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Energy

Old 01-31-12, 08:48 PM
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Prestonxvx
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Energy

So I have been cycle commuting for a number of years however this is the first year that I've been cycling more than 30 miles a day, every day, 7 days a week with minimal days off.
I've been upping my food intake, eating at work, snacking all the time, sleeping a lot, keeping hydrated and I'm still feeling tired. I guess my body is just getting used to it.

What are your favorite energy foods?

Do any of you ride this distance (a somewhat short distance but when done every single day it gets tiring) and if so, did you work up to it or just go for it?
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Old 01-31-12, 09:11 PM
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This is a pretty interesting topic for me. I have been commuting, about 100 miles a week, for about 7 years,

I managed to lose some weight the first years. But things have kind of plateau'ed of late. I think the body is very efficient -- surprisingly so -- when you do those miles. It eventually finds a way to handle the activity with a minimal calorie burn.

If you are starting off, though, and feeling tired and super hungry, perhaps you should consider taking a rest day once a week. Do you have to ride every day?

But consider this a short term event. I think your body will get used to the miles and you'll probably have little problem doing them. You'll lose some weight at first, then keep a steady weight.
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Old 01-31-12, 09:24 PM
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That's what I figure. I'm not really worried at all. I work 7 days a week generally but am going to take tomorrow as my cycling break.
I'm used to cycling high numbers of miles but for some reason commuting is a different game to me. Having a bag full of stuff, a heavy lock, and knowing I HAVE to go out is just different. Its interesting though.
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Old 01-31-12, 10:03 PM
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Guessing 7 days a week is the "tough" part. I do 5 days a week and a day of training ride or not depending on how I feel. 75% of commuting time is in endurance/recovery depending on how my leg is at the time. I will put in some tempo/threshold if I know I am winding down for rest or know I have more in my leg than planned (or was in plan). I do make sure I get at least 1 day of a week off of bike.
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Old 02-01-12, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Prestonxvx View Post
So I have been cycle commuting for a number of years however this is the first year that I've been cycling more than 30 miles a day, every day, 7 days a week with minimal days off.
I've been upping my food intake, eating at work, snacking all the time, sleeping a lot, keeping hydrated and I'm still feeling tired. I guess my body is just getting used to it.

What are your favorite energy foods?

Do any of you ride this distance (a somewhat short distance but when done every single day it gets tiring) and if so, did you work up to it or just go for it?
The distance you're riding is substantial, but not enough to require a drastic change in diet. You may be burning an additional number of calories, but be careful that you're not consuming more than you're burning. When I started my commute, which was 22 miles each way, I just did it. I was forced into it by a car breakdown, but I was already in decent shape from being a gym rat. It was a bit difficult at first, but my body adapted.

You may be burning out. Take a break for a couple of days, and I'll bet when you get back on the bike you'll be raring to go.
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Old 02-01-12, 06:58 AM
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Vary your pace. Go slow for at least a couple days a week (recovery rides).
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Old 02-01-12, 07:26 AM
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When I first started bike commuting, I was feeling burned out a lot even though I wasn't riding much more than usual. I quickly discovered that I needed to ride at an easier pace most days commuting. I think commuting is tougher in many ways than a typical group or recreational ride because you are carrying more weight, starting and stopping more often, and not benefiting from drafting other riders. I typically ride to work about 4 days a week, driving on days when the weather is lousy. This allow me to restock clothes and supplies in my office, and gives my legs a rest. I usually take another rest day on Saturdays and do a long group ride (50-60 miles) with friends on Sundays.

In your case, you probably just need to add more rest days (non-cycling) into your schedule, or make a concerted effort to ride at a slower recovery pace more often. My commute increased from about 22 to 30 miles last October. I was initially concerned that the longer distance might burn me out and prompt me to drive more often, but that hasn't happened. I've actually been riding more often but at a slower pace on average. Much of the reason for my slower pace is that my new route is hillier with more traffic lights, but I also have quit trying to make a certain average speed that I targeted on my old route.

