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  1. #1
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    low-carb cycling - an oxymoron?

    been doing pretty well on South Beach during the winter doldrums, but 50 degrees in Boston got me out on two wheels today. and there goes my diet.

    after pushing hard for a few hours, I really need some carbs. tried loading up on protein but it just didn't satisfy.

    any secrets to "killing the craving"? I do better scale-wise without the Clif bars etc, but I just can't stay away from them during/after long rides.

    last summer my friends were doing SB and did not want to drink Gatorade or eat Clif bars even on metric centuries. i would try to convince them, but they wouldn't do it and then they would bonk hard. so maybe this is coming full-circle on me...

    any advice appreciated...
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  2. #2
    You gonna eat that? Doohickie's Avatar
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    I don't know.

    I lost 70 lb. on SBD in 6 months in 2005, prior to getting back on the bike. My diet these days is more toward the vegetarian end, and it seems to be working somewhat. I guess I would say this, based on my SBD experience: Allow yourself carbs when you're riding, but once the ride is done and on non-ride days, stay in very strict conformance with the SBD meal plans.
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    Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."

  3. #3
    Gears? CliftonGK1's Avatar
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    I'm sure it's bound to cause some issues, but I've been ECA stacking since the beginning of February. No carb cravings, no food cravings whatsoever in between normal sized meals, and no drawbacks that I have experienced. YMMV. My full write up at ClydesdaleCycleWorks Blog. I've lost 26 pounds since the last week of January without crashing (bonking) , without starvation, and without suffering adverse performance issues in my workouts.
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  4. #4
    Rain, rain go away john423's Avatar
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    EC (maybe not the A) is the single most misunderstood diet miracle ever. People laugh when I say that, but all they've heard is the bad side of a few goofs taking way too much of dubious Chinese origin and trying to do way too much activity in weather that's too hot for it. In short, a nation is being punished for the screw ups of a few, but I guess you have to protect the stupid from themselves.

    In short, there's a way to do EC, and it's best followed at the start, just to make sure your body doesn't hate it. But otherwise, it's an amazing appetite suppressant, and I'd be taking it now if it didn't violently react to a prescription medication I'm on.

    Oh yeah, low-carb dieting. It's a pain because you will eventually run low on glycogen. Without refeeds to replace the glycogen, your performance on the bike will suffer and you will bonk much quicker. If you can get the diet dialed in and not cheat on it, it's an amazing way to lose weight, especially at first - water literally pours off. I've lost 20 pounds in a week before on a low-carb diet, but I call it "stunt weight," water that flies off and right back on when you look at carbs. I don't consider it true weight loss.

  5. #5
    Senior Member magohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by john423 View Post
    EC (maybe not the A) is the single most misunderstood diet miracle ever. People laugh when I say that, but all they've heard is the bad side of a few goofs taking way too much of dubious Chinese origin and trying to do way too much activity in weather that's too hot for it. In short, a nation is being punished for the screw ups of a few, but I guess you have to protect the stupid from themselves.
    I dont understand - if ECA has been taken off the market, how does one get hold of it? ....

  6. #6
    Rain, rain go away john423's Avatar
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    E is the active ingredient in Bronk-Aid, available at a drug store near you. You may have to sign for it, because of your state's anti-methamphetamine laws. That's no big deal. Bronk-aid also includes guaifenesin, which relieves chest congestion. If you have no chest congestion, it will probably do nothing to you at all. You can't buy just plain ephedrine in the U.S., you have to use the ephedrine + guaifenesin "work around" unless you manage to get some in from overseas/Canada.

    Walgreen's makes a Walgreen's brand, I think it's called Wal-aid, that is particularly good for starters because it includes less E than Bronk-Aid and is helpful for starting ECA, because you wanna start very slow to see if your body dislikes the combination for whatever reason.

    Wal-aid is, IIRC, .25 mg of E, while Bronk-Aid is .5 mg. A good starter schedule would be:

    Day 1: .25 mg E, 200 mg C after waking - does your body not mind it? Heart not causing you fits? If you don't like it, stop it. Proceed no further. Whoa. It ain't worth it. No bad feelings/side effects/general yuck? Move to day 2.

