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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-02-11, 03:35 PM   #1
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Advice needed on energy bars, shakes etc.

Hi Everybody,
Thanks to all who replied to my last post with advice and encouragement. greatly appreciated.

Like i stated before, i started my new lifestyle change on March 1st. Just been going out walking every morning. Doing 4 miles everyday so far. I can feel my calf muscles for sure. Will walk every day until i get my bike, hopefully 3 weeks from now.

Been trying to research energy bars and protein shakes. The store i went to today, had a ton of different bars. I don't know where to start, so wanted to come here and ask all you people for your advice. I am learning on the back, it says either before, during or after. I know you need the ones with a lot of carbs for during. I feel fine the first 2 miles of walking, after that i feel, not so fine lol.

I need your advice on what namebrand bars i should buy to help myself during exercise, with it be walking or bike riding. Some bars have a lot of carbs, some have a lot of protein. Should i buy the powdered protein stuff and drink a protein shake after exercising? I read that was good for the muscles.

I have been eating breakfast after i get back home from walking, is this ok? Or is there a bar i can eat before starting?

Sorry for all the questions, i am new to fitness and want to do it right. I am eating healthy foods and have cut my portions in half. But i still get the late night munchies. Thank You all for your help, advice and encouragement. It is greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-02-11, 03:53 PM   #2
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As a Certified Retro-grouch in Training, I don't think it matters. Food is food, calories is calories. My prefered energy bar is a Snickers. Surprisingly good balance of carbs, protein, and fat, and tastes worlds better than any of that allegedly healthy crap.

Just don't consume too much!
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Old 03-02-11, 04:01 PM   #3
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Eat breakfast Before you walk. 3 eggs, toast jam.

Get some breakfast bars from your grocery store.


I have been using Cinnamon raisin English muffins with peanut butter and jam.
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Old 03-02-11, 04:19 PM   #4
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As a Certified Retro-grouch in Training, I don't think it matters. Food is food, calories is calories. My prefered energy bar is a Snickers. Surprisingly good balance of carbs, protein, and fat, and tastes worlds better than any of that allegedly healthy crap.
Allow me to disagree somewhat. Candy bars, and many so-called energy bars, contain lots of simple sugars. I don't know about you, but for me simple sugars are easily translated into body fat. I look for bars that contain complex carbs, protein, and perhaps some fat. I think Clif Builder bars taste great, though they do contain more sugar than I'd like. They're better than many of the alternatives, however.

As you suggest, you also need to be careful about how many calories you consume. Many candy and energy bars contain quite a few calories. Bicycling, in particular, is a relatively efficient sport: I'm around 180lbs and when I ride for an hour at my maximum rate (~17mph avg) I do 500-550KJ of work. That translates to 500-550 calories burned, assuming average efficiency. If I eat a 250-350 calories bar afterwards, I've effectively cut my ride time in half! Eat a bar and drink a shake and I'm back to where I started!
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Old 03-02-11, 04:25 PM   #5
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As a Certified Retro-grouch in Training, I don't think it matters. Food is food, calories is calories. My prefered energy bar is a Snickers. Surprisingly good balance of carbs, protein, and fat, and tastes worlds better than any of that allegedly healthy crap.

Just don't consume too much!
I'm the same way, except for the candy bar consumption. Not only have I never used the energy stuff, I can't see that I ever will, at least not until such time as I find my own admittedly low performance expectations being limited by the regular food I eat before and during rides (and my own stores of body fat burned during recovery).

I'll worry about energy gels and drinks when I get to the point where I'm fueling for higher performance. I'm nowhere near there yet, and it remains to be seen if I'll ever get there.

Last edited by CraigB; 03-02-11 at 06:47 PM.
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Old 03-02-11, 04:32 PM   #6
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If I'm riding 1 hour or less, no food just water. Breakfast before is usually a bagel with peanut butter.

