Three carbohydrate nutrition strategies for cycling - and how to choose the best plan for you

As a cyclist, there are wildly different approaches you can take with your carbs - we take you through the factors to consider

Male cyclist opening an energy bar on a bike ride
(Image credit: Future)

When it comes to carb intake, cyclists have three main options: first, ‘fuel for the work required’ (FFTWR) – matching carb intake to the energy you intend to burn. Second, ‘low carb, high fat’ (LCHF) – eating few carbs and instead getting most of your energy from dietary fat. Finally, high-carb fuelling (HC) means feeding the body the maximum amount it can absorb while exercising vigorously – upwards of 90g per hour. The benefit of consuming plentiful carbs is obvious: you won’t run out of fuel. But why would you deliberately restrict carb intake, and is it worth the risk?

Three carbohydrate nutrition plans for cycling

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Tom Epton
Freelance writer

Tom Epton is a freelance writer and data scientist. Originally training as a scientist after completing his studies in physics he realised that cycling was what he wanted to spend his life thinking about. Now he works with manufacturers, athletes and teams using cutting edge data science methods to find performance gains. Tom writes primarily about sport-science and tech!