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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    All About Nutrition

    It has kinda become obvious to me that we spend a bunch of time talking about training, bike parts, clothing, weight loss etc but spend little if any time talking about nutrition and how important it is to overall performance.
    There are some really knowledgeable guys on the board (picking on you Enthalpic, Ex, others) that have lots to offer.
    You can do everything 'right' while training but if you aren't fueling the machine you are not going to make the gains you want and may actually be going backwards.

    To open up the thread I told robabeatle yesterday I would comment on my on-bike nutrition. To set the stage while training last year I was in the 180 pound range, most long rides consisted of 70+ miles and 5,000 feet of climbing at a good pace so nutrition was important. I live in the south so it would often be 90+ degrees on our rides so hydration was also important.

    I drink at minimum 1 bottle an hour sometimes as high as 2 if I know there is a store that I can splash and dash at. BUT you have to remember hydration doesn't start when you leave for your ride it is something you always have to be on top of. I drink at minimum 1 gallon of water a day (that is in addition to Diet Coke, Coffee, etc) and will often go as high as two gallons a day (just water).

    On the bike I start eating at hour one regardless of how long I am on the bike. If I am out for a 5 hour ride this is a typical breakdown.
    At hour 1 I will have a protein bar and a gel and rip open a bag of gummies.
    Then starting at 1:20 I will pop a couple of gummies and continue to do so until I run out. At hour 2-2:30 I will have another protein bar, PB&J sandwich or something a little heavier.
    I will open a second pack of gummies and repeat what I did at hour 1:20.
    At hour 4 I will have another bar of some sort and a gel which will get me through the day.

    I also started to use a product available at Complete Nutrition called 3plenish. I Start the day with one bottle of water and one of 3plenish. I then carry two individual serving (in ziploc baggies) that I mix in as I fill bottles.

    I have been know to carry sandwiches (pb&j, roast beef, turkey, etc.), fig newtons, almonds, numerous protein bars, stinger waffles, etc. If you look in the musettes of pro riders you would be surprised what you will find in there.

    I have often ridden with guys (my closest training partners) and gotten on them to start eating more while training/racing and though it takes a little work and reminder once you get in a regular eating schedule you will get faster, bonk less and be able to train more effectively.
    Last edited by rkwaki; 01-31-13 at 08:08 AM.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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    Right now my long rides have been pretty steady endurance creeping into tempo on the hills. I've been able to get away with gatorade and water (1 bottle every 90' or so). I may have a clif bar during the ride only if i start to get that hungry feeling. If i wake up early enough i may have breakfast but usually i don't eat anything before (though i make sure to get eat a good dinner the night before). once i start adding some intensity i'll start eating more. Important thing for me is to make sure i have a recovery shake/meal ready at home so i don't immediately start foraging for snickers bars and ice cream..

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Eating significant amounts of protein on long hot rides makes me ill. So "protein bars" are out. I've been using a lot more real food the last couple years- rice cakes adapted from Allen Lim's recipes, or even actual sandwiches. They're not as calorie dense as bars so you start out with more stuff in your pockets. But they are also not overly sweet like bars are. Sweet food is less palatable after hours of riding, so what may taste good at 1 hour can be disgustingly sweet at 6 hours.

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    I have a question about protein from the training status thread... my coach gave me a macro diet that consists of the 1:1 protein/kg formula with more carbs in weeks with a higher training load, less during lighter weeks. Protein remains the same.

    I've always had a problem with this: Starting out a new block, I feel great but by the end of the first week it feels like I'm just going through the motions when training and it slowly gets more difficult to complete my weekly hours. I get tired, irritable and want to eat pretty much all the time. The only thing that resets that is a complete rest week, then the same pattern all over again. It feels like I'm running with a partially charged battery.

    Does this sound like enough protein for 10-13 hour weeks with one day of gym/strength? I'm 6'1" 78kg and have about 9% body fat by the caliper method.