    Day 2: .25 mg E, 200 mg C after waking, then four hours later, repeat. Don't take any more that day. How'd that do? If bad, stop it, etc. If OK, move to day 3.

    Day 3: .25 mg E, 200 mg C after waking, then repeat four hours later and again four hours after that. Then stop. How'd that do? If bad, stop, if OK, day 4.

    Day 4: .50 mg E, 200 mg C after waking. Then four hours later, take .25 mg, and four hours later, take another .25 mg.

    See the progression here? You don't just start out gobbling large amounts of the crap, you test your tolerance for it over a long period of time. Slow and steady wins the race. And be prepared to accept the fact that your body may not like it or tolerate it for whatever reason. And use some common sense - if you're unsure about your heart health, then you might wanna skip this, it's not worth it. But most people will have an easier time with it than they think if they use some common sense about ramping up the dose, and it really can be very helpful at appetite suppression. I never took more than 3 .50 mg doses a day. You shouldn't have to go higher than that.

    You take the C separately with No-Doz or its generic equivalent. I always took 1 pill (200 mg)

    Then if you wanna take the A, you take it separately. I've heard the A really doesn't do much of anything and is skippable. Ta da. EC or ECA.
    Last edited by john423; 03-12-11 at 11:20 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member prompterbob's Avatar
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    I'm a diabetic and I've always thought carbs were the enemy. My dietician and doctors helped me to realize that I need to eat carbs, as well as protein and healthy fats. I've lost 70+ pounds since September. I would say I eat between 150 and 180 grams of carbs a day. My blood sugar is now normal. I continue to lose about 2.5 pounds a week on my 1500 calories a day. Carbs are the body's preferred food source. Embrace them in a balanced diet.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by prompterbob View Post
    I'm a diabetic and I've always thought carbs were the enemy. My dietician and doctors helped me to realize that I need to eat carbs, as well as protein and healthy fats. I've lost 70+ pounds since September. I would say I eat between 150 and 180 grams of carbs a day. My blood sugar is now normal. I continue to lose about 2.5 pounds a week on my 1500 calories a day. Carbs are the body's preferred food source. Embrace them in a balanced diet.
    +1,000,000

    A sound, healthy diet should get about 40-50% of its calories from carbs. The type of carbs are important as well. Most should come from vegetables and whole grains, to maximize nutrients... You can live for awhile and still loose weight eating anything. But over the long term, you need a decent balanced diet to maintain health.

    Weight loss is an energy equation. Eat less than you use... Large weight losses are not loosing fat, the ostensible reason for the weight loss... And it takes time to loose weight (fat). At 500 calories per day per pound, one can only managed a fairly small weight loss per week over the long term. And it needs to be a long term change.

  9. #9
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    I've always tried to look at the diets that the professional bodybuilders and fitness model use for maintenance during the year (notthe diets they go on for contests and photo shoots). They generally shoot for 50% protein, 25% fat and 25% carbs. That's hard enough to do, but worth having for a goal. If you cut carbs too much, you'll have no energy. If you cut fat too much, you will be so hungry you will blow the diet. Quality is the issue.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member thcri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    I've always tried to look at the diets that the professional bodybuilders and fitness model use for maintenance during the year (notthe diets they go on for contests and photo shoots). They generally shoot for 50% protein, 25% fat and 25% carbs. That's hard enough to do, but worth having for a goal. If you cut carbs too much, you'll have no energy. If you cut fat too much, you will be so hungry you will blow the diet. Quality is the issue.

    Marc
    +1 The above is good advice.


    I am diabetic. I have lost 84 pounds in one year. But am having some difficulty with plateau's right now. Because of being diabetic I have been taught that carbs are bad and have stayed away from them. While riding long distances I started getting Liver Dumps or Low Blood Sugar counts and so I started using Shot Bloks while I ride.

    But my abuse of No Carbs has caught up to me and am realizing you need them. Since I have increased my carbs back to normal I feel much better and have a lot more energy. In fact I expect to start losing weight again. Am I concerned about my Blood Sugar, yes some.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    I've always tried to look at the diets that the professional bodybuilders and fitness model use for maintenance during the year (notthe diets they go on for contests and photo shoots). They generally shoot for 50% protein, 25% fat and 25% carbs. That's hard enough to do, but worth having for a goal. If you cut carbs too much, you'll have no energy. If you cut fat too much, you will be so hungry you will blow the diet. Quality is the issue.

