Fitness and Exercise, Nutrition

How to Fuel Properly For a Long Cycle or Run

It’s only just over 2 weeks now until the 100 mile Ride London so I’m starting to get prepared. I’ll be riding for Bowel Cancer UK this year and I’m beginning to feel the fear – not least because I’ve not even been on a bicycle since 2017 and I’m still recovering from the multiple stress fractures in my foot – so it’s going to be an interesting one!

But whilst I may not be able to train on the bike I can at least make sure I’m fuelled properly. I have clients and friends who are also riding and have been asking for advice on how to fuel themselves before, during and after the ride. So I thought I’d share a few tips. These are relevant to any endurance event – not just cycling.

So here are my tips!

In the week leading up to the big ride try to eat normally but well, so have three good meals a day, and snacks as needed, avoid all alcohol, and get some good carbs in where possible (brown rice, sweet potato etc).

48hrs before the ride is the time to start ‘Carb loading’. Carbs are the best source of fuel, so you need to make sure your muscles are full of glycogen before the ride. For the 48 hours before the ride, base all your meals around carbs and have carb based snacks throughout the day. So for example breakfast could be cereal, toast with peanut butter and banana, fruit and yogurt.

For lunch, go for wraps, jacket potato, pasta salad etc. And for dinner, try to eat something rice-based, pasta, or lean meat/veggie protein with potatoes. Have something like yogurt and fruit for desert.

For snacks go for energy drinks, dried fruits, and cereal bars.

On the ride day morning have a good carb-based breakfast two hours before the start (or as early as you can if you have a very early start time). Aim for at least two servings of any of these: cereal, toast and jam, porridge with fruit juice, and cereal bars and yogurt.

When you’re actually on the ride the glycogen supplies in the muscles will last about 90 mins so you need to keep topping up. Don’t worry about the first 45 minutes, but from there you need to take in around 60g of carbs every hour (the maximum amount an average body can absorb). energy drinks, gels, bars, or other easy-to-digest carb snacks are good as they’re designed for easy digestion and quick absorption. Or you could go for cereal bars chopped up or dried fruit. My preference is chopped up cereal bars and jelly tots 🙂

Be careful during the ride at feed stations and avoid any foods such as cake, biscuits, pastries, crisps or sandwiches containing cheese or mayonnaise. These are high in fat and will sit heavy in the stomach, taking time to digest. This will make the following 10-15 miles after the stop quite uncomfortable so not ideal!

At the end of the ride you need to replenish the glycogen stores in the muscles and repair the damage to your muscles so you need fast digesting carbs and protein, so things like scrambled eggs on white toast, white rice and chicken and veg, tuna pasta etc

An ideal post ride drink is chocolate milk – perfect combo of carbs and protein etc so try to have that as soon as possible after you finish. You can also get various protein based recovery drinks which work too.

Then get back to normal eating after that!

So there you go – a few tips for you! Note I’m not suggesting specific foods as such – just giving examples and the figures on timing and quantity of carbs etc are based on scientific studies and evidence based research.

This is what I’ve done every other year I’ve taken part and I’ve always been fine and recovered quickly and not ‘crashed’ (energy-wise) during the Ride.

Hope that helps – safe riding everyone! See you there ! 🤗xx

Ps. I’m riding to raise money for Bowel Cancer UK – as a current sufferer and for everyone else affected by it. If you wanted to and could spare a few pennies then I’d be very grateful 🙂

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Calorie Cuts

Tuesday Tip: Calorie Cuts ✂️

When you’re trying to lose weight it’s all about being in a calorie deficit so finding ways to cut calories easily without leaving you hungry is the key. There are a few easy cuts you can make that you’ll barely notice.

# 1 Non-stick Pan

Cooking with oils can add hundreds of calories to a meal without really contributing much to the taste. So invest a a good non-stick pan and some light 1 cal oil sprays and you can cut those cals without even noticing.

# 2 Skip the condiments

Often we don’t even consider the calories in the sauces and dressings we have with our meals. Avoid these sneaky calories but skipping them or going for smaller amounts, or swapping for a lower calorie version. Things like balsamic vinegar, mustard and salsa are great options that are lower calorie but pack a punch.

# 3 Reduce liquid calories

We often forget the calories we drink but they can really add up – all the milk in coffees/teas, soft drinks, smoothies, and booze. Try swapping milky coffees for Americanos, teas for herbal tea, soft drinks for diet versions, and lower calorie alcoholic drinks (e.g. slimline gin and tonic instead of beer)

# 4 Fill up

Opt for more filling foods whenever possible whilst still being mindful of calories. Foods higher in fibre and protein will keep you fuller for longer (but read the labels and check the cals). A recent study found foods such as potatoes, fish, oats, apples and oranges, wholewheat pasta, beef, beans, grapes, popcorn and wholemeal bread kept participants fuller for longer so consider including these in your meals.