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Oh boy here we go...

    Skipping a meal pre-ride is disastrous. Think of it this way:
    To move your bike you need, muscle, blood, your heart etc. Muscle is extremely important. You mention having a good dinner the night before, let's say 6pm. Then I am assuming that is it for the night (another critical error). Your body will ingest that food in about 2 hours, shortly after that it starts to go catabolic (it draws on itself for energy) and the easiest place to get it is through the breakdown of muscle (already established that you need this to be fast/strong). So for argument sake your body has gone catabolic at around 9 pm. You then went to sleep and your caloric requirements went down as you were resting (still have some draw). You then wake up and go train (lets say that was at 7 am) and don't really eat much until part way into your ride (lets say 8 am). So basically your muscles have gone without energy supply for almost 12 hours. Now you did mention having a shake ready to go when you return from your ride and that is a great thing as it will help your recovery efforts BUT by not 'feeding' the muscles beforehand that shake may be in vain. Eat a snack before bed (high protein, moderate fat) and have a good breakfast (eggs, egg whites, steel cut oats, banana) and look to see the change.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saratoga View Post
    I have a question about protein from the training status thread... my coach gave me a macro diet that consists of the 1:1 protein/kg formula with more carbs in weeks with a higher training load, less during lighter weeks. Protein remains the same.

    I've always had a problem with this: Starting out a new block, I feel great but by the end of the first week it feels like I'm just going through the motions when training and it slowly gets more difficult to complete my weekly hours. I get tired, irritable and want to eat pretty much all the time. The only thing that resets that is a complete rest week, then the same pattern all over again. It feels like I'm running with a partially charged battery.

    Does this sound like enough protein for 10-13 hour weeks with one day of gym/strength? I'm 6'1" 78kg and have about 9% body fat by the caliper method.
    Nope. I don't want to discredit your coach but IMHO you are way too light on protein. As I have said before cyclists need to make a choice:
    1. Go fast
    2. Get lean
    Pick one and eat accordingly.

    At 9% you are quite lean already so eat to go fast
    Shoot for 1:1 (g/pound). If you are tired after the end of the first week of a block you are:
    1. Not eating enough or not getting the right macronutrients
    2. Not resting enough
    3. In over your head
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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    Senior Member johnybutts's Avatar
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    rkwaki: long rides
    I drink water, until we get to a stop aout 40-50 miles in. Then I down a coke and gatorade and fill the bottles back up with water. I don't like super sweet stuff in my bottles like cytomax - it just doesn't quench thirst.

    In the Summer I sweat soooo much I'm basically in a constant state of dehydration and am fighting non-stop to rehydrate. I've never given this a scientific approac before though. It's to the point that I am limited to crits and shorter RRs basically because I cannot carry enough water to drink. Ususally at the end of a RR I'm begging people for unused bottles.

    I have some recovery drink which has protein in it - but not the magnitude of protein you're talking about. I rarely use this, but will likely start again.

    How can I improve?
    I'm sure when you were getting to the point of blowing nothing was obvious but making the pain stop...I don't know about you but after the fact I always look back at those moments and think 'why didn't I just keep going' but at the time there wasn't enough oxygen on the planet to make me take one more pedal stroke.

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnybutts View Post
    rkwaki: long rides
    I drink water, until we get to a stop aout 40-50 miles in. Then I down a coke and gatorade and fill the bottles back up with water. I don't like super sweet stuff in my bottles like cytomax - it just doesn't quench thirst.

    In the Summer I sweat soooo much I'm basically in a constant state of dehydration and am fighting non-stop to rehydrate. I've never given this a scientific approac before though. It's to the point that I am limited to crits and shorter RRs basically because I cannot carry enough water to drink. Ususally at the end of a RR I'm begging people for unused bottles.

    I have some recovery drink which has protein in it - but not the magnitude of protein you're talking about. I rarely use this, but will likely start again.

