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Nutrition before riding

Old 12-20-23, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by jadmt
I normally do long rides weather permitting of 60-100 miles I will eat a couple of eggs and piece of toast an hour or two or three before I head out. I really have never bonked.

bottom line I think you need to find what works for you.
agree

eggs and toast / whatever and a coffee works for me - is my typical go-to before a ride … sometimes part of a banana not long before the ride

can consume this mid morning - and then fine until a late dinner after a ride

if we kick it up a notch might consume a clif bar (and / or ice cream cone or banana depending on the ride) at the mid point of a ride - but typically I’m fine

can do slow / shorter rides - 20 miles or so - on just a donut and coffee … for whatever reason this will work for me

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Old 12-20-23, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
I am 65 and eating very low carb in order to lose weight.
A short term, low-carb diet for weight loss is probably okay, but please don't make low-carb a long term lifestyle. Or at least, replace animal-based protein/fat with plant-based sources.

In the long term, a low-carb or high-carb diet is associated with increased mortality. The healthiest eaters get about half of their energy from carbs.


From: Seidelmann et al, Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis, Lancet Public Health 2018
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Old 12-20-23, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
I was 305 at the beginning of February. I got down to 228 by the end of September but my weight has plateaued.
I want to get to under 200 pounds with 175 being an ultimate goal-if I can get there.
I retired in Ď20 and was a supervisor for the last several years. That was when my weight started going up. I simply wasnít working as hard but at the end I was almost literally dragging my feet. I was exhausted.
I want to get my speed up enough that I can do some group rides, maybe a fun race.
You've lost a lot of weight in a short time. It's probably to be expected that you would plateau at some point. Patience is a good thing at our age, (I'm 69). You don't want to become a yo yo dieter, quick to lose but quick to put it back on. I've done a bit of that with my high point at 260. I was pretty happy at 220 for years and it gradually went down to around 210 and now I am at 200, probably losing muscle accounts for some of that.

I've had stomach problems partly due to alcoholism, at least, so I have to eat when I get up and on long difficult rides I get nausea if I don't eat. I always have cold cereal and sometimes a banana before longer rides. I've tried a lot of the bars and drink mixes and had good luck with some of them but I am fine with regular food. Even a pb&j sandwich, granola bar, or a muffin will fuel me well. I'm also a water hog if it's warm. If it's hot I almost can't get enough water.
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Old 12-20-23, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
I eat 6 whole eggs daily all in one meal.
Extra points if you slurp them down raw.
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Old 12-20-23, 01:08 PM
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For me, it depends on the ride. If I am doing 20-30 miles, I typically pack a Clif Bar in case I get hungry, but otherwise ride fine without eating anything for breakfast.

For longer weekend rides, I'll have something before I ride. Oatmeal is good, or an Egg McMuffin or similar.

I typically eat more than my friends on longer rides. They ask me how I can eat so much ... and my answer is how can they eat so little? On double centuries, for example, I advise people to eat early and often. That is especially important on hotter rides where you are likely to lose your appetite and bonk later in the day.
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Old 12-20-23, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
A short term, low-carb diet for weight loss is probably okay, but please don't make low-carb a long term lifestyle. Or at least, replace animal-based protein/fat with plant-based sources.

In the long term, a low-carb or high-carb diet is associated with increased mortality. The healthiest eaters get about half of their energy from carbs.


From: Seidelmann et al, Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis, Lancet Public Health 2018

That is interesting. I didn't think low carb could be bad.
I have been keeping under 20 carbs per day since the first of February. Maybe that is why sometimes I feel as if I have no energy.
I will increase my carbs up to between 50 and 100 carbs per day. I can do that with fruit and vegetables I have avoided.
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Old 12-20-23, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker395
For me, it depends on the ride. If I am doing 20-30 miles, I typically pack a Clif Bar in case I get hungry, but otherwise ride fine without eating anything for breakfast.

For longer weekend rides, I'll have something before I ride. Oatmeal is good, or an Egg McMuffin or similar.

I typically eat more than my friends on longer rides. They ask me how I can eat so much ... and my answer is how can they eat so little? On double centuries, for example, I advise people to eat early and often. That is especially important on hotter rides where you are likely to lose your appetite and bonk later in the day.
I've seen you eat on rides. It's not just the quantity that has surprised me, it's how you can climb afterward. I guess it's all the endurance riding. I remember earlier having trouble climbing after eating too much but I have adapted to a certain extent.

