How to fuel every workout: The Feed Fueling Formula

By Matt Johnson | Founder of The Feed.

[Placeholder]How to fuel every workout: The Feed Fueling Formula

Over the past 5 years of working with hundreds of thousands of athletes the most common questions I get are:

"How do I fuel for my training/race"

"When should I drink and eat"

"How much should I be eating"

I have been working on a common framework for each major sport. I'm going to share with you the Feed Fueling Formula that we have developed. This is our most tightly held secret, but it is time everyone has access to it.

These formulas are based on the best available research in the market, weekly conversations we have with our world-class experts to understand what is working best with their athletes, my years of experience running a Tour de France team, and our Head Coach Brandon's experience working with Olympic Gold medalists. Plus our most important source of data, your feedback!

I hope The Feed Fueling Formula makes it easier to plan your fueling strategy. The one rule that most athletes don't follow is consistency. If you follow the Feed Fueling Formula in training every day your body will adapt in a good way and become more and more efficient in converting fuel to athletic performance. Simply put, train your body to respond to nutrition like you train your strength or aerobic capabilities by following the fueling formula every day.

The first factor: How long is your workout?

The most important variable is how long a workout you are doing, I'm going to break it down into just 3 categories:

Short: Under 45 minutes

Medium: 45 minutes to 2 hours

Long: 2+ hours

The second factor: How long ago was your last meal before your workout?

If you are waking up and going straight to a workout, it has been more than 3 hours since your last meal and your strategy needs to be different than if you eat breakfast then go workout. The same goes for workouts in the afternoon or evening before dinner.

I just ate: Then a pre-workout drink is all you need.

It has been more than 3 hours since my last meal: You need a small amount of fuel before you begin.

The third factor: Is my goal weight loss or maximum performance?

For years we have looked at the "intensity" of your workout as part of the fueling strategy, but we have found that regardless of the intensity you are better to always fuel in a consistent way. The one factor that matters is whether your goal is weight loss or maximum performance.

I want to lose weight: We want to match carbs to the effort so you have a slight calorie deficit for weight loss.

I want maximum performance: Higher end of the range of carbs/calories per hour as the research shows the more carbs the better, assuming your gut has been trained and can tolerate this increased amount.

The Feed Fueling Formula.

I've tried really hard to make it simple enough for everyone to understand. Just focus on the workout length you are doing and it should be simple and straightforward to follow. If not, and you have questions, just text me at +1 (720) 679-8581 and I or one of our Feed Coaches will get right back to you.

1) Short Workouts (under 45 minutes)

You don't need much for these workouts beyond hydration.

⬆️ Before your Workout:

If you haven't eaten in the prior 3 hours, I will often recommend a Maurten Caffeinated Gel 15 minutes prior to these workouts for maximum performance as many athletes are going really hard when they do short 45 minute workouts.

➡️ During your workout:

All you really need is hydration and I recommend low-calorie options like SOS, Nuun Instant, LiquidIV, or LMNT for hydration.

⬇️ After your workout:

Drink an additional 24oz to 32oz of the same low-calorie hydration recommended above, especially if your workout was indoors or in hot weather.

Step 1: Pick a Low Calorie Hydration

SOS Electrolyte Drink Mix[Placeholder]
SOS Electrolyte Drink Mix

$1.00 - $34.99

  66 reviews
Nuun Instant[Placeholder]
Nuun Instant

$2.49 - $22.99

LMNT Elemental Labs[Placeholder]
LMNT Elemental Labs

$2.00 - $45.00

2) Medium Workouts (45 minutes to 2 hours)

⬆️ Before Your Workout:

Start with a pre-workout like SFH Push, Flume Flow, or Nuun Prime 45 minutes prior (to learn more about pre-workout read this).

If you haven't eaten in the past 3 hours, consider half a bar or a waffle at the start of your workout.

For maximum performance take a Sur Alt Red or Swiss RX Nitric Oxide 60 minutes prior to increasing oxygen-rich red cells blood flowing to your working muscles.

Step 2: Pick One Pre-Workout. Use 45 minutes before.