Ironically, my weight hasn't dropped at all since my commute increased to 30 miles, and I initially gained weight, probably due to eating more because I was hungry all the time. My body seems to have adjusted now after 3+ months, my appetite has gone back to normal, and my weight has been dropped back down to the level it was beforehand. My energy level is fine, and I often go for 30-60 minute walks during my lunch hour.
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Old 02-01-12, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by gerv View Post
I managed to lose some weight the first years. But things have kind of plateau'ed of late. I think the body is very efficient -- surprisingly so -- when you do those miles. It eventually finds a way to handle the activity with a minimal calorie burn.
Quoted for truth.


like you, i lost a bunch of weight in my first year or two of commuting, but now i've completely plateaued on that front. the various calorie counters out on the web are hilarious because they come up with absurd stats, allegeing that i burn anywhere between 1,200 and 1,500 calories on my 30 miles of daily commuting, which is nowhere close to the truth. my body has become extremely efficient with the calories it burns to take me to work and back everyday on my bike.

from my experiences, my energy levels have much more to do with getting enough sleep than they do with keeping enough fuel in the tank.

Last edited by Steely Dan; 02-01-12 at 09:17 AM.
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Old 02-01-12, 09:15 AM
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I would eliminate any garbage foods. Be sure to get useful calories, not just tasty ones. Other than that, I don't think you need anything special or expensive.
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Old 02-01-12, 11:29 AM
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What the others said.
And add an adequate amount of sleep.
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Old 02-03-12, 09:46 AM
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I jumped last March from 7-8 mi/day commute to 22-25/day + whatever long-way-home and weekend rides I was doing. Also coincided with the completion of a 10-week indoor cycling program at a local center. So I thought the increase was going to kill me. I just took it easier on the commutes - if I didn't feel like drilling it, I didn't. Took about a month or 2 to get used to it. I experienced some changes in food preferences and meal timing - especially got hungry earlier for lunch. I also realized I needed more sleep and started forcing myself to go to bed earlier (a challenge, as the rest of my family are night owls).
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Old 02-03-12, 10:18 AM
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It's nutrition and sleep. See my "smoothie" thread in the Commuting Forum. A "smoothie" can sound like a stupid thing (maybe it's the word- smoothie?) but it's a quick dependable way to get those basic nutritional needs on a daily basis. I do use a protein supplement- not too much but a touch.

Check your carb intake. Sometimes the riding makes you crave carbs but if the balance of carbs to protein is too high on the carb side it can give you an energy lag.

Then you really do need to sleep 8 hours a night as many nights of the week as possible. And hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

One other thing. The regular commute, as good as it is for you, can drag you down unless you change it up a bit. Go for a fun ride once in a while. Then do a kick ass 35 miler every so often where you burn at a high speed, high reps ride. get proper rest and food after those rides and when you get back to your commute at your nice pace you may feel a new found energy.
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Old 02-03-12, 11:11 AM
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Sleep is the key thing for me. I'd rather come into work 30mins late so I can get a bit more sleep than ride in über-tired.

I agree also with varying your commute if possible. I'm fortunate in that I have a choice between 5 bridges to cross to get home, 2 bike path systems, and almost endless road variations to get home.

I regularly eat lunch at 11 or 11:30 because I'm too hungry by 12pm
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Old 02-19-12, 08:27 PM
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bump!

I want to know more about this, too. Every time I ride 30 miles or more, I come home, stuff my face, and knock out for 2 hours. It really saps my energy...I can't be sleeping that much. I've got other things to do!
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Old 02-19-12, 09:51 PM
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This isn't a cycling article, but the problem isn't really cycling specific either.

http://www.indoorclimbing.com/carbohydrates.html
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Old 02-20-12, 04:30 AM
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what people do not understand is that pre, during and post riding nutrition is key until your body can get used to it and even then, it is still very important.
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Old 02-20-12, 04:46 AM
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Your body should not feel as stressed within the next few weeks. It shouldn't take more than about three months for your body to adapt to the change in commute distance. Make certain that you eat a lot of beans and nap frequently, until you've adapted.

* If you can, nap during your lunch break. Eat at anytime during the day!
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Old 02-20-12, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
what people do not understand is that pre, during and post riding nutrition is key until your body can get used to it and even then, it is still very important.
I'm thinking part of the 'problem' may be cultural. North Americans tend to eat three meals within a 10 hour period even though they're probably active for 16 to 18 hours. During the 5 years I spent in South America, meals were spread out more, smaller, there were snacks inbetween and supper wasn't served till 8:00 or 9:00PM.

I'm thinking your body can process multiple, small amounts of fuel, much better than a few system overloads that still total to the same calorie count.
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Old 02-20-12, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by scroca View Post
I would eliminate any garbage foods. Be sure to get useful calories, not just tasty ones. Other than that, I don't think you need anything special or expensive.
qft
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