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  1. #1
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    Do any of you count calories?

    This is my first season racing (and thus training hard) and I'm starting to think that the reason I bonk out ~1 hour into training rides is because I don't have the fuel to complete them... I get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep a night and I try and wake up at 5:15 two days a week for extended morning rides. The other days are on the trainer with the sufferfest videos or weekend rides.

    So knowing that I'm getting enough rest and training a good amount, but still not feeling like I'm reaching my potential, this has to be diet-related, right? For instance, this morning I had to stop 30 minutes into a ride because I got nauseous and winded (and I wasn't pushing it any harder than normal). Yesterday my diet was bacon egg and cheese, tuna melt, chocolate chip muffin and a calzone... Not rocket science once I thought about it, and I don't normally eat that way, but it took an extreme such as this to make me see it.

    When I did P90X I counted calories and ate right and I never ran out of energy, never had trouble sleeping and never felt fatigued throughout the day (I even stopped drinking coffee because I didn't need it to boost my energy anymore). So I'm trying to get back to feeling like this during cycling training and I'm wondering if any of you use something like myfitnesspal.com or the likes? If so, what dietary goals do you strive for (i.e. 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fats or some other mix of the three)? And what caloric intake do you set?

    I'm 5'10" and 180lbs. My BF% is around 12% (used to be 10%). When I was in the thick of P90X I was consuming 3000+ calories a day at 40/40/20 though, I'm not sure if that is the same formula needed for cycling...

    M

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    I do it for about 3 weeks each year ... just enough to remind me how many calories are in things.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    Normally I just look to the overall 'healthiness' of the food rather than the exact amount of calories.
    .
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    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  4. #4
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    i have been doing this for about two weeks now (but for the exact opposite reason lol). it really sucks the joy out of eating a mcflurry (600 calories!)

  5. #5
    Underwhelming MrTuner1970's Avatar
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    Are you overtraining perhaps?

  6. #6
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    What makes you think that 6 - 8 hours of sleep a night is enough? When training hard you need more rest. I get 8 - 9 hours a night and I am still tired. 8 hours sleep is recommended for "normal" people. People that are training require more time to allow their body time to recover.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
    What makes you think that 6 - 8 hours of sleep a night is enough? When training hard you need more rest. I get 8 - 9 hours a night and I am still tired. 8 hours sleep is recommended for "normal" people. People that are training require more time to allow their body time to recover.
    WOW! 8-9 hours a night? What luxury! Have you somehow managed to change the rotation of the earth in your part of the world to operate on 26+ hour days?

    Most of the time I get 6-7 hours of sleep/night. And during the 4 years I was in University recently, it was more like 4-6 hours.

  8. #8
    Two-Wheeled Aficionado ColinL's Avatar
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    many possibilities here. start narrowing them down..

    1. inadequate sleep as lowcel mentioned. might not be enough hours, might need a new pillow, sleep machine to drown out background noise, or something else.

    2. diet. you mentioned what you ate, but did you actually eat all that before the ride? what you eat 1-3 hours before the ride is critical.

    3. hydration and nutrition during the ride. are you drinking and eating enough?

    4. proper warm-up. are you going out too hard? you will burn up all your glycogen and your body won't be very efficient at metabolizing fat. thus you will fade.

    answering original thread question: no, I do not count calories.
    Last edited by ColinL; 04-25-12 at 08:22 AM. Reason: getting tired of BF eating spaces.

  9. #9
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    WOW! 8-9 hours a night? What luxury! Have you somehow managed to change the rotation of the earth in your part of the world to operate on 26+ hour days?

    Most of the time I get 6-7 hours of sleep/night. And during the 4 years I was in University recently, it was more like 4-6 hours.
    I try to go to bed at 9 - 9:30, up at 5:45, work 6:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday. You disagree with everything else I say, I guess sleep should be no different.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Megiddo's Avatar
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    I've been using http://www.loseit.com for a few weeks now and am impressed! It links with the ipod and PC. I assume other platforms are supported.
    2010 Fuji Roubaix ACR 2.0

  11. #11
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    "Bonking out" at one hour is not not due to the lack of food. It's the lack of training. Your body should have enough muscle glycogen to fuel 2 hours work without eating anything.

    Obviously good nutrition is important to your training, and eating better will help your fitness, but I doubt it's the answer to this specific problem.

