The Best Breakfast For Every Ride

– By Selene Yeager

You’ve heard a gazillion times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and sports nutritionists agree that whether you want to burn fat, ride fast or both, front-loading your day is essential. But plenty of cyclists disagree on the particulars of a smart morning meal: Fat-phobic bonk trainers suggest skipping it until after you ride, long riders fuel up like lumberjacks, and racers search endlessly for the perfect winning fuel.

What you eat depends largely upon what kind of ride you’re going to be doing. The idea is to keep your muscles energised, your brain focused and the rest of your systems firing on all cylinders no matter what. “You first need to look at the duration and intensity of the ride ahead,” says Florida-based sports nutritionist Barbara Lewin, RD “Then you need to take in foods that give you the fuel to perform your best.” Here’s how.

*Kilojuoles are based on a 70kg rider. Add or subtract portion sizes proportionally based on your body weight.

Easy Spin

Kilojoules: 800 to 1200
Time before: Thirty to 45 minutes
Strategy: You don’t need much for a sub-two- hour ride. But don’t skip breakfast. “You’ll go into deprivation mode, and risk overeating later,” says Lewin. Just 800 to 1200 kilojoules will replace the glucose you lost while you slept and let you ride longer. Exercisers who eat a small breakfast are able to work out 16 percent longer before tiring, according to one study. Include foods with fibre. “Fibre can also increase the amount of fat you burn during exercise,” Lewin says. It slows digestion, so your glycogen is harder to access, which forces your body to pull energy from your fat stores.
Meal Plan: One cup of oats and half a banana


5 Responses to The Best Breakfast For Every Ride

  1. Anonymous June 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm #

    So I have to eat at 3 in the morning to ride at 5? O yes, and then I haven’t taken into account the time to prepare the crumpets, come on guys, get real! Something more realistic perhaps? The unsponsored, working class will appreciate that info more.

  2. Anonymous June 15, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Anonymous, you can get lovely prepared crumpets at your nearest Woollies! Toast it and enjoy :) You do not have to follow the advice by the dot – work something out that will suit your set-up best. I love to get ideas and to apply it in a way that works for me. Happy cycling! Adri

  3. Rob Sims January 31, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    Very simple – Keto-adapt and for breakfast have a double espresso with 40 to 50g of double thick cream. Then ride on just water for anything up to 6hr13min – NO BONKING at all. Just done it in the Ironman 70.3 East London.

    Read – Drs Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek’s brilliant book “The Art of Low Carbohydrate Living – for Performance”.

    So freeing not to have to worry about breakfast and any carbohydrate feeding strategy. Absolutely awesome.


  4. Small 29er February 1, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Hey Rob. Was just about to say the same.
    Body can’t hold much more than 2500 calories of glucose. Therefore you are bound to bonk after about 3 to 4 hours of hard riding. If you keto-adapt as an average 70kg lean athlete you will have 40-50000 calories of fat to call on as energy. What is bonking? Merely the brain running out of glucose/glycogen. If you’ve keto-adapted you’ll be purring along all day.
    My pre-race meal: small egg omlette mixed with a dollop of butter, cheese and green pepper. During the race, just water and if I feel like it a few almonds and a handful of biltong. After the race you will not have that uncontrollable ravenous hunger, you’ll probably not even think about food.
    LCHF/Paleo is how we will all eat one day and anyone recommending the “prudent diet” will be embarrassed that they ever did.
    I agree with Rob. Read Volek and Phinney. Also Gary Taubes epic work “Good calories, bad calories” and “Why we get fat” also Lustig, Yudkin. Also Challenging Beliefs by Tim Noakes to help you understand sports SCIENCE. Follow the good Prof. on twitter. @proftimnoakes. Excellent references there too.

  5. Janet February 15, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Sorry, but new to this, what IS keto-adapt????

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