If I'm riding more than one hour, I bring trail mix, fig newtons, granola bars, or pb&j.

If you are feeling "not so fine" after 2 miles, you probably don't need more food or fancier food. Just give your body time to adjust and your fitness level to increase. You could try a light snack (granola, a banana, a bagel) before. Drink plenty of water.
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Old 03-02-11, 06:44 PM   #7
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You can exercise whenever it is best for you, either before or after breakfast doesn't matter. Choose whatever time that is best for you as you want to make it as easy as possible to undertake.

If it was me, I would leave the energy and protein things aside. Take a multi-vitamin if you are not eating a well balanced diet and drink lots of water. You do not want to end up drinking your calories from a sports drink etc.

You need to stay as far away from processed foods as possible. That means taking some time to educate yourself in the reading of food labels etc., choosing healthy foods, meal planning and understanding your caloric intake in relation to your caloric burning. That is, if you are intent on reducing your weight with a combination of healthy eating and exercise.

This does mean change and by that, it is a lifestyle change and not simply a diet.
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Old 03-02-11, 08:01 PM   #8
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+1 sstorkel,craigb,seve

4 miles is really great. Complex carbs last longer. Better for controlling hunger. I eat breakfast before workout but each person is different. I'm not saying that all energy bars are bad I just haven't found one that I'd want to eat while trying to lose weight.
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Old 03-02-11, 09:14 PM   #9
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Your body will tell you (trial and error) if you need something during a ride or walk, but no one wants to bonk so most will consume a few hundred calories/hour during a longer effort. Your body can go hard for two hours or so on glycogen alone if that's the length of your effort. From a fitness standpoint there are pretty consistent recommendations as to what to do after a big effort: some protein within a short period of time, fluids to improve nutrient transport and simple sugars (which you generally don't want during a ride).

I use Clif Bars and Bloks during long rides (100K and Centuries), but in moderation. Each of these contains 200 calories which is about what you can really assimilate in an hour and I usually have Gatorade in one of my bottles. If it's an organized ride I'll have whatever strikes my fancy at the rest stops, chocolate cookies with peanut butter are particularly yummy, some chips, fresh fruit, maybe some nuts (but they're harder to digest). Real food not only tastes better but boosts the spirit. In fact I'm getting hungry just thinking about Solvang in a few weeks
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Old 03-02-11, 10:19 PM   #10
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Dont buy into the hype of nutrition bars and protein shakes. Of course the so called experts tell you to use them but that is because they are selling them. Everything you eat provides energy to your body. Thats it. High carb, low carb, no carb, low fat, high fat good fat, bad fat. The so called experts sound like dr suess. Fact is they have to change their story so consumers will buy the newest thing when they realize the old thing doesnt work.
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Old 03-02-11, 10:20 PM   #11
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I have to break up my rants or I get logged out before I can post. And I dont type well.
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Old 03-02-11, 10:26 PM   #12
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The simple plan to weight loss is calories in calories out. If you want to be stronger lift more want to be faster run more want to jump higher... you guessed it jump more. (or buy some zipps). It seems so simple I think thats why everyone makes it so hard. You dont have to avoid anything. Keep a log of what you eat. If you are really hungry yes an apple is more filling then one of those stupid 100 calorie packs. If you want something sweet eat a candy bar but count the calories. The only reason to avoid sugar is it can be somewhat addictive, sort of. If you eat less you will have fewer cravings. And for the record protein shakes can help with sugar cravings. Its the amino acids.
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Old 03-02-11, 10:28 PM   #13
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Agree with digger.

OP, while you're still walking, you can do well with the little "Fun Size/Bite Size" Snickers and Paydays. Sure, a little 'junky' in the calorie count, but oh well, it's more about moderation. (Try the darker chocolates, more anti-oxidant content)

Once you get up to the bike, and you feel like you're starting to do it justice, you can worry more about the 'energy bars'. The PowerBar Naturals aren't bad, can get them cheaper @ (that frickin'!) Wal-Mart. Gels are a personal choice; the last ones I ever used that actually had an effect are no longer made, been reformulated, not for the better.

