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Thread: Carbo Loading

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    Carbo Loading

    So, it seems to be a given that you load up on carbs the night, or day before a big ride/race/etc.

    If I understand correctly, the Carbs are converted to glucosen (sp?) which is stored in the muscles and burned through as you exert yourself. Therefore, it makes sense to prepare for a high intensity event by loading up on the carbs to ensure that you have enough energy available.

    How does fat factor into this ? If you are overweight, do you still need to carbo-load ? Will the fat be burned at a rate sufficient enough to provide energy for a high intensity event ?

    Just curious, I am pretty overweight, but I am pretty sure I have bonked before (suddenly felt like I could not climb an ant hill), and it seems odd, I always thought I had a ready storage of energy available

    I have never felt short on energy when I have a Powerbar or pasta the night or morning before a ride however, but that may be coincidence.

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    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    Originally posted by RollingGeek

    How does fat factor into this ? If you are overweight, do you still need to carbo-load ? Will the fat be burned at a rate sufficient enough to provide energy for a high intensity event ?

    Fat burning for energy is the primary source only at lower intensities. This is a fairly complex subject, not easily dealt with in a single post.

    Carbohydrates are certainly what the body prefers to rely on, particularly for higher intensity efforts.
    Just Peddlin' Around

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    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    [i]
    Just curious, I am pretty overweight, but I am pretty sure I have bonked before (suddenly felt like I could not climb an ant hill), and it seems odd, I always thought I had a ready storage of energy available [/B]
    You have to also realize that when you are overweight, you are carrying much more load and naturally get tired faster - especially on the hills where weight is very much against you. It isn't all about nutrition.

    The old saying that inside every fat person is a lean muscleman wanting to get out is very true. Overweight people tend to overlook the fact that they are carrying quite a burden around 27/7. This develops enormous strength and muscle mass. If you can maintain those muscles and lose the fat, you WILL have a very strong muscular physique.

    I have seen it done.
    Mike

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    Senior Member RacerX's Avatar
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    The answer to your question is no,fat will not help you in these cases of "bonking". Fat is not easily accessible by your body. You will bonk and pass out before your body can use the stored fat as energy.
    It takes many weeks/months to loose your body fat in a gradual process of elevated physical activity and decreased food consumption.

    For someone that is exercising to loose weight, regular low-intensity exercise will help far more than any strenuous, max-effort type of exercise.

    Short of a doctor's or dietician's opinion, I would just say for someone that has alot of weight to loose, don't 'carbo-load', 'high protien' or any other fad diet but simply eat sensible meals, eat less and exercise at a low to moderate intensity level on a regular basis.

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    The clock's run out kewlrunningz's Avatar
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    The correct way to carbo load should only be used before races or long rides. Normally, eating alot of carbs results in 90% of maximum carb absorbtion and benifits, while "carbo loading" results in 100%. Carbo loading consists of not eating any/many carbs for 3-4 day prior to the day before the race. The day before the race you eat like mad and nothing but carbs. Your body says "hey!, I haven't had carbs in a few days so I need to stock up more than usual so if this happens again I will be ready!", thus giving you the extra 10% gain in carb absorbtion. Also, within 2 hours of your ride, your body is HIGHLY absorbant of carbs so eating is a must. You can overload easily after a ride, much more than 4 or more hours after a ride. After 4 hours your carb absorbtion rate returns to normal and between 2-4 hours it slows down. So after those rides don't forget to eat! Fruit is a good scource of carbs and will also aid in rehydrating you. Pasta and energy drinks and the sort are also good.
    Hello moto

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    Cool - I guess I used a loaded term with Carbo-Loading.

    What I have been doing before longer rides (which to me is 1-2 hour range), is either the night before or that morning, adding in a PowerBar or something like that (sheesh they are gross).

    That has been the extent of my carbo loading

    Sounds like that is ok for my longer rides, or my more high energy rides.

    Right ?

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    My cross country coach says that the meal 36 hours before the race is the most important meal, which usually ends up being the breakfast before school for me, so he tells us to load up on carbs then. And he said dont eat any big meals after that and nothing within 4 hours of the race except water. He used to be an olympic coach for the Morracan TRack team so i think he knows wut hes talkin about.

