Guide to nutrition before your sportive

Getting your eating and drinking right before your sportive is crucial...

The morning of your sportive is a very important time. This is where you have the chance to kick-start your nutrition strategy and prepare your body for a demanding day in the saddle.

While your fitness levels should be at a good level by now, if you don’t back it up with the proper nutrition, you’re laying to waste a lot of your hard work in training. You wouldn’t buy a highly-tuned sports car and fill it with low-grade fuel — the same can be applied to your body.

However, knowing how and when to fuel can be quite confusing. In fact, inadequate nutrition is something that catches many sportive cyclists out.

Below are some examples of suitable meals and snacks with timings in relation to the sportive as recommended by Cycling Weekly Sportive Series nutrition partner PowerBar. When it comes to food tolerances, there is an enormous amount of variation between individuals, so you should check for yourself to find out What suits you best, When and in What Quanitity.

Other factors, such as training intensity and duration, play a crucial role in tolerance as well. For example, high exercise intensity or nervousness can reduce the body’s tolerance of food and drink.

3-4 hours before

Easily digestible meal: high in carbohydrates, low in fat and fibre, combined with sufficient fluid (5 – 7ml per kilogram of body weight is recommended).


  • Pasta with low-fat sauce (e.g. tomato sauce or low-fat bolognese sauce) + fluid
  • Rice with steamed carrots and chicken breast + fluid
  • Baked potato with low-fat herbed soft cheese + fluid
  • Light vegetable soup with bread + fluid
  • Toasts with honey or jam + fluid
  • Sandwiches with low-fat cold cuts or cheese + fluid
  • Easy-to-digest breakfast cereals, such as cornflakes, with milk (providing you don’t have a milk intolerance), banana + fluid
  • Fruit-flavoured buttermilk with banana

Up to 60 minutes before

Carbohydrate-rich drinks or snacks with sufficient fluid.


  • Rice wafer + fluid
  • White bread with honey + fluid
  • Ripe banana + 5 ELECTROLYTES Drink
  • Energy bar + fluid e.g. PowerBar® ENERGIZE bar
  • Energy wafer + fluid e.g. PowerBar® ENERGIZE WAFER
  • Isotonic drink e.g. PowerBar® ISOMAX or ISOACTIVE Drink
  • Cereal bar + fluid e.g. PowerBar® NATURAL ENERGY CEREAL bar


Read more about nutrition before your event in the free nutrition guide from Cycling Weekly Sportive Series nutrition partners PowerBar.


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