• Ally Mackay

Personal Training. Week 8: Nutrition

Hello and welcome to the ADAM COPLEY: PERSONAL TRAINING weekly blog.

Here you will find weekly updates designed to educate you on strength and conditioning for cycling. Over the coming weeks I will be covering all aspects of conditioning your body for cycling and how it can benefit you in terms of comfort, speed, and improving your riding. So, without further delay. Let’s get right into this week’s entry!

This week I want to talk about food, as a lot of people have been contacting me on my social media channels regarding fuelling up before and during a ride.

So I thought that I would create a blog to clear a few things up.

The first thing I want to say here is this:

Nutrition is incredibly individual, what works for me may or may not work for you, so be careful listening to what Dave on your resident facebook forum says you should do. My advice to anyone with regards to nutrition is learn as much as you can, experiment on one ride a week with something new and then when you find out what works well stick with that. And under no circumstances experiment on a RACE WEEKEND.

With that being said there are some general guidelines with what you should eat before and during a ride and that is what I will be discussing today, looking at the day before, the morning of, and during.


The day before a ride is all about fuelling up your body so you have plenty of energy in reserve, without going into the science of it. You want to be on a full tank the day of a ride, this is specifically true if you (like me) you don’t really like eating a lot of food in the early morning.

I ride early a lot, and I don’t really like eating much so for me, its crucial that I eat a lot of food the day before.

Typically, I eat a lot of carbs anyway as I train 3x a week and ride 3x a week. However, the day before a ride will usually look something like this:

  • BREAKFAST: 3 x bagels with soft cheese, or homemade beans (email me for a recipe) on toast.

  • LUNCH: A homemade curry with butterbeans (I don’t eat meat), potatoes, spinach, leeks and rice.

  • DINNER: Chickpea fajitas or a stir fry full of vegetables, chickpeas/beans and rice.

As you can see this is a lot of carbs, and the distance of the ride I am doing dictates the amount of carbs I eat. The food above will fuel me for a ride of up to 30 miles. If I ride more than that I will increase the carbs I eat. For example, a 100 mile road ride will result in me pre eating about 4 potatoes in one evening meal. I can 100% say that this has made riding big distances a lot easier for me since I started doing this, you never want to be running on empty and always keep that in mind.


Before a ride it is essential to get some good fats and carbs in your body. I have worked with people who eat beans on toast (from a can) and I put a stop to this straight away. It’s just sugar and very little carbs when you look at the toast.

My go too meal for riding is ALWAYS oats in yogurt, plenty of good fats in the yogurt and the oats is a perfect slow release protein source. I can go 20 miles on the mountain bike without food on oats.

If you don’t like the idea of cold oats, porridge (not ready brek) and honey is a great way to eat for riding. I don’t really recommend anything else before a ride to be honest. Other than a black coffee and plenty of water so your fuelled and hydrated.

Doing this I find that the food from the day before gets me by until the oats kick in and I feel like I am riding efficiently.

It is also important to go into a ride hydrated as you won’t be downing your water while your out, and this lessens the risk of you running out. Which you never want to do.

Let’s move onto during a ride then:


During a ride two things are important to remember:

1: Hydration is key.

2: Eat little and often.

I always make sure I have enough fluids for the ride I am doing, and always take more food than I need just in case.

My typical food and water loadout for a ride is a slice of soreen for every 20-mile marker I will be doing and homemade electrolytes. I always carry a gel with me too as a last resort.

I find soreen is a great fuel source as you just put it in a food bag and then pop it in your pocket, its easy to access and has plenty of fast release sugars and fats in it. Plus, salts. It is also easier to access than a banana and is about £1 from a supermarket. I do not buy into the energy bars as they are expensive and aren’t as good. Bananas are also a great alternative; however, I like to ride while I eat so peeling bananas isn’t as practical as just whipping out my soreen.

With regards to my homemade electrolytes I use:

  • A splash of pure orange juice (smooth).

  • Four turns of a salt grinder.

  • Water.

I do this instead of buying tablets as it is cheaper and works just as well.

This will serve me for 20 miles on the mountain bike, on the road bike I fill one bottle up with this and the second bottle is just water. I manage my reserves and drink from both depending on sweat levels.

If I am on a big mtb ride and use a hydration bladder I keep this full of water without electrolytes, the soreen will replace my salt levels on these rides as I will be eating more of that.

Also remember: Check your sweat, if it tastes salty you have good levels in your system but your losing it, so replace it!

And there you go, a quick low down of what I eat and drink before, and during a ride. Afterwards I like to have a decent meal unless I have burned an absolute tonne of calories then I’ll usually have a cake with my coffee. All depends if I’ve earned it.

Remember as well that nutrition is very individual and like I said earlier, what works for me may not work for you. Learn as much as you can and try things. When you find what works stick with this. If you are stuck for meal ideas I am giving away some free copies of my recipe books so get in touch with me via my website for your free copy (www.adamcopleypt.com).


Istagram @acopleypt


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