Nutrition for Indoor Cycling and Zwift

Nutrition for Indoor Cycling

Fuel Up for Your Indoor Cycling Training With These Tips

Nutrition for indoor cycling can be a problem for both beginner and advanced cyclists. So whether you are just getting started with a Peloton or a normal on the Zwift racing scene, you can take advantage of these tips to fuel right and recover properly so you can do it again tomorrow. Looking for advice to fuel properly for a longer ride? A guide to endurance cycling can be found here.

Before You Start

When getting on the trainer, fueling beforehand is likely not high on your priority list. This is especially true for those waking up early to work out. If you are less than an hour out from jumping on the bike your goal should be to take in  0.5 grams or less of carbs per 1 kilogram of body weight. The best way to satisfy this goal is simply to eat some kind of gel, such as SiS Isotonic Gels, or a small snack. Just make sure to stay away from high fiber foods, for obvious reasons.

If you just woke up, grab a gel on your way to the bike. If you are working out in the afternoon or evening, you are likely good to go from your previous meal.

Nutrition During the Ride

Hydration is king when it comes to hour or less on the bike. You really don’t need to have much fuel intake and something like a Nuun tab in your water bottle is all you need. This will help to replace your lost electrolytes and help keep you hydrated.  Keeping hydrated during repeated days of training on the bike is one of the biggest keys to success. Look to take in 20-26 fl oz every hour by taking 4-6 fl oz drinks every 15 minutes. 

Fueling Recommendations During Exercise

If riding for longer then an hour your nutrition for indoor cycling does change. Riding in the 2 hour range? Try to get in 30 grams per hour. If you are getting in two hours or more then your goal should be 60+ g/hr. 

After You Finish

The goal post workout is to replenish glycogen stores and take in some protein to help with muscular repair. If you did a lower intensity ride or short ride you are likely just fine.

However, if you did an intense workout or ended up sticking it out on the bike for hours, then it’s going to be more important to get some calories in ASAP.  Your goal should be to try to consume something in the 3:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein.  Around 200-400 calories total should be your goal depending on length of the ride. A great way to make it easier on yourself is with a post recovery shake. You can have it pre-mixed in the fridge and it’s ready to go. If you are more inclined to go the whole foods route, then a bagel or my personal favorite, a ProBar.

Had an insanely hard effort and need to keep the recovery up for another hard day tomorrow? You may need to even take in some more protein before bed.

Nutrition for Training Indoors Recap

When it comes to training indoors, your nutrition intake goals should be very similar to that of outside.

  • If you haven’t eaten anything for a while, grab a small snack before starting.
  • Keep your water intake around 20-26 fluid ounces
  • If you go longer than an hour, it’s time to start taking in calories
  • Post ride you want 3:1 carbs to protein for improved recovery
Certified Cycling Coach Garret Seacat

Coach Seacat has carved a space for himself as an expert coach in the discipline of cycling. With 15+ years of coaching and prestigious certifications from USA Cycling and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Coach Seacat brings a comprehensive approach to coaching that combines advanced training techniques with fundamental cycling strategies.