SFH Push[Placeholder]
SFH Push

$2.99 - $54.99

  5 reviews
Nuun Prime[Placeholder]
Nuun Prime

$2.99 - $34.99

  78 reviews

➡️ During your workout:

Your energy goal for Maximum Performance is 40g to 60g of carbs per hour, here are popular examples (choose just one option :-)

💧Skratch Sport (21g of carbs) + ⚡️2x Maurten Gels (25g of carbs each) = 71g of carbs

💧Maurten 160 (40g of carbs) + ⚡️1 Honey Stinger Gel (24g of carbs) = 65g of carbs

💧1/2 Bottle of Maurten 320 (40g of carbs) + 🍬 3 Clif Bloks (~24g of carbs)= 64g of carbs

💧1x Liquid IV (12g of carbs) + 💧Maurten 160 (40g) = 52g of carbs

Your energy goal for Weight Loss is 30g to 40g of carbs per hour:

💧Skratch Sport (21g of carbs) + 🍬3 ProBar Chews (~13g of carbs) = 33g of carbs

💧SOS Hydration (3g of carbs) + ⚡️1 Maurten Gel (25g of carbs) = 28g of carbs

💧Liquid IV (12g of carbs) + ⚡️Gu Roctane (21g) = 33g of carbs

⬇️ After your workout:

Drink 24 oz to 32oz of low-calorie hydration like SOS, Nuun Instant, or Liquid IV.

A lower-carb and low inflammation recovery like Swiss RX Total Recovery + 1 scoop of collagen to provide you a light refueling of carbs and protein that isn't a gut bomb.

If your workout was intense take 2 capsules of Swiss RX Daily Recovery before bed.

Step 3: Pick One Workout Hydration

Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Mix[Placeholder]
Skratch Labs Sport Hydration Mix

$1.95 - $49.95

  164 reviews
Maurten Drink Mix (160 & 320)[Placeholder]
Maurten Drink Mix (160 & 320)

$2.49 - $48.00

  111 reviews
First Endurance EFS Drink Mix[Placeholder]
First Endurance EFS Drink Mix

$1.95 - $34.99

  64 reviews
Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel[Placeholder]
Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel

$2.50 - $35.99

  127 reviews

3) Long Workouts (2+ hours)

⬆️ Before Your Workout:

Start with a pre-workout like SFH Push, Flume Flow, or Nuun Prime 45 minutes prior

If you haven't eaten in the past 3 hours, consider a bar, waffle, or squeezable Oatmeal at the start of your workout.

For maximum performance take a long-lasting performance booster like Swiss RX Nitric Oxide 45 minutes prior.

For important events (and if the cost is not an issue) use 25g of Delta G Ketone Ester to help preserve muscle glycogen in the first 60 to 90 minutes of your workout so you can save it for later.

➡️ During your workout:

Your energy goal for Maximum Performance is 90g of carbs per hour:

💧Skratch Sport (21g of carbs) + 💧Maurten 320 (80g) of carbs (101g of carbs)

💧Maurten 320 (80g of carbs) + ⚡️1 Maurten Gel (25g of carbs each) = 105g of carbs

💧2x Maurten 160 (80g of carbs) + 🍬 3 Honey Stinger Chews (~16g of carbs) = 96g of carbs

💧1x Skratch Superfuel (100g of carbs)

Your energy goal for Weight Loss is 60g to 80g of carbs per hour:

💧Skratch Sport (21g of carbs) + 💧Maurten 160 (40g of carbs) = 61g of carbs

💧Maurten 320 (80g of carbs)

💧LMNT (1g of carbs) + ⚡️3 Gu Roctane Gels (63g of carbs) = 64g of carbs

💧SOS (3g of carbs) + 🍬7 PowerBar Chews (~34g of carbs) + ⚡️1 Maurten Gel (25g of carbs) = 62g of carbs

Step 4: Pick a Gel or Chew (or both)

Maurten Gel 100[Placeholder]
Maurten Gel 100

$3.90 - $43.20

  185 reviews
GU Roctane Gel[Placeholder]
GU Roctane Gel

$2.25 - $59.99

  145 reviews
Powerbar Powergel Shots[Placeholder]
Powerbar Powergel Shots

$2.05 - $49.49

  3 reviews
Clif Bloks[Placeholder]
Clif Bloks

$1.95 - $35.49

  168 reviews

⬇️ After your workout:

Drink 32oz of low-calorie hydration like SOS, Nuun, or Liquid IV.