My friend Mike used to ride 20-25K miles per year and could eat anything and still climb. We went to Svenhard's in Solvang and he ate 8 of those Danishes and then we had to chase him up every steep hill he could find.
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Old 12-20-23, 01:21 PM
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To lose that next fifty pounds, try fasting that entire morning before your ride. Heck, do it every morning.
Sometimes you can carry that fast into dinner, but stay busy with chores, walking the dog, etc.
Low carbs and high protein for lunch and dinner. You will shed twenty pounds within three months.
P.S. I forgot about the morning caffeine cups o'coffee! Some for the boost, but it also curbs the appetite.
(Thanks for the reminder, "HeyItsSara"!!!)

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Old 12-20-23, 01:29 PM
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I'm a little younger, prediabetic and don't ride quite as far, but I find that some caffeine really helps me before riding. I drink a protein shake before I exercise which is helpful since I wake up hungry, but IMO caffeine really is the ticket!
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Old 12-20-23, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
I am 65 and eating very low carb in order to lose weight. I am basically starting to train but it has been hit and miss. I have a trail nearby that is paved and goes around a small lake. The trail is about 6 miles in length. Yesterday I did 2 laps but my arms and quads were getting sore. This isnít a flat trail. The climbs arenít really bad but they sap my speed-down to about 5 mph in my lowest gear.
Would eating 2-3 eggs a couple of hours before riding help give me some energy?
If I do need a carb I need something that will be used immediately so I donít mess up my weight loss. A banana?
IMO, you don't need any energy. You apparently have body fat to lose. Plain and simple, that's stored energy. You got plenty. What you need is to be better at burning that energy. You need to be riding in Zone 2. Doing so may seem like you aren't working hard enough, but its the way to shift your metabolism to get better at burning fat. If you go too hard, your body will try to burn muscle glycogen and you don't really want that right now. Zone 2 is a level of effort where you could still have a conversation with someone, but it would be mildly uncomfortable to do so. You shouldn't be huffing and puffing. Your breathing should be only slightly heavier than normal.

Getting sore is what exercise does. Soreness is normal. That said, I don't know if you are overdoing it right now or not. You should be able to go for hours and hours in Zone 2. You'd just be going slowly. At this effort level, you shouldn't be needing any extra fuel. If you are arriving home heavily fatigued and out of breath, then you are probably going too hard for now.

When you get home, have a regular breakfast (assuming you haven't eaten yet) with at least about 30+ grams of protein. That's important for us older folk (I'm 64) to help prevent muscle loss. At your age, it's important for you to exercise and eat extra protein as you lose weight in order to avoid muscle loss - and maybe actually gain muscle.

Later on when you are riding longer and on some days, harder, you can consider eating/drinking extra as part of the recovery process - or even as pre-fuel. But for now, fuel is probably not your issue. You just need to build some fitness.
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Old 12-20-23, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
A short term, low-carb diet for weight loss is probably okay, but please don't make low-carb a long term lifestyle. Or at least, replace animal-based protein/fat with plant-based sources.

In the long term, a low-carb or high-carb diet is associated with increased mortality. The healthiest eaters get about half of their energy from carbs.
I'm 64 and have come to a couple of health/fitness generalizations.

Anything in the extreme is probably not a good long term idea.

For most of us, it would be hard to overdo exercise long term. Sure, we can do too much initially when we start a new "program'. But once adapted, two hours a day of moderate to heavy exercise is actually normal for our bodies. Culturally, that seems extreme. But biologically, it isn't. Significantly more than that is where extreme begins.

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Old 12-20-23, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay Turberville
What you need is to be better at burning that energy. You need to be riding in Zone 2. Doing so may seem like you aren't working hard enough, but its the way to shift your metabolism to get better at burning fat.
Zone 2 doesn't shift metabolism to burn more fat. At least not very quickly.

To train your body to be better at burning fat, you need to induce mitochondria development in muscles, which happens more quickly at higher exercise intensities than zone 2.

"There's been a long standing misconception that you need to oxidize fat in order to become better at oxidizing fat. In reality, you muscles are really good at oxidizing fat, even in the untrained state." -- Dr Andy Coggan
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Old 12-20-23, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Zone 2 doesn't shift metabolism to burn more fat. At least not very quickly.