    How can I improve?
    See above.
    Hydration is continuous not just on the bike. I carry a gallon jug of water everywhere I go. My unscientific word is hydration at a cellular level. I did a ride this summer, it was 109 degrees on the Garmin and I pee'd twice in the 60+ mile ride.
    You have to start drinking more before you get on the bike. You are going to have to 'train' yourself to drink more.
    Try 3plenish - Complete Nutrition often has demo packages, it isn't too sweet and I find it works well.
    Look at your sodium intake, when it is hot I put sea salt on almost everything as it will help me hold on to extra water.
    Start getting that protein up, get your muscles good and fueled, let them be healthy, remember how much of your body is made up of water, when exercising in the heat your body will go after any source it can to stay cool and hydrated. If your muslces aren't repaired and fueled your body will rob them, as well as all your vital organs (liver, kidneys, lungs, etc) of all the fluids it can.
    Drink early, drink often...
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Pick up any cycling training book (Friel, Carmichael, etc.) and they all have chapters on nutrition with very similar information. The best book on the topic that I've read is "Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes" by Ryan. In the end, it's pretty simple; eat the right things at the right times and in the right amounts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Nope. I don't want to discredit your coach but IMHO you are way too light on protein. As I have said before cyclists need to make a choice:
    1. Go fast
    2. Get lean
    Pick one and eat accordingly.

    At 9% you are quite lean already so eat to go fast
    Shoot for 1:1 (g/pound). If you are tired after the end of the first week of a block you are:
    1. Not eating enough or not getting the right macronutrients
    2. Not resting enough
    3. In over your head
    Thanks. Not taken as criticism at all, just further knowledge on the subject.

    I think it's #1 above as sad as that is to admit.

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Based on my sheer size now and training demands years ago I kinda had to adapt and realize that it is impossible to do both at the same time.

    It is much like in the gym, you can choose one of the following:
    1. Get big/strong
    2. Get lean

    Pre-contest bodybuilders are very weak and eating to protect the muscle and strip the fat, they are not worrying about growing. In the offseason many of them look like fat pigs (I train in a very hardcore gym) with one common goal, to put on hard dense muscle. My wife is struggling with this right now as she is looking a little fluffier than she likes (I think it looks super sexy) but it is necessary for her to put on some additional muscle in preparation for show season this year.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Oh boy here we go...

    Skipping a meal pre-ride is disastrous. Think of it this way:
    To move your bike you need, muscle, blood, your heart etc. Muscle is extremely important. You mention having a good dinner the night before, let's say 6pm. Then I am assuming that is it for the night (another critical error). Your body will ingest that food in about 2 hours, shortly after that it starts to go catabolic (it draws on itself for energy) and the easiest place to get it is through the breakdown of muscle (already established that you need this to be fast/strong). So for argument sake your body has gone catabolic at around 9 pm. You then went to sleep and your caloric requirements went down as you were resting (still have some draw). You then wake up and go train (lets say that was at 7 am) and don't really eat much until part way into your ride (lets say 8 am). So basically your muscles have gone without energy supply for almost 12 hours. Now you did mention having a shake ready to go when you return from your ride and that is a great thing as it will help your recovery efforts BUT by not 'feeding' the muscles beforehand that shake may be in vain. Eat a snack before bed (high protein, moderate fat) and have a good breakfast (eggs, egg whites, steel cut oats, banana) and look to see the change.
    thanks for the tip. i admit i may a bit manorexic and a weight weenie when it comes to myself. i am usually forced to start my rides early on the weekends so it's hard to wake up 2-3 hrs early to eat something substantial but i'll try to eat something at the beginning of my ride when needed

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    Based on my sheer size now and training demands years ago I kinda had to adapt and realize that it is impossible to do both at the same time.