# 5 Alternatives

Find alternatives for the foods you like that taste good but have less calories. Swapping your normal ice cream for low calorie ice creams (like halo top) is one way, or swapping your dessert/snack to strawberries and 0% Greek yoghurt is another great way. If you’re a savoury fan opt for things like popchips instead of crisps, and low fat cheese for a savoury snack (e.g. lite mini babybel)

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Magic Celery juice

Tuesday Tip: Magic Celery juice 🥬

You may have heard of the latest super food trend of celery juice. According to social media celery juice is magic and can restore natural stomach acid production, improve digestion, reduce inflammation, improve autoimmune disease, starve bad bacteria, flush out viruses, balance your body’s pH, detox your liver, clean your blood, hydrate on a deep cellular level, eliminate migraines, reduce anxiety and panic attacks, and reverse brain fog, depression and anxiety – in just a week!

Apparently you have have the juice (no pulp) 30 mins before breakfast. So what’s so good about celery and is there any truth to it? Celery is actually very nutrient dense. It’s low calorie, high fibre, rich in vitamin C, K, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium and folate. It also contains lots of antioxidant polyphenols – preventing cell damage, boosting the immune system and reducing inflammation etc.

But is there any evidence it can do everything these people claim? In short – no.

There is no published research supporting these health claims. If you like celery and want to drink the juice then go for it – even if it’s just a placebo effect, it certainly won’t do any harm. But it isn’t going to magically make you lose weight or cure all your ailments.

It’s important to realise that no single food in isolation can provide everything we need for optimal health. Celery juice may be something to complement an already balanced diet, but what about the fibre you’re missing when you juice it? The majority of the fibre is in the pulp that you throw away. A much better option would be to include celery as part of your daily servings of fruit and veg in a salad, or smoothies or cooked in casseroles, soups, etc.

At the end of the day all vegetables are good for you, including celery. If juicing it and drinking it first thing makes you feel good then go for it! If not then just eat it, or if you don’t like celery don’t eat it! There are many other vegetables and fruits that are high in phytochemicals and antioxidants eg brocolli, spinach, berries etc. So just choose the veggies you enjoy eating and have them!

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Brown carbs aren’t better

Tuesday Tip: Brown carbs aren’t better 🍞

Most people feel like they’re being healthier if they’re having brown rice, pasta or bread rather than white. However is it actually that much better?

White grain products have just had the outer layer of the grain removed – in most cases this doesn’t remove that much in terms of nutrition. In terms of calories both products tend to be the same, sometimes the white version is lower in cals so if you’re tracking your intake then it can be a way to cut some cals. But what about fibre I hear you cry? Well most brown rice for example only actually has 1 percent more fibre than white rice. If you’re already having a balanced diet then you’re better off simply choosing the one you prefer the taste of.

Now that’s not to say there are no benefits at all to brown carbs. Often the brown versions may have added extras that increase the nutritiousness e.g comparing white and normal brown bread reveals little differences in nutritional profile, but compare white with a seeded or granary loaf and you’ll find additional benefits from the seeds etc (good fats and more

Fibre). But of course this also means more calories. Increased fibre can help keep you fuller for longer as well.

If you do want to go for higher fibre options choose the wholegrain versions. Do bear in mind that words like ‘wholesome’, ‘seeded’, ‘multigrain’, ‘brown’ etc don’t necessarily mean wholegrain – there’s no legal requirement in the UK to have wholegrains in the product to use those descriptions.

Bottom line – check the labels and look at the actual fibre content. Ultimately if you enjoy the taste brown carbs then go for them – I happen to love the taste of brown rice regardless, but if you’re not a fan and were only eating them because you thought they were a better option then maybe go back to the white stuff for enjoyment and lower calories (in some cases) and just ensure you’re getting your fibre from the rest of your diet.

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Managing Cravings

Tuesday Tip: Managing Cravings 🍕

Food cravings happen for many reasons -stress, boredom, habit, hydration, hormones and blood sugar levels but are most common when intake is restricted or in response to feelings (postive or negative ones). So how can we cope with cravings when they arise?

#1 No Restrictions

When we make something off limits it can set you up to binge on it later. Allow yourself smaller indulgences  and plan it in. If you love chocolate work it in to your daily calories and enjoy it, rather than cutting it totally out for 5 days and then bingeing on it at the weekend. 

#2 Hungry or Emotional?

Real hunger tends to come on gradually, doesn’t have the urgency to eat “RIGHT NOW”, and means you’ll eat whatever is available. Emotional hunger comes on quickly, with an urgent need to eat “NOW”, is often a desire for a specific food and leaves you feeling guilty. Take a moment, and if you still want that food, then eat and enjoy it slowly and don’t feel guilty. 

