How many carbs does a cyclist need?

This question is about Nutrition and Cycling

Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, Freelance Writer

Cyclists who ride for more than 2 hours a day need to eat at least 60% of calories from carbs to perform at their best or 5-8g/kg of body weight per day. For cyclists who ride less than 2 hours per day, about 45-55% of calories should come from carbs, which equates to 3-8 g/kg body weight per day [


Adequate carbohydrate is important for cycling because carbohydrate is the preferred fuel of working muscles, and depleting carbohydrate stores can lead to fatigue and poor performance


. Carb needs vary based on training intensity and duration, so experiment with different amounts to figure out what works for you.

Various forms of carbohydrate on a wooden board on a white background

[1] Kerksick, C.M., Wilborn, C.D., Roberts, M.D. et al. ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 15, 38 (2018).