To train your body to be better at burning fat, you need to induce mitochondria development in muscles, which happens more quickly at higher exercise intensities than zone 2.

"There's been a long standing misconception that you need to oxidize fat in order to become better at oxidizing fat. In reality, you muscles are really good at oxidizing fat, even in the untrained state." -- Dr Andy Coggan
That is true IMO and AFAIK. Even the last part about oxidizing fat.

However Zone two is not going to burn up ones glycogen and is likely to be mostly energy from fat stores. Perhaps as one exercises more regularly, they'll burn fat more efficiently. Not sure it even matters whether it does or doesn't. But long, low effort rides in zone 2 and zone 3 have been the times I've made the most success in weight loss.

I can't seem to do Zone 2 rides in my area. Whether that's me or just that I'm in constantly rolling terrain of 4 - 6% grades where zone 2 isn't possible. But I find that when I ride at zone 4 - 5 for a majority of my ride, I eat back all the Calories I lost, plus a few. On rides that I can spend a majority of the time in Zone 3, I tend to start losing weight. Especially if those are longer rides of 2 - 3 hours instead of my usual 90 minute rides.
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Old 12-20-23, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
Zone 2 doesn't shift metabolism to burn more fat. At least not very quickly.

To train your body to be better at burning fat, you need to induce mitochondria development in muscles, which happens more quickly at higher exercise intensities than zone 2.

"There's been a long standing misconception that you need to oxidize fat in order to become better at oxidizing fat. In reality, you muscles are really good at oxidizing fat, even in the untrained state." -- Dr Andy Coggan
Zone 2 actually burns fat. That's kind of its defining characteristic. Given that the general advice for bicycle training is to spend about 80% in Zone 2 and that the general understanding that the body generally responds with specificity (stressing a specific system tends to create an adaptive response in that specific system) I've inferred that this would increase the muscles's ability to burn fat. This is also supported by what I've heard from Dr. Indigo San Millan who says that Zone 2 is the most effective way to train for the clearance of lactate which he takes as a surrogate for increased mitochondrial function - given that lactate is oxidized in mitochondria.

Here link to him describing his thoughts on this in more detail. You'll need to jump to the 49:30 mark.The direct link to the spot doesn't seems to be working.

But to be clear, I'm no expert in the area. I'm just listening to other experts. So I could have this wrong or missed some nuanced point. That said, your quote from Dr. Coggan doesn't actually support your assertion. All he's saying there is that you can improve fax oxidation in mitochondria through some other method. The quote doesn't give the method. But it seems reasonable that other types of exercise could certainly stimulate mitochondrial adaptation given that they would all use mitochondria for energy production. And we know that at a certain point we definitely would want to add high intensity training to further improve fitness and health.
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Old 12-20-23, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay Turberville
Zone 2 actually burns fat. That's kind of its defining characteristic.
That's great news, if all you want to do is burn off some extra body fat. But some of us want to get faster, and you're not going to get much faster by pootling along all day in zone 2.

Put dow the Koolaid.
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Old 12-20-23, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse
That's great news, if all you want to do is burn off some extra body fat. But some of us want to get faster, and you're not going to get much faster by pootling along all day in zone 2.

Put dow the Koolaid.
It is sort of what the OP said in the op that they needed to do.

And anyone that loses weight will get faster for the same amount of effort (power output) they made when at a heavier weight.

Still, no one is saying do all Zone 2 rides. I think that it's just being said that there is a place for Zone 2 rides and not that all rides should be near max effort rides.
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Old 12-20-23, 04:49 PM
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I will research this better later but what is zone 2 and the other zones?
Someone said I would be able to carry on a conversation in zone 2 so I am guessing it is simply riding slower and on a fairly level path.
How slow? 10mph?
The path I have been riding has a lot of up and down. Nothing really high but my speed almost constantly changes and I am changing gears a lit. Should I try to find somewhere different to ride?

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Old 12-20-23, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01
It is sort of what the OP said in the op that they needed to do.

And anyone that loses weight will get faster for the same amount of effort (power output) they made when at a heavier weight.