    Also 5'10" 180lbs is a bit heavy for bike racing, so you want to be running a slight calorie deficit. It's difficult to lose weight while training hard, so you should shoot for no more than a pound a week in season, or a 500 calorie deficit.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marto32 View Post
    This is my first season racing (and thus training hard) and I'm starting to think that the reason I bonk out ~1 hour into training rides is because I don't have the fuel to complete them... I get between 6 and 8 hours of sleep a night and I try and wake up at 5:15 two days a week for extended morning rides. The other days are on the trainer with the sufferfest videos or weekend rides.

    So knowing that I'm getting enough rest and training a good amount, but still not feeling like I'm reaching my potential, this has to be diet-related, right? For instance, this morning I had to stop 30 minutes into a ride because I got nauseous and winded (and I wasn't pushing it any harder than normal). Yesterday my diet was bacon egg and cheese, tuna melt, chocolate chip muffin and a calzone... Not rocket science once I thought about it, and I don't normally eat that way, but it took an extreme such as this to make me see it.

    When I did P90X I counted calories and ate right and I never ran out of energy, never had trouble sleeping and never felt fatigued throughout the day (I even stopped drinking coffee because I didn't need it to boost my energy anymore). So I'm trying to get back to feeling like this during cycling training and I'm wondering if any of you use something like myfitnesspal.com or the likes? If so, what dietary goals do you strive for (i.e. 40% protein, 40% carbs, 20% fats or some other mix of the three)? And what caloric intake do you set?

    I'm 5'10" and 180lbs. My BF% is around 12% (used to be 10%). When I was in the thick of P90X I was consuming 3000+ calories a day at 40/40/20 though, I'm not sure if that is the same formula needed for cycling...

    M
    What do you eat before the 5:15am rides, and at what time?
    Quote Originally Posted by thump55 View Post
    Now you missed a great thread and I got baby poop stains on my Assos. I hope we learned our lesson.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ColinL View Post
    many possibilities here. start narrowing them down..

    1. inadequate sleep as lowcel mentioned. might not be enough hours, might need a new pillow, sleep machine to drown out background noise, or something else.

    2. diet. you mentioned what you ate, but did you actually eat all that before the ride? what you eat 1-3 hours before the ride is critical.

    3. hydration and nutrition during the ride. are you drinking and eating enough?

    4. proper warm-up. are you going out too hard? you will burn up all your glycogen and your body won't be very efficient at metabolizing fat. thus you will fade.

    answering original thread question:no, I do not count calories.
    I don't think it's inadequate sleep, I usually will wake up on my own 7-8 hours after going to bed on weekends so I assume that's all my body needs. I had an energy bar 15 minutes before the ride and drank before/during. I usually treat my ride to the park as a warmup which is a 10-15 minute easy spin.

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LowCel View Post
    I try to go to bed at 9 - 9:30, up at 5:45, work 6:30 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday. You disagree with everything else I say, I guess sleep should be no different.
    I do?? Not intentionally. And I'm not singling you out or anything ... I rarely look at names when I respond.

    But I'm not disagreeing with you ... I'm just astounded at the luxury of being able to sleep that much, and still accomplish everything you need/want to do. You're a lucky person.

    And I absolutely agree that sleep is important ... during the week before randonnees or centuries I try to get a bit extra sleep, like maybe 7-8 hours a night. It helps. I also try to get a bit more sleep on weekends when I can.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
    "Bonking out" at one hour is not not due to the lack of food. It's the lack of training. Your body should have enough muscle glycogen to fuel 2 hours work without eating anything.

    Obviously good nutrition is important to your training, and eating better will help your fitness, but I doubt it's the answer to this specific problem.

    Also 5'10" 180lbs is a bit heavy for bike racing, so you want to be running a slight calorie deficit. It's difficult to lose weight while training hard, so you should shoot for no more than a pound a week in season, or a 500 calorie deficit.
    Most of that weight is muscle. Unfortunately I naturally have more upper body mass than lower so it could very well be a training problem. I assume the solution is to just ride more?

  16. #16
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marto32 View Post
    Most of that weight is muscle. Unfortunately I naturally have more upper body mass than lower so it could very well be a training problem. I assume the solution is to just ride more?
    ride more and ride smarter. Are you following a structured training plan?
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  17. #17
    Descends like a rock pallen's Avatar
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    I would agree. Bonking in 1hr is not likely a nutrition issue unless you started on a completely empty stomach. I don't count calories. I focus on protein for breakfast and healthy vegetables for other meals.

