The Rider

June 10, 2010

Eat Like An Athlete

Filed under: Safety, Training and Riding — The Blog @ 6:01 AM

Eat the rainbow

Sorry to nag like your mother, but: Eat your fruit and vegetables!

This was the message I received loud and clear during the most recent Pelotonia training seminar, which was led by sports nutrition experts Sarah Wick and Jonathan Scott, who between them have about half a pound of body fat.

See, they practice what they teach – and eat their fruits and veggies. And yes, it was a little annoying that they were so lean and fit.

The seminar was a great opportunity to reinforce many of the dietary and nutrition rules we all know, but sometimes choose to ignore, and learn some specific info to help train better for Pelotonia – and life.

For example, on training rides of 60 to 90 minutes, water is enough. On longer training rides, you need some sort of sports drink – Gatorade or Powerade, whichever you prefer or is on sale – to replenish what you sweat out.

In fact, when training moderately hard, which is what cycling is all about, you need to take in 200 to 300 calories per half hour. You can get these calories from sports drinks, gels, energy bars and real food. And you want most of these calories to be carbs.

“Experiment and see what sits well in your stomach,” Jonathan said of trying to figure out what to eat while you ride.

Here are some of the energy bar choice. Don't carry ones that will melt in your pocket!

I have been experimenting with sports gels recently, and while I still don’t like that thick, pasty consistency (it’s like eating Elmer’s glue), I’m getting used to them … and they pack a lot of carbohydrates into a small amount of goo.

And speaking of carbs, they’re what fuel us, all day long and especially when we ride.

Your daily diet should have a 3-to-1 or 4-to-1 ration of carbs-to-protein fruit and veggies are the best source of carbs because of all the extra vitamins and anti-oxidants they come with. White bread? Forget about it. Go with the multi-grain bread.

“Eat the rainbow,” Sarah said. By this she means you should eat fruits and veggies with a wide range of colors, and the darker the color – the better they are for you.

So, how many carbs and how much protein should you take in?

Here’s where math comes into the equation, so pay attention: According to Sarah, you need 6 to 10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight per day.


Convert your weight into kilograms, by dividing 2.2 into your weight. So, a 150-pound person needs about 400 to 650 grams of carbs per day. The more you exercise, the closer you should be to the higher number.

There are almost too many choices. Experiment and see what works for you


About 90 grams a day for a 150-pound person (1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight).

And don’t eat too much protein all at once, Sarah said, because your body can’t break down all that meat – and stores it as fat! Spread out your protein in smaller amounts over the course of the day.

It’s important to eat well before you ride, while you ride – and after. In fact, your recovery snack is vital and should once again have a lot more carbs than protein. A good recovery snack would be a fruit shake with yogurt and/or a PB&J sandwich with low-fat chocolate milk. Believe it or not, low-fat chocolate milk has a great ration of carbs-to-protein.

“You have to have your recovery snack 45-to-60 minutes after you finish exercising,” Jonathan said.

OK, to recap: Don’t put crap into your body (OK, every once in a while is all right). We are now athletes in training – and need to fuel our bodies properly. We need lots of good carbs and protein; eat your fruit/veggies/whole grains; stay hydrated; eat properly on long training rides; have a good recovery snack when you are done.

That’s it for now … but keep an eye out in the next week or so for some nutrition tips for the actual Pelotonia ride. Plus, my recipe for the world’s greatest fruit shake ever.

To see a list of future OSU Sports Medicine seminars for Pelotonia riders, click here


1 Comment »

  1. […] Pelotonia riders can eat as we train and prepare for the big ride. I learned this at our recent nutrition seminar … and by coincidence, these are two of my favorite dishes … and […]

    Pingback by Eat Like The Rider « The Rider — June 12, 2010 @ 8:15 AM

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: