Skip to content

How To Fuel Guide: 8-Hour Protocol


This step-by-step fueling protocol is great for any type of endurance activity (running, cycling, mountain biking, etc.) up to 8 hours. It’s super easy to put together, it’s just as easy to follow, it doesn’t require that you carry a ton of stuff on your bike or body, it will save you time, and, best of all, it’s highly effective. If your endurance activity extends beyond 8 hours, you can simply repeat the 8-hour plan.

Before you get to the fueling protocol, here is some very important and useful information...

5 Simple Ways to Improve Athletic Performance Now

While there are numerous steps that you can (and should) take to optimize athletic performance, here are a couple of super easy ones. Start with these right away and you’ll experience noticeably rapid improvement in your endurance.

1) Stay properly hydrated all day long. With approximately 60% of your body being comprised of water, it goes without saying that it’s vitally important to maintain optimal hydration status all day long. Unfortunately, a lot of people—perhaps you?—live in a state of perpetual dehydration, and that negatively affects athletic performance and overall health. Starting now, gradually increase your fluid intake—primarily from pure, clean water—so that the total number of ounces you’re drinking on a daily basis is equal to 0.5 to 0.6 of your body weight in pounds (e.g., 180-lb athlete should consume 90 – 108 ounces of fluids daily, in addition to what is being consumed during exercise). During exercise, drink 16-26 ounces per hour, and up to 28 ounces per hour during hot weather.

2) Fuel lean. It’s interesting to know how many calories you’re burning every hour during exercise; however, that amount isn’t really a factor in terms of how many calories your body can accept in return from your fuel donation. The goal of caloric intake is to consume the least amount necessary to maintain energy levels where you want and need them to be hour after hour. For the majority of athletes, this represents an intake of 120-180 calories per hour. Larger athletes (200+ lbs.) can consume 200-or-slightly-more calories. And if you find that’s not quite enough calories, that’s an easy fix—you simply consume a few more. Remember, it is ALWAYS easier to fix a “not enough” problem than an “uh oh, I overdid it and now my stomach is rebelling” problem.

3) Ditch the sugar. Some fuels are comprised of a combination of simple sugars (glucose, sucrose, fructose, etc.) and complex carbohydrates (maltodextrin), formulated under the premise that your body will be able to produce more energy on a per-minute basis using multiple carbohydrate sources compared to a single carbohydrate source. Remember, though, that the subjects in those “multi-carb” studies were exercising at such low intensities—a recovery pace, at best—that they could probably consume anything without issue. Instead, choose complex carbohydrates (maltodextrin), such as in Hammer Nutrition's Hammer Gel, HEED, Sustained Energy 2.0 or Perpetuem 2.0. Unlike simple sugars, complex carbohydrates provide quick-acting, longer-lasting energy and cause no stomach issues even at high intensity efforts.

4) Don’t eat for 3 hours prior to your workouts and races. By refraining from consuming any calories in the 3-hour period prior to your workouts and races, you put your body in the ideal physiological state to use its finite stores of muscle glycogen most efficiently, while also utilizing the vast amounts of calories from body fat stores more effectively. Adopt this practice in all your workouts—even the early morning ones—and you’ll start seeing massive improvements in your endurance in a relatively short time. Note: If you must have some calories prior to the start of exercise, consuming something that’s easy to digest (e.g., a serving of Hammer Gel) 5-10 minutes prior to the start—but no further out—is acceptable.

5) “Refill the tank” ASAP after all your workouts. Your body wants to reward you for the efforts you made in training, strengthening the immune system, rebuilding muscle tissue stronger, and storing more minutes of readily available fuel (glycogen) in the muscles. All you have to do to enjoy all of these endurance-enhancing benefits is supply your body with the materials it needs right away—ideally within the first 30 minutes after exercise (the sooner the better)—meaning complex carbohydrates and high-quality protein such as found in Recoverite and Organic Vegan Recoverite.

8-Hour “Fueling for Success” Protocol

1) Primary-to-sole fuel is Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0. These are our long-duration fuels, containing complex carbs, protein, and key auxiliary nutrients (Perpetuem also contains a small amount of healthy fat). These are both such complete fuels that you could use them as your sole source of calories from beginning to end. That said, I do like some variety in the menu, so I alternate with other Hammer Nutrition fuels.

Each scoop of Perpetuem 2.0 contains 90 calories. I (Steve Born) personally use 2.25 scoops of Perpetuem 2.0 an hour, which supplies 202.5 calories, an amount that works well for larger athletes like me (I’m 200 pounds). For light-weight athletes, 1.0 scoop (90 calories) to 1.25 scoops (112.5 calories) per hour works well. Medium-weight athletes will find that 1.50 scoops (135 calories) to 2.0 scoops (180 calories) per hour is an excellent amount.

