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  1. #1
    Year-round cyclist
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    This may seem like an odd question but I am just curious. After every ride I have that I push myself hard (70-85% MHR) or do intervals I smell this smell in my nose......it is odd. Does anyone know what this smell might be? It isn't affecting me or anything, I am just curious.
    Last edited by Riderfan_lee; 03-25-06 at 11:18 AM.
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    Made in Norway Lectron's Avatar
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    If it smells like ammonia you're 'eating' your own muscles.
    Not exactly an anabolic thing to do. Eat carbs.
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    I suppose that is sort of the smell but there is no way that I need carbs.......I was watching that carefully this morning and the smell usually starts when I stop biking and then is gone within 10 minutes or so. Also, I wouldn't mind eating away at some of my muscle.....I have 26" legs.....I could use some of that gone....lol. I ate a hearty b'fast and then had a small amount of sports (250 mL) drink between 30-45 minutes into the ride and then when I got back after an hour and a half......I had a recovery food......hmmmm. I also never have sore muscles after these "smell" episodes.
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    Banned. CrashVector's Avatar
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    you wont actually SMELL the ammonia unless you have kidney problems or something.

    What he's probably smelling is just a mixture of mucous, dirt and sweat.

    The ammonia reference is a metabolic byproduct of metabolism. It comes from lactic acid. The ammonia is converted to urea by the kidneys and excreted as urine. If someone had enough ammonia in their system to actually SMELL it...they are probably already dead.

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    Sprockette wabbit's Avatar
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    that reminds me... does anyone sometimes get an onion/garlic taste in their mouth? Not from eating or exercising... just out of the blue. I know that a tinny taste in your mouth can mean your electrolytes are imbalanced- fortunately, that's never happened to me. However, if you taste that while riding, get out the gatorade!
    You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. That's great...if you want to attract vermin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashVector
    you wont actually SMELL the ammonia unless you have kidney problems or something.

    What he's probably smelling is just a mixture of mucous, dirt and sweat.

    The ammonia reference is a metabolic byproduct of metabolism. It comes from lactic acid. The ammonia is converted to urea by the kidneys and excreted as urine. If someone had enough ammonia in their system to actually SMELL it...they are probably already dead.
    I disagree, I've smelled it before. I didnt notice while I was riding, becuase I was so miserable (bonk on a hard long ride), but I noticed that when i finished the ride, my clothes smelled like windex. kinda weird.

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    Banned. CrashVector's Avatar
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    Like I said, urine is a compound of ammonia that your kidneys make.

    The smell isn't because you are doing anaerobic activity, the smell is a natural byproduct of metabolism.

    Sweat contains urea, which is the ammonia-based compound I am referring to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riderfan_lee
    This may seem like an odd question but I am just curious. After every ride I have that I push myself hard (70-85% MHR) or do intervals I smell this smell in my nose......it is odd. Does anyone know what this smell might be? It isn't affecting me or anything, I am just curious.

    Do you take a shower after a hard ride? The reason that I ask is because after a hard ride I find I am much more sensitive to the smell of ammonia and many shampoos and other hygeine prodicts have ammonia in them. Normally I do not smell the ammonia in them but after a hard ride I can smell ammonia much easier.

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    red meat?

    It could also be that you eat red meat before your workouts. You can go to the gym and smell the sweat of people who have eaten eat red meat recently.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lectron
    If it smells like ammonia you're 'eating' your own muscles.
    Not exactly an anabolic thing to do. Eat carbs.

    You can smell your own body "eating" your muscles?

    What kind of nose do you have?
    Fall down 7 times ... Get back up 8.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yo-
    You can smell your own body "eating" your muscles?

    What kind of nose do you have?
    one of the byproducts of the bodys chemical reaction to break down muscle (or fat...cant remember) is ammoina. It comes out in your sweat. it happens.

