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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 05-11-14, 03:30 PM   #1
biciklanto
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How to know you're not eating enough?

Hi all,

Been bumping up my time in the saddle these past couple of weeks, and it occurred to me this evening that I'm probably not eating enough. After a moderate to quick 1.5 hour ride yesterday I felt really lethargic today and I couldn't figure out why, but I'm wondering if it's because I should be consuming more calories to improve my training. My Strava suffer score was 46 based on heart rate zones built from LTHR and the related recommendations from Friel and Coggan, so it's not like it was a hammerfest in the slightest.

For reference, I'm around 187 centimeters tall and weigh about 72 kilos, and currently have a 75 centimeter waist. So I'm reasonably slim but I wouldn't call myself skinny. I feel like I eat normally; a bowl of cereal for breakfast, some larger meal during lunch, and then whatever I happen to eat for dinner. But maybe that's not enough? My goal is to be maximizing recovery so I can put in the high-volume zone 2 work I'm going for right now.

How do you tell?

Last edited by biciklanto; 05-11-14 at 03:35 PM. Reason: Added info
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Old 05-11-14, 03:33 PM   #2
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Riding over two hours uses a lot of calories. Eat every 20-30 minutes and be sure to stay hydrated. If you lose motivation to ride or your body feels slow its time to eat something.
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Old 05-11-14, 06:39 PM   #3
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^ Ditto. You're likely not eating enough. Bowl of cereal in the morning is usually little to nothing in terms of usable macros. Throw in a protein shake at the least. I would just use an app like Fit Day and actually total up how much you're taking in on an average day. I bet you'd be surprised how little calories/protein you're probably taking in.
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Old 05-12-14, 03:42 AM   #4
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How to know you're not eating enough?


You lose weight.


Over a week ... are you maintaining your weight or losing weight?
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Old 05-12-14, 05:41 AM   #5
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I'm with Machka.

If you aren't eating enough you'll lose weight.
You'll also notice decreased recovery after rides. I don't watch my weight, only check it every month or two. But I pay close attention to how I feel and if I'm recovering from workouts, rides, etc.
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Old 05-12-14, 05:55 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biciklanto View Post
Hi all,

Been bumping up my time in the saddle these past couple of weeks, and it occurred to me this evening that I'm probably not eating enough. After a moderate to quick 1.5 hour ride yesterday I felt really lethargic today and I couldn't figure out why, but I'm wondering if it's because I should be consuming more calories to improve my training. My Strava suffer score was 46 based on heart rate zones built from LTHR and the related recommendations from Friel and Coggan, so it's not like it was a hammerfest in the slightest.

For reference, I'm around 187 centimeters tall and weigh about 72 kilos, and currently have a 75 centimeter waist. So I'm reasonably slim but I wouldn't call myself skinny. I feel like I eat normally; a bowl of cereal for breakfast, some larger meal during lunch, and then whatever I happen to eat for dinner. But maybe that's not enough? My goal is to be maximizing recovery so I can put in the high-volume zone 2 work I'm going for right now.

How do you tell?
I don't think that there IS any one way 'to tell' if you are consuming enough of the "right" stuff (whatever that is....) Especially if you are simply looking at how you feel after a ride. So much depends on other variables such as metabolism and burn rate as well as simple strength -- as well as general nutrition status and cardio-pulmonary capacity and conditioning...

Perhaps you would benefit by measuring your intake objectively using a phone-app like you use to measure your performance via Strava.

I use "MyNetDiary" to track my intake of macro and micro nutrients on a daily basis (and there are several other good apps out there as well). That not only gives me an objective comparison of what I am taking in to the RDA's (or other measures that I set in the app) on a daily, weekly and monthly basis -- but it also makes me more conscious of what I take in immediately prior, during and after a ride...

I then can compare my intake to the burn recorded on Strava and another app that I use to record my exercise (Digifit -- which also measures and records other exercise such as resistance training and treadmill work)...

For myself, recording my nutrient intake was eye opening -- I found I was getting a lot more of some stuff while being deficient in other stuff (Vitamins D, E & K for example, were surprises -- I was taking in only about 20% of the RDA for each of them...)

Fitness and health are mostly a combination of both nutrition and exercise. Many on this forum closely track our exercise but then leave nutrition (which is equally important to health and well being) to the grey fog of assuming and guessing. Most simply say: "I eat this way" or "follow 'this' diet" --without having any real knowledge if they are actually getting enough of the specific macro and micro nutrients...