About the only way you'll overdo the water is if you slurp more than you pedal.
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Old 03-02-11, 10:32 PM   #14
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Your body will tell you (trial and error) if you need something during a ride or walk, but no one wants to bonk so most will consume a few hundred calories/hour during a longer effort.
Right. The general rule of thumb is to consume 200-250 calories/hr during aerobic activity.

BTW, a recent study seems to suggest that exercising before breakfast provides more benefit than exercising after.
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Old 03-02-11, 10:45 PM   #15
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Just another load of BS. I read a similar study two years ago which was two years after I read a study that said mid afternoon was the best time. Recently I read a study that says your body will start burning muscle for energy after six hrs of fasting(sleeping) so you should eat fast digesting protein imediately upon waking to stop your body from burning muscle and make it burn fat. Blah blah blah CALORIES IN CALORIES OUT. Just get outside and move. Eat reasonably. and be happy. I do sugest avoiding resturantes (can never spell it right). They are stupi expensive and hide so many calories. Even if they post their nutrition dont beleive it. They spread butter on hamburger buns to toast them=100+calories
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Old 03-02-11, 10:59 PM   #16
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I generally don't use any 'energy' products other than Clif Bars, and that's only because I like the taste of them. Even then I use them in moderation. The breakfast treats 10 Wheels recommends are good, as are Pop-tarts. Again high on simple sugars, so be careful.
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Old 03-02-11, 11:10 PM   #17
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I bring nutella sandwiches on whole wheat flatbreads (home made) and almond butter in ww flatbreads sandwiches. Some hunks of melon and pineapple in a box. If it's an all day ride, I bring a bottle of the icky tasting Gatorade (lemon lime is the least icky tasting to me). Nice things about nutella and almond butter? They don't spoil like tuna or turkey could if you don't have a way to keep them cold, and nutella & almond butter, and whole wheat flatbreads aren't as expensive per serving as Powerbars or Clif Bars. But most importantly they don't taste as awful as Powerbars (road tar) and Clif Bars (fig and sawdust).

Basically, eat what you already like with a careful reminder about food safety.
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Old 03-02-11, 11:49 PM   #18
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Remember that what you eat and drink also depends on what temperature it is and how much you sweat. Everybody is different.
I'll eat a granola bar after about an hour (about 200 calories) so that I won't bonk during a hard ride. If its a slower ride, I'll eat less.

One important rule of thumb: Drink before you get thirsty which means drink regularly. There are slightly different rules of thumb regarding hydration but they are all pretty close.

I generally sweat buckets while I'm on the bike (even more when I'm x-country skiing). If it's less than an hour, I'll drink water. If it's more than an hour, then I'll usually drink dilute unsweetened orange juice while I'm on the road. If I drink just water my calf muscles will start to cramp up so for me the electrolytes and potassium replacement is essential. Bananas are good for potassium replacement and I'll usually eat one when I take a break after a couple of hours.

A lot of sports drinks contain a lot of sugar and/or caffeine. Stay away from those. I'll drink something like Gatorade after a ride but not during a ride. They're usually too sweet which makes you drink too much at one time.

It's also important to eat something within an hour after your ride to replenish your muscles. I tend to eat salads but a peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwich works well too.

Something to remember when you get started riding that bike. For weight loss the best pace for weight loss is to cycle at about 50-60% of your max HR which means in laymans language at a moderate pace for a long distance.

I find that if I exercise before I eat a meal of any size I'll eat a lot less.

Another important tip:
You don't have to walk or exercise every day of the week. In fact, it can be bad for you after a while. Take a rest day or more than one if you are just starting out and keep a diary or log. Your body needs rest to recover from exercise.

