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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 04-13-10, 09:50 AM   #1
Hamrick
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Health and Glucose?

Hello, all.
I just found this site today because I have a lot of questions.
But I'll start with a few for more, though I'm not sure if I'm asking in the right area.
To start with. I am 20, around 5'5 and 118lbs. I'm also vegetarian and relatively healthy, with no known problems. I used to bike once in a while, especially last summer, then I bought a recumbent bike. Now that the weather is better I would like to start exercising outside more.
The problem I have though is with heart rate and breathing. I have tried breathing exercises and controlling my breathing when I bike, but it has little affect. Also, my heart rate us usually very rapid after just a short time of exercise or biking. Overtime I am sure conditoning will help this, but I know it will not improve if I'm doing something wrong in the way of performance or diet, or if there are other problems.
I have read so many different things online, but haven't found anything that helps.
Any ideas?
Also, I was wondering if glucose levels can affect breathing and heart rate so much (in a non- diabetic) that it would affect this.

Any advice would be great!
Thanks, and expect a lot of questions soon, 'cause I'm full of them

Last edited by Hamrick; 04-13-10 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 04-13-10, 11:55 AM   #2
tadawdy
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The problem I have though is with heart rate and breathing. I have tried breathing exercises and controlling my breathing when I bike, but it has little affect. Also, my heart rate us usually very rapid after just a short time of exercise or biking. Overtime I am sure conditoning will help this, but I know it will not improve if I'm doing something wrong in the way of performance or diet, or if there are other problems.

Also, I was wondering if glucose levels can affect breathing and heart rate so much (in a non- diabetic) that it would affect this.
You are probably just out of shape, and just pushing your pace beyond your fitness. There's something called the ventilatory threshold, where your breathing increases non-linearly with your work rate. It usually corresponds well with lactate threshold. In untrained people this can be as low as around 50% of VO2 max. The good news is that lactate threshold is highly trainable.

Do you have a speedometer and HR monitor? This might give you a better idea of where you actually are. A "very rapid" HR for one person might be what someone else calls normal.

It's probably just that you aren't in very good aerobic shape, which comes with riding more than "once in a while."
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Old 04-13-10, 12:51 PM   #3
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You are probably just out of shape, and just pushing your pace beyond your fitness. There's something called the ventilatory threshold, where your breathing increases non-linearly with your work rate. It usually corresponds well with lactate threshold. In untrained people this can be as low as around 50% of VO2 max. The good news is that lactate threshold is highly trainable.

Do you have a speedometer and HR monitor? This might give you a better idea of where you actually are. A "very rapid" HR for one person might be what someone else calls normal.

It's probably just that you aren't in very good aerobic shape, which comes with riding more than "once in a while."

I ride a recumbent bike often, the "one in a while" came from how much I have been biking outdoors.
I do not have my own heart rate monitor, but that was going to be my second question here...recommendations for a good one, one that I can set a limit 'warning' on. I'm also going to get a new computer for my bike.
And the only speedometer I have is in my indoor bike, so that is of no help.
What would be the best routine to build threshold? As well as aerobic shape.
One more question; do you know of any changes in routine related to chest expansion? I was once told I likely have limited chest expansion...assuming this because the shape of my sternum, but I'm not so sure it is true.

Thanks!
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Old 04-13-10, 01:25 PM   #4
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I ride a recumbent bike often, the "one in a while" came from how much I have been biking outdoors.
I do not have my own heart rate monitor, but that was going to be my second question here...recommendations for a good one, one that I can set a limit 'warning' on. I'm also going to get a new computer for my bike.
And the only speedometer I have is in my indoor bike, so that is of no help.
What would be the best routine to build threshold? As well as aerobic shape.
One more question; do you know of any changes in routine related to chest expansion? I was once told I likely have limited chest expansion...assuming this because the shape of my sternum, but I'm not so sure it is true.

Thanks!
Unless the person who told you you have "limited chest expansion" was a doctor or some other medical professional and was holding x-rays of your chest, I wouldn't put too much stock in that. Ventilation (i.e. how much air you can move in and out) isn't usually limiting for athletic performance. It may be as we get older, as the rib cage becomes less flexible.

A speedometer in combination w/ a HR monitor can help you calibrate your RPE. Eventually, you'll find yourself looking at them less, and going by feel more. It also helps gauge your progress. I've been feeling great lately, have been going faster at a lower RPE than before. This is enough for me to know I am getting into better condition on the bike, and that what I am doing is working.
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Old 04-13-10, 01:48 PM   #5
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Most folks don't know how to breathe. I think it's quite odd that we aren't born knowing how, and unlike bird song, most parents don't teach it. I bet they used to, back when we had to run our prey down! Sedentary culture. Anyway, I'll step down from my soapbox.