    It is much like in the gym, you can choose one of the following:
    1. Get big/strong
    2. Get lean

    Pre-contest bodybuilders are very weak and eating to protect the muscle and strip the fat, they are not worrying about growing. In the offseason many of them look like fat pigs (I train in a very hardcore gym) with one common goal, to put on hard dense muscle. My wife is struggling with this right now as she is looking a little fluffier than she likes (I think it looks super sexy) but it is necessary for her to put on some additional muscle in preparation for show season this year.
    i do a similar thing every winter, except i dont put on mucsle, i just keep a lot of my power. That extra 10-15 lbs makes it so easy to stay strong even when im just riding z2 all day long. Then i can lose the weight in no time and start intensity. Boom i've lost maybe at most 2% of ftp from the summer, and all my numbers are still high.
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    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    Water off the bike is one of the most important things you can do. My girlfriend makes fun of me because I wake up to pee once or twice every night. But you have to remember keeping hydrated all day is crucial for recovery as well.

    Also, don't forget to fuel all the way to the end of your ride. Especially if you are doing back to back days of racing, or back to back days of hard training. Don't stop fueling because you know you only have an hour left in the ride. If you do, you are giving yourself a bigger deficit and will require more after you are off the bike (which isn't always easy to fulfill depending on the workload of the ride). Keep this in mind for 1-2 hour rides as well. Just because you may have the glycogen stores to successfully do the ride and have plenty of energy only on water and no food, does not mean you should do this. You may be better off eating a bit and you'll likely recover better because you don't have to play so much catch up later on.

    I've also found that eating a full meal within 30 minutes of a ride has greatly aided my recovery. I used to just get a recovery drink and lounge around a bit, showering, relaxing, etc. But I found getting a balanced meal in me quickly after a hard ride really helps top off those glycogyn stores. This is especially important on back to back hard or long days.

    Keep in mind that eating requirements on and off the bike will differ significantly between people. Take Rkwaki and myself for example. He's 180-200lbs when riding. I weigh in at 140lbs dripping wet. If we do the same ride, I'll be doing significantly less Kj than him for the day because I'm not pushing that extra weight around and won't need near the same amount of caloric intake. Tracking Kj with a powermeter is a great way to see a pretty close approximation to what calories you are burning on the bike. You can then take that and your daily metabolic rate and figure out what you need to eat for the day, depending on your goals (losing weight, maintaining, etc).

    Just my $.02 on some stuff. I'm actually not that good with nutrition, but do as I say not as I do.
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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Creatre View Post
    Water off the bike is one of the most important things you can do. My girlfriend makes fun of me because I wake up to pee once or twice every night. But you have to remember keeping hydrated all day is crucial for recovery as well.

    Also, don't forget to fuel all the way to the end of your ride. Especially if you are doing back to back days of racing, or back to back days of hard training. Don't stop fueling because you know you only have an hour left in the ride. If you do, you are giving yourself a bigger deficit and will require more after you are off the bike (which isn't always easy to fulfill depending on the workload of the ride). Keep this in mind for 1-2 hour rides as well. Just because you may have the glycogen stores to successfully do the ride and have plenty of energy only on water and no food, does not mean you should do this. You may be better off eating a bit and you'll likely recover better because you don't have to play so much catch up later on.

    I've also found that eating a full meal within 30 minutes of a ride has greatly aided my recovery. I used to just get a recovery drink and lounge around a bit, showering, relaxing, etc. But I found getting a balanced meal in me quickly after a hard ride really helps top off those glycogyn stores. This is especially important on back to back hard or long days.

    Keep in mind that eating requirements on and off the bike will differ significantly between people. Take Rkwaki and myself for example. He's 180-200lbs when riding. I weigh in at 140lbs dripping wet. If we do the same ride, I'll be doing significantly less Kj than him for the day because I'm not pushing that extra weight around and won't need near the same amount of caloric intake. Tracking Kj with a powermeter is a great way to see a pretty close approximation to what calories you are burning on the bike. You can then take that and your daily metabolic rate and figure out what you need to eat for the day, depending on your goals (losing weight, maintaining, etc).

