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  1. #1
    worldtraveller worldtraveller's Avatar
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    ride on empty stomach - bad or not

    Just curious, if i was doing something wrong

    i was trying to loose some weight on my bike rides, when i do long rides too of 65 miles +

    I would focus on the calories to burn from what i ate from day before

    get up in the morning and ride a long ride of 100 km and not eat prior to riding, i do end up at later in ride with no energy and dragging my butt home.

    is this a bad way to loose weight
    or would i have same benefits of it all if i did eat a good breakfast and ride with more energy?
    what do u all suggest?

  2. #2
    Fail Boat crewman
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    Not eating to lose weight leads to heart problems. Adding to that extreme exercise and you have a disaster looming.

    Not having enough calories for any exercise can lead to "bonk".

    Your calorie intake will go up. I am at 3500 a day. Use Spark People or some other site for calorie tracking.

    Eat something during the day. Some people do not eat before a ride and are fine, others enjoy a light meal, and others (me for example) eat about a 1000 calorie breakfast and have no problems.

    Eat man even if it is a protein shake.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    I think you could pull it off with shorter distances and it would work okay at burning fat. I would take an amino acid supplement though to make sure your body has enough free to help prevent muscle protein breakdown.

    However, 100km is a pretty long ride... I would eat something.

  4. #4
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Starting a ride with an empty stomach is a fine idea, but start eating as soon as you start riding. How much to eat depends on how hard you ride. The standard is 250 cal./hr. Half of your calories burned per hour is another way to look at it, hence riding slower you need to eat fewer calories. Most people can't digest more than about 250-300 cal./hr. I can ride 1-2 hours without eating or drinking, but I'm well trained. Most people have to eat and drink.

  5. #5
    Senior Member AltheCyclist's Avatar
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    Personally, I think a 100k ride would require some energy beforehand, but I have no formal nutrition training. Starting empty, the post-ride meal would probably be big since you'll be famished from the energy consumed (thus offsetting any attempted weightloss). I'd guess small meal before and small meal after would be best bet.
    Try all three ways for a month each and let us know! Since everyone is different, it's actually a worthwhile experiment.

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    There's nothing wrong with riding on an empty stomach but if your lack of energy at the end of the ride is due to not enough fuel vs lack of fitness then you should be eating more, either on the ride or before. It's not hard to burn 2500+ calories on a 100k ride which is a big deficit for one day so you'll need to eat something extra during the day in any case.

    If one of your goals is also to improve performance then you definitely should be eating before and during a long ride to ensure you are making good use of your time on the bike. Limping home at an easy pace because you under fueled is just a waste of time.

  7. #7
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    To lose a pound a day I get up very early and ride for one hour without any food or liquid intake. The key is to spin a big gear and to keep the exercise in the aerobic zone. One hour without fuel is doable.

    The theory is that the body will burn mostly fat instead of depleting the glycogen. I lost 12 pounds in the month of June with this method.

  8. #8
    Junior Member JWSpeed's Avatar
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    Andy Hampsten actually noted in a Bicycling magazine MANY years ago that he does not eat the first two hours into any of his training rides. He went into more specifics about how the body stores a pound of glycogen in the liver and muscles and it taught his body to burn fat more efficiently.
    Last edited by JWSpeed; 07-07-11 at 01:28 PM. Reason: typos
    Don't blame me; I am just fully recovered..

  9. #9
    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by worldtraveller View Post
    J i do end up at later in ride with no energy and dragging my butt home.
    Riding while bonked is a waste of time. You are going too slow to get a training benefit or to burn significant calories.

    You'll go faster and lose more weight if you eat more, or earlier, or both. Look at it this way: eating 200 cal/hr enables you to ride for many hours at 600 cal/hr (that's at my endurance pace for 145 lbs, yours may be higher if you weigh more than me). If you're well and truly bonked you'll be down to 350 or less. That's fewer net calories, and it's worth little for training. And you will feel like ass when you get home, be worthless for the rest of the day, and be tempted to eat a pile of junk.

    I can go for a three hour ride without food if I eat breakfast before the ride. Most people can do two hours, some can only do one. Do what you can do now. It's ok to be hungry at the end of the ride, but you should be maintaining the same level of effort, not seeing stars and riding at 12 mph. As you get fitter you'll get more efficient at burning fat and will be able to go longer before depleting your glycogen. But it may take a while- for me it took about 8 years to go from two hours to three.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    moderation is the key for just about everything,

  11. #11
    worldtraveller worldtraveller's Avatar
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    Wow thanks for the advice. i never realized all those years of riding 3 hours without food was i was doing worse for myself then better. thanks

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