I just turned 60 in June and am trying to become a cyclist again. I rode for abut 15 yrs. and was a decent recreational rider. Then, at age 54 I basically stopped. Last year I decided to get back on track and did about 1100 miles locally. By Oct. I was capable of 17 mph averages in eastern CT where it tends to be rather hilly but not mountainous. This year I've got about 1,000 mi. in and it's mid-July. This is all local riding. Here are some of my "issues": Because of humidity I've been riding early in the morning (out at 8 am back at 10-10:30 am). I usually consume a bottle of water and one or two GU gels during a ride. When I get home I drink something like club soda, milk, or juice. Then, I have no apetite until late in the afternoon. Then the eating begins and doesn't stop until just before bed. I've lost 5-7 lbs since May but seem to have plateaued both in weight loss and average speed on the bike. At 185 lbs. my nemesis is hills. I want to understand my nutritional needs and how to improve on the bike. Sorry this is so long, but I am truly perplexed as to what to do. I could use some advice. TIA.
17 mph seems like a decent acheivement. You're doing good but I guess you want to do great? You might want to spend a few minutes writing down your goals and then do some research and develop a training program. As a 51 year old, I would be interested in seeing what your goals are, and why you picked them. I don't know what others think, but I find fitness goals to be a vital part of my exercise/nutrition program. I really couldn't get much accomplished if I wasn't clear on my goals.
Some guidelines I use for determining goals:
Make them behaviorally specific.
Make them challenging but realistic.
Include a workable and specific time frame for accomplishing them.
Include learning (about nutrition, physiology, aging, etc) as one of my goals.
Make them compatible with my overall goal, which at my age is increasing overall fitness and preventing and dealing with chronic diseases.
I keep a journal and write goals on an annual, weekly and sometimes daily basis.
... Because of humidity I've been riding early in the morning (out at 8 am back at 10-10:30 am). I usually consume a bottle of water and one or two GU gels during a ride. When I get home I drink something like club soda, milk, or juice. Then, I have no apetite until late in the afternoon. Then the eating begins and doesn't stop until just before bed. I've lost 5-7 lbs since May but seem to have plateaued both in weight loss and average speed on the bike. ....
I used to avoid breakfast because I wasn't hungry in the morning. Well, the reason I wasn't hungry is because I was still full from snacking the night before! I forced myself to eat a good (BIG!) breakfast, then cut back on the evening feedings. Before long it was a habit, and I was losing more weight and feeling better.
For an early morning ride, I'll eat a light snack before the ride, like a piece of toast with PB or a banana, and drink lots of water. I think it's counterproductive to use gels or sports drinks if you're restricting calories, because they have no nutrition other than the sugar. If it's a long ride I'll take another light nutritious snack (banana or raisins) to eat en route. As soon as I get home, I eat my big breakfast, which should include plenty of carbs and a good amount of protein to help my body recover. Exercise gurus are now telling us that there's a window of opportunity immediately after exercise when the muscles take in much more glucose and protein for recovery and building new muscle.