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    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    My cross country coach says that the meal 36 hours before the race is the most important meal, which usually ends up being the breakfast before school for me, so he tells us to load up on carbs then. And he said dont eat any big meals after that and nothing within 4 hours of the race except water. He used to be an olympic coach for the Morracan TRack team so i think he knows wut hes talkin about.
    well, i'm not a trainer, so maybe your coach knows more than i do... but that is not really like my experience or what i've heard. i'm guessig that the not eating within 4 hours of the race is because running is hard on the digestive system b/c of all the sloshing - some runners get sick or cramps with just eating a bar. cycling is not much of a problem for upset stomach, although digestion does require blood and energy... eating 36 hours ahead is probably good, but the not any big meals after that seems too little to me - just doing nothing you will burn some calories and should replenish those... or maybe i'm misunderstanding and he means eat normal but not huge meals rather than "not eat much"...
    why drive when you can ride?
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    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    How does fat factor into this ? If you are overweight, do you still need to carbo-load ? Will the fat be burned at a rate sufficient enough to provide energy for a high intensity event ?
    rollinggeek,

    ok, i'm on the other side of the coin having been underweight most of my life (last 4 years i finally weigh 165lbs for my 6'1" -- i was 135 at 18 and 150lbs at 25)... so it's not my area of specialty, but here's what i think i have heard:

    for low intensity your body uses something like 55% fat for energy (you can also train your body to use more fat%). but for higher levels of intensity this drops to something like 30% or lower (i'm kind of guessing at the numbers). what this means is that if you don't have enough fast energy sotres (carbs) for high intensity energy you will bonk regardless of how much fat your body has stored b/c it cannot convert the fat into energy fast enough. so, like RacerX said,
    no,fat will not help you in these cases of "bonking".
    it might help you a little, but not a lot.

    i think for 2 hours or less, it should make little difference because even those with low body fat have SOME extra fat, but on longer rides, those with low body fat can run low on available stored fat.(like me with something around 8-9% - used to be 5-6 but i frequtently ran out of energy store)

    assuming you are also interested in reducing your weight, i would say, eat a normal meal (pasta is still good) the night before (i.e. don't gourge yourself) and then see how it goes. your body will let you know if you need to eat more b/c you'll feel it. then eat a bar or banana or whatever. as long as you burn more calories than you eat, you will loose weight. but for maximum cycling performance you still need enough energy supplies...
    why drive when you can ride?
    now a fully certified German MTB Guide! (DAV)

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    cycle-powered nathank's Avatar
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    racerx: For someone that is exercising to loose weight, regular low-intensity exercise will help far more than any strenuous, max-effort type of exercise.
    this is actually debateable according to some of the newest research stuff i've read. this has been the traditional line of thinking because as i said in the above post, at lower-to-mid intensity you use a higher PERCENTAGE of fat. BUT, at higher intensity you use more energy so a smaller percentage of a larger amount is MORE. so for the same amount of time, you still burn more fat doing high intensity than low intensity. it's just that you also burn more of other calories and it's a harder effort. plus, there are other benefits from high-intensity training. the problem is that high-intensity turns a lot of people off to exercise (b/c it's hard effort), especially the overweight who are often untrained... anyway, from my personal take on all of it: either high-intensity or low intensity is fine... just do whatever you like the most -- i.e. 3 hours per week of high intensity or 5 hours per week of low intensity or better yet a combination of the two.

    what i particularly think is annoying are the "training to loose weight" types who specifically avoid any mid- to high- intensity exercise b/c "it burns less [percentage of] fat"
    why drive when you can ride?
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    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    there is a huge difference from our largely sedentary lives (even though we steal away for a few hours here and there) when compared to 'athletes' that train for hours on end. follow what your body is telling you. for me, carb loading isn't as much of a problem as having my blood sugar dip really low. that headache, malaise, nausea you can experience during the day AFTER a hard effort can be from low blood sugar.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

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    Senior Member pat5319's Avatar
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    I"ve heard "corbo-loading" is now considered over-rated.

    Ride light
    pat
    Pat5319


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    Be sure not to carb overload and you will be alright as the muscles can only store a finite level of carbs and then any excess is stored as additional bodyfat.I believe the muscles can store around 200-300 grams of carbs (don't hold me to exact number)and I would focus on complex versus simple carbs for topping glycogen stores.Others have explained how fuel source utilization are affected by intensity level of exercise but let me add that during higher intensity it is important not to let muscle glycogen(carb )stores get depleted or the body will go into crisis mode(bonk)and attempt to conserve remaining fat stores by tearing down muscle to use as fuel(not what you want).At higher bodyfat levels I think you have some protection against this particularly at lower intensity exercise but I would suggest always including moderate carb levels (mainly complex)in your meals and it will help not hinder you weight loss goals.Over time you should be able to tell from your body signals the right amount.

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