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Old 03-03-11, 01:59 AM   #19
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Something to remember when you get started riding that bike. For weight loss the best pace for weight loss is to cycle at about 50-60% of your max HR which means in laymans language at a moderate pace for a long distance.
Gotta call BS on this one! Yes, your body is efficient at burning fat when you're exercising at 50-60% of your maximum heart rate. The problem is, the quantity of fat burned is relatively small... unless you're planning to exercise for 5-6 hours at a stretch. Most of us don't have that much time available on a daily basis. For me, the only way to lose an appreciable amount of fat is to create a large calorie deficit by exercising at 75-80% of my maximum heart rate. Two hours at a relatively zippy pace seems to be the sweet spot for me in terms of weight loss...
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Old 03-03-11, 06:55 AM   #20
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Gotta call BS on this one! Yes, your body is efficient at burning fat when you're exercising at 50-60% of your maximum heart rate. The problem is, the quantity of fat burned is relatively small... unless you're planning to exercise for 5-6 hours at a stretch. Most of us don't have that much time available on a daily basis. For me, the only way to lose an appreciable amount of fat is to create a large calorie deficit by exercising at 75-80% of my maximum heart rate. Two hours at a relatively zippy pace seems to be the sweet spot for me in terms of weight loss...
That worked for me when it came to getting off the first 15 pounds. Since then, a 75-80% pace has kept it stable. I'm planning on putting in more base miles this year at around 60% to see if it will get the last 10 off.
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Old 03-03-11, 07:37 AM   #21
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Have a banana before your walk. Exercising on an empty stomach first thing in the morning has never worked out all that well for me. A medium sized banana will provide you with all the sugars and carbs you'll need on your walk. So skip those energy bars and products until your work outs take you into the two hour range with medium to medium high intensity.

Another thing, bananas cost something like 49 cents a pound. You can get a whole mess of them for the price of some energy products.
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Old 03-03-11, 07:48 AM   #22
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sstorkel,alanknm: You're both right. The key is to exercise at whatever level you can continue. If you hit it too hard and quit you'll never get in shape. I'd rather someone beginning to hold back so that they'll come back for more. Once exercise becomes a habit then 75%-80% is great.
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Old 03-03-11, 08:11 AM   #23
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50, 60, 70, 85% doesnt matter. If you are training for an event or trying to build endurance absolutely monitor your heart rate but the fact is everyone is different and your fitness level will dictate your efficientcy. My wife and I can both excersize for 60 min, her heart rate at 65% mine at 80% and we are getting the same results. The difference is my job is pretty physical and hers is not. So my body is used to working hard hers is not. Again, we are all trying to over complicate this. The OP just needs some advice on nutrition and of course everyone needs encouragement
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Old 03-03-11, 08:13 AM   #24
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Have a banana before your walk. Exercising on an empty stomach first thing in the morning has never worked out all that well for me. A medium sized banana will provide you with all the sugars and carbs you'll need on your walk. So skip those energy bars and products until your work outs take you into the two hour range with medium to medium high intensity.

Another thing, bananas cost something like 49 cents a pound. You can get a whole mess of them for the price of some energy products.
+1 Works like a charm for me.
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Old 03-03-11, 08:22 AM   #25
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My advice is excersize hard enough so you sweat. Push it once in a while so it hurts a little. The old saying is true, no pain no gain. I think some excersize everyday is best. Your body only needs recovery time if you are power lifting or doing long endurance stuff. Try to eat only whole foods. Think single ingredients, nuts, fruit, meat, eggs. This is not to say avoid things you like, just if you are hungry, whole foods are a lot more filling with less calories than processed foods. I aplaud your decision to change your life but please dont believe all the hype about it being easy and take this pill will make the pounds fall off. It is hard but doable. Just to add I avoid ALL sweetened drinks, they are nothing but empty calories. If you need some electrolites or just a pick me up on a long ride try gummi bears (the Harbo are best)they are yummy
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