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A Look at EatMyRide: Automated Nutrition Planning with Strava/Garmin Integration

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While at CES last week I had the chance to get a bit of a demo from one of the companies within startup pavilion. This pavilion is a bit like speed dating for companies. They’ve got a very small stand (as in, about the size of a cafeteria tray) within a larger grouping of companies, in this case, the Dutch tech pavilion. Ironic that I’d fly 6,200 miles to stumble into a sport tech company only a mere 45km from me.

In any event, despite the curious name, EatMyRide actually has a pretty darn cool concept once you walk through the details of it. In a nutshell it uses your historical data on Strava to figure out your VO2Max, and then from there it’ll work out your exact nutrition needs for a given ride/route. This is beyond just simple calories, but instead actually breaking down the contents of XYZ gel packet or specific foods to figure out the exact order you should take them in, as well as the timing. All of which then enumerates via detailed instructions on your Garmin device (and soon other companies too).

How it works:

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For the foreseeable future, EatMyRide will be a free app – with them eventually planning to introduce a paid tier with more advanced features. Perhaps features driven from some of their work with pro cycling Team Sunweb (which they have partnered with this season – more on that in a bit). First though, you’ll go ahead and create an account on their site. After that’s done you’ll connect your account to Strava.

They use Strava right now as a way to pull your historical rides to determine your VO2Max, or at least an estimate of it (combined with standard age/gender/etc data you give the app). The VO2Max helps them back into some calculations around energy depletion rates. If one had actual VO2Max tests done, that’d give them even more details around burn rates. But hey, getting in the ballpark works for now.

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[Above chart from this slightly longer PDF on how their platform works.]

Oh, there’s also HR zone configuration options too. These would again line up to depletion rates for different energy stores.

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Once all that’s done (which is one-time setup bits), then you’re onto normal usage. From here you can choose specific event routes, which right now are somewhat heavily slanted towards the Netherlands (where most of their testers are), and other major events in Europe. But more important is that as long as you’ve got a Strava Route created for it, it can use that.

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Personally, I create all my routes in Strava Routes these days since it acts as a Switzerland of routing for me that virtually every device supports. They’re also looking at supporting Komoot soon too (they had .GPX support, but removed it for now since the workflow was confusing users). Note they do take into account elevation gains as well. After you’ve selected a route, you’ll choose your starting time. While the app doesn’t account for what you ate pre/post-ride yet, it’s something they’re working with Team Sunweb on.

Next, you’ll choose which foods you want. This is where you can pick from thousands of foods in the database, but ones that are primarily more portable in nature. For example, they’ve got all the gels and endurance nutrition products you’d expect, but also simplistic things like a banana. At this stage it’s not picking those gels for you, but rather you add enough to reach the total quantity needed. The idea being you might not want 5 hours of the same product.

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Next, it’ll automatically figure out the timing and order of the nutrition intake for you. For example, it knows that you’ll probably want to offload that banana sooner rather than later – as it’s likely to be a pile of smoosh 4 hours in, versus after just 45 minutes.

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But more importantly, it’s trying to balance the components of each nutrition item, to take into account things like sugars and fats and figure how those mesh with your route demands.

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They depict this comparison here (generalization) showing how they time things around depletion:

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Ok – so your route is selected, and your nutrition line up. But how do you actually see this all mid-ride? Well, today that’s primarily via their Garmin Connect IQ app. You can see that here on the app store:

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On the Connect IQ app (shown in Dutch below, but that doesn’t much matter), you’ll see the specific item you should be eating, and when that item should be eaten next. It’s the data field showing ‘EatMyRide’ towards the lower left.

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Right now the Connect IQ data field is supported on basically all Garmin Edge devices, though I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be able to make it compatible with most newer Forerunner & Fenix devices if they wanted to.

Behind the scenes, the way the integration works is that the Connect IQ Data Field pulls from the EatMyRide internet service, so it knows which specific ride you’ve loaded after you press the ‘Start’ button on the phone app (see photos up above). One could see though how with a bit more creativity, they could actually have the app also pull in the route file too to the Garmin, but honestly, this works just fine for now.

As for other devices, the company at CES said they had two other companies already lined up to support it, and were also talking with Wahoo as well about ways they could have the platform supported there too.

I think this does show to some degree just how powerful Connect IQ is for smaller companies that want to integrate on larger device platforms, since it takes no approval or such from Garmin. They just act like any of thousands of other Connect IQ apps. On the flip-side, a more native integration with a company like Wahoo could lend itself to a more streamlined experience for the user. Pros and cons of both approaches as always.

