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What is bonking and how can I avoid it?

This is also known as “hitting the wall” and is when your body has virtually depleted all of its muscle and liver glycogen stores and is “running on empty”. To help prevent this, start taking on energy early during prolonged rides. Athletes often make the mistake of waiting until they’re tired before they start taking on energy. However, the body always uses more energy than it can possibly absorb. Take your first SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gel or GO Energy bar after 20 minutes of your ride and continue feeding 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour (1). This will help ‘top up’ your energy stores throughout the race or weekend ride!

What should I eat before my race?

Firstly, consider the race itself. Is it a time trial, or maybe even a century ride? Whatever the length, in the days before your race, your training should taper but carbohydrate intake should increase as part of a carbohydrate loading schedule. When preparing for a prolonged race, take in 8-12g of carbohydrate per kilo of your body per 24 hours for 2 days (2). If the race is short (under 90 minutes of length), focus on increasing carbohydrate intake in the 24 hours before. Avoid high fat, high protein and spicy foods. On the day, make sure you have breakfast 3-4 hours before and include normal breakfast foods that you have had before training rides. This should be mainly carbohydrate based e.g cereals, bread, fruit juice and equate to 2-4 g/kg body mass.


Do I only need gels on race day?

Gels are a highly convenient form of race fuel as they contain around 20 g per gel, are isotonic and easily digested even without consuming water. Nonetheless, bars also contain 20-25 g of carbohydrate per bar but also contain some fibre and protein meaning they are harder to digest. Additionally, SiS drinks contain 36 grams of carbohydrate per 500 ml and are also easily digested. When taken together, athletes should therefore practice their race day strategy using a mix and match approach to achieve the intended 60-90 g per hour (1). Most elite riders usually consume solids during the first half of the race (when intensity is not that high) before switching to gels during the second half of the race when the intensity increase.

How often should I use gels during my rides?

When the goal is performance, take on 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour (1). Using gels, this works out at 3 SiS GO Isotonic Energy Gels per hour. Remember; don’t wait until you’re tired before you start taking on energy. Take your first gel after the first 20 minutes. Try to combine the gels with other energy sources like that in SiS GO Electrolyte. A good plan is to use SiS Energy Bars during low intense sections of a ride (e.g the first third of the race) and gels towards the last third when the intensity steps up. There will be some rides where gels are not necessary e.g short, lower intensity rides. Here, focus on energy intake prior your rides.

Am I better to use a carbohydrate based drink?

Space on the bike can be limiting, so it’s much easier to hit the goal of 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour when you combine bars and gels with a carbohydrate based drink. If you can use a drink like GO Electrolyte, you are able to hit both energy and hydration goals in one bottle. Everybody is individual and likes to gain their energy in different ways, always trial in training and see what works for you.

How should I recover after my ride?

Post exercise nutrition is arguably the most important aspect of recovery. The ideal time to take on nutrition after tough rides is within the ’30 minute window’. This refers to the 30-minutes after you finish your ride when your muscles are much more receptive to storing food efficiently (3). Athletes need to consider that recovery isn’t just about protein, but has four main considerations; carbohydrate, protein, hydration and vitamin intake. Current guidelines for recovery equate to 1.2 g/kg body mass of carbohydrate (e.g. 90 g of carbohydrate for a 75 kg athlete) and at least 20 g of protein (2). REGO Rapid Recovery provides a simple first stage of recovery as it takes all four factors into account, with 23g of carbohydrate and 20g of protein. Nonetheless, make sure you take on a full carbohydrate based meal within an hour of finishing a tough ride to also hit your carbohydrate requirements.

I’m trying to lose body fat for race season, how do I do that?

When trying to lost body fat, an athlete must consider that traditional methods may have an adverse effect of performance. If you “train smart” and “fuel for the work required”, this method contains “train low” days during which you may commence your training session without a carbohydrate breakfast as as well as consuming <30 g/h of carbohydrate during exercise. This can involve a session (usually in the morning) where fuel and energy is restricted before and during. This can enhance fat metabolism and exercise capacity, although it’s important that the muscles retain the capacity to use carbohydrate as a fuel source (4). When looking to lose weight, a calorie defect is important, but ensure that protein intake remains high (1.2 – 2 g/kg of body mass per day) so that muscle breakdown is reduced, especially during periods of training (2).


  1. Jeukendrup, A. (2014). A step towards personalized sports nutrition: carbohydrate intake during exercise. Sports Medicine, 44(1), 25-33.
  2. Thomas, D. T., Erdman, K. A., & Burke, L. M. (2016). American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 48(3), 543.
  3. Atherton, P. J., Etheridge, T., Watt, P. W., Wilkinson, D., Selby, A., Rankin, D., … & Rennie, M. J. (2010). Muscle full effect after oral protein: time-dependent concordance and discordance between human muscle protein synthesis and mTORC1 signaling. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 92(5), 1080-1088.
  4. Impey, S. G., Hammond, K. M., Shepherd, S. O., Sharples, A. P., Stewart, C., Limb, M., & Close, G. L. (2016). Fuel for the work required: a practical approach to amalgamating train‐low paradigms for endurance athletes. Physiological Reports, 4(10), e12803.
Written By

Ben Samuels

Ben is a Performance Nutritionist at Science in Sport