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  1. #1
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    Nutrition Questions

    I've been running into some problems getting into biking and they're getting somewhat frustrating, after reading somewhat about nutrition and actually looking what i take in on an average day I'm starting to think i've found the cause. I had the problem last year and it made it somewhat hard to get motivated and i stopped and i'm having the problem again this year but i'm determined to get past it since i actually enjoy the cycling part. What's happening I would describe as feeling like muscle fatigue. Right from when i get started my legs feel really tired and i can push through it for a while but then they just give and my speed drops like 5-10km/h for the rest of the ride. I'm not in particularly good shape and yet I can't even push myself hard enough to start breathing hard without my legs just giving out.

    Now i'm thinking there's one or two answers to this, one suck it up and push through it or two my nutrition sucks. Statistically the items I eat overall are healthy enough but i think it's the quantities that are the problem. I've figured out the average day for me only consists of about 1350-1500 calories and about 140-170 grams of carbohydrates. This isn't done on purpose due to some diet or anything it's just the way I happen to eat, my appetite is basically non existent. To clarify this is based on me being 5'8" 160 lbs.

    I had never really looked at what I ate and added it up however this seems very low and seems like it may be the cause of some fatigue. Any opinions on this matter? If this does seem low does anyone have any suggestions of some good food items to get the carbs and calories without being too heavy on the stomach. I know things like baked potatoes and oatmeal and stuff are good, what about other major sources(not a huge fan of pasta)

    Thanks for any help

  2. #2
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    My personal opinion is that this amount of calories shouldn't really be causing your fatigue, especially just starting out. If you were having a hard time increasing performance or going for long rides i would think the calories could play into the problem, but not in this case.

    I'm thinking the problem may be the quality of calories or your general fitness level. If it's the quality of calories then go healthy: only whole grains & complex carbs, beans, lean meat/fish, dark green veges, fruits (apple, grapefruit... as snacks). Whole grains, fruits, and veges should naturally increase your fiber and antioxidants to help clean out the body and fight radicals. It will take a about a week to notice affects of the healthy diet...and take a multivitamin.

    If your general fitness is low then take it easy, push through it to an extent but don't overexert yourself. Your diet and exercise routine should be sustainable. Take it nice and easy and build your fitness level gradually, set some goals so after a month or so you can ride longer. I personally think the biggest mistake people make with a diet/exercise routine is that they try to do too much too soon and this leads to overall failure for the long term...before you can run you have to walk...good luck

  3. #3
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    When you feel your speed dropping, eat an energy bar or cookie or banana or something.

  4. #4
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    If your legs are feeling tired right from when you start, and you're not noticeably hungry, then it's not nutrition. Your legs are just not used to cycling. It uses more specific muscles than running or walking does, and you have to train them.


    Keep riding, it'll get better.

  5. #5
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    Sound like me when I got back into cycling a couple years ago.

    At first it was all I could do to ride around the block. It was a gradual process but I just kept at it gradually increasing my distance and exertion level. It's taken a while but now I'm a bicycling god! (...or at least a helluvalot better than I used to be.)

    You're definitely using different muscles than you're used to and it takes a while to develop them and all the other physiological stuff to support them.

    So it sounds to me like you just need to stick with it and have some patience.

  6. #6
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    That sounds like just how I get when my electrolyte levels are low. Drink an electrolyte replacement drink (nuun tablets etc) while riding, and take a good multi-vitamin + mineral supplement.
    Elite XC turned Cat1 Road Cyclist

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    hisse, are you a male or female?

    1,500 caories is definitely too low for an active person.

  8. #8
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    You could be pushing too hard a gear, not spinning easy enough, Lyme's, heart valve leak, other

  9. #9
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    Just keep riding. Spin the pedals, don't mash them. Have fun. It takes time and work to get to long distance w/o problems. Takes even more work to get there with speed.

    BTW, your butt will hurt eventually. That happens!

  10. #10
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    If that is your true calorie intake, you may not have enough daily calories. You need to figure your resting metabolic rate to get an idea of what number of calories you really need, just to get through the day.

    What is your age, height, weight, sex?

  11. #11
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    I'll second or third that it's not the calories or your diet. That's about my size and I'm definitely not skinny, which you would be if you were calorie deficient. And it's possible to eat almost any crazy diet and bike just fine, as has been proven over and over by a variety of posters on this forum.

    Here's how it works. Your whole body is nothing but a chemical factory. You take in chemicals that we call food, extract energy from them through a variety of processes, and excrete the stuff your body couldn't use. There is a concept called athletic training which many of us do. Let us postulate that you are interested in also beginning to train. All training does is change your body's use of the energy it extracts from food. It changes how the chemical factory works. Along the way it might incidentally build some muscle, but that's not the major effect. Your leg muscles need certain chemical reactions to occur in order for those muscles to contract forcefully and frequently, thus propelling you on the bicycle. You have to make your chemical factory want to change how it works. You do that by riding your bike. Simple as that, and totally miraculous.

    So yes, just ride. Ride every day. Only a little to start with, just until you are tired. You should be able to guess about how far that is, and just ride away from home half that distance. Then gradually increase your turn-around points. It's the frequency of riding that most quickly stimulates your chemical factory to change how it works and start producing energy for your body. When I was starting out and had gotten a little strength, I began riding away from home until I was tired and then just tried to ride back somehow. Exhaustion speeds up the change by a process known as super-compensation.

    As one of the above posters suggested, spin the pedals very quickly. 90 rpm is a standard. You can use "faster than you think" as a pedal cadence to begin with. This will reduce the force required from your legs and increase the aerobic effect.

    And the reason your appetite is so low is that you don't need much food energy to do what you are doing at present. That's a good quality to have, and it's kept you from gaining a lot of weight. Once you start biking more your energy production systems will start to get active and they'll want to be fed, and then your appetite will increase to satisfy them. It all works by itself.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    I had never really looked at what I ate and added it up however this seems very low and seems like it may be the cause of some fatigue. Any opinions on this matter? If this does seem low does anyone have any suggestions of some good food items to get the carbs and calories without being too heavy on the stomach
    Why play guessing games with your diet? No one can tell how much your diet is affecting your exercise.

    A stating point for this type of inquiry involves evaluating your performance, keeping a weight/training diary and reviewing all the info across a period of time. The idea of eat this much - and - problem solved - is ridiculous.

  13. #13
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    Protein requirements for athletes are 1.2-1.4gm/kg per day. Compared to 0.8mg/kg per day for the "average" person.

    Your basal metabolic rate accounts for the majority of your caloric expenditure, but it will decrease in a chronic starvation state, so if that is truly your caloric intake, you may actually be slowing your process by reducing your basal metabolic rate, where most of your calories are burned.

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