Wrap-Up:

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This is one of those apps that when you try and explain it to someone in a 15-20 second pitch, doesn’t seem to resonate as well. But, when you actually walk through step by step the app – it’s like ‘Whoa – that’s super cool’, and fills a gap that definitely doesn’t appear to exist today. At least with this level of integration and depth of process. It’s way more than simply a nutrition timer every 15 minutes.

It’s a bit in the wrong time of the year/training schedule for me to be going out on 3hr+ long rides where nutrition is more of a factor, but I think that’s OK. They’re just at the point of expanding their beta group into real production users, and I figure by time spring hits it’ll be a more mature service with potentially more partners (maybe Wahoo or others will join in too). All of which would be perfect timing.

The company says they’ll be opening up the app beyond their existing 500 beta users over the next couple weeks, on both iOS and Android. You can hit up their site to sign yourself up for that or watch their quick overview video with pretty drone shots of the routes I often ride…albeit, on much warmer looking days than today here.

With that – thanks for reading, and I’m looking forward to giving this a whirl myself once the weather gets a bit nicer.

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49 Comments

  1. Mike

    I think this is a brilliant concept, when I plan a long Sportive or Multi-day ride I find it time consuming and boring trying to plan out nutrition, for an App to tell me what to eat and when, this is a win win for me… sign me up

  2. Neil Jones

    Given that pre-activity nutrition isn’t taken into account, I can’t help questioning the validity of the data. Even if I haven’t downed 200g of Jelly Bellys 10 minutes before my ride, surely my nutritional requirements will be very different if I had a big serving of pasta last night rather than something low-carb? Genuine question – I’m not nutritionalist!

    I also wonder how they’re planning on keeping on top of the nutritional values for the thousands of products out there (particularly in different geographic markets). Are they planning on crowd-sourcing their data like MyFitnessPal? I hope not, because without QA on user-generated content, their database has become a bit of a mess, but I don’t see an alternative way of doing it effectively if they want to be comprehensive.

    • Thank you for these suggestions Neil! We will certainly add pre-exercise nutrition on short term, as a step-wise approach. We for now assume you ate a decent pre-exercise meal (not too much not too litlle) and we tested this approach with over a 100 riders who filled in their nutrition to validate our scientific findings in reality, knowing this is not a solid final approach. Its just too much to manage all at once so we need some extra time.

  3. fl33tStA

    does it work for Indoor rides too?

  4. Chris

    Cool concept. Long way to go. Would love to see workout integration – i.e. when should I take a gel during a sweet spot ride? And Zwift, obviously.

    Also, liquids too? and when running?

  5. Dmitry Pupkov

    The most interesting question if they will be extending support to running as well, specifically ultratrails.
    As of now Garmin didn’t extend existing hydration / nutrition support from 830 to 945. So this could be an interesting substitute.

    • Sean Handel

      I’d also like to see if this app works for running. I can’t see why it would be much different.

    • Benedikt

      Don’t expect Garmin to put more features on FR945. Maybe the F6 lineup wich still gets new ones. CheckGarmin forums and software releases, FR945 barely gets bug fixes.

    • Dan

      Looks like the domain eatmyrun[dot]com is already registered, interesting. And creation date for both eatmyride and eatmyrun ‘whois’ entries is 2018-07-08. Contact info is all ‘REDACTED FOR PRIVACY.’

      Doesn’t mean they have active plans to expand into running, but they’ve definitely laid the minimum groundwork if they so chose.

  6. Andras Beck (The Zwift Bull)

    THere is already an app for that, although not based on route, but the concept is quite similar.

    The app called Enduraid, avaliable for Android and iOS. Not THAT fancy, but some serious athlete is móbehind it as well as nutritionists.

    link to enduraid.me

    More player on the market is always better 🙂

  7. scott g.

    I will wait for the promised PEZ collabo bar end dispenser with the epo gummi bears and
    handle bar mount stropwaffle dispenser. I do think the ant+ camelbak
    is a bit much, I will determine when to drink.

  8. Frank Besseling

    This app is great!

    I have a suggestion for additional functionality: integrate this with a worldwide map showing all applepie outlets, including a quality rating of these pies. My friends & I would love it because we are always cruising on apple pie calories (and always curious about new good outlets).

    I could then work similar to the Tesla app: by the time you need a fresh pie, you are automatically directed to a nearby outlet with the desired quality rating.