But, tracking your input is a lot of work -and its not a lot of fun. But it can produce a big pay-back for the effort.
... Don't guess! Don't assume! Measure It!
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Old 05-12-14, 07:53 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by GeorgeBMac View Post
I don't think that there IS any one way 'to tell' if you are consuming enough of the "right" stuff (whatever that is....) Especially if you are simply looking at how you feel after a ride. So much depends on other variables such as metabolism and burn rate as well as simple strength -- as well as general nutrition status and cardio-pulmonary capacity and conditioning...

Perhaps you would benefit by measuring your intake objectively using a phone-app like you use to measure your performance via Strava.

I use "MyNetDiary" to track my intake of macro and micro nutrients on a daily basis (and there are several other good apps out there as well). That not only gives me an objective comparison of what I am taking in to the RDA's (or other measures that I set in the app) on a daily, weekly and monthly basis -- but it also makes me more conscious of what I take in immediately prior, during and after a ride...

I then can compare my intake to the burn recorded on Strava and another app that I use to record my exercise (Digifit -- which also measures and records other exercise such as resistance training and treadmill work)...

For myself, recording my nutrient intake was eye opening -- I found I was getting a lot more of some stuff while being deficient in other stuff (Vitamins D, E & K for example, were surprises -- I was taking in only about 20% of the RDA for each of them...)

Fitness and health are mostly a combination of both nutrition and exercise. Many on this forum closely track our exercise but then leave nutrition (which is equally important to health and well being) to the grey fog of assuming and guessing. Most simply say: "I eat this way" or "follow 'this' diet" --without having any real knowledge if they are actually getting enough of the specific macro and micro nutrients...

But, tracking your input is a lot of work -and its not a lot of fun. But it can produce a big pay-back for the effort.
... Don't guess! Don't assume! Measure It!

Thanks for expanding on what I had already suggested. Glad someone agrees.

The only thing I would add to that, and also add for yourself, is research some vitamins and nutrients a little closer. RDA's are crap (for lack of a better word). For example, the RDA of Vitamin D for someone male or female 19-50 years old is about 600 IU's. MANY studies have shown that an effective dose for that demo is at least 2000 IU. So if you're 20% of the RDA, you're likely plain ol' deficient in a lot of areas.

Most OTC multi-vitamins are just loaded with B vitamins, and the dosages are hardly consistent. A new to market multi-vitamin geared towards athletes and high level activity individuals (cyclists) is the Citadel Nutrition Athlete Vitamin. It's up on our site, and has proven dosages for Vitamin D, K, Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc. Worth checking out.
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Old 05-12-14, 08:12 AM   #8
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If you're into the whole multivitamin thing, Controlled Labs has a pretty solid multi called orange triad that is pretty big with the bodybuilding community.
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Old 05-12-14, 08:51 AM   #9
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I think rather than not eating enough, the issue could be that you're not eating the right things. Generally, on a ride of 1.5 hours, you don't need to eat much. In fact, I don't carry food at all with me on rides of that length. What's likely happening is you're not eating enough or well enough during your meals. Make sure you're taking in enough protein because that will deliver far more long-term value for you than carbs. Protein's also vital for muscle recovery.

Having said that, how much you need overall depends on the level of effort that your ride requires. If you're doing a lot of climbing or your pace is exceptionally quick, you'll burn a lot of fuel over a ride of that length.
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Old 05-12-14, 08:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NutriLogic View Post
Thanks for expanding on what I had already suggested. Glad someone agrees.

The only thing I would add to that, and also add for yourself, is research some vitamins and nutrients a little closer. RDA's are crap (for lack of a better word). ... .
Sorry, I had missed your original post --but having gone back and read it, I do agree...

And, I do agree that the RDA's are not entirely reliable --they are pretty much just 'educated guesses'. But, I have also been reluctant to use other sources. I will take them into account for specific nutrients -- and use them as differing opinions...

Your example of vitamin D is well played: Despite getting a lot of sunshine, my vitamin D level was only 35. It wasn't 'deficient' by most criteria -- but lower than I ever would have expected based on a fairly balanced diet and lots of sunshine...

I think that discussion on the RDA's is all part of what needs to happen: We ned a LOT more basic, extensive, unbiased research into all facets of nutrition and the metabolic processes...
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