Nutrition and Refuelling for #Lejog

One of the guys on the ride with us, Rob Harris, is a Senior Tutor for Lifetime Health & Fitness, the largest provider of health and fitness training in the UK.  He’s been in the fitness industry for 16 years and has lectured for most of those.  He provided the following tips for us – which have proved really useful


To understand refuelling you need to understand how the body works and how we produce energy.

The body works in 2 ways AEROBICALLY and ANAEROBICALLY. This is with oxygen being used in the production of energy and without oxygen in energy production. This has nothing to do with being out of breath but more to do with speed of oxygen across the cell wall. Athletes such as Paula Radcliffe/Bradley Wiggins etc are able to work at a high intensity whilst still allowing oxygen to get across the cell wall to work AEROBICALLY

If you work for too long, too high you get a build up of lactic acid due to no oxygen being used to produce energy. Usually this will happen after about 2 minutes of “really going for it out of the saddle up hill”.

Anaerobic energy production uses CARBOHYDRATE   (waste product= lactic acid)

Aerobic energy production uses OXYGEN + FAT + CARBOHYDRATE   (waste products= CO2, water and heat)

Stores of Fuel

The body stores a lot of FAT (on some people it is more than others) and the average person has approximately 27000 calories of fat. We can only store approximately 1800calories of CARBOHYDRATE so it is vital that we replenish our CARBOHYDRATE store as often as is needed.

Most club runners will have enough stores to run for approximately 3 hours which is why at approximately 20-22 miles they hit “The wall”. In cycling we call it “BONKED” and this is when the body runs out of stores of CARBOHYDRATE.  Because the desire to continue is strong, the body looks for substances to replace the CARBOYDRATE and the substance it finds is PROTEIN. (Our own muscles are made of PROTEIN) So to burn FAT with OXYGEN it uses PROTEIN (This is the same as in famine)


We should make sure we have enough CARBO stores before we start exercising……replenish these CARBO stores as often as possible (usually at least every hour)…….and then top these up after we have finished but add PROTEIN to aid with muscle and tissue repair.

Before a ride.

Make sure you have had CARBOHYDRATE before you start.

Breakfast-Bread and Jam/ Fruit such as bananas/croissants/weetabix/shredded wheat/pasta/rice.

During a Ride

Dried Fruit/Bananas/Energy Bars/Energy Gels/Kellogs breakfast bars/ Malt Loaf/Bread & Jam

I often taken out 4 slices of bread and jam wrapped in tin foil in my back pockets. (usually eat around 2 hours)

It is also worth considering a rehydration CARBOHYDRATE drink and a litre of this should be consumed every 2 hours or according to manufacturers guidelines.

After a Ride.

Recovery is crucial because this will set you up for your next session. You have a window of opportunity within an hour or so of completing your session when you should be refueling.

Recent research has shown it is essential to begin refuelling as soon as possible after exercise. We should look to take 25gms of CARBO + 40gms of PROTEIN immediately after exercise and this could be in the form of a recovery drink if you find food hard to digest.

(Following my long ride on a Sunday I eat 2 rounds of brown toast with a tin of sardines or tuna. Sardines are approximately 45gms, a small tin of tuna from sainsburys is 30gms of protein. I will then have more CARBOs for lunch and I also take a recovery CARBO/PROTEIN drink)

Then consume more CARBOS (little and often say 50gms every hour) for the next 3-4 hours.

In terms of hydration, when we store CARBOs for eventual energy use we need water. Use need approximately 1 litre of water when we burn 1000 calories so ideally we need to drink every 10-15 minutes when exercising.

CARBOS             PROTEIN

Fruit                    Meat

Bread                  Fish, Tuna, Sardines

Rice                    Eggs

Cereals             Cheese

Sugar                Humus

Potatoes         Seeds/Nuts/Grains.

Seeds/Nuts    Soya

My usual pre-ride breakfast is porridge – which hopefully I’ll be able to get at our various digs.  During the rides I’ll be using the following products

Ride nutrition

In terms of energy the Torq bar is probably best – but I like the least.  The Torq gel also contains guarana (caffeine) which is great for a quick boost.  The lucozade bars and power bars probably taste the nicest – although power bars have a tendency to melt in the warm weather.  After each ride I’ll be using the following recovery drinks

Science in Sports recovery shakes

These shakes include a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein and include both fast-release protein (whey), which is absorbed instantly by the muscles, and slow-release protein (casein) for continued repair.  I have a feeling recovery at the end of each day may be extremely important.

If by any chance any companies who make any of these products are reading this blog we’d be happy to take any free samples available!

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.