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    Do a search on "ammonia in sweat". Lots of links.
    Ammonia is OK and is NOT a result of muscle breakdown. I get it often and so do a lot of runners and cyclists. Ammonia is a result of breakdown of amino acids, a very simple reaction. When more ammonia is produced than the kidneys can handle, it is excreted in the sweat. It stinks (pungent odour), but dries off in ten minutes and is harmless.
    Acetone, on the other hand, is a result of ketosis and IS caused by the metabolism of protien - this really is muscle breakdown and is to be avoided. This is what the Atkin's dieters look for - makes you weigh less of course, but for a cyclist the cost is too high!!! Acetone smells sweet and pleasant - this is the bad one.
    Be carefull with ammonia. If you chuck your nicks and jersey in a corner the ammonia will rot the stiching. Wash all cycling clothing immediately after riding, or buy a clothing store.
    "Live today as if it is your last, plan for tomorrow as if you will live forever"

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    A few weeks ago, I went on an hour run with my son. We got in the car immediately afterwards, and he commented that my sweat smelled like amonia. I didn't know what he was talking about. Now I do.... I guess.

  14. #14
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yo-
    You can smell your own body "eating" your muscles?

    What kind of nose do you have?
    He has a perfectly normal nose, it's just well informed as to the aromas of what his metabolism is doing! Nice to see someone who is aware of his metabolic processes and effects!
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    hobby-ist peterbarson's Avatar
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    I don't want to be a downer:
    but odd smells without a logical cause can be a symptom of abnormal brain activity ie. a precurser to seizure. or the onset of migrane.
    sorry.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterbarson
    I don't want to be a downer:
    but odd smells without a logical cause can be a symptom of abnormal brain activity ie. a precurser to seizure. or the onset of migrane.
    sorry.
    I don't think I have to worry about that as there is no history of seizures in my family. I also never get migraines. And yes, it is a smell similar to ammonia and I get it after all my rides for about 10 minutes and then it is gone. I am also 23 and don't have too much abnormal brain activity. If I were having problems, I would get the abnormal smells all the time or at random instead of specifically after hard excercise. No worries.
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    hobby-ist peterbarson's Avatar
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    I also get the amonia smell after a ride.

  18. #18
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by CrashVector
    you wont actually SMELL the ammonia unless you have kidney problems or something.

    What he's probably smelling is just a mixture of mucous, dirt and sweat.

    The ammonia reference is a metabolic byproduct of metabolism. It comes from lactic acid. The ammonia is converted to urea by the kidneys and excreted as urine. If someone had enough ammonia in their system to actually SMELL it...they are probably already dead.
    Um... are you sure? none of that is right. The urea cycle occurs in the liver; the urea is just excreated by the kidneys.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urea_cycle

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    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Ozbiker is correct. What this boils down to is that you're either not getting enough water to dilute the urea (ammonia smell) or you're not getting enough carbs to keep your body from dipping into your amino acid / protein stores for energy. However, achieving either of those may not be possible! Remember that your body can only process a certain amount of food per "meal" or over a specific amount of time. it could very well be that you've reached the max capacity for water ingestion and food intake/processing for your body and that the amount and intensity of your exercise is beyond that capacity.

    Just be careful if you're experimenting with more water intake. While it's difficult to achieve, over-hydration can kill you (but in general if you're also taking in good food sources, you're likely to have the electrolytes you'll need to counter-act that extra water -- but again you're limited by your body's capacity).

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    How can you smell ammonia over the smell of your own butt sweat?????

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    i get this smell of ammonia after a hard ride too .... I wouldn't have noticed it if you hadn't brought it up ... Its very faint ... but it's there .... esp. after a hard ride and for about 5-10 mins after the ride..

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    I agree on the hydration part. Try weighing yourself before and after the ride. If you're gaining weight, you're drinking too much.

    Or if you're having to stop all the time for a "nature break"...
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  23. #23
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    i smell like teen spirit after rides.
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

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    Senior Member spunky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cod3man
    It could also be that you eat red meat before your workouts. You can go to the gym and smell the sweat of people who have eaten eat red meat recently.
    Not true. I'm vegetarian and have smelled it before.

  25. #25
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    Ammonia and urea are left over when your body breaks down protein and an over abundance of lactic acid
    in your body, it comes out in sweat as a by-product.
    Every time I push myself pass the norm I have had this same experience.

    I do not have any kidney problems, and was told by my Dr. that this is quite common after hard exercise.
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