Maximise Your Return on #SUFDAY by Alan McCubbin

Sufferlandrians rejoice, our beloved National Day is nearly upon us. A day to truly show the world what we’re made of. A day to spill holy water like a burst water main, a day to void the warranty on your turbo trainer.


  • The slow, undignified suffering that comes about because your body is not physically prepared. We call this a poor Return On Suffering (ROS). Couchlandrians are famous for it.
  • The Sufferlandrian form of suffering: not just experiencing pain and misery, but developing maximum physical output at the same time. This, my friends, is maximum ROS.

We introduced the concept of ROS in Eating to Suffer and today I’ll briefly summarise the concepts needed to maximise your ROS during the Sufferlandrian National Day.

From a nutrition perspective we need to consider three things:

  • How to fuel your furnace for maximum ROS over three hours
  • What to do about that pool of Sufferlandrian Holy Water that’s quickly going to flood your torture chamber; and
  • What nutritional supplements might I consider to absolutely wring every last watt out of my legs


At high intensities, carbohydrate is the predominate fuel source. The reason is that carbohydrate produces energy more quickly, and with less oxygen than fat.

If your goal is weight loss, or managing diabetes, or for another reason you can’t or won’t go near starch and sugar, then this may indeed be a legitimate approach. But for those who want to truly maximise ROS, then carbs will be your friend on the September 3rd.

So carbs are good, but how many carbs, and when? Let’s talk carb-loading:

  • #SUFDAY glory in the morning? Fuel up the day before by consuming 7-10 grams of carbs per kilogram of body weight. 7 if your body fat is at the higher end of the scale, and 10 if you’re a lean machine.
  • #SUFDAY in the afternoon or evening? Fuel up on the day, but start at least 12 hours out and aim for 7-10g/kg of bodyweight as above.
  • If you haven’t done it before, don’t push it too much on National Day.
  • Keep the fibre low – it’ll fill you up without any benefit.
  • Remember it’s carb loading, not carb and fat loading. So chocolate and doughnuts are not the best idea.

Of course your nutrition on the bike will also make a big difference here too. We’ve all seen the pros blow up on a climb in a grand tour, admitting afterwards they forgot to eat. Don’t be that rider.

Plan your carbs to consume during the workout. #SUFDAY means MAXIMUM carbs on the bike. That’s about 60-90 grams an hour if you can tolerate it.

  • The foods and drinks you choose should be things you’re used to, and be easy to open, chew, swallow and digest when you’re in the depths of misery.
  • Planning ahead becomes really important here – have everything laid out, ready to go. For things like energy bars you can even open the packaging beforehand, so it’s easier to do when counting down to the next interval.


It’s no secret that you’re going to sweat A LOT on National Day. It’s a beautiful thing. So the question becomes – how much Holy Water do you need to replace?

Here are my top tips for maximum ROS:

  • If you’re thirsty, drink. If you’re not thirsty, don’t worry about it.
  • Have enough fluid on hand to satisfy your thirst.
  • Drink small mouthfuls often, not large mouthfuls infrequently.
  • Aim to have at least three litres of fluid available and ready to go. You may not need to drink it all if you don’t get thirsty, but it’s there if you need it.


There’s a whole range of dietary supplements on the market that claim to improve cycling performance. We’ve provided a run down on the ones that have scientific support in Eating to Suffer. One thing to note is that some of these supplements like beta-alanine take weeks of “loading” before they’re of any use to you. So if you haven’t taken them yet then there’s no point in starting now.

Others however can be used as a one-off, or with only a few days notice. These include nitrate (contained in beetroot juice), caffeine and sodium bicarbonate. All of these supplements have potential side effects however, so my advice here would be to only use supplements that you’ve used before and you know you will tolerate.

So remember, maximise your ROS by

  • Fuelling up with carbs
  • Having enough fluid to satisfy your Sufferlandrian-sized thirst.
  • Using supplements only if you’ve been there before.


Eating to Suffer by Next Level Nutrition’s Alan McCubbin is a 27 page guide to helping you achieve the maximum Return On Suffering by making the right dietary choices. With chapters on preparing for specific workouts, weight loss, how to eat for a Knighthood Quest and more, Eating to Suffer is a key part of any Sufferlandrians high intensity, low volume training regime. Eating to Suffer is $9.99 USD, or $6.49 when purchased with any video or training plan.

Jared McClintock
Jared McClintock


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

The Sufferfest App - Free 7 Day Trial

Get unlimited access to 37 Sufferfest videos, 20 yoga for cyclists videos, 10 different training plans and more. Train to specific fitness targets by connecting your power meter, HR strap and trainer using real or virtual power. Control your smart trainer. One subscription works across Windows, Mac, iPad and iPhone devices. Try it for free for 7 days. Cancel easily at any time. If you continue, it’s just $10 USD/month.