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  1. #1
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    An interesting nutrition experiment

    Today I felt curious as to what happens to your available energy before and after eating. Obviously, after eating there has to be more. Yet, does this help me lose weight, or does forcing my body to operate on empty help more? So I did two identical rides. Having ridden 50 miles yesterday I limited it to recovery riding

    1) Pre breakfast at 4:45am 24km average speed 22km/h. Time for the round trip 1:10. I deliberately rode at an easy pace. Pre ride weight was 92.2kg. Post ride 91.7kg. I took a bottle of water only

    2) After breakfast at about 9am: 24km as before, but the average speed jumped to 24km/h. Time 1 hour exactly. I rode to the same percieved effort, but was noticably faster. I also took as overkill a bottle of 1/2 strength gatorade and made sure to drink it all. Pre ride weight 92kg, post ride weight 91kg.

    Those weight changes are of course 95% water related and I be sure that by this evening I'll be back up at 92ish or a bit below again. I can conclude that eating before riding makes it much easier (kind of obvious there!) but in terms of steady weight loss I still feel that short, slow rides with no nutrition actually help burn fat faster.

  2. #2
    gbg
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    I think your number of samples is woefully inadequate.

    Was your scale recalibrated before each weigh in?
    Did you measure your liquid level in both bottles.
    Were the temp/humidity/wind conditions identical?
    Last edited by gbg; 04-29-12 at 08:39 PM.

  3. #3
    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Have fun with your test but don't draw any conclusions from them.

    The weight change is purely water in vs out in that time period.

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    Yes, but these conclusions are drawn from 3 months of trial and error. I know that I lose more weight by not eating and cycling slower and longer than I do eating and going hard out. Now it may be different for others but for me it seems to work. Besides I was primarily curious about just how much difference it made to my perceived effort level and average speed. Its obvious that for long rides of 40+ miles then you must eat or run out of energy, I've been there and done that and its not pleasent. But, for short rides not eating doesn't seem to make all that much difference.

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    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    I think you will find that's a myth. You actually do not burn more fat by doing longer slower exercise. The reason is that at higher intensity, you not only. Burn more calories, but more importantly your metabolism stays higher for longer so you again burn more calories over time.

    There are a variety of recent studies that near this out.

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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Well, whether you burn more calories or not, do you want to be a slow cyclist or a fast cyclist?

    Overall activity will boost your base metabolism, which probably benefits me as much as any actual caloric deficit from a ride.

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    Senior Member tony_merlino's Avatar
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    Without getting into how scientific (or not) the methodology is, it's certainly true that if you give your body fuel to burn, it will burn it rather than dip into savings. It's also true that, if you don't eat as much as your body needs to do whatever it's doing, you lose weight. BTW, to the OP - did you control for other ways that you can lose excess water?
    L'asino di Buridano...

  8. #8
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    BTW, to the OP - did you control for other ways that you can lose excess water?
    Can't control for sweating, but I made sure to drink at least twice as much in the later (read warmer) ride. Still ended up losing more water.

    it's certainly true that if you give your body fuel to burn, it will burn it rather than dip into savings
    And you can feel the difference. Its a much more instant source of energy so your muscles work much faster and easier. But, unless you actually need that extra energy I feel that running on empty for morning rides - not fun rides mind, but my every morning 30km ride helps more. It also makes me feel that much better all day because as soon as I eat breakfast its like someone pushed the turbo button. I can FEEL the energy working its way around my body.

    Well, whether you burn more calories or not, do you want to be a slow cyclist or a fast cyclist?
    I'm a slow runner, a slow hiker, a slow climber, and not all that fast on a bike. Its the way I'm built. But, I can go all day at a moderate pace and still feel good at the end of it. When I was younger speed was important. Now its the journey that becomes more important, not reaching the goal as fast as possible.

  9. #9
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Most of my miles are from my commuting. I 100% believe that the greatest weight loss is on the morning ride because I get up and eat nothing before doing my 15+ mile ride in. I do drink plenty of water though. For my ride home I eat a bowl of oatmeal to fuel the ride home so I am not depleted for the next day's ride.

    With all this in mind I often question the people who say "It's just math! It's just calories in and calories out! Nothing else!". Well sure.... sort of. Where you burn those calories FROM also plays a part. Do you get that energy from the readily available stores or does your body have to dig deeper to find it?

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    Good question. It either has to come from available energy in your muscles, or from fat stores. Given how little I eat at night these days there can't be any energy coming from digestion at 5am.

  11. #11
    gbg
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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    Yes, but these conclusions are drawn from 3 months of trial and error. I know that I lose more weight by not eating and cycling slower and longer than I do eating and going hard out. Now it may be different for others but for me it seems to work. Besides I was primarily curious about just how much difference it made to my perceived effort level and average speed. Its obvious that for long rides of 40+ miles then you must eat or run out of energy, I've been there and done that and its not pleasent. But, for short rides not eating doesn't seem to make all that much difference.

    I think you will also find you would loose more weight going hard and not eating than going slow and eating.

    I think the EATING is a key factor here.

  12. #12
    Senior Member BikinPotter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by krobinson103 View Post
    I can conclude that eating before riding makes it much easier (kind of obvious there!) but in terms of steady weight loss I still feel that short, slow rides with no nutrition actually help burn fat faster.
    Sounds like you're doing some intermittent fasting. I actually love to exercise fasted. Our bodies are meant to burn fat for fuel. When we fast, the body goes looking for fat to burn and voila! weight loss. Have to be careful not to overdo it, because you can go into starvation mode, where by the body will begin to break down muscle. But skipping a meal here and there, when you're otherwise properly fed (not just full, but full of nutrients and fat), can be a great aid to weight loss.

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