Is it better to eat before or after a bike ride?

This question is about Cycling

Elle Penner, MPH, RD

Research suggests that it is better to eat before a bike ride rather than after. Post-ride nutrition is important for recovery, but not being adequately fueled for a long or strenuous ride can hinder performance and training capacity and potentially be dangerous for the rider [





Here are some instances where you should consider eating before a bike ride: 

  • Morning rides following an overnight fast

  • Longer rides lasting >60 minutes

  • High-intensity rides lasting >45 minutes

If you’re focused more on general health or weight loss than cycling performance, eating before a bike ride isn’t always necessary. If your last meal was within 2-3 hours, you can probably skip the snack before moderate-intensity rides lasting less than 60 minutes.

3 cyclists on road bikes cycling on a road


  1. Kerksick, C. M., Wilborn, C. D., Roberts, M. D., Smith-Ryan, A., Kleiner, S. M., Jäger, R., Collins, R., Cooke, M., Davis, J. N., Galvan, E., Greenwood, M., Lowery, L. M., Wildman, R., Antonio, J., & Kreider, R. B. (2018). ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 15(1), 38.

  2. Jeukendrup A. (2014). A step towards personalized sports nutrition: carbohydrate intake during exercise. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 44 Suppl 1(Suppl 1), S25–S33.