Drink a Recovery Shake like Momentous Redshift, Fluid Recovery, or Skratch Recovery. I also like to use a 1.5x to 2x serving (i.e. 3 to 4 scoops) of Swiss RX Total Recovery and 1 scoop of collagen into any of the above shakes.

At night take 2 capsules of Swiss RX Daily Recovery

If doing long multi-day workouts and cost is no objection, Pro athletes are using 25g (1 bottle) of Delta G Ketone Ester post-workout and then another 25g (1 bottle) before bed.

Step 5: Pick a Recovery Shake

SwissRX Total Recovery[Placeholder]
SwissRX Total Recovery

$79.99

  1 review
Fluid Recovery[Placeholder]
Fluid Recovery

$2.95 - $69.99

  125 reviews
Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Drink Mix[Placeholder]
Skratch Labs Sport Recovery Drink Mix

$3.50 - $54.50

  142 reviews

FAQs


Does it matter if I use a 💧High Carb Drink, 🍬Chews, or ⚡️Gels?

The research shows it doesn't matter and all will deliver you the carbs you need.

What brand of Gel or Chew should I pick?

All have different pros & cons, but everything we sell at The Feed has been rigorously tested by our athletes to work well. So you can't go wrong with any of the brands and much comes down to personal preference and taste.

We are also big fans of variety and mixing up products and flavors across different brands. If it is new and you like it, you will be more likely to stick to the recommended formula and not under fuel.

How many carbs are in a Gel or Chew?

As you can see below 1 Gel or 3 to 5 Chews is always between 20g and 25g of carbs.

Gels are typically 20g to 24g of carbs

Chews range from 3 Chews (Clif) to 5 Chews (Skratch/Powerbar) and range from 20g to 24g of carbs.

Is it better to use a drink or Gels & Chews?

It is important to make sure you are still hydrating, so if your sport allows, always make one of your sources a hydration drink then top up your carb level with gels & chews.

How often should I drink per hour?

New research is showing that it is probably better to take bigger sips every 20 minutes than take small sips every 5 minutes. The new research shows that the higher volume of bigger sips causes your stomach to "gastric empty" faster which is more efficient for absorbing carbs faster. So in practice, that means that you would be drinking 1/3 of your bottle every 20 minutes.

What if I have sensitive stomach or gut issues?

You need to train your gut to process the carbs and the key here is consistency and doing in following the Feed Fueling Formula in each training session. Most athletes that have gut issues ignore the recommendations for most of their training and then when their big workout or event comes up they follow the formula, but their gut isn't trained at this point. You have to train your gut just like you train your muscles to build strength with consistency.

That said if you still experience gut issues take 10g of carbs OFF of the low end of the recommended range. When you find you can tolerate that amount increase by 10g every two weeks as long as you don't experience gut issues.

What are Performance Boosters?

We refer to Nitric Oxide boosters as Performance Boosters as they are most popular and most effective for all athletes. You have two choices, Sur Alt Red and Swiss RX Nitric Oxide.

Both will increase your Nitric Oxide levels 60 to 90 minutes after you take them. This will dilate your arteries so more oxygen-rich red blood cells reach your working muscles. Basically your legs will hurt less as it will take longer before you go anaerobic during hard efforts.

Ketones are also a performance booster, albeit a very expensive one. They can be used before a Long workout to preserve muscle glycogen in the first 90 minutes (so you have more power for the end of your workout). They can also be used for recovery post-workout when you are doing multiple days of Long workouts.

Go Pro: Pick a Perfomance Booster

Sur AltRed[Placeholder]
Sur AltRed

$2.25 - $140.00

  110 reviews
SwissRX Nitric Oxide[Placeholder]
SwissRX Nitric Oxide

$72.00

  19 reviews
HVMN Sprint[Placeholder]
HVMN Sprint

$24.95

  63 reviews

Indoor training is a great place to practice your Fueling Formula.

Use your indoor training time to practice your Fueling Formula, it is a controlled environment and it is easy to layout all the bottles, gels, and chews you need in a convenient spot and even set a timer to remind you every 20 minutes to stay on your fueling schedule.

I promise if you follow the fueling formulas for your length of workout you will get more of out your training, improve faster, and be better recovered to do it all again tomorrow.