real food or sports fitness products?

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  • real food or sports fitness products?
  • aw

    Do you use gels, drinks, powders etc or do you stick to natural foods like fruit, honey sandwiches, fruit loaf etc?

    The cycling specific ones I find expensive but are they any better than cheaper ‘normal’ alternatives?

    gel or jelly babies?

    Jelly babies – almost 100% glucose. Works just like an energy gel

    Premier Icon pedalhead

    Mix yer own rocket fuel from somewhere like In it’s simplest form, 2:1 Maltodextrin to Fructose.

    1 part fructose, 2 part maltodextrin, 1 part protein is supposedly ‘optimum’. But jelly babies are pretty close.

    Could you not ask all these trining questions in one thread?

    Premier Icon Garry_Lager

    A couple of malt loaves are good for the epic rides in the hills.

    Anyone take cheese as a snack on rides? I took a block of extra mature cheddar one time that seemed to work well. I have a slight cheese fixation though.

    Premier Icon ransos

    I find trailmix (dried fruit and nuts) makes good energy food, and tastes a whole lot better too.


    real food to a point. if it was good enough for anquetil…

    at top level the sciency stuff can help

    Premier Icon cp

    Jelly babies in winter, wine gums in summer.

    Dried fruit, jam sarnies, cereal bars… all sorts. I don’t buy bars marketed as energy bars.

    I’ve started using High5 4:1 drinks, which I’m finding brilliant for long training rides, and I use gels when racing simply for convenience.

    Jelly babies and kendal mint cake

    Squash plus a little salt

    Malt loaf


    (oh and milk for recovery!)


    tangfastics for short rides where you can maintain that sugar high.

    The best bars i have ever used are ‘maxifuel viperboost ‘bars unreal stamina and focus and they taste very good to.But mainly i use ‘GOOD’s hemp protien mixed with manuka honey strawberries/banana a great pre/post ride booster.

    Premier Icon jambalaya

    Real food only. Malt loaf (with butter/spread), jelly babies occasionally. Jaffa cakes are excellent tasting plus have slow energy release sponge and jelly with low fat dark chocolate, best to take a whole box so they don’t squash ! Water. I love cheese but find it goes a bit sweaty on a ride, sausison or biltong is great trail food.

    Seems pointless taking high tech gels and supplements etc if the rest of your diet includes red meat and beer.

    @jambalaya….biltong …. mmmm Ek het nie het ‘n paar van daardie jare


    Real food for me. A fool and his money and all that….

    Is it a co-incidence that after posting on here, “” appears at the top if the screen. Spookily efficient!! Anyone else?


    Jelly babies – almost 100% glucose. Works just like an energy gel

    I agree with TJ on this.


    Bacon sandwich. Homemade chocolate cake. Water. Packet of crisps if it’s hot. Went through a couple of years of using sports drinks and energy bars when I was road racing. Never again and I’m no slower these days, plus I get to see crestfallen expressions around me as I’m tucking in.


    On normal rides just real food. In races I normally go with energy stuff because its easier to eat a gel or get calories through drinks that it is to eat a cheese and pickle sandwich.

    Even then in races I will often just use normal cereal bars and jelly babies with a few gels and specific energy bars if needed for longer ones.

    I always find it strange that some people I ride with consume high five and energy bars on a 3 hour pootle. Balls out for 3 hours is different but then maybe it is relative to starting fitness?

    clif bars and clif shot bloks are what i tend to use for long rides along with a banana, gels for an emergency. nuun tablet for rides between about 30-60 miles, high 5 4:1 for longer or harder rides. i guess i’m the only sucker who falls for all the marketing bullshit 😀

    although now its getting into classics season i’ve got a box of 36 stroopwaffles to last me for a bit!

    Omar – can you keep Clif bars down while exercising. I love them for a snack (although haven’t bought any for a while) but every time I have tried to eat during a bike or running race I find them impossible to swallow. Same with most bars, too dry and make me gag.


    low fat chocolate milk


    “Real food” = whole food ?


    Co-op gummy mix, water, Tracker bars (or any other cereal bar that’s on offer), maybe a banana, maybe some sandwiches if I can be bothered to make them. Possibly stop for a blackcurrant and soda and a packet of peanuts if it’s a nice day and there’s a pub en-route with a beer garden.

    I’m sure if you’re a professional athlete, training constantly with not an ounce of spare tyre reserves and where detailed attention to nutrition can mean the difference between winning and losing, then ‘sports fitness products’ have their place.

    But, come on, if you’re a mid to late 30’s Audi-driving IT professional who’s going for a bike ride at the weekend…


    Real food for riding, sports products for racing

    Do jelly babies really count as ‘real food’, it’s just ‘sports nutrition’ marketed at fatties and kids?