#3 Real deal

When you really want chocolate no amount of alternative snacks are going to cut it, so have some chocolate, just plan it, track it and enjoy it! There are also some great low calorie options that can satisfy cravings just as well e.g. Halo top ice cream vs a tub of Ben and Jerry’s is a great way to have what you want and save 800 cals! 

#4 Be mindful

If you’ve been craving a glass or wine or chocolate all day, then when you have it take time and enjoy it. Be mindful, rather than stuffing it down in 20 secs as you walk in the door. Turn off the distractions and focus on enjoying the food or drink.

#5 Plan

If you crave pizza then plan in a pizza and movie night etc. Planning ahead means you can work it in to your calories for the week, makes it enjoyable and removes the temptation to just grab it on the way home. I ask my clients to log the cals in advance so they can then adjust their calories on the days either side to buffer treats.

#6 Alternatives

If you tend to crave sweet stuff then strawberries, pineapple, mango etc are brilliant options to give a low cal sweet fix with less of a sugar rush. If it’s savoury stuff you crave then flavoured rice cakes or pop chips are a fab option at a fraction of the calories.

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: 2000 / 2500 cals per day?

Tuesday Tip: 2000 / 2500 cals per day?

You may have heard the recommendation that women need around 2,000 cals a day and men need 2,500? It’s a figure bandied about as the guidelines for health by the NHS and others – but is that really what you should be aiming for and where did it come from?

It actually came from a USDA study on calorie requirements which was then reduced by 20 percent (to cover a wider range). To further complicate things Public Health England then announced women should actually aim for 1800 cals.. confused? Yep me too and rightly so!

Sadly it’s not as simple as one number fits all. Your calorie requirement is influenced by height, age, gender, some

medical conditions, muscle mass and activity levels, so to suggest 2,000 cals would be appropriate for all women (or 2,500 for men) is ridiculous. I know personally that if I have 2000 cals a day I put on fat. If you’re trying to lose fat then your calorie intake will also need to be less.

So what should you aim for and how do you work it out? There are plenty of online calculators out there – you enter your details and it will give you an estimate of your basal metabolic rate (basic calorie requirement to function). Many will give you the option to specify how active you are – my advice, if you’re aiming to lose fat, is to opt for a lower activity level as most studies show we massively overestimate our exertion and activity levels. This will give you an initial calorie goal to aim for.

It’s not an exact science – you’ll need to try eating that calorie level for a few weeks and see how the body responds and then adjust it up or down accordingly.

At the end of the day if you’re trying to lose fat/weight and you’re not then you’re eating too many calories – regardless of what an online calculator tells you.

If you’re stuck feel free to drop me a message and I can help you work out a rough calorie goal for you 🤗

Happy Tuesday 🤗


Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: No Progress?

Tuesday Tip: No Progress? 🤔

Are you stuck and not making progress? When things aren’t going the way you want it’s easy to give up, here’s a little kick up the backside to hopefully prevent that happening!

# 1 ‘I just need to find my motivation’

You don’t need motivation, you need action. Motivation isn’t going to magically appear; you have to decide to make a change. That will be what motivates you, not a pretty Insta quote (but we love them anyway 🤣).

#2 ‘It’s not my fault…’

It may not be your fault but it is your responsibility. We can all find reasons why we can’t do things. Yes it may be harder for you; you might have a health condition or responsibilities that affect your ability to exercise/lose fat etc. But what’s the option? Not bothering just because it’s going to be harder? Of course not! Anything is better than nothing! 🤗

#3 ‘I’m just not prepared to give up….’

Some things are going to have to change if you want your body to. The ‘you’ who has lost 10kg fat isn’t doing what you’re doing now, so if you want to get there you need to make changes. You have to decide what you’re willing to sacrifice; switch your 1200 tub of ice cream for a 320 cal one? Cut back on meals out? Switch tv time for a 30 min walk? The choice is yours.

# 4 ‘I just can’t say no…’

The main reason people don’t lose fat is because they can’t say no. ‘Fancy a cake with coffee?’, ‘want another drink?’, ‘how about a take away?’. Try saying no and choose something nice but lower in cals! Prove to yourself that you have the ability to choose!

#5 ‘It’s been 3 days and I’ve lost no weight…’

The body you want is the sum of all the small actions you do today. Eating 300 fewer calories today, or going to the gym when you don’t want to, doesn’t seem like it’s getting you that result today, but do it consistently for 1, 2, or 3 months and it will.

Life happens, things get stressful – it happens to everyone. Don’t let that stop you doing something. Can’t make it to the gym? Do a 15 min walk, Blown your cals? Get straight back on it tomorrow. Do something, no matter how small, every day that takes you closer to your goal.

Happy Tuesday 🤗