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  1. #1
    Senior Member Danhalen's Avatar
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    First Post Bike Messenger Nutrition

    Hi everyone this is my first post,

    I just worked my first week as a bike messenger. I love it so far and it turns out I'm in much better shape than I realized. I need to get my diet sorted though. I have searched on Google and also on the archives on this site and haven't found much info on nutrition for people working as messengers. I also just read the thread started by peripatetic about skinny riders. I'm 5.9" and about 145 pounds (actually I haven't weighed myself after this week so it might be a bit lower!) and I don't want to lose weight. Before starting this job I had my diet pretty sorted in terms of eating a balanced diet that, along with a workout schedule was allowing me to gain some weight in muscle mass. I would like to continue building muscle mass but is that even possible with the amount of riding I am doing on a daily basis? I am a vegetarian (I still eat dairy, I'm not vegan) although not 100% strict, in the sense that I am open to suggestion in terms of healthy food suggestions of any kind. I generally eat about two to four servings of whole grains, one serving of protein (nuts, legumes, occassionally fish), one serving of dairy and two servings of fruit/vegetables for breakfast lunch and dinner and then three snacks usually consisting of a piece of fruit and some nuts or a grain product. Using this diet, I was gaining weight slowly but steadily before I started working as a messenger. I realize that I should weigh myself now, I need to buy a scale so I can monitor this myself of course.

    What I am asking is dietary suggestions for me to be able to at the very minimum not lose muscle mass, and ideally gain muscle mass. Am I nuts? Is this even possible with the level of calories I'm burning every day?

    Thanks guys,

    Dan

  2. #2
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    I was a vegetarian for 22 years and had no problem gaining weight. It's a lot easier to stay lean with some meat intake.

    It sounds like you have your diet pretty well figured out, you just need to eat more.

    Az

  3. #3
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    I'm sure it's possible to maintain your weight. I think the key is to consume at least as many calories as you're burning per day, plus some baseline number, which is the number of calories you would burn with ‘zero’ activity during the day. So if you bike for 5 hours @ 12mph, you might burn 500 calories per hour, or 5*500=2500 calories per day during exercise. Therefore you would need 2500 calories in addition to your baseline number if you wanted to maintain your body weight. I think the baseline depends on how much you weigh, your build, etc. I think it's usually around 2000 calories. So you would be looking at 2500+2000=4500 calories per day. That's a lot of food! Probably 5 hefty meals... Maybe you could get one of those cycle computers to get a better idea of how many calories you’re burning.

    Then there's calorie distribution: perhaps 15% for protein, 20-30% for fats, and 50+% for carbohydrates or something.

    I'm sure I've simplified things too much, but I think that's the idea. Anyone with a degree in sports physiology want to lend a hand?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Danhalen's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses guys. Today I ate a lot more than any day last week, I had a snack every hour almost, in combination with my usual morning and after snacks before and after lunch. I found I had more energy during the day today so I think I'm on the right track. I actually think I need to bring my upper body gym workouts up a notch because i'm starting to build some serious leg muscle. Even though it seems I may be on the right track, if there is anyone here who is knowledgeable about this stuff I really would appreciate some input. I think for someone in the know this could be an interesting problem, because at least as far as I can tell there is not a whole lot of information available on this specific topic. Maybe that's just me though...

  5. #5
    Senior Member knoregs's Avatar
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    just wanted to mention... eat a lot of foods, fruits, juices, etc. that are high in antioxidants... I would imagine you'll be breathing in a lot of car exhaust... pomegranate juice is my fave, also blueberries.

  6. #6
    Lurker for Life yonderboy's Avatar
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    I'd suggest you check out thru-hiker.com's nutrition articles. Albeit they're geared towards hiking, a lot of them mention vegetarian diets. Really, 4000 cal/day is 4000 cal/day, no matter what activity.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Danhalen's Avatar
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    That hiking-related link was really helpful thanks a lot! A good point about the pollution aspect, I hadn't really thought of that yet. Thanks again guys you've been really helpful.

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