Riders need fuel. If you run out, you're parked: the well-known hunger knock. Research shows that a lot of cyclists don't know what to eat, how much to eat and how much they burn while cycling. This is where the app EatMyRide comes into play. The past few weeks I tested this Dutch cycling app extensively.
The starting point of EatMyRide is the smartphone app. You can find it in the App store (iOS) and Play Store (Android). After downloading, you fill in a few details and you can get started right away. Although the app also allows you to track your daily nutritional intake, its main functionality is to create a nutrition plan for a workout or a race. You can tell the app what kind of ride it is in several ways. For example, you can grab a route from Strava or Komoot, load a pre-made workout from Trainingpeaks, or fill in some data yourself. The app makes an estimate of your energy needs based on data such as elevation, average speed, intensity and average power or heart rate.
Image on the left: the beginning of making a plan. On the right: adding nutrition.
Next, EMR asks how many carbohydrates per hour you want to take in. Of course, the value depends on the kind of ride you're going to do: a short endurance ride will require much less than an 8-hour intensive gran fondo. Based on your estimations, the app makes a proposal for the intake per hour. You can adjust this if you wish. In the past, 60 grams per hour was considered the maximum (and ideal) for intensive rides. We now know that 90 grams is also possible (provided it's the right ratio of 60 grams of glucose / 30 grams of fructose). You can even train your body to go up to 120 grams/hour. But beware: this requires practice ("training the gut") and you should certainly not just do it, because then you get stomach problems. In the app you can read extensive articles about the corresponding theory. This is certainly advisable if you know little about the matter.
The next step is to add food and drink to that plan. You start with the liquid part. By default, the app calculates 500 ml/fluid per hour but doesn't take temperature and how much you sweat into account. The idea is that you adjust this yourself (if necessary) before you start. Then you add what you want to drink. Almost all sports nutrition brands are already in the app, if your brand is not there you can add it manually. You can also adjust the amount of liquid and powder. If you don't want to drink a sports drink you can also select just water.
The app itself indicates when you've added enough drinks. Also very useful is that you get immediate feedback on the quality of your chosen food. For example, if you add recovery drinks, you'll get an explanation that this is not the best choice for this ride. After adding the drink, you add your food in the same way. Nice to note that there is certainly not only expensive sports food in the app. Things like cookies and raisin rolls are also in there.
When the food is added, the app makes a nutrition plan for you (see image). You also get feedback on the quality of your plan. You can see how your glycogen supply (the main fuel tank for intense efforts) will develop during the ride.
Left: the nutrition plan, right: feedback on the plan.
What struck me most is how much you actually need to eat to meet your needs. A for me "standard" flat endurance ride of 80 km, 30 kph average, 190W average I normally turn off on 2-3 bidons of water and 1 or 2 currant buns. However, if you follow EatMyRide's advice, that should be no less than 5 (or less if you also take sports drinks). If I take an intensive ride as an example the difference is even bigger.
If you now have a bike computer of any other brand than Garmin it stops here. You could write the nutrition plan on a piece of paper on your stem (as many pros do) or learn it by heart. If you do have a Garmin, you can use the EatMyRide IQ app for that. From the EatMyRide smartphone-app, you can send the plan to your Garmin. Through the Garmin Connect smartphone-app the plan will sync automatically with your Edge. When you start riding, you have to load the plan. To do this, go to the drop-down screen on the Edge, swipe right until you see the EatMyRide IQ app and load the plan. It sounds a bit complicated and frankly: it took me quite a bit of effort to get it to work. This is more down to Garmin than EatMyRide.
When cycling, a pop-up will tell you when you need to eat something or when you should have finished a water bottle. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Unfortunately, Garmin doesn't allow you to let you know in the pop-up whether you actually took the food/drink. If you go back to the IQ app via the drop-down screen, you can.
Left: the pop-up while cycling. Right: through the IQ app, you can indicate that you did what the plan called for.
A solution to this problem is being worked on. By the way, you might think: a Garmin can also generate food/drink alerts, right? It does, but this is much less extensive than EatMyRide.
EatMyRide understands very well that many of us really aren't going to put together a nutrition plan for every training ride. Sometimes you don't know in advance how long or how far you're going, or how intense the ride is going to be. For that reason, there is also a so-called data field (again, only for Garmin computers), say an extra page on your bike computer. This app can also be found in the IQ store. Via settings > bike profiles > data screens you add it as a separate screen. Now you have a "fuel gauge" while cycling that actually works almost the same as in a car. You see how the tank is running low while cycling. The app uses your heart rate, VO2max or power and also weight to determine how fast this is going. If you have eaten something or emptied a water bottle you can click on it on the bike computer.
Picture: on the left the "fuel gauge", on the right the boosting of food/drink.
There is very little choice (500 ml bottle with sports drink, bar, etc.) but this in practice just convenient. Very nice is that the "fuel meter" also shows how much energy you're burning, just like the trip computer in the car. For example, if you do a quiet recovery ride it will only go very slowly (20 g/hour). If you turn it on and do a block on 300W it will go very fast (100g/hour).
I thought it would be fun to test whether EMR could predict my hunger knock correctly. So I started cycling with only 2 bottles of water and saw what happened. In my case it was striking how well it worked, at a certain point I was starving and couldn't pedal any more and that was exactly when the bar went into the red.
EatMyRide is still under development. The app builders are working hard and the app is regularly in the charts of the IQ store. There is collaboration with a professional WorldTour dietician. WorldTour Pro Wilco Kelderman is also an avid user. During my testing period I had regular contact with the developers. All my questions were clearly answered. Almost every week a new version came online and bugs were fixed. I liked that.
EatMyRide is (if you want) free to use, although you will of course miss certain functionality. Here you can see exactly what the differences are with the paid variants.
EatMyRide is a promising application that clearly fills a need. Personally, we see the most added value in the "fuel meter". It works simply and intuitively and hardly anything needs to be adjusted beforehand. Making a nutrition plan is certainly useful, but especially interesting for racing cyclists or riders who want to get more insight into their energy needs. Once you've mastered this, you'll probably start doing it yourself by feel.
At the same time, there are plenty of points where the app can be improved. The biggest drawback is that there is not yet an app for Wahoo computers. That is not the fault of EMR but of Wahoo. The contacts have been made, but there is still no white smoke.
Another disadvantage is that the app, because of its scientific character, is sometimes quite comprehensive. Therefore you sometimes lose the overview. The app lacks a bit of the "less is more" principle. This is also evident in this review: there are countless additional features but there was simply no room to discuss everything.
Usability could also be improved here and there. But if we see how hard they are working on the app, it seems like it's only a matter of time.