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  1. #1
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    Workout nutrition while trying to lose weight. To eat or not to eat?

    Today I did about 55 miles on my road bike in 3.5 hours. While on the bike, I had a stinger waffle and I downed some ribs when I got home (not the best choice for someone trying to lose weight, but they were around). I'm 6', 210 lbs and trying to lose 20-30 lbs.

    My question is as follows: Should I be "fueling" while on my longer rides, or are the extra calories consumed just holding me back? Is there any benefit to eating some carbs while out on the bike? Wouldn't it make more sense to burn up all my glycogen stores, suffer through any "bonkiness" and just burn fat?

    On a related note, how important is recovering with protein? Are the extra calories worth the muscle repair?

    To give you an idea of my normal routine: I commute to work by bike, about 20-21 miles total roundtrip 2-3 days a week. I generally get in 2 longer (40-60) mile rides on my road bike on the weekends. Days I'm not on the bike, I generally run between 3-5 miles.

    Thanks in advance!

    TLDR- extra calories of mid-workout fueling and post-workout recovery "worth it," or merely hindering weight loss?

  2. #2
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Eat, but eat properly.

    You ate a bunch of ribs when you got home because "they were around". Look at the rest of your pantry and see what else you should be eating and what you shouldn't, because convenience will often trump nutrition when you're hungry.

    What do you do for exercise besides biking and running?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralphie000 View Post
    My question is as follows: Should I be "fueling" while on my longer rides, or are the extra calories consumed just holding me back? Is there any benefit to eating some carbs while out on the bike? Wouldn't it make more sense to burn up all my glycogen stores, suffer through any "bonkiness" and just burn fat?
    The amount of fat burned is a function of your exercise intensity not how much glycogen you have left. You will maximize fat oxidation around 65% of your VO2Max which is a moderate (not low) intensity ride. If your glycogen stores get used up and you end up 'bonking' you will be burning fat and maybe protein but only at a very low rate so that's a poor idea.

    Whatever you do you need to replace the carbs you burn at some point. If you eat carbs on the ride you won't need to eat as many after. It's best to experiment a little to see what works for you.

    On a related note, how important is recovering with protein? Are the extra calories worth the muscle repair?
    You need some protein but perhaps not as much as you think. Cycling is primarily an aerobic exercise and doesn't require as much protein as weight lifting. For more information you might try Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

  4. #4
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    Thank you very much. This is exactly the type of information I was looking for.

  5. #5
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Actually protein intake is very important when loosing weight and you will almost need as much as a body builder. Creating a calorie deficit makes you loose weight, but to make sure that weight is coming from fat loss and not from loss of lean body mass, you need to eat enough protein, about 1~1.5g/kg body weight. Also, protein makes you feel satisfied for longer and helps control hunger.

    I am 6' as well and went from 205 to 183 in the last 3 months.

    Some tips:
    - Start reading food labels and get an understanding for fat/carbs/protein/calories in every product
    - Get an understanding of your daily calorie requirement
    - Start eating 10%~20% less calories than your requirement
    - Protein amount is more or less fixed, rest of the calories you can split among carbs and fat
    - This change of diet should be permanent, not something you do to loose weight.

    On the days when you bike 55 miles the calorie requirements go way up, but in general you would still want to only have a deficit of 10%~20%, so you need to eat much more on these days.

    Also don't pay to much attention to things like the "fat burning" zone, no matter what fuel is used at the moment of the exercise, if you have a calorie deficit over the entire day ultimately the energy has to come from your fat supply.

    So in a nutshell, loosing fat is all about crating a calorie deficit, eating enough protein and paired with some modest exercise.

  6. #6
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    Thank you. Out of curiosity, why is it preferable to eat more on days with longer rides vs just having a larger calorie deficit that day? Assuming I get the required protein, that is.

  7. #7
    downhill quickly
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    OP. I'm 6'3" with my cycling weight at 168 lbs. 10 years ago, my weight was around 255, smoking, drinking, eating for crap, flying over 150K for work. It took a great GP doc to teach me how to read my blood labs. It took me 6 years of study, learning, working and tweaking a new diet that was sustainable. During this same timeframe I studied physiology, biology, neurology, yoga and mindful meditation. It required a commitment to dedication to have my "performance" equal my "vision" each day...it took courage to examine that vision and ask myself "does that vision represent my greatest"...and if so..."what do I do to raise my performance?!".

    Point. Get the hell off this forum. Spend your time where it matters. Quick responses to simple posts don't work. It's clear you need to get to studying to learn about your own body and how it works. Get to it. You'll do it!

  8. #8
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    55 miles with limited food is easy. Try 100 miles and see what happens. You don't want to push yourself too close to bonking because it takes a while to recover and often you pay for it the next day. For reference I went from 230 pounds to 190 pounds in about 5 months. I did it by riding a lot, but also eating enough to fuel those rides. This means on a day when I ride 100 miles I eat... twice as much as I usually would and carry snacks on the bike to keep me going. If I don't I pay for it big time...

  9. #9
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    Umm, thanks? Ive ddone supported centuries with plenty of food, as well as unsupported ones with more limited food. My question was more in regard to the science of how mmy body burns carbs/calories, not whether 55 miles was a long way to ride on limited food.

  10. #10
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralphie000 View Post
    Thank you. Out of curiosity, why is it preferable to eat more on days with longer rides vs just having a larger calorie deficit that day? Assuming I get the required protein, that is.
    There are diets that work with a very large calorie deficit, basically you eat only protein with minimum of fat and carbs and some required supplements. This diet makes you start using fat for your regular activities, but this type of diet does not work well with large amounts of exercise where carbs are needed as a faster fuel. Also exercise might work against you as your body will do its best to conserve energy for the rest of the day.
    In a long bike ride like you mention you can easily consume 2000 Calories, this will come mostly from your glycogen supply and you will just not be able to keep up that exercise if you don't restore it.

  11. #11
    Senior Member mr_pedro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ralphie000 View Post
    Umm, thanks? Ive ddone supported centuries with plenty of food, as well as unsupported ones with more limited food. My question was more in regard to the science of how mmy body burns carbs/calories, not whether 55 miles was a long way to ride on limited food.
    I suggest you take some time reading the articles in: http://www.bodyrecomposition.com/articles
    It helped me a lot in getting a better understanding about how to loose weight and maintain it.

  12. #12
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    Great resource. I haven't ever seen that site, but will check it out.

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