The last meal before the start may best be fatty and high in protein and low in carbohydrates. So no or little sweetness, but egg or omelet, cheese, meat and yoghurt. This creates a high level of fat in the blood at the beginning of the effort, together with a relatively low level of sugar in the blood. With this combination muscles are stimulated to burn more fat, thereby inhibiting the rapid consumption of glycogen.

This method complies well with long-term efforts where the pace, especially at the beginning of the race is not too high. Also this diet regimen should be trained well before the race period.


A popular new training method for well trained cyclists is the so called workout with low glycogen stores. In this workout the body can almost exclusively use fat for energy. This training is called the metabolic switch training in which fat burning is stimulated   so that the body learns to use  fat burning during  intensive efforts  and thus save the carbohydrate stock. The number of these workouts should not be exaggerated. At most, one or two a week and not too short before a race.

Different forms of this kind of training:

A: Workout Completely sober.
After one or two cups of coffee.
Duration of the training up to one and a half hours.
Intensity training is low.

B:  After ingesting one spoon with olive oil.
One or two cups of coffee. Rest see A.

C: After a fat meal with baked egg with bacon.
Two coffee.
Training low intensity. Duration of this training 2 or 2.5 hours.

Read also article 155-L  and 155-M.


Caffeine stimulates fat breakdown, so making that the glycogen stocks are spared. This method works best for people who normally do not drink coffee. Sometimes caffeine is counterproductive because of stomach problems, heart palpitations, insomnia and nervousness. Caffeine gives an improvement of the duration performance. Caffeine tablets contain the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, but work much better, probably the caffeine from the tablets is more rapidly absorbed into the body than the caffeine in coffee.

With caffeine endurance workouts with an intensity of 91% MHR = 85% VO2 max can be sustained 23% to even 85% longer.

Caffeine has long been on the doping list. An athlete tested positive when more than 12 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of urine was found. It is not possible to indicate exactly how many cups of coffee might be drunk. That varies from person to person and depends on factors such as hot weather and the degree of dehydration. A dehydrated athlete could produce concentrated urine in doping control and therefore produce a positive doping test.

Five cups of strong coffee before the race, within one hour, seemed too risky. Coffee in combination with pills such as APC (acetaminophen and caffeine) was even riskier. Coffee has already been removed from the doping list.

Drink the coffee one hour before the race or training. Try the effect of coffee first in training. Time saving is to be expected when taking 300 mg of caffeine (3 cups of coffee) at distances up to 10,000 meters. The evidence that coffee also affects the marathon performance has not been proven yet.  The duration of a heavy training, for example, a resistance training, can be extended by about 20%.


At efforts longer than 60 to 90 minutes the glycogen supply is depleted. It is important to prevent this by eating regularly. Because of this any deficiency can be addressed in time.

During exercise the gastrointestinal tract functions less well as most of the blood goes to the muscles. The passage of food in the intestines is also slower. That is the reason why food is often poorly tolerated during exercise. If the level of effort is not too high, solid food can be eaten during exercise, such as biscuits, bread, bananas, raisins and cookies. Alternatively, or if solid foods are poorly tolerated, high carbohydrate drinks may be a good alternative. The concentration of these drinks must not be too high. The glucose content in these drinks should not be higher than 1.0 to 2.5 grams per 100 milliliters of water. If the concentration is higher the gastric emptying is delayed, causing less glucose will quickly enter into the blood. During races you need to ingest in time and regularly small amounts of solid or liquid food. This food intake during the effort must be previously practiced. The gastrointestinal tract can well be trained in digesting food during exercise.

Intake of soluble glucose during long lasting exercise has a glucose sparing effect. Therefore no low blood sugar levels arise. Therefore one fatigues less and performance can be maintained longer at a higher level. (Ivy)


Endurance athletes must respect the following rules:

  • Do not try to experiment with a new diet right before a competition. Test new diets in advance and learn to get used to it. The gastrointestinal tract can well be trained in digesting food during exercise.
  • Eat and drink during exercise regularly and in time. If you begin eating and drinking at the time of hunger and thirst you are actually too late.
  • Take care in endurance efforts that take longer than 60 to 90 minutes for a good filling of the glycogen depots.
  • The latest diet for a competition or training is taken 2 to 3 hours before exercise.
  • The biggest nutrition mistake one can make in sports is: drinking too little.
  • The glycogen stocks are depleted after 60 to 90 minutes of sub maximal exercise.
  • Liquid food passes through the stomach faster than solid foods
  • Double the carbohydrate stock by glycogen stacking.
  • The use of large amounts of glucose or sugar, especially in liquid form, less than 1 hour before exercise is not recommended.
  • Liquid sugars immediately after an endurance exercise promote recovery.