    • Allegedly Anthony

      Oh wow. Yes – can we also have automatic routing to patisseries and cake shops at scientifically determined intervals?

  9. Patrick

    i assume that since it is route based it does something like avoid having you eating on the climbs, on the assumption that you’re going hard then. maybe it expects that descents are a good time to eat when you’re not riding hard, but of course sometimes your hands are busy on descents which maps are not always good at identifying.

    it really does need some insight into the nature of the training session though – sweet spot, endurance, intervals etc would dictate quite different appropriate fueling, as would desire for weight loss/muscle gain, previous training and nutrition as well as planned next training…

    so lots of work to do to make it really 100% reliable to follow for every ride but an interesting tool

    • We are indeed adding the climb vs descent planning where nutrition can hardly be taken during descent and should be fluid during climbs. Challenging on a ride like the Marmotte with hardly a flat km (speaking from own experiences). The trainings are also taken into account, but this still needs more testing.

    • BCMcKee

      Hi Joram,

      I signed in from the US yesterday. This morning I received the EMR invitation email for subscription. I completed the MailChimp form and it finished by asking me to send my Device ID, but there was no link provided. Can you advise on how to proceed?

      Thanks!

    • Garrett

      I had the same issue. I’ve been emailing the EMR team, but there’s somethings lost in translation. I’m on Android and can’t even find the standalone app to run on my phone. The EMR team linked me to the Garmin IQ app, which i’ve used just fine to get it onto my Edge 520. For the life of me, though, I can’t find this to get it onto my phone.

    • BCMcKee

      Garrett, Joram told me they are running a few days behind on setting up accounts. So I’m standing by for now. The smartphone apps must only be available from the NL app stores as I can’t find anything listed here in the US.

    • Garrett

      Yup, thanks. I got that response, too, at first – took a day or so to setup the account, but the extensive discussion I had with their support people since then led me to believe I should be good to go. He wasn’t understanding that I couldn’t get/find a smartphone app.

    • BCMcKee

      Ok. Sounds like you may be ahead of me because I haven’t been prompter to provide my iPhone Apple ID which appears to have been the intended second registration step here.

      If you get yours working please post back!

      Thanks:)

  10. Eric

    I really appreciate this post. As an Ironman triathete who always struggles with nutrition this is an easy let’s give it a go. Thank you!

  11. Zoupla

    How do they plan to take into accounts efforts?
    Is the assumption that the ride will be ridden flat out?

    The concept is incredibly interesting, but the complexity behind the nutrition aspect is phenomenal.
    Just reading Nigel Mitchell´s “fuelling the cycling revolution book” highlight´s how tricky eating properly can be to sustain a training regimen.

    For me, the perfect product would be one where I input my training plan (ex. 3h with 2 times 20min FTP) and I get a food plan.
    In case of races, you can hardly eat “too much”, barring eating 10 gels in a row. The idea should anyway to eat as much as the body can assimilate,,,

    • Thanks for sharing this post! The concept predicts your exercise intensity over time so its not flat out. Training plans will be added soon, our struggle is to take it into account while avoiding making the interface too complex for users

  12. Tizzledk

    Too bad it requires strava 😥

    • gerograph

      yep, I donnot want to push all my Garmin Data into Strava… Generally I tend to keep as much data offline as possible. Upto now, it’s only data at Garmin, and calendar at google.

      Would be an option for me, if it could calculate your nutrition for long distance tri races.

  13. Carlos

    Interesting concept, thanks for sharing. I does not support my Edge 520, sad panda.

  14. this looks to be really useful but I have to admit that I paused signing up when at the top of the page to sign up “email address” is spelled wrong as that is usually a sign of something screwy 🙂

  15. Peter

    I make a lot of my own ride food. Is there an option to input homemade foods or other food not in the database? Something like: MyRiceCake, X grams carb, Y gram protein, Z grams fat?

  16. Luke

    This is totally amazing. I just signed up, can’t wait to trial it when its warm out

  17. Twan Veugelers

    The IQ app for Garmin has been updated today, and now supports Fenix, Forerunner, VivoActive.

    Cool.

  18. JB

    I would be interested if there was a running version for Trail running.

  19. AndreA

    Very much needed, interesting concept.

    I’m looking forward to be let in, I subscribed and downloaded the data field app on my vivoactive (riding on wahoo..), which I’ll take along during next rides to see how it goes.

    Of course a major point is to have energy drinks covered, I didn’t get if they are, such a water bottle + enervit use case to be put in the mix. Actually to me it is kind of a base setup, something I take with me on any 1:30+ ride, to be complemented with food/gels/bars.

