important For Long Ride Training?

When we train, the glucose level in our blood decreases, which result in muscle fatigue and loss of energy. Eating during training will maintain the blood glucose at an optimum level and conserve glycogen in the muscles. If you don’t refuel, you won’t be able to ride fast or go far, and the overall performance will fall.


Replenishing electrolytes


Electrolytes are minerals which are lost in sweat and which need to be replaced as exercise progresses. The electrolytes that you need to replenish are…

1. Sodium (and chloride): Maintain normal blood pressure, support muscle and nerve function

2. Magnesium: Aids healthy cell function

3. Potassium & Phosphate: Help to regulate energy and pH balance 

4. Calcium: Aids in muscle contraction 


How Much Fluid Should I Drink During Long Ride Training?

Training for an extended period of time without drinking adequate fluids can lead to dehydration.  This can decrease energy and concentration during the rides. So drink enough fluids to prevent yourself from dehydration.  You can drink only when thirsty or have a few sips every 15 minutes. Electrolyte tablets can help you drink more if you’re sweating more than usual or don’t like drinking water. We recommend you drink at least 500ml of fluids per hour of riding.

For more tips on hydration during your ride, click here


Nonetheless, when you’re long ride training, for optimal performance you’ll need a specific nutrition plan. There is no “one size fits all” type of recommendation concerning nutrition. Consult a performance Nutritionist or Sports Dietitian for more advice.

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