    Just my $.02 on some stuff. I'm actually not that good with nutrition, but do as I say not as I do.
    Great post. That is what I forgot to mention. I have my recovery protein shake and then eat within an hour.
    Creatre is correct I eat so much due to size and muscle mass but thought it would be a great guide as to what works for me. Portions are individual but too often I have seen guys who simply don't eat enough while training/racing.

    It is also important to learn how to eat on the bike as when racetime comes it is another skill you have to learn.
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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    **** that mattm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    It has kinda become obvious to me that we spend a bunch of time talking about training, bike parts, clothing, weight loss etc but spend little if any time talking about nutrition and how important it is to overall performance.
    There are some really knowledgeable guys on the board (picking on you Enthalpic) that have lots to offer.
    You can do everything 'right' while training but if you aren't fueling the machine you are not going to make the gains you want and may actually be going backwards.

    To open up the thread I told robabeatle yesterday I would comment on my on-bike nutrition. To set the stage while training last year I was in the 180 pound range, most long rides consisted of 70+ miles and 5,000 feet of climbing at a good pace so nutrition was important. I live in the south so it would often be 90+ degrees on our rides so hydration was also important.

    I drink at minimum 1 bottle an hour sometimes as high as 2 if I know there is a store that I can splash and dash at. BUT you have to remember hydration doesn't start when you leave for your ride it is something you always have to be on top of. I drink at minimum 1 gallon of water a day (that is in addition to Diet Coke, Coffee, etc) and will often go as high as two gallons a day (just water).

    On the bike I start eating at hour one regardless of how long I am on the bike. If I am out for a 5 hour ride this is a typical breakdown.
    At hour 1 I will have a protein bar and a gel and rip open a bag of gummies.
    Then starting at 1:20 I will pop a couple of gummies and continue to do so until I run out. At hour 2-2:30 I will have another protein bar, PB&J sandwich or something a little heavier.
    I will open a second pack of gummies and repeat what I did at hour 1:20.
    At hour 4 I will have another bar of some sort and a gel which will get me through the day.

    I also started to use a product available at Complete Nutrition called 3plenish. I Start the day with one bottle of water and one of 3plenish. I then carry two individual serving (in ziploc baggies) that I mix in as I fill bottles.

    I have been know to carry sandwiches (pb&j, roast beef, turkey, etc.), fig newtons, almonds, numerous protein bars, stinger waffles, etc. If you look in the musettes of pro riders you would be surprised what you will find in there.

    I have often ridden with guys (my closest training partners) and gotten on them to start eating more while training/racing and though it takes a little work and reminder once you get in a regular eating schedule you will get faster, bonk less and be able to train more effectively.
    Diet Coke???
    cat 1.

    blog

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    soon to be gsteinc... rkwaki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattm View Post
    Diet Coke???
    Yes, terrible vice of mine (as are Cheetos).
    I find that if I don't drink it my appetite is even worse and insatiable. I go through periods of not drinking it.
    Developed a habit of drinking regular Coke years ago (as most riders do - often the last bottle you drink in a race).
    It's interesting, if you were to look in the Service Cours of most pro teams they are full of cases of regular Coke
    "if you ride it the way it's meant to be ridden there's no way any wife is less of a ***** than a bicycle." - gstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Eating significant amounts of protein on long hot rides makes me ill. So "protein bars" are out. I've been using a lot more real food the last couple years- rice cakes adapted from Allen Lim's recipes, or even actual sandwiches. They're not as calorie dense as bars so you start out with more stuff in your pockets. But they are also not overly sweet like bars are. Sweet food is less palatable after hours of riding, so what may taste good at 1 hour can be disgustingly sweet at 6 hours.
    Commenting on a bunch of this.