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    Flapjack, Jelly bababies and the free energy products via Mags/CRC that I get from time to time.


    on normal weekend rides – Porridge before I start, the odd banana, flapjack or simlar while I’m out.. the only time I use gels is sometimes on the last bit of a longer ride, just to give me a boost.

    If I’m out doing something bigger I do use the odd gel/bar, simply because I buy them when they are on special offers, and find them an easy way to get what I need into the system…
    I also use sports drinks, either Lucoze sport, diluted with water (only buy them when they are BOGOF in Tesco) or High 5 Zero tabs.
    I also suffer with cramp and find using proper drinks does help.

    I’m under no illusion that I’m any sort of pro – I’m an overweight 39 year old BMW driving (promise to get an Audi next time) Engineer.
    However due to work/family I only really get to do one decent ride a week, and want to do everything I can to get as much out of it as possible.. and if that means I feel happier chugging down the odd Gel… well, its my money.


    i’ve gone the other way & only eat energy products most the time.

    normal day;

    gel before commuting & when i get to work.
    rideshots mid morning
    2x clif bar/ torw bar lunch
    gel before/ after commuting
    couple more bars and a maybe clif blocs around dinner time.
    also 2-3 bottles of torq powder, +1-2 of rego & some coffees throughout the day.

    I’ve worked out it’s about enough calories but i often feel a bit empty. I try and eat one proper meal with veg etc at least one day at the weekend otherwise i can feel a bit faint.


    Just shy of 100 miles today on Cheesy eggy bacon bread and a bowl of porridge, honey, bananas and seeds.

    And two cans of cherry coke.

    @thomthumb. You do know a certain amount of fat is needed in your diet?


    +1 Macavity

    Premier Icon doom_mountain

    Fig rolls and bananas.
    Jelly babies if it’s a group ride, it’s good to share.

    Premier Icon ian martin

    I tend to use ‘real’ food on rides primarily because of cost but after trying honey stinger protein bars I can’t recommend them highly enough, proper boot up the a**e stuff and taste pretty good too.

    Premier Icon ian martin

    I really fancied trying some of the torq products but their cost is way too high even when buying in bulk.
    I dont seem to see anyone recommending fig rolls. They work really well for me.


    in a race i like a gel which i usually pickup from the race site stall with some water. sometimes i use some sports drink in my bottle though.

    on a long ride i like real food and usually go for malt loaf, but gets in my teeth which anoys me a little so often go for cinnamon bagels which seem to work ok, sometimes take some jelly babys and flap jacks

    Premier Icon Northwind

    I use gels for speed/convenience- if I’m dead on my feet they pick me up faster than anything else, and they’re happy being flung in your pack and left there for a year for that one ride when you want one.

    Did try clif shots and similiar but haribo jelly babies are my trail boost of choice these days- cheap, and tasty. And rice crispie squares 😉 I’ve exploded too many bananas in pockets and bags to trust them.

    Oh and a proper meal beforehand to fill the tank.

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen

    Anyone take cheese as a snack on rides? I took a block of extra mature cheddar one time that seemed to work well. I have a slight cheese fixation though.

    I think on his polar treks Fiennes used to eat blocks of butter. But he was needing to eat 10000 calories a day

    I go for a mix of jelly babies (haribo jelly babies if I can find them – cheaper, bigger packs and more moreish than bassets) and something savory. Grated carrot and humous rolls are nice.

    When I first started riding proper distances I couldn’t rely on my appetite to get the energy in. I wouldn’t eat and drink often enough or I’d trough everything and run out of steam. So I used to eat packs of marzipan as you could see how much you were eating, as the pack usually had little 50gm markers along it, and I had to give myself a target of x number of grams per half hour and meter water in the same way too


    dried fruit.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Oh… When we were in france our guide (also a well proven sports coach) told a few of us off for eating jellybabies and other sugary snacks, as they’d cause insulin spikes. I’d been waiting 24 years for diabetes to become an advantage, more jelly babies for me! But other folks might want to bear that in mind for high GI stuff, it can be counterproductive over time.

    Premier Icon colournoise

    Absolutely NOT a pro, but what works for me.

    Jordan’s blueberry cereal bars.
    Natural Mahoosive Jelly Dinosaurs.
    Lucozade Sport.

    slainte ➡ rob


    I do like the convenience of proper ‘sports’ foods – much quicker and less messy to get your energy fix – especially during an event. However, my stomach seems to need something more than a sticky rich paste of gel and electrolyte drink to work on, so I usually carry meusli bars and fruit & nut mix to give a bit of bulk/fibre for the gut muscles to work on.


    Nearly always proper food for me. Anything from cheese and jam sandwiches, malt loaf, dried fruit, fig rolls, Kendal mint cake, jelly babies and tangfastics. Have tried the gels but to me they all taste gopping. I’m sure they have there place in the racing world but I’m not a racer and I’d much rather enjoy what I eat. 😉

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