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  1. #1
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    Having a hard time figuring out what's right!

    With all the conflicting advice on these boards, how is one to know what's right in training and nutrition? Eat carbs-- no need to eat carbs; take supplements-- no need to supplement; take whey protein-- don't need whey protein........work out with weights---don't work out with weights........

    Maybe I am just not getting it! I did the Atkins diet before I found cycling last Fall. I lost 40#. I added carbs into my diet "to stay on the bike longer" and I've put some of the weight back on. So, now I am doing the South Beach diet. My body just doesn't metabolize carbs the way everyone elses does. Maybe it's a male/female thing? I can't eat a diet of 40% carbs! I'll gain back everything I've lost and then some if I do that.

    I want to be able to ride long distances, I want to improve my speed, but I DON'T want to gain back weight. I find that just cycling 3-4 times a week for an hour isn't enough to keep the weight off. I have to add other things like resistance weights and walking/jogging AND keep the carbs down. If I know I am going to ride for an hour or so, I can eat a carb rich meal (only what South Beach allows, though!) If I know I'm not going to ride, I don't eat many carbs that day. The problem is, I prepare for the ride, it rains or I end up having to work late and I have consumed the carbs, but don't burn them off!

    I am F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-E-D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. #2
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    For a ride under 2 hours there is no need to carb load. if you wanna drop more weight you should ride longer then 1 hour. trust me if you pick up the intensity and ride longer you will use and need the carbs.

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    Don't be frustrated. Everyone's body is different. You will have to chart your food intake whether it is carbs or protein with the amount of exercise each day. I read on the forums where people eat tons of food (carb loading) before a long ride. I don't do do anything special. I take food and money and play it by ear. If I am riding slow, then slower, etc. I eat. When you first start to cycle, it is harder on your body and you burn more calories. I ride about 5000 miles a year which really doesn't say anything. Last year I did a lot of club riding where I pushed myself for speed. This year I am riding casually, I burn a lot less calories. I weigh myself every few days and adjust my eating accordingly. Riding does not make you thin. There are a lot of clydesdales (big or heavy people) on this board. I am one of them. I am overweight but not out of shape. Just like you found that carbs don't agree with you, you will have to experiment with how many carbs to add for your rides. I wouldn't eat carbs until about 1 hour before a ride, then if the ride didn't happen, you have not added extra carbs. Some people don't have any problem with Atkins and cycling. My husband couldn't ride over 10 miles without feeling weak. There are a lot of diets out there, the only thing that worked for me is counting calories. As soon as you tell me I can't have something, a nasty craving starts. If I cut back too much or exercise too heavy, it seems to bring on a "pig out". Work with your body.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekchic
    With all the conflicting advice on these boards, how is one to know what's right in training and nutrition? Eat carbs-- no need to eat carbs; take supplements-- no need to supplement; take whey protein-- don't need whey protein........work out with weights---don't work out with weights........

    Maybe I am just not getting it! I did the Atkins diet before I found cycling last Fall. I lost 40#. I added carbs into my diet "to stay on the bike longer" and I've put some of the weight back on. So, now I am doing the South Beach diet. My body just doesn't metabolize carbs the way everyone elses does. Maybe it's a male/female thing? I can't eat a diet of 40% carbs! I'll gain back everything I've lost and then some if I do that.

    I want to be able to ride long distances, I want to improve my speed, but I DON'T want to gain back weight. I find that just cycling 3-4 times a week for an hour isn't enough to keep the weight off. I have to add other things like resistance weights and walking/jogging AND keep the carbs down. If I know I am going to ride for an hour or so, I can eat a carb rich meal (only what South Beach allows, though!) If I know I'm not going to ride, I don't eat many carbs that day. The problem is, I prepare for the ride, it rains or I end up having to work late and I have consumed the carbs, but don't burn them off!

    I am F-R-U-S-T-R-A-T-E-D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The less fit you are, the more you rely on carbohydrate oxidation at a given workrate. As you get fitter, at the same workload, you rely less on carbohydrates and rely more on fat oxidation.

    However, the important thing is not what fuels you 'burn' within your body, but the total amount of energy you expend (i.e., you expend more kcal, than you eat). This will lead to weight loss.

    As you get fitter, and train for longer and/or harder intensities you require more carbs to be burnt -- these are from your carb stores in your body -- muscle glycogen, liver glycogen and blood glucose.

    To get fitter, you have to provide your body with an overload, that causes 'stress', when we recover afterwards we then adapt to the that stress and we get fitter. to get fitter, you need to either increase the volume of training (duration and/or frequency) and/or the intensity of training.

