Cycling - Hill Climbing

Cycling - Hill Climbing

The demands of the hill-climb

Cycling itself takes a lot of preparation, both in training and nutrition, but when it comes to hill climbing the demands are even greater. Hill climbing takes additional strength and power, something which is achieved through miles in training. Get out and practice on hilly routes, you will really feel the benefits when it comes to hills in races! Not only that, but the right nutrition both on and off the bike is key to ensuring you are properly fuelled and ready to tackle the hills head on. Get the nutrition right, and it'll give you that extra push to the top.

Preparation is key

When you're preparing for a hilly cycling event, you should be thinking about your nutrition long before the day of the event itself. Hill climbing places huge energy demands on the body and therefore it is so imortant that you eat enough carbohydrate to fuel your performance. In the week leading up to your event, increase your carbohydrate content to about 10-15% more than you would usually eat. Try to have a portion of carbohydrate with most meals and some carbohydrate-based snacks. The night before, top up your energy levels with a high carbohydrate snack to ensure you have maximised your fuel stores. This will leave you prepared to tackle the hills coming your way.

Get to the top with Etixx

If you have fuelled correctly in the days before, you will have enough carbohydrate stored in your body to last about 90 minutes of intense endurance exercise. Beyond that point, you will need to take on additional fuel to maintain performance and avoid fatigue. You should be aiming for about 60 g of carbohydrate per hour for optimal perfromance, but on a hilly course you need to pay particular attention as to when you take your fuel. As the demands for hill climbing are much greater, you will want to take on some fuel before you reach the bottom of your climb to help push you to the top. If the climb is long, take on fuel during the climb in the form of fast absorbing sugars as these will be digested quickly and provide you with the boost you need!

Practice makes perfect

Remember, with any fuelling strategy it is very important that you try it first in training. Get out on your bike and hit the hills with fuel in your pocket and start to practice eating during exercise and hill-climbs. You may find that you need a bit more time for the fuel to kick in, so start experimenting and find out what works for you.

How the advice is built up

Each athlete has its own requirements based on its goals, current physique, experience with sports nutrition and specific complaints.
Besides these personal influences, there are similarities we found across our innovation teams like Etixx-Quickstep, Tinkoff-Saxo, our women's team Boels Dolmans and all the amature cyclists we involved in our product testings.
Based on these findings, we created 2 levels of advice: 

  • Essential advice: which is recommended for each cyclist no matter which level or personal needs.
  • Advanced advice: made for those who are ready to go to the next level and are aiming for challenges which are just within their reach.
Daily support

Daily nutrition support for cyclists


Regular exercise increases the need for vitamins and minerals. Supplementation is a convenient way to consume essential nutrients and is highly recommended.

  • Contributes to normal functioning of the muscle and to a reduction of fatigue
  • Amino acid (AA) chelated mineral for better absorption
  • Delicious orange flavour

Usage: 4 weeks in advance, 1 tablet per day in 200 ml water.

  • High dose of vitamins, minerals and trace elements.
  • Balanced composition for athletes
  • Amino acid (AA) chelated minerals for better absorption

Usage: 4 weeks in advance, 2 tablets a day.


What to eat and drink before a training

Energy Bar
  • With carbohydrates for a prolonged fuelling
  • Can be used as a snack rich in carbohydrates
  • Low in fat and fibre and therefore easy to digest


How to make sure you fuel up during a race

Performance in prolonged exercise is reliant on the availability of muscle glycogen and therefore it can be important to take on carbohydrates during exercise to replenish fuel stores. If no carbohydrates were consumed during prolonged or intense efforts, muscle glycogen stores would be depleted after ~90min. The amount of carbohydrate you should take during exercise depends on the length of the session or event.
• Exercises < 1h(15): not necessary to consume carbohydrates during exercise .
• Exercises 1-2h: 30g carbohydrates per hour exercise.
• Exercises 2-3h: 60g carbohydrates per hour exercise.
• Exercises >2.5-3h: up to 90g carbohydrates per hour exercise.

  • Ideal isotonic thirst-quencher
  • For optimal hydration (electrolytes & fluid) and fuelling (carbohydrates)
  • PH-neutral for better stomach tolerance

Energy Gel
  • Unique tri-phase sugar combination
  • Quick energy boost (after approx. 10 min.)
  • Also a prolonged effect

Training Day

How to recover after a training or race

Recovery Shake
  • With high-quality proteins for fast recovery
  • With ‘fast’ sugars for optimal replenishment of muscle glycogen
  • Rich in vitamins
  • Alternative: Recovery Sport Bar + 500 ml water

Competition Day

Advanced plan

  • Balanced energy drink that supplies carbohydrates in high doses
  • Added vitamins (B1 and B2) which support energy production
  • 24h before race: Aim to ingest up to 10g cartbs/ kg body weight / day
  • Evening before or morning of the race: 70g in 500ml of water

Ginseng & Guarana Energy Gel
  • Energy gel with natural caffeine + Vitamin C for an extra energy boos
  • 1 gel / h exercise

Isotonic Energy Gel
  • With electrolytes, ideal during high temperatures
  • 1 gel / h exercise or as Isotonic drink: 1 gel in 350 ml water

High Protein Shake
  • With high quality proteins for optimal muscle growth
  • > 95% pure Whey Isotate
  • No carbs, fat and salt added
  • Ideal during preparation or to support weight control

Beta Alanine Slow Release
  • When practising sports at a high intensity for a longer period
  • Loading phase: min 4 weeks before peak performance 3.2 g / day (2x2 tablets)

  • With protein, reducing muscle breakdown, support muscle building after exercise and accelerate muscle recovery
  • 2 tablets in the morning, 2 tablets in the evening for at last 2 weeks

The nutritional and supplementation advice on this website is based on today’s publicly available scientific information. Please note these recommendations are not completely individualised. Despite our care to always be aware of the changing scientific knowledge in the field of nutrition and food supplements the product information provided is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional nutritional or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your nutritionist or other qualified healthcare professional prior to starting any new product or supplement or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Etixx assumes no liability for the information and data contained in the service or arising out of reliance on any recommendation made by the site. Therefore, we can’t take any responsibility for the accuracy of the content.