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  1. #1
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    Lack of appetite and insufficient caloric intake

    Ever since I started training seriously about a year ago, I run into trouble anytime I try to increase my training volume beyond 7-9 hours a week. The problem seems to lie in simply not taking in enough calories. Right now, if I REALLY try, I can consume maybe 3000-3500 a day. Even at that level, I'm forcing myself to eat and I don't enjoy meals. Eating is a constant task.

    I've gone to see a sports medicine specialist who said I should be consuming far more (in the neighborhood of 6000/day), and also simply not training more than 7-9 hours a week. He said I should eat whatever foods I need to in order to get the calories, even suggesting a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream before bed every night.

    While I'm not concerned about overeating (I have never been able to gain weight, and putting on fat is not at all a concern), eating unhealthy just doesn't seem a wise option. Eventually, I'll probably see a Nutritionist, but that's expensive, so I thought I'd check the forums to see if anyone here has had a similar issue and what they did to combat it.
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    I wish I had your problem, but I have the opposite: I train 12+ hours a week, take in about 2000 calories per day, am always hungry and have a difficult time dropping weight.

    That being said a pint of Ben & Jerrys every night, while tasty, doesn't sound like a good idea for anyone.
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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    suggesting a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream before bed every night.
    Does sound tasty, but after your heart attack, you may never wake up...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    Ever since I started training seriously about a year ago, I run into trouble anytime I try to increase my training volume beyond 7-9 hours a week. The problem seems to lie in simply not taking in enough calories. Right now, if I REALLY try, I can consume maybe 3000-3500 a day. Even at that level, I'm forcing myself to eat and I don't enjoy meals. Eating is a constant task.

    I've gone to see a sports medicine specialist who said I should be consuming far more (in the neighborhood of 6000/day), and also simply not training more than 7-9 hours a week.
    7-9 hrs/week is not that much and doesn't require 6000 Cals/day. How much do you weigh? Do you eat a balanced diet? Are you a vegetarian?

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    6000+ isn't necessary for 7-9 hrs, but it may be for 12-15, which is how much I'd like to be riding. At my current ~3000 cal/day, 7-9 is all I can handle without experiencing severe fatigue.

    I'm 5'11" and a fairly lean 165 lbs/75 kg. Most of my mass is left over from when I lifted before cycling. Freshman year of college, I didn't exercise at all, at like a monster, and at the same height weighed less than 140.
    laterally stiff and vertically compliant

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    6k per day does seem pretty high and eating unhealthy should never be recommended just for calories sake. My personal opinion is you shouldn't eat just to eat, usually your body knows what it needs. IMO just eat high quality calories and your body should be able to do more with less (i.e. my diet is mainly complex carbs, whole grains, fish/bean/whey protein, fruits, and dark green veges). Eating to bulk up, to get toned, to improve cardio, or increase strength & not bulk up all require different calories...

    What type of training are you doing? intensity? cardio? weights?

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    Sounds to me you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia or Hashimoto's Autoimmune Thyroid disease which isn't cured by piling in more calories<<< That makes it worse. I would recommend you check your thyroid status. In most cases its cured via eliminating the offensive food/drink. Sugar, alcohol, high carbs need to be cut. Putting in excessive carbs is an absolute no no. You might find eating more of a protein-rich diet with fewer carbs, your energy levels are much more consistent & you don't get the after meal crash.

    6000+ calories. Your getting in towards Ronnie Coleman territory.
    Last edited by $ick3nin.vend3t; 04-02-10 at 09:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    Ever since I started training seriously about a year ago, I run into trouble anytime I try to increase my training volume beyond 7-9 hours a week. The problem seems to lie in simply not taking in enough calories.
    Everybody is responding about what you eat. The big question is what do you mean you "run into trouble anytime I try to increase my training volume beyond 7-9 hours a week"? Do you bonk, not have enough strength to train, feel fatigued constantly, don't have the endurance to train, etc?
    You're just trying to start an argument to show how smart you are.

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    6000+ isn't necessary for 7-9 hrs, but it may be for 12-15,
    No it's not.

    For example I did 14.5 hours last week, which took about 8500 Calories. Figure a BMR of 3000 to be quite generous and that's still only 4200 Cal/day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    which is how much I'd like to be riding. At my current ~3000 cal/day, 7-9 is all I can handle without experiencing severe fatigue.
    There's something wrong with you. 7-9 hours should not be giving you severe fatigue. Unless you are also doing a whole lot of some other activity as well.

  10. #10
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    Unless there is a lot of other stress in your life, or you're not sleeping properly, I'd look for issues other than just undereating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    No it's not.

    For example I did 14.5 hours last week, which took about 8500 Calories. Figure a BMR of 3000 to be quite generous and that's still only 4200 Cal/day.
    BMR of 3000 kcal is not only generous, but ridiculous, for those scoring at home.

