Video: Team Sky's fuelling tips for recreational riders

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

by Mat Brett   July 16, 2014  

Ben Swift

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.

17 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Marginal gains: eat and drink....I really must give it a try Thinking

posted by nortonpdj [23 posts]
16th July 2014 - 14:01

41 Likes

Coffee + cake surely? Smile

Food.
Of.
Champions.

posted by crazy-legs [538 posts]
16th July 2014 - 14:11

50 Likes

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.

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [544 posts]
16th July 2014 - 14:36

28 Likes

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.

posted by Joeinpoole [284 posts]
16th July 2014 - 20:53

49 Likes

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.

posted by Paul J [651 posts]
16th July 2014 - 21:32

52 Likes

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.

posted by chokofingrz [305 posts]
16th July 2014 - 23:05

21 Likes

I still see cans of coke being given to pro's on the big tours as well as gels etc.

antonio

antonio's picture

posted by antonio [966 posts]
17th July 2014 - 7:57

17 Likes

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 !

posted by mikeprytherch [219 posts]
17th July 2014 - 8:14

21 Likes

crazy-legs wrote:
Coffee + cake surely? Smile

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.

Simon E's picture

posted by Simon E [2008 posts]
17th July 2014 - 9:11

17 Likes

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.

thesaladdays's picture

posted by thesaladdays [39 posts]
17th July 2014 - 10:11

17 Likes

I love the idea of carrying an emergency 'bonk-sandwich'!

posted by Matt eaton [414 posts]
17th July 2014 - 10:24

18 Likes

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.

posted by Joeinpoole [284 posts]
17th July 2014 - 10:55

11 Likes

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.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [673 posts]
17th July 2014 - 11:03

14 Likes

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.

posted by Matt eaton [414 posts]
17th July 2014 - 12:26

4 Likes

Plastic wrapped expensive processed food or make your own delicious nutritious food? Hmm, difficult choice...

http://feedzonecookbook.com/about/

posted by hydrophil [1 posts]
19th July 2014 - 11:40

0 Likes

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.

drmatthewhardy's picture

posted by drmatthewhardy [360 posts]
19th July 2014 - 19:52

2 Likes

Wow, that was all incredibly obvious.

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

posted by J90 [149 posts]
25th July 2014 - 19:30

0 Likes