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Geraint Thomas and Ben Swift offer nutritional advice for the rest of us

Sports nutrition brand CNP has hooked up with Team Sky to produce a series of videos covering nutrition for cyclists featuring a number of Sky's top riders and backroom staff.

In this one, Nigel Mitchell, Team Sky’s Head of Nutrition, advises club and recreational riders to have a bar every hour on rides longer than about two hours, and suggests mixing sports-specific nutrition with everyday foods like bananas.

Mitchell also advises riders to carry an emergency gel in the same way that they carry a spare inner tube, to help get home.

Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas advises eating a little and often and to try out foods before an important ride.

Fellow Sky rider Ben Swift says that he used to struggle with fuelling before deciding to drink every 5mins during a race and to eat every 15mins.

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

17 comments

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nortonpdj [136 posts] 2 years ago
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Marginal gains: eat and drink....I really must give it a try  39

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crazy-legs [767 posts] 2 years ago
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Coffee + cake surely?  1

Food.
Of.
Champions.

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KiwiMike [1200 posts] 2 years ago
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Number one tip: you cannae digest more than 30-60g of carbs per hour. 30 if you are small / unfit, 60 if you are huge/conditioned.

Most single servings of bars/gels are around this amount. Thus scoffing more than one per hour is not only a waste of money/time, but is likely to make you feel like crap in 3-4hrs time when you need to digest something but your stomach is full.

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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Well obviously, being as Sky have "hooked up with sports nutrition brand CNP", the advice is bound to be entirely neutral.

"Sports-specific nutrition" my arse. Good nutrition doesn't come heavily processed in a plastic wrapper as far as I'm concerned.

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Paul J [884 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice to see Ben Swift setting the great example of spitting bits of wrapper out to litter the country side on a training ride. Well done.

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chokofingrz [407 posts] 2 years ago
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An emergency gel would not get me home from 30 miles out. I would get home, somehow, but the gel wouldn't help much. I keep a spare bar in the saddle pack... and monies to go cake shopping.

Gel - 92 calories, no protein or fibre, tastes disgusting
9bar - 288 calories, lots of protein & fibre, tastes delicious

You know it makes sense - leave them for Marcel Kittel and his hairstyle.

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antonio [1124 posts] 2 years ago
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I still see cans of coke being given to pro's on the big tours as well as gels etc.

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mikeprytherch [223 posts] 2 years ago
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Paul J wrote:

Nice to see Ben Swift setting the great example of spitting bits of wrapper out to litter the country side on a training ride. Well done.

Couldn't agree more, take your litter to the next available bin !

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Simon E [2720 posts] 2 years ago
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crazy-legs wrote:

Coffee + cake surely?  1

Food.
Of.
Champions.

Absolutely!

No-one needs gels on a ride, and a piece of cake is a far more enjoyable reward than a sachet of man-milk.

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thesaladdays [105 posts] 2 years ago
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1 vote here for the humble, home-made sandwich. Ham, cheese, and tomato on whole grain/seeded bread packs plenty of punch and doesn't taste like a mad scientist's laboratory. It flaps around in the wind a bit more than a sachet of gelatenous goo, but that's just a good excuse to get out of the saddle and actually look around at the place you've ridden to. That and water.

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 2 years ago
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I love the idea of carrying an emergency 'bonk-sandwich'!

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Joeinpoole [439 posts] 2 years ago
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thesaladdays wrote:

1 vote here for the humble, home-made sandwich. Ham, cheese, and tomato on whole grain/seeded bread packs plenty of punch and doesn't taste like a mad scientist's laboratory. It flaps around in the wind a bit more than a sachet of gelatenous goo, but that's just a good excuse to get out of the saddle and actually look around at the place you've ridden to. That and water.

I'll raise your humble sandwich with a granary baguette filled with grated cheese, sun-blushed tomatoes and black olives. Tastes sensational, costs about a £1 per portion and will comfortably provide the fuel you need to ride 50 miles or so.

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oozaveared [937 posts] 2 years ago
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Joeinpoole wrote:

Well obviously, being as Sky have "hooked up with sports nutrition brand CNP", the advice is bound to be entirely neutral.

"Sports-specific nutrition" my arse. Good nutrition doesn't come heavily processed in a plastic wrapper as far as I'm concerned.

Yep that's what I thought. If you are a recreational rider then very specific advice on nutrition is irrelevant. It's just a sales gimmick. You are unlikely to have 4% body fat or be churning out 300 watts for 5 hours at a time. It's more likely that you're using around 30 - 40 calories a mile. There's 430 calories a litre in diluted (as per the recommended mix) of Ribena. I have a 750ml bottle so I am good for 300 calories just on that. Make it stronger if you like. Stick two chunks of malt loaf in your back pocket and that's 314 calories per 100g. And after a decent mornings ride stop for lunch even at a garage and get a sarnie.

cycling is normal activity. It just requires a reasonable quantity of normal food.

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Matt eaton [742 posts] 2 years ago
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oozaveared wrote:
Joeinpoole wrote:

Well obviously, being as Sky have "hooked up with sports nutrition brand CNP", the advice is bound to be entirely neutral.

"Sports-specific nutrition" my arse. Good nutrition doesn't come heavily processed in a plastic wrapper as far as I'm concerned.

Yep that's what I thought. If you are a recreational rider then very specific advice on nutrition is irrelevant. It's just a sales gimmick. You are unlikely to have 4% body fat or be churning out 300 watts for 5 hours at a time. It's more likely that you're using around 30 - 40 calories a mile. There's 430 calories a litre in diluted (as per the recommended mix) of Ribena. I have a 750ml bottle so I am good for 300 calories just on that. Make it stronger if you like. Stick two chunks of malt loaf in your back pocket and that's 314 calories per 100g. And after a decent mornings ride stop for lunch even at a garage and get a sarnie.

cycling is normal activity. It just requires a reasonable quantity of normal food.

I couldn't agree more. The most important point on nutrition is that we should all be following a generally balanced and well-rounded diet. I suspect that this video is aimed at sportive riders with more money than sense who eat poorly all week and attempt to follow race-day nutrition when they ride at the weekend. It would have been better to label this as a video for novice racers as this type of specific nutrition advice does apply to a greater degree in a race situation, even at novice level.

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hydrophil [14 posts] 2 years ago
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Plastic wrapped expensive processed food or make your own delicious nutritious food? Hmm, difficult choice...

http://feedzonecookbook.com/about/

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matthewn5 [776 posts] 2 years ago
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I don't know how you ride oozafeard but even at 26kph average over 80 miles I am burning close to 1,000 calories an hour, according to the GPS. If I don't eat much, or drink enough, I feel washed out and sick by the time I finish. So I try to eat a balance of organic bars and real food, as he suggests.

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J90 [333 posts] 1 year ago
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Wow, that was all incredibly obvious.

Looks like Nigel doesn't practice what he preaches though.