  12. #12
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    7-9 hours of cycling a week means you're burning about 500-600 calories a day in addition to what you burn when you're sleeping, sitting in your office, etc.

    If all you're doing, besides cycling an hour or so a day, is sleeping or sitting in your office, or sitting in front of the TV, you're likely burning <2000 calories a day doing those things (possibly even as low as 1500 calories), plus ~500 for the cycling for a total of something in the neighborhood of 2000 to 2500 calories per day.

    It would take cycling 6+ hours a day to require anything in the neighborhood of 6000 calories a day.

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    Its a Thyroid problem.

    Nuff said.

    7-9 hours of cycling a week & feels severely fatigued as a result???...
    Last edited by $ick3nin.vend3t; 04-02-10 at 09:26 AM.

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    Yeah, I do over 9 hours of cycling per week and during the week I usually eat less than 2500 calories/day (more on weekends because of longer ride/races). Something is wrong with you if you can't survive on 3000-3500/day.

    And yeah, assuming he has a BMR of 3000 is insane. It's probably closer to half that.

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    I've had a CBC and my thyroid checked. Everything is within normal limits, for the most part right down the middle.

    You all say that 3000 cal/day should be sufficient for 12+ hours. This may be the case with most people, but I've noticed a direct correlation btwn. calories consumed and how many hours I can ride in a given week before experiencing severe fatigue (i.e. lethargic, constantly tired, low motivation, low energy while riding, etc.).

    The more I eat, the more I can ride, and the less I eat, the less I can ride. At ~3000/day, I can ride 7-9. If I eat less (say, 2500), even 7-9 can be too much.
    laterally stiff and vertically compliant

  16. #16
    umd
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    I've known several people who had Hashimoto's (as sick mentioned) or something similar that shows up normal on a regular blood test. All the thyroid levels seem normal but it's really a problem converting from one type to another. They check for the base type, not the convered type, so if you have the conversion issue they wouldn't know. It's pretty rare from what I understand, so they don't like to test for it, and/or don't understand it.

    I probably take in about 3-4,000 cal/day and I ride 14-18 hours most weeks. Last week was exceptionally high at 22 hours, and according to my power meter I did 13,000 kJ of work. My BMR is about 1,800/day, or another 12,000 for the week. That's 25,000 for the week, or about 3,600/day.

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    Do you consume anything while you are riding?

    I suffer if I don't consume carbs during and after riding. Consuming carbs after riding is important to restore the glycogen in your muscles for your next ride.

    I use a (homemade) sport drink and gels for energy and it makes a lot of difference.



    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    I've had a CBC and my thyroid checked. Everything is within normal limits, for the most part right down the middle.

    You all say that 3000 cal/day should be sufficient for 12+ hours. This may be the case with most people, but I've noticed a direct correlation btwn. calories consumed and how many hours I can ride in a given week before experiencing severe fatigue (i.e. lethargic, constantly tired, low motivation, low energy while riding, etc.).

    The more I eat, the more I can ride, and the less I eat, the less I can ride. At ~3000/day, I can ride 7-9. If I eat less (say, 2500), even 7-9 can be too much.

  18. #18
    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    I've had a CBC and my thyroid checked. Everything is within normal limits, for the most part right down the middle.
    Then its been misdiagnosed, which is the norm with this condition.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    You all say that 3000 cal/day should be sufficient for 12+ hours. This may be the case with most people, but I've noticed a direct correlation btwn. calories consumed and how many hours I can ride in a given week before experiencing severe fatigue (i.e. lethargic, constantly tired, low motivation, low energy while riding, etc.).
    severe fatigue
    lethargic, constantly tired
    low motivation
    low energy


    Impaired memory or concentration
    Muscle pain
    Pain in multiple joints
    Brain fog
    Shortness of breath
    Allergies
    Instability, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, balance problems or fainting)
    Psychological problems (depression, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks)
    Weight loss or gain
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    No question. Thyroid issues.

    I feel for you. I suffered from Hashimoto's or Graves disease for several months, that was until I eliminated the cause from my diet. Its hell on earth. What I don't understand is how your managing to get in 9 hours?, I could hardly get out of bed. The condition makes a 6 hour ride in good health seem church mouse. You must be on the tough end of the scale.


    Again, the cure (FOR ME) was eliminating the food (which the idiot I am) was eating excessively. Now I wouldn't even wipe my arse with it.

    Activity levels

    Patients report critical reductions in levels of physical activity[37] and a reduction in the complexity of activity has been observed,[38] with reported impairment comparable to other fatiguing medical conditions[39] such as late-stage AIDS,[40] lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and the effects of chemotherapy.[41] CFS affects a person's functional status and well-being more than major medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, congestive heart failure, or type II diabetes mellitus[6][42] The severity of symptoms and disability is the same in both genders[43] with strongly disabling chronic pain,[44] but despite a common diagnosis the functional capacity of individuals with CFS varies greatly.[45] While some lead relatively normal lives, others are totally bed-ridden and unable to care for themselves. Employment rates vary with over half unable to work and nearly two-thirds limited in their work because of their illness. More than half were on disability benefits or temporary sick leave, and less than a fifth worked full-time.

