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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 08-08-09, 10:49 PM   #1
JasonC
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Eating within 3 hours of an event... good or bad?

Hello,
I was just reading an article and a thread on the subject of eating before an event. I'm curious if there is any fact on this subject, other than "everyone is different" or "do what works for you"?

Here is what I read:
http://www.hammernutrition.com/za/HN...RTICLE.ID=1279
What to eat for breakfast 4 an early morning ride??

The Hammer article suggests that eating within three hours of an event lasting more than 90-minutes will accelerate your glycogen depletion. To me, this sounds like something that would not vary from person-to-person. That is... if taken literally it should be biologically bad for everyone to eat within three hours.

Now, it makes sense that some people like eating an hour or two before an event, and others don't. Personally, if I wake up and do 60 miles on the bike, I "feel" better having eaten a bowl of oatmeal an hour before, rather than relying solely on a liquid diet (water and Perpetuem).

But after reading the Hammer article... it seems like I am shooting myself in the foot. Does anyone else think so?

Thanks... sorry, I like to overanalyze
- Jason
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Old 08-09-09, 06:47 AM   #2
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It seems like the ill effect comes from an insulin spike, caused by foods with a high glycemic index, full of simple sugar. Oatmeal is low GI, so the effect on speeding up glycogen use should be minimal. Perhaps the psychological crutch of feeling full is worth the small (possible) ill effect on performance?

On the other hand, if you are shooting for a personal best, riding in a triatholon, etc., then you probably need every little edge you can get. My key events last all day, so not eating a couple hours prior is unthinkable. Not eating donuts and pancakes with syrup, o.k.
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Old 08-09-09, 09:09 AM   #3
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In my case I am doing a 90 mile road race. I won't be very competitive, but it'd still be nice to do well and not have any negative side-effects of breakfast or no breakfast.

I'd probably be fine with the oatmeal like I am used to... but the science behind it bugs me (based on Hammer's site).
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Old 08-09-09, 03:49 PM   #4
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I have never been able to bring myself to start a race with no breakfast. One of my problems in races is getting enough food. I don't want to roll to the start already behind in my consumption.

I do eat about three hours before the race though. By the race I am usually getting hungry again and have started eating.

I think that individual variation on Hammers' three hours would be pretty wide- not only do people vary with their insulin reactions, but breakfasts' glycemic index will vary quite a bit.
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Old 08-09-09, 04:01 PM   #5
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I don't race, but I like doing long rides on the weekend and push myself to maintain a pretty steady pace. I eat. Eggs, bagel, fruit, nuts or some variation within a hour to hour and a half before I start riding. They give me a good starting point before I start eating up the Gu, chews, chomps and Cliff bars. I've read that Hammer article before and to be honest I'm not sure I'm buying what they are saying. If I don't eat before I ride, I feel sluggish and lacking the energy needed to start pushing.
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Old 08-10-09, 11:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JasonC View Post
In my case I am doing a 90 mile road race. I won't be very competitive, but it'd still be nice to do well and not have any negative side-effects of breakfast or no breakfast.

I'd probably be fine with the oatmeal like I am used to... but the science behind it bugs me (based on Hammer's site).
Oatmeal is a fine choice for you before the race, especially since you are use to it. Maybe add in some BCAA or whey protein isolate if your body is familiar with it. A light, healthy meal is fine and will do you some good. Why would you want to get to the starting line of a race hungry? If you fast for 3 hours before the race you will be hungry and most people during the race don't eat or drink enough. Let's say you are caught up in the race and forget to eat after an hour in, well now you have fasted for 4 hours. So right there you will most likely be in a calorie deficient state. Why start off the race in a calorie deficient state or close to it? It just doesn't make sense from a real world point of view. Science is great, but real world thinking is sometimes better. Good luck in your race!
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Old 08-11-09, 08:18 AM   #7
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If you're curious, why don't you try doing what the Hammer articles recommend and see if it works? One of the mistakes in thinking about nutrition is to dismiss something as unfeasible without even giving it a go. I mean it doesn't seem to make sense that I should go out and ride 150 miles without eating beforehand when on a work day I need a big breakfast before I leave the house. But if you try it you might be very surprised. I was. Hammer have plenty of testimonies from leading athletes as well as from everyday cyclists to set alongside their science. Try it and find out for yourself.
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Old 08-11-09, 04:55 PM   #8
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If you're curious, why don't you try doing what the Hammer articles recommend and see if it works? One of the mistakes in thinking about nutrition is to dismiss something as unfeasible without even giving it a go. I mean it doesn't seem to make sense that I should go out and ride 150 miles without eating beforehand when on a work day I need a big breakfast before I leave the house. But if you try it you might be very surprised. I was. Hammer have plenty of testimonies from leading athletes as well as from everyday cyclists to set alongside their science. Try it and find out for yourself.
What was your food and drink intake during the 150 mile ride?
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Old 08-12-09, 05:23 AM   #9
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What was your food and drink intake during the 150 mile ride?
On this particular ride (last week - solo with 12,000 feet climbing) I relied largely on Perpetuem - I really think the stuff is wonderful. Two flasks of pancake batter consistency in my pockets kept me going for the first half of the ride. I mixed up some powder for one of my bottles for the second half. I also used endurolytes. I don't follow Hammer advice religiously though - I did have a sandwich and an ice coffee at the halfway point!
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