    I’m in the food intake planning / experiment phase for an early June double century classic, and this could be an ally to make it to the end.

  20. Toby McGuire

    After reading this I enrolled onto the Beta programme and did my first ride with it. It was interesting to get prompts for food in take and trying to stick with it. The timing was different to when I would have consumed without guidance but not sure if it was any better.

    It is Beta, so there is much more improvement in the works I’m sure (i.e. the choice of food you can input plus general App stability is still not great), but I am really excited by the concept and will continue to use it.

    • Toby McGuire

      One thing I didn’t realise (didn’t check carefully) is device compatibility. Today I went on a second ride with the old Garmin 520 as my 830 had run out of juice and didn’t realise it wasn’t supported. Not sure why 520 Plus is supported and not the original 520?

    • BCMcKee

      Toby it is likely not supported because the developers are only using CIQ v3+ which is only offered on newer models with more memory. I’ve actually seen some existing apps drop devices that don’t have the 3 because they want the advanced features.

      It sounds like you’ve successfully created an EMR account and we’re able to download the app. Was this automatic for you? Still waiting for my account set up so any details you can provide would be appreciated.

    • Toby McGuire

      Hey BC,

      Thanks for the reply. In fact since the above posting a buddy of mine reached out and told me it does work on the original Edge 520. He told me to not to use the Connect IQ app but do it via the Web through and via Garmin Express (not sure why this method works but it does!) and now I have it on the original 520.

      As for the setup. I enrolled, and waited a day before an invitation came through from EatMyRide, and then installed the app on my iPhone via the Test Flight App. The EatMyRide was added on the Garmin devices via Connect IQ App on for the Edge 830 and Garmin Express and Mac for Edge 520.

    • Toby

      24-Feb-2020 update.

      Not sure what has happened but my app isn’t letting me load any new plans? My buddy is also having the same issue and he has replied to the enrolment email as we can’t find any support details on their web page.

      Real shame as I was enjoying it…..

  21. ooglenz

    sadly too late can’t sign up anymore

  22. Luke

    Two random thoughts:
    1) When is Garmin going to get rid of the cap on ConnectIQ apps you can have installed? At least with my Fenix 5 (waiting on the Descent 2 to upgrade) and Edge 520 plus I’m pretty sure I’m out of space for cool add ons.
    2) I’ve registered online (and then gotten their confirmation email), but haven’t gotten a way to download the actual iPhone app. Have they capped the number of users from the standard ”DCR bump”?

  23. Finny

    great application! I would use it immediately if it becomes usable not only for cycling, but especially for running (marathon) and swimming (triathlon).
    Go on with it!

  24. Matteo

    I just bumped into this great article and app, I’ll try it as soon as possible.

    I did’t read all, I’ll do it as soon as possible, but I have a question on calories estimation: is it via hr or via power meter data, if available?
    Power is much more reliable on calories and fat/sugar needs.

  25. Mike

    Managed to get on the beta program… but at the moment it is near as damn it useless, firstly from historical rides it is calculating over 8,000 calories when my Garmin (and Apple because I am sad I have both) said I used less than 4,000… plus the database of products is small so none of what I use in the UK are there, and I am using big brands like Torq.

    Personally I would like it to suggest the “best” nutrition for the ride based upon my favorites, right now I have to tell it what I want to eat, so I could put 10 gels, but it would be great for it to say… use 4 gels, 2 bannan’s, 3 bars etc., so it tells me the best food to take as well.

    However what it has today is a good start, but the calorie count is way off and I need the ability to add products

    • EatMyRide team

      We learned many users filled in low HR threshold point where they did ride for >3 hours on average above this value. This led to issues which we now solved. We updated our system so such thresholds are now adjusted to normal levels.
      Also Torq products have been added!

      For any other brand you like to add can you please email us at info@eatmyride.com ? Thanks!

  26. Mattv

    I am writing an app that lets the whole world monitor my weight, minute by minute and publish out everything I eat or expel. I hope to monetize it by soliciting ‘likes” for every gram I lose.

    Looking for investors…

  27. Toby

    Well another TestFlight update came today (27-02-2020) and I can’t update. I therefore assume I was taken off the testing roster? My guess would be because I’m not using it enough?

    Using Endur8 instead now. Although not as polished as Eatmy…. at least it provides for running as well as cycling – and works well😁

    Good luck to the Eatmy… guys. I hope you produce something that lives up to your expectations