Pre Zwift Snack


As with half the world it seems, I’ve recently bought a smart trainer so I can use Zwift during the lockdown.

I’m working from home at the moment and finish work at 5:30 and have been jumping straight on the turbo trainer for an hour blast. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t snack before an hour ride unless I was doing some heavy intervals or going flat out, but my lunch hour is 12-1, and not eating for 6 hours leaves me starving so I’ve been grabbing a banana at about 5:00 before jumping on the trainer, however it’s not sitting very well. I’ve moved onto trek protein flapjack as an alternative but i’m pretty sure they’re going to be full of censored and I’ll probably only burn off 1/4 of the flapjack in an hour.

Given I’ve got limited time to snack before jumping on the trainer, does anyone have any other suggestions? I do try and not eat if I can and eat after, but sometimes 40 mins in I start to really feel weak.

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Hi @Simon_Turton

Welcome to the forum.

This is a hard one, I am not a personal trainer but have been training for a long time. I train early morning (anything from 1.5 to 3 hours) before eating anything. I have dinner at 6pm and start training at 5am so that is about 11 hours of no food. I think your body get used to it.

Lets hear what the other users do.

Zwifters are probably all over the map on this one. I’ve trained early in the mornings completely fasted too, it helps a lot if you are fat adapted (and I have plenty of fat to burn). Since the stay at home order I’ve been sleeping in and doing my training after work. On a typical day I will eat around lunch time, skipping breakfast, and not need any snacks before a ride.

Maybe 30 minutes before a ride is too soon if it is giving you stomach issues, try 60 - 90 minutes or so and see if that helps.

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Cheers guys.

If I could get up and train before work I’d be able to eat afterwards, I used to do this no problem previously. But where I work now I don’t have the time to get up, do an hour, shower then head off to work so I’m trying to get into a routine now I’ll be able to continue when (if?) we ever get to go back to the office.

I’ll try an hour before and see how it goes. It wasn’t an issue before as I only cycled on weekends and had breakfast before I went out a couple hours before.

I eat all the time. Can’t imagine going that long without food.

Anyway, my go to food for quick snack before or on the bike is a peanut butter sandwich.

Another option is sugar in water bottles.

depends what you’re doing in the session. What are you drinking during the session? Personally, I woudnt eat that close to a ride but I would have a coffee an hour before and a carb drink if it was a race or training session.

I’m a big fan of fasted sessions - low intensity and for me, not more than about 75mins. There’s a very good article on the TR blog which also points you to the podcast on it. Might be, ahem, food for thought


General training plan, so it’s either short intervals above threshold or longer intervals at normal threshold. Runs range from 60 - 75 mins, nothing too long. Tend to do longer runs outside and fuel accordingly.

Also - thanks for the article, I’ve bookmarked it. Will give it a read this weekend!

Hi very difficult one to answer as each individual has different nutrient needs I for example do not eat prior or during the ride if less than 3 hours, but if ride over 3 hours I eat a small omelette about 90 mins prior to ride for protein, and after I get down semi skimmed milk within 20 mins or ride finishing. Flapjacks will be heavy and hard to digest on stomach. There are good protein bars which will give you energy when on the ride, also it is better when riding in the morning to ride with little food as that way you will use you glycogen stores and burn fat

I often have to do my rides early in the morning before the family gets up. What works best for me for shorter rides of 1.5 hours or less is to do the ride fasted and eat a quick breakfast immediately after the ride. If you top off your glycogen stores with some quality carbohydrates the evening before, you should have plenty of glycogen on board the next morning for such rides. My go to for that quick post-ride breakfast is overnight oats. I put the oats and water/milk and anything else I want to add such as dried fruit, nuts, etc. in a jar the evening before, then put the jar in the refrigerator overnight. After getting off the bike, I can eat them cold straight from the jar if necessary, or heat them briefly in the microwave. It is just as quick as a pre-ride snack and holds me over until lunch much better eating it after the ride as opposed to before. Good luck.

bananas are one of the worst before a ride on my stomach. Eat something light at 3:30 like a donut and coffee or some easy to digest carbs like a jelly sandwich or some corn flakes.I also eat a protein and some long lasting carbs at lunch like some lentils or beans which last longer than pasta or bread calories.

Bananas are my go-to cycling food, but guts are different (all commercial sports nutrition products are cryptonite to mine). For some fast carbs, you could basically try anything sugary you enjoy and can tolerate, a non-diet soft drink, dried dates/figs/other fruit or even some sugar-based candy (no chocolate or such).

Have you tried Torq Anna? I find it the only one my stomach can take. Always seems a bit cleaner than the others.

Hey Simon, I’m in the same boat as you in terms of training right around dinner time. I generally ride at 7:30pm after my 1 year old goes to bed. I try to eat at least 2 hours before and if I can’t I will eat a Peanut Butter Perfect Bar right around 7. I find it’s a good boost of energy for the 1-2 hours of riding I do.