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  1. #1
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Getting the Shakes!

    I am new to cycling, but not new to athletic activity in general. I did not think that cycling would have such a unique effect on me, so I am a little confused:

    When I go for longish rides on my roadbike, I get "the shakes" pretty badly unless I frequently stop and eat something. Is this normal? Why does it happen?.. I eat a well-balanced diet and avoid simple carbs, so it seems to me that this really shouldn't be happening. It has never happened to me while performing other forms of athletic activity, including XC skiing and hiking, which I thought were equally strenuous. Does cycling have some sort of special effect on glucose processing, or am I doing something wrong?

  2. #2
    ..... Jynx's Avatar
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    how soon until you need to stop, eat and get rid of the shakes? if the rides are under 2 hours that is not normal. longer then that and you do need to start eating about an hour in.

  3. #3
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Rides are 3 hrs+ and I usually start an hour after a meal. I get the shakes 1 hr into the ride or sooner. After that, I must eat something every 30-60 minutes or it keeps happening.

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    I think you need to start consuming calories sooner, and possibly take in more calories. If you are not already using a sports drink, try one. HEED works well for me and many others. I can go for 2-2.5 hours without eating but for longer rides I start eating after an hour. I'll have some HEED, nibble on clif bars, and have some Hammer gel. I'm getting calories pretty much constantly. For long races I shoot for 250-300 calories an hour, a little less for training rides.

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    That is usually a sign for me that I am running low on fuel.

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    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    I would prefer to do without energy drinks, gels or pills; I prefer to eat natural foods. Will try eating more caloric meals before rides with slow-release carbs.

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    As do I. Unfortunately, after a certain point on a long hard ride my stomach starts to loose the desire to eat normal foods. Thus HEED, gels, shot blocks, and what not come into play. Trying to finish the last 50 miles on a 120 mile hammer fest on nothing doesn't work out well.

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    Fig newtons. There's organic/natural ones out there.

  9. #9
    Its Freakin HammerTime!!! C_Heath's Avatar
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    I get the shakes after sex.

    doh! IS that bad?
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
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    Provided that it is with another person, no.

  11. #11
    Bulimic Arsonist. Lamp-Shade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C_Heath View Post
    I get the shakes after sex.

    doh! IS that bad?
    You're going anaerobic. The key is to smooth out your stroke and increase your rpm's to around 90.

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    Its Freakin HammerTime!!! C_Heath's Avatar
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    hell, Im anerobic after about 35 seconds anyhow.

    hehe
    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
    ....

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    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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    I would also suggest a screening for diabetes or hypoglycemia.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  14. #14
    Lug Princess Veloria's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    I would also suggest a screening for diabetes or hypoglycemia
    Don't have them, knock on wood.

    (Not that I want to contribute to the odd sexual theme this thread has taken on...)

  15. #15
    Dough Mestique
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    Your body burns 400 calories an hour even if you're just going easy, and you can burn over 1000 calories an hour going hard. Either way, you have to put back some of it, at least 180 - 250 calories an hour, or you'll start feeling lousy.

    There are natural alternatives. Clif bars are pretty healthy and tasty. Even my step-mother, who refuses to eat anything that has more than six ingredients listed and was shocked when she saw I would give them to my kids, had to admit they are pretty non-threatening.

    Bananas were popular with cyclists for decades and still work fine. Peanut M&M's, trail mix, rice cakes with honey or jam, Fig Newtons, have all gotten me through long rides at one time or another.

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  16. #16
    pgk
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    Quote Originally Posted by tom stormcrowe View Post
    i would also suggest a screening for diabetes or hypoglycemia.
    +1

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    Senior Member Irvent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    I would also suggest a screening for diabetes or hypoglycemia.
    +1 (from a type 1 diabetic very familiar with hypoglycemia)

    You say you have to keep eating something afterwords, have you noticed the shaking easing at all if you simply stop and take a break without eating? Do you feel anxious, or upset while the shaking is going on? Cloudy thinking at the time that clears up after eating?

    You may want to try adding sugar to an extra bottle of water as some sort of test, since you want to stay away from sports drinks and the like, and see if when your shakes start just drinking that water will help.

    I know you said you didn't have either condition and I don't mean to ignore what you said but hypoglycemia is definitely not something to scoff at as in the worst cases it can lead to seizures and brain damage, bad on their own and worse if something were to happen while say descending a hill or in another area of life such as driving. This may seriously be something you might want to get checked out by a doctor, including telling them it's during extended carbohydrate burning exercise so they can test appropriately.

  18. #18
    Senior Member rallen's Avatar
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    I get the shakes to but a beer or some vodka in the morning usually helps...

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    On some occasions, I get similar symptoms if I eat something sugary within an hour of riding. Seems to screw with my blood sugar levels and insulin response. Try eating a low GI carb meal more than 90 minutes before you start. If you're riding early morning, just eat a good meal the night before and bring ~ 250 calories/hr and forget the pre-ride meal (but start fueling frequently and immediately after you start riding). Seems to work for me.

  20. #20
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    ^^^^++

    It's aggravated because you're new to the sport. Because it's so easy on the body, we tend to do it intensely for a lot more hours than a runner or XC skier, so we run into nutritional problems. That's my guess. Anyway, this will get better with time. I well remember sitting in the ditch while the world strobed around me toward the end of my first 50 mile ride, and I thought I was eating pretty good. Now I really don't have to eat at all on a 50 mile ride.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    Trying adding glucose to your drink. Typically you burn up up the free calories in your bloodstream after about 45-60 mins. Which means you need to keep topping up. Glucose is one of easiest ways of doing so. Putting it into your drinking fluid means that you are doing it continually.

  22. #22
    Fred at large
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    Quote Originally Posted by Veloria View Post
    I would prefer to do without energy drinks, gels or pills; I prefer to eat natural foods. Will try eating more caloric meals before rides with slow-release carbs.
    You can eat things like fig newtons but you also need to understand that you MUST also take in electrolytes and fluids. And, if you eat "heavy" complex foods before a ride you will not get much usable energy from them during the ride because they digest slowly. That may also hamper your ability to digest other foods during that time period.

    You NEED electrolytes. Thus I would suggest an exercise drink mix in your water bottles. You also NEED to intake around 250 calories per hour (that's a lot of fig newtons over the course of 3 hours. Which could lead to digestive problems if you are susceptible to fruit "issues") so I suggest an energy bar of some type (cliff bar, powerbar, etc)

    A protein drink mix before riding may help slow down (or stop) the onset of the shakes.

    Remember, cycling is an exercise that is being sustained over a very long period of time. You have to eat and drink to keep it up or your body will shut down. It sounds like that is what your body is telling you at this point. To stop it, you need to eat concentrated FUEL that can be digested while exercising. That ain't your normal type of food.
    I am Fred, hear me slurp my Grande Mocha.

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