    It is beneficial to keep 'a little' protein in your system during a long ride, even if just BCAA's. From what I've read, this reduces the amount of muscle loss you get while exercising. The problem is digestion. It's tough to digest much protein. Accelerade is a drink with protein in it, but my stomach can't handle it. I get some serious poopy problems out of it. Twinlab Endurance Fuel also has protein, but it uses a casein protein that can take a long time to digest, so I'm not really sure how useful it can be. I've taken to mixing my own drink with hydrolyzed whey, which is digested pretty quickly and easy. It seems to work.

    Real food, ftw. I'm a fan. At one point someone was busting my balls about making the Allen Lim race cakes. You know what? It's real food that takes very little time to actually make. They taste good and keep me pedaling. I also keep dried figs and raisins in my pockets (in little baggies). They have a fair bit of fiber, so that might cause problems with some people's guts. On a long ride, I love to have Nutella or better yet, Justin's Chocolate Hazelnut butter (less sweet) sandwich.

    As soon as I get home I have a protein shake made with fruit juice, usually an acai based juice mixed with some other stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkwaki View Post
    There are some really knowledgeable guys on the board (picking on you Enthalpic) that have lots to offer.
    Do as I say not as I do...

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    say more, please.

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by notwist View Post
    it's hard to wake up 2-3 hrs early to eat something substantial but i'll try to eat something at the beginning of my ride when needed
    Try eating closer to your ride. It depends on the person and the ride you're doing but you will probably be fine after an hour or hour and a half, unless you are starting out with V02max intervals and you have a touchy stomach.

  22. #22
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fat Boy View Post
    BCAA's.
    I tried BCAAs. Tastes nasty and made me ill.

    If I do a hard ride or gym session and I'm doing a ride the next day I have a protein/carb drink (OJ with whey protein) after the ride, and often a whole wheat bagel. That's got another 10-12g of protein and more carbs.

    Last season I tried Secret drink mix, which was ok but expensive. I've been thinking of making my own with glucose, rasberry powder, salt, and a little bit of protein.

  23. #23
    These Guys Eat Oreos Creatre's Avatar
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    I cut out all soda when I started riding. Mostly because I was getting a lot of my calories needed for the day from that, so it forced me to eat real food.

    On the bike I stick with gatorade powder + water in bottles and oatmeal creme pies to eat (once an hour for each). They are both about 180 cal, so 360 calories an hour, with lots of sugar, but some complex carbs from the oatmeal, and a little fat in the oatmeal as well to help digestion. Also takes me about 10 seconds to open and eat an oatmeal creme pie, I hate trying to munch on stuff for like 5 minutes while riding.
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    Killing Rabbits
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    On the topic of in-ride protein I think it is a good idea. Personally I find it helps stabilize my energy levels and there are some good theoretical arguments for its use.

    Several non-essential amino acid can become “conditionally essential” during times of high metabolic stress and it makes sense to have some exogenous sources of those aminos coming in (think glutamine or arginine). Furthermore, as mentioned above, the BCAA are strong stimulators of muscle synthesis / sparing (via mTOR) and can even help prevent central fatigue via competing with aromatic amino acids for exchange sites across the blood brain barrier. With that said consumption of proteins with low BCAA/AA ratio should be avoided. Whey is very rich in BCAA.

    One more comment on BCAA / AA is that is you look at athletes with the overtraining syndrome they almost always have disrupted blood BCAA/AA ratios. This is a potential mechanism behind the reported increased tolerance to high-volume training when consuming a lot of high quality proteins.

    PS

    Accelerade is probably the worst product I have ever tried. Forced down several bottles cause I hate wasting money / food but I ended up throwing away over half of it. A drink only works if you can swallow it.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    I tried BCAAs. Tastes nasty and made me ill.
    Hydrophobic aminos isolates are not really suited for mixing into drinks, and yes they taste gross.

    You can get them encapsulated and just pop a couple caps every hour or so if inclined.

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