  19. #19
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    At what intensity are you riding and how much sleep are you getting? If you are hammering your rides, have other stressors in you life, and not getting enough sleep you may just be overtraining. Google overtraining and see if it sounds familiar.

    Going over 9 hours a week doesn’t sound like much, but it is more than a body can handle if you are only getting 2-3 hours of solid sleep, have a lot going on at work, and dealing with family issues.

    If you aren’t losing weight, I don’t think calorie intake is an issue. I’m a skinny dude (6’, 147 lbs) and when my weight drops I must eat more and/or cut back my riding. I don’t have your symptoms from not getting enough calories. However, I do get your symptoms plus loss of appetite when I become overtrained. When this happens I put the bike up and don’t get back on it until I get 2 or 3 nights of solid sleep. ….I also sleep like crap if I become overtrained.

  20. #20
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    I've had a CBC and my thyroid checked. Everything is within normal limits, for the most part right down the middle.

    You all say that 3000 cal/day should be sufficient for 12+ hours. This may be the case with most people, but I've noticed a direct correlation btwn. calories consumed and how many hours I can ride in a given week before experiencing severe fatigue (i.e. lethargic, constantly tired, low motivation, low energy while riding, etc.).

    The more I eat, the more I can ride, and the less I eat, the less I can ride. At ~3000/day, I can ride 7-9. If I eat less (say, 2500), even 7-9 can be too much.
    7-9 hours of cycling per week isn't much ... it's not even at the recommended level of 90 minutes a day. You're only riding a little over an hour a day. Just eat a normal 1800 calorie diet and eat a 300 calorie snack just before your ride. For a ride of <2 hours you shouldn't even need to eat during the ride although maybe your body hasn't been trained to use the calories effectively yet ... you might try eating a cookie or something mid-ride.

    If that doesn't work ... go back to the Dr. 3000+ calories a day for the limited amount of exercise you're doing is ridiculous. Or is there something you're not telling us ... do you work at a very physically active job?

  21. #21
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    A few additional comments


    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    Ever since I started training seriously about a year ago, I run into trouble anytime I try to increase my training volume beyond 7-9 hours a week.
    7-9 hours a week is not "training seriously". It's "a good start".


    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    I've gone to see a sports medicine specialist who said I should be consuming far more (in the neighborhood of 6000/day), and also simply not training more than 7-9 hours a week. He said I should eat whatever foods I need to in order to get the calories, even suggesting a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream before bed every night.
    Very irresponsible of that medical "specialist" to suggest exercising less and especially to suggest eating that much. If people in the medical field are suggesting such nonsense, it's no wonder obesity is such a problem in western society.


    Quote Originally Posted by Pt_Lumberjack View Post
    While I'm not concerned about overeating (I have never been able to gain weight, and putting on fat is not at all a concern)
    Go see a Dr that knows what he's doing ... one that will check you for 1) worms and 2) Crohns Disease. Does Crohns Disease run in your family?

    Also, how much protein do you eat during the day?

  22. #22
    umd
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    Machka, I don't think you can say that the OP is not training seriously on 7-9 hours. It depends on the intensity. Not everyone's goal is long distance riding like you. In the OP's case I know he is a strong cat 4 racer who has done well in many races and has his points to upgrade to cat 3. Sounds pretty serious to me, especially if he riding hard, doing intervals in those 9 hours. And for what it's worth, I know that waterrockets trains pretty seriosuly on 8 hours/week. So with all due respect, you are full of BS.

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    7-9 hours a week is not "training seriously". It's "a good start".
    Machka, What if the OP is suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto's or Graves disease?. Personally I experienced Hashimoto's first hand & it made me come close to being bed ridden & when I did get out of bed, I just wanted to go back again. It wasn't laziness, I was constantly spaced out, couldn't hardly move or function.

    So if the OP is suffering from one of them conditions its one "hell a good start" because I know firsthand its far too dangerous for me, even contemplating getting on the bike due to brain fog, poor balance, NO ENERGY etc... I was like a zombie, mopeing about the place.

  24. #24
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    My training season didn't start out at 7-9 hours/week. I started doing base and built from 10 hrs a week to 15 (and had plans to do more). This was when severe fatigue started to show and, on the doctors orders, I cut it down to 7-9. And yes, this time includes intervals of all lengths (sprint, 1', 5' and 20') in accordance with what I understand to be generally agreed upon training plan principles (periodization, etc). Right now I'm beginning a gluten-free diet (healthy and balanced, of course), which I'll give 1-2 weeks to see if that might solve any problems. After that, I'm kind of out of ideas and I guess I'll fork over the dough for a nutritionist.
    laterally stiff and vertically compliant

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