I've never ridden a recumbent hard, so I can't speak to that specifically, though I know there are bound to be differences imposed by the different posture. The main things are that you want to mostly breathe with your stomach. Forget what they told you in health class or whatever. This isn't about beauty. When you have a full breath, you'll look pregnant. So first thing, open your mouth and keep it open. Straighten your neck and conciously open your airway. Drop your tongue. Now start to breath in. As you breath in through your mouth, fill your belly (the bottom of your lungs, really) first, by expanding your stomach. Pooch it out and feel the air rush in. Then continue that expansion upward, until you have filled the top of your chest by expanding your rib cage. No such order to the exhaust - just breath out.

As your breathing rate increases, continue with this concious process. Eventually, at a high effort, you'll have to shallow up the breathing a little in order to breath faster. That's OK, but keep breathing as deeply as you can. A little more and you'll have reached ventilatory threshold, which is about the same as lactate threshold and about as hard an effort as you can sustain.

Don't worry about the rapid heart rate. You can't hurt your heart by going hard. It'll get slower as it gets larger with exercise. That's a good thing, not the bad thing like when you hear that someone has an enlarged heart. Having a more muscular heart is good.
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Old 04-13-10, 03:15 PM   #6
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I do not have my own heart rate monitor, but that was going to be my second question here...recommendations for a good one, one that I can set a limit 'warning' on.
You're 20 not 80. Unless you have been diagnosed with a heart problem stop worrying about your HR. Your heart is self regulating and you won't damage it by going too hard. The only time I would suggest using a limit warning is when you are doing a recovery ride and you are trying to keep it very low.

If you want to improve your performance it would be worthwhile to buy/read Joe Friel's "Training Bible". Lots of good ideas on how to train.
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Old 04-13-10, 03:20 PM   #7
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Going back to your other questions . . .
Yes, blood sugar levels can affect breathing, but that's unlikely to be the case with you, and in any case with a non-diabetic, blood sugar levels stabilize well during exercise. If you feel starving hungry while riding, eat something that's high in carbos, right away. Take a bar or a banana or something with you to make this possible.

Heart rate monitor (HRM) . . .
There's no need to set a limit on your HR (heart rate). If you run out of gas, you'll slow down. It's self-limiting, and finding your limits is part of learning to ride. Polar makes good HRMs, but there are other manufacturers. Don't just buy the cheapest one, though buying the simplest one can be a good idea. I had the equivalent of the FS1 for many years:
http://www.trinowfitness.com/

You don't really need a speedometer. I have a cyclocomputer, but almost never look at my speed.

The best routine to build strength, speed, and power is simply to ride a lot. After you have been riding 100 miles/week or more for a few months is a good time to start thinking about routines, tactics, and strategies to get faster or do more fun things.
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Old 04-16-10, 04:05 PM   #8
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Check the vegetarian diet. Maybe it's not as healthy as people would lead you to believe. An interesting podcast to listen to at the webpage below about a vegetarian who followed that diet and found that it was not healthy at all:

http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/?p=7258
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Old 04-18-10, 10:15 AM   #9
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I haven't yet listened to the podcast, but I will. I've read and heard about a lot of arguments for and against vegetarianism. Many issues come from people just cutting meat from their diets and expecting to be healthier, while taking no effort to get the nutrients found in meat from any other sources. Generally a vegetarian will not have problems if they balance their diets, but many people mess this up, especially if they decide to be vegan. I'm not vegetarian just for health reasons, though I try to be as healthy as I can with it.
Also, the "problems" I have when exercising were there before I chose a vegetarian diet, so people here are likely right in saying I'm just not in shape.

Thanks for the link.
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Old 04-18-10, 12:49 PM   #10
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Your problem is that you are out of shape. When I was out of shape my HR would skyrocket if I tried to go anything other than slow up a hill, and at a high HR I'd quickly feel bad. Not just out of breath, but really bad, like my heart was going to explode. That's what you get when you're sedentary at age 40.

Now that I am in shape I'm a lot faster up hills and everywhere else and high heart rates are just fine.

Unless your vegetarian diet is nothing but Cheeze-its and Coke, it's ok. Don't worry about "controlling" your breathing. Let your body tell you what you need. If you're working too hard all you have to do is slow down.

I agree with the others who said that you don't need an HRM for this. Feel bad? slow down. Feel good? speed up.
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Old 04-18-10, 02:35 PM   #11
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.

Unless your vegetarian diet is nothing but Cheeze-its and Coke, it's ok.
Well I avoid both, so I'm in good shape!
Not literally, but you get the point.

Just curious...how long were your bike rides during your "out of shape" period at it's worst?
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