    Marc
    I am curious, how does one go about getting 50% of one's calories from protein, while maintaining such a low percentage of fat and carbs. My understanding is that lean beef contains only about 20 grams of protein for each 85 grams (3 ounces) and chicken contain only about 25 grams for the same size portion and these sources would really boost the fat percentage. Vegetable/grain based proteins would also boost the carbohydrate numbers and potentially the fat pecentages as well...

    I know body builders use chemical protein supplements, so I can presume that is how they can achieve such abnormally balanced numbers? It seems doubtful that such a balance would be healthy.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    I've always tried to look at the diets that the professional bodybuilders and fitness model use for maintenance during the year (notthe diets they go on for contests and photo shoots). They generally shoot for 50% protein, 25% fat and 25% carbs. That's hard enough to do, but worth having for a goal. If you cut carbs too much, you'll have no energy. If you cut fat too much, you will be so hungry you will blow the diet. Quality is the issue.

    Marc
    Diet needs to be tuned to activity, and when you are going from a dead stop to fully active, it takes time, and that means during that time period, you may need to make diet alterations on a daily basis. A body builder often does not need a lot of endurance, but they need a lot of protein to maintain their high muscle mass. A cyclist needs a lot of endurance, but doesn't need a lot of muscle mass, which simply makes the bike heavier. You need to remember, body fat burns in glucose flame, so if there is not enough carbs, your glucose can run low and even though you have 1,000,000 calories in the fat tank, your unable to burn it. Recommendations are that 50% of calories should come from carbohydrates, you need 10-15% from protein and the rest from fats.

    This isn't simple though, there are a couple of other points, one is that your food should be in as natural a state as possible, and you need to make sure that your balancing calories against your nutritional requirements. Let me explain that last one, I think that hunger isn't always just hunger, your body wants something, just you haven't trained your brain to know what. It's hard to know what it needs, so you can go by the recommended daily allowance as stated by government agencies, which may not be exact, but should be pretty close. If you need 60mg a day of Vitamin C, and you see that your at 50mg, then an extra orange in your diet can be helpful.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtalinm View Post
    any secrets to "killing the craving"? I do better scale-wise without the Clif bars etc, but I just can't stay away from them during/after long rides.
    I'm a lot less hungry after a long ride if I take in at least 150 kCal per hour, and stay hydrated, than if I don't do both of these. When I get home, I eat lots of fruits and berries, especially granny smith apples, because they seem more filling. If all of that still doesn't work, I'll have a nice meal.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  14. #14
    Senior Member irwin7638's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by myrridin View Post
    I am curious, how does one go about getting 50% of one's calories from protein, while maintaining such a low percentage of fat and carbs. My understanding is that lean beef contains only about 20 grams of protein for each 85 grams (3 ounces) and chicken contain only about 25 grams for the same size portion and these sources would really boost the fat percentage. Vegetable/grain based proteins would also boost the carbohydrate numbers and potentially the fat pecentages as well...

    I know body builders use chemical protein supplements, so I can presume that is how they can achieve such abnormally balanced numbers? It seems doubtful that such a balance would be healthy.
    As I said it is extremely hard to do. Not a bad thing to think about if you want to lose fat,but you can't expect to reach those levels without special supplements.
    Read Simply Cycle

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  15. #15
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    Been on a low carb diet for 3 yrs plus, my daily target is no more than 24 gms of carbs daily, I was diagnoaed with Tpyp 2 diabetes 3 yrs ago and follow this low carb since, with excellent benefit to overall health too. Lost 100 lbs the first year and maintained this loss since, and incorporated bike riding into my treatment plan begining 3 yrs ago. It's been hard at times to stay <24 gms but I generally achieve this 50% of the time. The times I exceed this are usually on days when I ride. I find I bonk after 1 to 1.5 hrs of riding unless I eat some carbs during a ride, a bag or salted peanuts, other nuts, or better yet a cold ale or beer do a good job for me. I haven't found a way to not eat some carbs during extended rides without bonking, which is not a plesant feeling, almost as bad feeling as dehydrating (which I've do too!) good luck to you and congratulations on your excellent weight loss!

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