by Julie Cornelius, MS
I get a lot of questions about what to eat during a workout. Exactly what a person should eat really varies from person to person. When I work with an athlete on nutrition, it is something we develop over time, trying things out during various workouts to make sure things will work come race or event day. I thought it would be fun to walk through my own personal prep for a 4-5 hour ride I did in my home of Moab. The ride plan got changed due to some heavy rain the day before, so we ended up riding from the Behind The Rocks area back to town- almost 30 miles of rugged trails. We had been planning a similar ride, so luckily my prep was still on par with the ride. Over the years, I have dialed in my own nutrition for what I need during an activity. Here is a run through of my prep and nutrition on my ride:
What’s in my pack?
- The ride wasn’t too hot, but I am brought almost 3 liters of water to be prepared. I didn’t want to run out and with a slightly adventurous route, it never hurts to be too prepared.
- Along with water, I brought a bottle of CarboRocket Half Evil. This stuff is the best sports drink around and their Half Evil formula is ideal for endurance rides because you can mix it full strength to pack 333 calories in a bottle- perfect for when you need some calories but just can’t stomach another bite.
- And because we are talking CarboRocket, I also took some of their RocketLyte electrolyte capsules. These things have extra electrolytes, as well as ginger and peppermint to soothe an upset stomach.
- Next on the list- a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Sports food can be simple and easy. I like to cut mine up into small pieces or eat it in small sections throughout the ride. Having too much at once makes it harder for my body to digest. I prefer foods that are not high in sugar and take a little longer to absorb. This helps me have a steady energy throughout the ride and prevent bonking. I just have to make sure to stay on top of eating.
- Dried fruit is one of my favorite things to eat on the ride. My preferred dried fruit is mangoes, but for this ride, I happened to have some pitted dates on hand. These are another favorite and I like to eat a few every time I stop.
- Longer rides usually involve one longer stop. For these, I like to bring some fresh fruit. Mandarin oranges taste great in the middle of a ride and I will usually save them for when I take a break to stop and peel them. A banana is also a great snack on a ride- just be careful that it doesn’t get too squished at the bottom of your jersey or pack.
- A lesser known fact about me is that before I co-founded Potential Energy Training & Nutrition, I co-founded an organic energy bar company. I still like to make my own bars, so that is what is pictured to the right in the ziplock bags. They are a simple combination of fruit and nuts. Ask me nicely and I might even share a few recipes 🙂
Along with prepping food for during the ride, I also made some roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes to have for breakfast. Eating before a ride is key and if I have enough time to digest, I will have a larger breakfast. This ride’s breakfast was eggs and the potatoes.
Recovery really starts with what you eat before a ride, but the most important time to eat for recovery is in the 30-60 minute window after a ride finishes. A lot of times I like to do a smoothie because its quick and
has everything needed for recovery. The weather is a bit chilly in Moab right now, and based on how quickly I got cold after my ride the other day, I decided a hot meal would be best. I also knew we would finish in town, so I decided to make some food ahead of time that could be easily heated up. The night before, I made Greek Chicken Fried Rice (see recipe below).
The day was a little bit chilly, but overall a really nice day to spend out on our bikes. The trail was chunky with lots of short ups and downs. The clouds even cleared at the beginning of our ride for a view of the snow covered La Sal mountains- beautiful!
About 45 minutes to an hour into the ride, we took a short break and I pulled out my sandwich to start eating. I had a few dates and we kept on pedaling.
About an hour later, we stopped again. This was about the half way point, so I decided to eat the rest of my sandwich and also ate 3 of the oranges I had brought. Refueled and ready to go, we started on some of the most technically challenging terrain of the ride. On a few short stops, I had a couple more dates and part of a bar and a few sips of CarboRocket to keep my energy levels up. I try to use every short stop to get a little bit of food to try to not let my energy levels drop too much.
One more longer stop before some more technical terrain meant a banana and part of a bar. A nice spot to take in the view and eat some food.
We hit the pavement and I finished off my bottle of CarboRocket for a little boost to finish off the ride. I was definitely tired and looking forward to food when we got back. I could have probably had a little bit more throughout the ride, but my energy levels never got too low, so I would say my fueling strategy was pretty successful.
One of the best parts of my prep was having the Greek Chicken Fried Rice made in the fridge when we finished up. I quickly heated some up and we had a delicious meal during that important recovery window. YUM!
So there you have my own personal fueling for a ride. Everyone is a little bit different, so this plan won’t work for everyone. Hopefully you were able to take away a few helpful tips and if you are looking for some advice about how to fuel your own workouts, send me a note!
Greek Chicken Fried Rice
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large chicken breasts, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup chopped red onion
- 5 cups prepared brown rice
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup crumbled cow’s milk feta cheese
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
- 2/3 cup kalamata olives, halved
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
In wok or large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook until almost cooked through, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add onion; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add rice; cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Push rice to sides of wok, creating a well in center of wok. Crack eggs into well, scramble vigorously with wooden spoon; cook 2 minutes (keeping eggs in well) or until eggs are full cooked. Add chickpeas, parsley, cheese, tomatoes, olives, lemon juice, salt and pepper; cook 2 minutes or until warmed through; stirring frequently. Enjoy!
Julie Cornelius, MS is Co-founder of Potential Energy Training & Nutrition. She has an extensive background in nutrition and graduated from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ with both her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science in Nutrition. She has worked in fitness studios helping clients achieve their nutrition goals, spent two years teaching college nutrition courses, and was the founder of Julie Bar, an energy bar company. Julie is a long time cyclist and mountain biker who loves being outdoors. Julie helps individuals to meet their nutrition goals, whether it is eating to win an endurance mountain bike race, losing weight, or just eating to be healthier.