    To get fitter your body will require more fuel -- primarily this comes from carbohydrates -- whether you're recreational rider or a TdF pro. There are some possible gender differences -- but these shouldn't be causing you an issue.

    On a personal level, i've found that after a period of inactivity (e.g., detraining after illness) i have to increase my food intake as i up my training, resulting in a slight weight gain, followed by a weight loss as i increase my fitness, and maintain my energy intake. i sometimes find that if i don't increase my intake enough during training after a period of inactivity that my recovery is poor and i'm not able to train well.

    Protein supplements aren't required, especially, for low to moderate fitness riders. Anyone that tells you this clearly doesn't understand the underlying physiology of exercise, and is most likely trying to sell you something.

    As regards weight training -- it's only important not to do it, if you race or are capable of racing at e.g., cat 4 and above level. for people who aren't interested in racing or who have other goals then weight training is a good adjunct to the cardiovascular fitness of cycling.

    Ric
    www.cyclecoach.com

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    There's another thing I'm confused about.....when to eat before a ride. Some people on these forums say you have to store the carbs the day before a long ride, some say eat it an hour before a ride and during a ride.........

    I am going to watch it for a month or so. I am in the process of increasing the time on the bike. The intensity thing is creeping up slowly. I can ride about 13-14 mph for about 2 hours......after that, I slow waaaaay down!

  6. #6
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    If you are riding no more than 2 hours then it doesn't matter much what you eat the day before. Just don't eat a big heavy meal within a couple hours of riding and you'll do fine. The idea of carbo loading is to top off the body's supply of glycogen in the muscles and liver before a big ride to maximize the time before bonking.

    In your case, since you are dropping off after about 2 hours, you may be overexerting yourself. As you increase your exertion, your muscles begin burning more and more glycogen to supplement the fat burning. If you do not have well developed leg muscles, then you probably are relying more on glycogen and have relatively small stores to begin with.

    On a long ride, try reducing your speed slightly to conserve your glycogen and rely more on fat burning. You will probably find you can ride significantly further. It would also be a good idea to get a heart rate monitor. Using the monitor, you can get feedback on your level of exertion. To maximize fat burning, you should keep your heart rate below about 75-80% of your maximum heart rate. you may need to go a little lower depending on your fitness.

    As far as eating goes, stick with the standard 40-30-30 plan. 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat calories. forget about the late Dr. Atkins diet, the North Beech diet, or whatever is the 'Diet of the Day'. Don't eat snacks, keep portion size low, and drink lots of water.

    Keep in mind that 4 hours of riding at 14 mph burns about 2000 calories. Over a week, that's just under 200 calories per day, or the equivalent of about 3 cookies, or one skinless chick breast.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekchic
    There's another thing I'm confused about.....when to eat before a ride. Some people on these forums say you have to store the carbs the day before a long ride, some say eat it an hour before a ride and during a ride.........

    I am going to watch it for a month or so. I am in the process of increasing the time on the bike. The intensity thing is creeping up slowly. I can ride about 13-14 mph for about 2 hours......after that, I slow waaaaay down!
    a normal mixed diet, will be fine for you. you should gear your diet around healthy foods, that you may know as complex carbs and grains, veggies, lean meats (if you eat meat etc or meat alternatives if you're a veggie), pulses/legumes, fresh fruit etc. avoid crappy foods such as cakes, biscuits, chocolates, candies, soda, crisps (chips in USA??), etc.

    during exercise of say ~1-hr, you should drink fluids, and longer than one hour you should use a sports drink (6-8% carb solution, with electrolyte). if you're environment is hot or very hot or you have high sweat rates then always use a sports drink.

    i'd avoid eating anything within the hour prior to exercise -- but this is mainly due to increased GI discomfort that may occur.

    drink carb sport drink every say 5 to 15 -mins during exercise, to prevent that slow down or at least lessen it.

    ric
    www.cyclecoach.com

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    On a long ride, try reducing your speed slightly to conserve your glycogen and rely more on fat burning. You will probably find you can ride significantly further. It would also be a good idea to get a heart rate monitor. Using the monitor, you can get feedback on your level of exertion. To maximize fat burning, you should keep your heart rate below about 75-80% of your maximum heart rate. you may need to go a little lower depending on your fitness.
    if you have limited time to train and your goal is weight loss, you should exercise as *hard* as possible, but at a level that allows you to train as regularly as your scheduling allows at an approximately similar level (i.e., don't do 20 mph one day, and the next you have to crawl at 5 mph).

    the fat burning zone is a myth, more fat is oxidised per unit time, at higher intensities even though th relative contribution to total energy expenditure is considerably less.


