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How to fuel with carbs for endurance workouts?
How to Fuel

Damn, I've Been Training All Wrong

For years I've done workouts to lose weight and burn fat and followed what I saw many of the pros doing: limit my calories, so I could create a calorie deficit to lose weight.

For the past six weeks, I've been trying a different approach. I will call it the "stuff my face" with food while training approach.

The early results are crazy. My power on the bike is increasing faster than ever before. Two-hour workouts that I could never finish, I'm now finishing strong.

I'm also eating less after the workout, and there is no question that I'm recovering faster the next day,

What am I doing?

I'm forcing myself to eat every 15 minutes, and mostly I'm doing this on the indoor trainer, so it is straightforward to control the timing and have an unlimited supply of food standing by.

Warning: This will be a shocking amount of fuel for most people.

Here is What I'm Doing

and below I share why this is working so much better than the old approach:

0:00 Minutes: I'm starting each workout with a caffeinated Gel, usually Maurten Gel 100 CAF 100.

0:15 Minutes: I'm eating two chews. I've been using the Powerbar Powergel Shots (confusing as they are called Powergel, but they are chews).

0:30 Minutes: I'm having another Maurten Gel, but usually the regular one, not caffeinated.

0:45 Minutes: I have two more chews

1:00 Hour: I'm now mixing it up and taking Enervit Liquid Energy shot. It is 30g of carbs and another 25mg of caffeine.

1:15 Hour: I'm having two more chews, usually the same ones, as I don't want to open another pack.

1:30 Hour: I have a regular gel. I've been using something with more flavor, like the Neversecond Gel or the Honey Stinger Organic Energy Gel.

1:45 Hour: I have two more chews

Then I'm typically done at two hours, but keep repeating either the first Hour or second-hour program if you go longer. Whatever you do, don't stop fueling like this until you are done your workout, or you will bonk hard.

I'm also hydrating along the way with electrolyte hydration, usually Skratch or LMNT.

What if you hate gels? No problem, make a bottle of Maurten 320 and drink 1/3 of the bottle instead of a Gel.

Why is this working?

Full disclosure: I've never fueled this aggressively before, always focusing on a calorie deficit to lose weight. But then I would be so hungry post-workout I would eat a ton of calories blowing the whole deficit.

Since I have constant carbs going into my engine, I'm able to sustain a much higher volume of work, resulting in much faster fitness gains than I've ever seen before.

Trust me. You won't believe how much easier it is to maintain a higher power output, a higher running pace, and to finish each workout with a high-intensity right to the finish.

Also, know that you are still burning at least 2x the carbs you take in, so you have nearly no risk of overdoing it.

But what about weight loss? This part is ironic. The old way, I was underfueling during my workout, but then I would binge on a bunch of calories post-workout (sound familiar?).

This strategy gives you the calories when you need them, i.e., during your workout). Then post-workout, you won't be as hungry.

Still, to make sure I don't binge, I'll have a Total Recovery shake post-workout, which is relatively low calorie (compared to a full meal) and very satiating to remove the craving to binge.

Avatar Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson / Friday, February 24, 2023