Each scoop of Sustained Energy 2.0 contains 100 calories. I (Steve Born) personally use 2.0 scoops an hour, which supplies me with 200 calories. For light-weight athletes, 1.0 scoop (100 calories) to 1.25 scoops (125 calories) per hour works well. Medium-weight athletes will find that 1.50 scoops (150 calories) to 1.75 scoops (175 calories) per hour is an excellent amount.

The advantages of the multi-hour fuel bottle

As far as Perpetuem 2.0 and Sustained Energy 2.0 are concerned, instead of making a 1-hour bottle, which would mean I’d have to drink a full bottle of flavored/semi-flavored liquid hour after hour (which I wouldn’t like), while also having to stop and make more (which burns up precious time), I would make a bottle of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0 that contains a few hours’ worth of fuel. To make (for example) a 4-hour bottle of fuel I’d start by using the smallest water bottle I have (less flavored drink mix I have to consume). I’ll fill that water bottle 1/3 full of water, add a couple of scoops of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0, put the lid on, and shake well. I’ll repeat the process until I’ve mixed the appropriate number of scoops in my one bottle (9 scoops for Perpetuem 2.0 and 8 scoops of Sustained Energy 2.0). Now, because I have 4 hours of fuel in one bottle, I only have to drink ¼ of that bottle every hour, augmenting that with water from another source to take care of my hydration needs.

Again, the benefits of using a multi-hour bottle of fuel:

  • I don’t have to drink so much volume of flavored liquid hour after hour. Because I have 4 hours’ worth of fuel in one bottle, I only need to drink ¼ of the bottle every hour, augmenting that with plain water from another source (water bottle, hydration pack) to take care of my hydration needs. I personally find—as a lot of athletes do—that plain water quenches my thirst better than liquid fuels do, and drinking water to cleanse the palate makes taking another drink of flavored fuel even more palatable.

  • Because I have 4 hours of fuel in my bottle, I don’t have to stop and make more every hour, which saves me time.

If you need to, take a Sharpie pen and mark your bottle off into four equal sections. This will give you a visual as to how much to drink on a given hour.

NOTE: If the weather is going to be hot, make your 4-hour bottle the night before and put it in the freezer. Perfectly acceptable, and it will keep the mixture cold for a longer period of time.

2) I would carry a full Hammer Flask of Hammer Gel. This holds 5 servings, which easily covers 2 hours’ worth of calorie requirements, and for some 2.5 hours. Plus, it is a LOT LESS MESSY than the single-serving packets.

3) A great option for some solid food during my 8-hour fueling plan, I’d consume 1/2 to 2/3 of a Hammer Bar. Super easy to chew, really tasty, and quite satisfying.

4) I use Endurolytes in capsule form and I take a dose 15-30 minutes prior to the start, and every hour during, to cover my electrolyte requirements. The dose ranges from 1-6 capsules per hour, with most athletes using 2-4 capsules per hour. For Endurolytes Extreme the usual dose is 1-2 capsules, with the first dose taken 15-30 minutes prior to the start, with additional doses every hour during. If you prefer to drink your electrolytes versus taking capsules, 1-3 tablets of Endurolytes Fizz or 1-2 scoops of Endurolytes Extreme Powder added to your water bottles will be sufficient in fulfilling an hour’s worth of electrolytic mineral requirements.

So, in 1 bottle, 1 flask, and 1-2 bars I have all the fuel I need to take care of my calorie needs for 8 hours. A flip-top capsule dispenser will carry enough Endurolytes for at least 8 hours, oftentimes more, and it’ll easily carry all of the Endurolytes Extreme you’ll need.

Here’s a possible fueling plan using the above-listed fuels:

  • Hour #1 – ¼ bottle of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0 + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #2 – ¼ bottle of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0 + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #3 – ½ to ¾ Hammer Bar+ water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #4 – Up to ½ flask of Hammer Gel + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #5 – ¼ bottle of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0 + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #6 – ¼ bottle of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0 + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #7 – ½ to ¾ Hammer Bar+ water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #8 – Up to ½ flask of Hammer Gel + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)

SPECIAL NOTE: On a hot-weather day consume Perpetuem in the first four hours...

  • Hour #1 – ¼ bottle of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0 + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #2 – ¼ bottle of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0 + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #3 – ¼ bottle of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0 + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #4 – ¼ bottle of Perpetuem 2.0 or Sustained Energy 2.0 + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #5 – ½ to ¾ Hammer Bar+ water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #6 – Up to ½ flask of Hammer Gel + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #7 – ½ to ¾ Hammer Bar+ water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)
  • Hour #8 – Up to ½ flask of Hammer Gel + water + Endurolytes (or Endurolytes Extreme)

5) As soon as possible when the workout/event is completed, be sure to consume a 2-scoop serving of Recoverite or Organic Vegan Recoverite. The complex carbohydrates will restock the muscle cells with fuel (so that you’re not “on empty” for tomorrow’s workout), the protein will help repair/rebuild the lean muscle tissue while also reducing soreness, and the glutamine (amino acid) will provide outstanding support for the immune system.

