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The fine line

Old 04-05-09, 11:59 AM
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The fine line

So, I suspect I'm far from the only person in this forum who is attempting to ride more, and for longer distances, and shed some pounds. Now, I can easily do either one. But, I run into a problem with calorie restriction combined with longer rides. If I stick to short rides (<20-25 miles) I could pretty much starve myself, though that's not my style.

But, when going for longer rides on a calorie constrained diet, I hit points where I'm seriously not feeling it, probably approaching the dreaded "bonk." My heartrate is fine, my cadence is fine, my muscles don't burn, but I just have "nothing in the tank." When I'm eating as I would on a non-restricted diet, this doesn't usually happen before 70-80 miles on a bike even without snacks, but on a restricted died it seems to be happening to me as early as 25 miles into a ride.

Is there a graceful way to combine calorie restriction with distance riding? Do I shuffle my eating around so that I get a lot of carbs just before a ride? Should I increase snacking during a ride and continue my calorie restriction normally otherwise? Do I need to relax one goal (distance improvement or weight loss)? Or, is this just something too individual to do anything but sound out?
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Old 04-05-09, 12:08 PM
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You should curve your caloric intake with your riding. Your restriction assumes your burning so many calories a day, but when you ride, you burn more and need more. Discuss this with your doctor, consular, or dietitian.
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Old 04-05-09, 12:08 PM
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If you are burning the calories, it is acceptable to increase your calorie load. Gu and other energy gels are great long distance ride fuel.
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Old 04-05-09, 12:19 PM
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your bonking because your not consuming enough calories.
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Old 04-05-09, 12:20 PM
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If you're going to exercise more, you must eat more. That doesn't mean you have to over eat, however. You can eat more and still create the calorie deficit necessary to lose weight.

As an example, my goal is to eat about 1500 calories/day which should, in theory, have me losing 2lbs/week. On days when I ride for an hour, I might actually eat 1700-2000 calories. But the riding burns 500-600 of those calories and I'm still under my calorie budget.
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Old 04-05-09, 06:12 PM
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Another suggeston - make sure you're drinking enough water. Fatigue from dehydration affects me faster that loss of energy from calories. I've always found water intake more crucial than calorie intake when participating in daylong endurance activities, especially in warmer weather. Just my 2 cents worth . . . .
 
Old 04-05-09, 06:34 PM
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Sorry, I think I phrased my question poorly. I know trying to run a calorie deficit doesn't mean I won't be increasing consumption to deal with workouts. My question is more "what is the best manner to increase consumption in order to avoid exhaustion?"

From experience, I can't "reward" myself with a huge meal after a long ride, because I'll just run out of steam mid-ride. So, do I try to prep for my long ride with a hearty breakfast? Do I have a hearty breakfast and a rich dinner the night before? Do I just snack heavily while riding and otherwise stick to strict calorie control? If I'm "pre-loading" for the ride, should I concern myself with altering nutritive content (i.e. do I need more carbs before a long ride)?

And, thank you for the dehydration comment. I've learned that lesson the hard way long ago, but it's always good to be reminded. You can't get by without that.
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Old 04-05-09, 06:49 PM
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Eat during the ride. Every half hour eat about half an energy bar. And a carb heavy breakfast pre-ride. Oatmeal works well for that. This plan got me easily through a century a week ago, and 80 hilly miles yesterday.
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Old 04-05-09, 08:11 PM
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+1 on JoelS comment. Finding what you can eat while riding is one of those individual experiences.
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Old 04-05-09, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by theetruscan
From experience, I can't "reward" myself with a huge meal after a long ride, because I'll just run out of steam mid-ride. So, do I try to prep for my long ride with a hearty breakfast? Do I have a hearty breakfast and a rich dinner the night before? Do I just snack heavily while riding and otherwise stick to strict calorie control? If I'm "pre-loading" for the ride, should I concern myself with altering nutritive content (i.e. do I need more carbs before a long ride)?
I find that a big breakfast just leads to an upset stomach during a long ride. Eating a big dinner the night before a long ride just means I wake up a half-pound heavier than I normally would.

I believe the general recommendation, for road riding, is to consume 250-300 calories/hour while riding. I generally eat a Clif bar immediately before leaving on a ride. Every hour I'm on the bike, I drink 24oz of a sports drink which contains 110 calories of complex carbs. Every hour or hour-and-a-half, I eat another Clif bar. Immediately after the ride, I try to consume something with a large amount of lean protein as well as a moderate amount of complex carbs in an effort to help my muscles recover from the strenuous activity. I count all the calories consumed during the ride, do a conservative estimate of the number of calories burned, and try to make sure that I don't go over my calorie budget when eating the rest of the day.
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Old 04-05-09, 09:19 PM
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Shoot to replace half the calories you think you burned.
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Old 04-06-09, 05:18 AM
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Go with 250 calories an hour, energy bars or drinks work best for me. I don't eat a big breakfast, just a normal breakfast. Or i'll simply eat an energy bar a couple hours before i ride. Like someone else said we all have different things that work for us.
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Old 04-06-09, 07:53 AM
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Hunger on longer rides has always been an issue for me as well.

Like the OP, I can run 20 to 30 miles on an empty stomach, without batting an eye. I can run 50 on just a good breakfast. 75 miles takes at least some gel and maybe a chewy bar (but I best not wait too long to eat them; I need to eat that first snack after the first hour). And, riding a century takes a freaking meal at the 50 mile mark, plus the gel or chewy every hour, for best results.

On the extreme: A 200 to 250k ride requires an amazing amount of food and prep: a solid high-carb dinner the night before, big breakfast of easily digestable food (no bacon or sausage, but lots of eggs an/or potato and oatmeal) with a few minutes of rest afterwards, gels every 45 minutes, and two significant "meals" (pasta works best for me) each after about 4-5 hours of riding. I imagine a 200 mi ride would follow the same pattern, but I have not tried that one yet.
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Old 04-06-09, 09:57 AM
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I go with wheat toast with peanutbutter, banana and plenty of fluids pre-ride; plenty of water while riding; and a granola bar and Gatorade after 20 miles or so.
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