    As far as eating goes, stick with the standard 40-30-30 plan. 40% carbohydrates, 30% protein, and 30% fat calories. forget about the late Dr. Atkins diet, the North Beech diet, or whatever is the 'Diet of the Day'. Don't eat snacks, keep portion size low, and drink lots of water.
    the 40/30/30 is one of those quackery diets (Sears). the standard would be approximately 50/30/20 CHO/fat/protein.


    Keep in mind that 4 hours of riding at 14 mph burns about 2000 calories. Over a week, that's just under 200 calories per day, or the equivalent of about 3 cookies, or one skinless chick breast.
    [/quote]

    at ~ 14 mph, i expend ~ 350 kcal/hr on fairly flat roads at sea level under temperate conditions, using a standard RRing bike, sitting upright. i'm 1.75 m and 69 kg, bigger or smaller riders will expend more or less energy respectively.

    if you want to know a good ball-park for energy expenditure to aid with weight loss, you'll need a power meter such as an SRM/Power Tap/S725/Ergomo as average power output * time = mechanical work done, which equates approximately to energy expenditure. you can't get a relialble or useful figure for energy expenditure from a HR monitor.

    ric
    www.cyclecoach.com

  9. #9
    Just ride. roadbuzz's Avatar
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    the equivalent of about 3 cookies, or one skinless chick breast
    FWIW, I find that an intense workout is a pretty good temporary appetite suppressant (sp?). So, on hard days, when I get off work I ignore the pleas of my tapeworm and get straight to the work-out. Afterwards I'm not particularly hungry, but will down a recovery drink right after, and a light meal w/some protein and carbs 1/2 hour after. A couple hours later, when I feel like eating, I'm not starved and it's easier to limit input.

    Mind you, it takes a very intense workout.

  10. #10
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    Hi trekchic,

    I would recommend that you take the nutrition advice given here with a healthly dose of self study. I've found two sites where info is abundant.

    www.webcyclery.com go to articles drop down and then select nutrition. The other is the Pacific Health Labratories site. I don't have the URL handy, but a quick google will get you there. They're the makers of accelerade, endurox, countdown, etc. Although their site may be slightly biased it still has solid scientific data you can use as a foundation for learning about your specific needs.

    I hope this helps your unravelling the mysteries you find frustrating.

    Nick

  11. #11
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    ...and Richard Stern, a member of this forum, had replied to your post here too. He has an informative site www.cyclecoach.com. In there you'll find more information of the type you seek.

    Nick

  12. #12
    Pat
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    Well, I don't think there is any "right" thing to do for everyone.

    I have a friend who is a diabetic. He has controlled his diabetes with diet and exercise. Of course, he has to eat what he calls "rabbit food" about 5 times per day but it works.

    I suppose the best things to base one's diet on are fresh fruits, vegetables, you know things like: brocolli, cabbage, brussel sprouts, spinach, carrots, etc, and whole grain cereals. Complex carbs and lots of fiber and a little meat preferable lean. Of course, most people don't like that. I mean whoever saw a candy bar based on cabbage rather then sugar, fat and CHOCOLATE?

    The thing is that different people respond to the same foods in different ways. I find if I am doing a bunch of cycling (say over 70 miles per day), I go into carbo mode. I eat a little meat but most of what I eat is just straight carbohydrates to keep the furnace going. But I guess other people have other experiences.

    You see diet is a pretty individual thing and you have a pot load of variables. You have your personal amount of activity. Increased physical activity will change how your body responds to food. You have your body's own response to foods - fatty meals give me heart burn for example - not that that always stops me mind. And you have what you are conditioned to like. I mean some people WANT to have a big ol steak every other day and feel deprived if they do not get it. Other people live for say cookies or cake or ice cream. Some people regard vegetables with deep suspicion like they are laced with nerve gas or something.

    I think americans tend to like low carb diets because americans are conditioned to think that if they do not eat a substantial amount of meat in a meal, they have not eaten. Well, if you are going to eat that much meat, you have to cut SOMETHING out now don't you? That means carbs go out the window. But because of the emphasis on meat in the american diet, people are far more willing to give up bread then steak.

    I think also carbs tend to digest faster and spike blood sugar levels in many people especially if they people are sedentary. Meat and its associated fats tend to give people a nice "filled up" feeling and the meat takes longer to digest so the people feel satisfied for a longer period of time.

    The trick is to find a diet that is 1) healthy 2) keeps your weight down 3) fits your activity level and 4) is appealing to you. That is tough and it is largely and individual sort of thing.

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