Download PDF


I am a big fan and have used your products for years. I have never been quite sure if I am doing it in the best most effective way however. I use it primarily for ultimate frisbee tournaments. The tournament are often 3-4 games per day spread over eight hours, typically with a 2 hour “buy” in there somewhere. I have moved to using mainly endurolyte extreme pills and hammer gel and take some every hour during games. I sometimes eat real food during the buy but have a hard time stomaching real food. Ultimate is similar to soccer in terms of running. Lots of intense running, mixed with jogging around, mixed with frequent stoppages for rules infractions. I will have chocolae milk or recoverite if I have it at the end of each day. Often there are two days of playing and the second day will also have 3 games. Am I doing this right and if not what should I be doing that I am not? Thank you!
Hammer Nutrition replied:
Hello Alberto, Keeping your energy and electrolytes topped up during play with Hammer Gel and ELX is great. Given the intensity during play and the short time in between games, forgoing food during the break and using something like Perpetuem or Phood instead would be preferable. So, you’d basically be following this 8 hour plan, even though you have some down time. Please feel free to reach out directly via phone or email if you’d like to discuss further. BDF

Alberto Morales

Could you recommend best fueling practices for events that start early. I’m familiar with the ‘no food 3 hours prior’ rule. What should athletes be consuming the night before an event?

I’m a big fan of Hammer Nutrition – great products and a superior website full of knowledge – Thanks in advance
Hammer Nutrition replied:
Hello Tim, thank you for your question and support! I say to never sacrifice sleep for food, so early morning race starts can be on an empty stomach, this includes IM or other ultra distance events. I also suggest eating light the night before that early morning race start – filling your stomach and intestines the night before only makes more work while you are trying to rest and then need to eliminate all of that food in the am. We all have enough fat stores for any 6-12-24 hour effort. Don’t take my word for it, simulate in training and see how you feel! Remember, less is best. If you’d like to discuss further, please don’t hesitate to reach out directly via phone or email. BDF

Tim Buckner

I have been using your fueling plans and I find them to work great.

How should I be fueling for a 2-3 hr training session please?
Do you still recommend a 3hr food gap before starting exercise?

Thank you
Hammer Nutrition replied:
Hi Russell, thank you for the feedback and great question. The answer is definitely yes on the 3 hour window. If you are training in the morning, even easier, just don’t eat. 2-3 hour range kinda puts you on the fence. If it’s a 2 hour workout, I’d just be doing hammer gel, some water and a couple of capsules of endurolytes along the way. On the other hand, for 3 hours, I’d do a 3 hour bottle of Perpetuem (for me, that’s 5 scoops, 450 calories, 150 per hour = my personal optimum MCPH), separate bottle of water, endurolytes along the way, add 1-2 Anti-Fatigue caps during if it’s a hammer fest. BDF

Russell Betts

I will be doing a 100 mile, 14-16hr MTB race in Austin Texas, at the beginning of December.
For 8hr rides I have used your guide with perpetuem, gels, hammer bars and electrolytes. I have found it works great for me.

Can you suggest a plan which would cover my 14-16hrs exertion please?

Thank you

Can you offer any advice to cover me for this timeframe please?

Hammer Nutrition replied:
Hello Russell, thank you for your questions, sounds like a fun event. The guide to which you are referring really should say for 8 hours + actually. If you have your ideal calories per how dialed for 8 hours, you can just keep doing that for 16, 24, 36 hours or longer. Our athletes competing in things like RAAM, Badwater 135, etc. are doing just that. The only thing you may need to adjust over time and longer durations is fluid intake and electrlytes. cooler temps – early morning, night time, or December in Austin may cause you to want to reduce fluid and sodium intake to match conditions. Don’t forget to nail your 3 hour window for pre-race meal, as you want to be maximizing fat burning and sparing glycogen from the start. Please feel free to follow up with us via support for more details. BDF

Russell Betts

I’m hiking the Rim-to-Rim of the Grand Canyon. Expected to be a 10-12 hour hike. Can I use this program, and just start the rotation over after Hour 8? And can I use the pre-exercise ignitor in addition to an endurolyte extreme capsule prior to the start?
Hammer Nutrition replied:
The 8-Hour Fueling Plan will work GREAT for your Grand Canyon hike, and yes, you may most certainly restart the plan after 8 hours. Fully Charged (“pre-exercise ignitor”) is not only completely acceptable to use in addition to Endurolytes Extreme or any of our electrolyte replenishment products, it will provide a wide range of outstanding benefits (see for more). Taking an additional dose every 3-4 hours during your hike will “reboot” all of these great benefits, so that you can enjoy them throughout the entire duration of your hike. If you need more informaton or have additional questions, please feel free to email me (Steve Born) directly at <> and I will be happy to help.

Jody Helmle

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

All How To Fuel Guides >

You have no items in your shopping cart.
Click here to continue shopping.