How Many Calories Do Pro Cyclists Need?

Feed Zone riders FZC

Pro cyclists need to consume almost three times the number of calories when racing or training as the average person—about 6000-7000 calories per day.

Feed Zone riders FZC

Pro cyclists can burn up to 10-15 calories per minute during a hard training session or race. Since many races last up to 5-6 hours, the pros can burn 3000 to 5500 calories on the bike each day, not to mention the energy required for normal metabolism, recovery, and during sleep.

Be skeptical of meat-based diets marketed to athletes. Pro cyclists eat a lot of carbohydrates (60 to 70% of their daily calories) in the form of rice, potatoes, bread, pasta, fruits, vegetables, and simple sugars. The rest of their calories come from proteins (10-15%) like eggs, chicken, fish, and some red meats with the remaining calories coming from fats (15-20%).

60-70% of a pro cyclist’s daily calories come from carbohydrates. Of those carb-based calories, nearly half come from the simple sugars in their sports hydration drinks. In other words, drinking the right sports drink for you matters a lot.

Like anyone else, pro cyclists need fat as part of a healthy diet. Believe it or not, Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream isn’t a bad treat for a pro cyclist on race day. At 1360 calories and 80 grams of fat, one pint would be about 20% of the daily calories a racing rider would need in a day.

In the Feed Zone, the menu has changed and no one can argue with the results: real food is better. Real food tastes better, digests quickly, and helps you perform at your best.