  18. #18
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    You could easily be bonking if you're training every day but you haven't provided enough info to tell. 1 hr of sufferfest on the trainer could burn 800-1000 cals and mostly carbs. It's hard to tell from your description but it doesn't sound like you came close to replenishing your glycogen stores.

    If you want to train hard you need to provide the fuel. Eat a balanced healthy diet and make sure you're getting sufficient carbs to support the intensity you want to train at. Remember that higher intensity efforts burn relatively higher proportions of carbs than longer steadier rides. Try and eat or drink approx 250 Cals/hr while training. Compared to P90x you should probably have a higher % of carbs something like 55%. You don't need as much protein since you aren't really building muscle on the bike.

  19. #19
    Senior Member DGlenday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marto32 View Post
    ...
    I try and wake up at 5:15 two days a week for extended morning rides
    ...
    There's your problem.

    At that time of day your system is in a catabolic state, which is s the worst possible time to do heavy exercise.

    Just for a change - try sticking to your normal routine but ride later in the day. I'm willing to bet you'll find your performance is very different.


    Quote Originally Posted by Marto32 View Post
    ...
    When I was in the thick of P90X I was consuming 3000+ calories a day at 40/40/20 though, I'm not sure if that is the same formula needed for cycling...
    That macro ratio is fine for weight loss and strength buildup etc - but I'd suggest that you need a lot more (good quality complex) carbs for a regular cycling regimen.



    To answer your main question - I do not count calories right now, but did so with excruciating accuracy and attention to detail before I started cycling, when I was into very different physical activities. I used Fitday. You can get a free online version, but I far prefer the software that runs on the PC - costs about $29, IIRC. Fitday is a great way to track calories, as well as macros.
    Regards,
    Duncan

  20. #20
    Senior Member DropDeadFred's Avatar
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    I count. I try to eat around 1500-2000 calories on a normal day, if I'm going to have a long ride I might eat 2500 the day before, but I try to stay well under 3500 per day as I'm still trying to lose a few more lbs.

  21. #21
    Senior Member DropDeadFred's Avatar
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    as to the sleep, I've been getting less sleep the past week and didn't hydrate like I should after rides, add that to my allergies and I've been feeling exhausted and having shortness of breath, I slept in extra long today (11am) since I didn't finally fall asleep until midnight...I had some serious sleep to make up, and now I'm guzzling water. I truly feel and ride better when I treat myself better. I had one night out drinking and got wasted and it really took its toll long term in the week. I rode hard yesterday and noticed my heart rate was really high throughout the ride which caused me to tire out faster. I think its really important to pay attention to the little things you change. Sleep deprivation and lack of hydration as well as not eating the right foods for going hard will make a huge difference in performance from one day to the next.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    WOW! 8-9 hours a night? What luxury! Have you somehow managed to change the rotation of the earth in your part of the world to operate on 26+ hour days?

    Most of the time I get 6-7 hours of sleep/night. And during the 4 years I was in University recently, it was more like 4-6 hours.
    I could say the same thing about people who find the time to ride 200-300 or more miles a week. I guess they make it a priority in their life to find the time. And those of us who can't or don't, for whatever reason, just sit in wonder.

  23. #23
    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Right Said Fred View Post
    I could say the same thing about people who find the time to ride 200-300 or more miles a week. I guess they make it a priority in their life to find the time. And those of us who can't or don't, for whatever reason, just sit in wonder.
    When I am getting the 200+ miles a week getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night becomes even more important. Without the sleep the following couple of days rides really hurt. When riding a lot, or hard, we are tearing our muscles up pretty bad. They repair themselves and get stronger while we sleep.

    Remember the old saying, never stand when you can set, never set when you can lay down.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Wesley36's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DGlenday View Post
    There's your problem.

    At that time of day your system is in a catabolic state, which is s the worst possible time to do heavy exercise.

    Just for a change - try sticking to your normal routine but ride later in the day. I'm willing to bet you'll find your performance is very different.
    Or just HTFU and just get up early all the time. Especially when it starts to get hot, dawn patrol rides are where it is at.

  25. #25
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    If you start counting calories rather than sheep to help induce sleep each night, you'd be killing two birds with one stone now wouldn't ya?

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