Still, no one is saying do all Zone 2 rides. I think that it's just being said that there is a place for Zone 2 rides and not that all rides should be near max effort rides.
Nobody is saying to do all Zone 2 rides. But at least one of the popular gurus is advocating almost all Zone 2, and that doesn't seem to have much support in the exercise physiology literature.

Even if the main goal is simply to lose body fat, it seems reasonable that training muscles to become better at burning fat is a good thing. Since much of that adaptation happens with increased mitochondrial function, which is induced by higher exercise intensity, it makes sense to do some higher intensity. Even for weight loss.

"The results of cross-sectional studies, as well as training studies involving rats and humans, suggest that training intensity may be an important determinant of improvements in mitochondrial function[.]"
-- Bishop et al, Can we optimise the exercise training prescription to maximise improvements in mitochondria function and content?, 2014

Actually increasing the amount of mitochondria is another "good thing", and that appears to increase with prolonged endurance training. But it doesn't do much to increase function. That requires harder training.
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Old 12-20-23, 06:57 PM
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To calculate my max heart rate I take 220 and subtract my age. To do zone 2 I try to keep my heart rate at 70%-80% of my max? Try to keep it closer to 80%?
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Old 12-20-23, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
I will research this better later but what is zone 2 and the other zones?
Zone 2 is a low to moderate exercise level where you use mostly Type 1 muscle fibers and burn mostly fat but also a bit of carbs. That's why you should be able to hold Zone 2 for very long periods of time.

Originally Posted by pepperbelly
Someone said I would be able to carry on a conversation in zone 2 so I am guessing it is simply riding slower and on a fairly level path.
How slow? 10mph?
Speed isn't the issue. The issue is the load you are putting on you body's various energy systems. Maybe that means 15 mph on level ground for you. For a younger and more fit rider, it might be 20 mph. That's where the "conversation" test comes in. It is a way of assessing how hard you are pushing yourself. That's the gauge. Not speed.

Originally Posted by pepperbelly
The path I have been riding has a lot of up and down. Nothing really high but my speed almost constantly changes and I am changing gears a lit. Should I try to find somewhere different to ride?
Changing terrain makes it harder to maintain a strict Zone 2 intensity. but if you resist the urge to charge up the hills and also keep some effort on the pedals going downhill, you should be able to get close. If you have some kind of HR monitor, it can help you see how much your effort is jumping around. I see you asked about 70% or 80% above. Use the conversation thing as the guide. If in doubt err toward 70% IMO.

Years ago, cyclists might have referred to this intensity a "long slow easy", or "building a base". For someone who is just starting out, and especially for someone in our age range starting out, I think it is important to let your body acclimate to this new stuff. You might also be able to discover more about how well your bike is fit to your body. Good bike fit helps to avoid injury as well. If you go too hard too early you increase the risk of injury or burnout. Riding should be fun (for the most part). You can shift more to "challenging" later on.

You'll find that your two laps will get easy pretty soon. So increase it to three laps when that happens. When that gets easier, start picking a day or two where you go harder. Maybe you go slow the first lap and then the second or third lap you go hard up the hills. The thing about training is that your body adapts to it. And once it does, it is important to increase the total work load if you want fitness to continue to increase. You'll have to spend either more time or shift more of the time you are riding to higher intensity - or both. And when/if you start doing rides 90 minutes or more, that's when you'll want to learn more about fueling before, during and after a ride.
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Old 12-20-23, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay Turberville
Zone 2 is a low to moderate exercise level where you use mostly Type 1 muscle fibers and burn mostly fat but also a bit of carbs. That's why you should be able to hold Zone 2 for very long periods of time.


Speed isn't the issue. The issue is the load you are putting on you body's various energy systems. Maybe that means 15 mph on level ground for you. For a younger and more fit rider, it might be 20 mph. That's where the "conversation" test comes in. It is a way of assessing how hard you are pushing yourself. That's the gauge. Not speed.



Changing terrain makes it harder to maintain a strict Zone 2 intensity. but if you resist the urge to charge up the hills and also keep some effort on the pedals going downhill, you should be able to get close. If you have some kind of HR monitor, it can help you see how much your effort is jumping around. I see you asked about 70% or 80% above. Use the conversation thing as the guide. If in doubt err toward 70% IMO.

Years ago, cyclists might have referred to this intensity a "long slow easy", or "building a base". For someone who is just starting out, and especially for someone in our age range starting out, I think it is important to let your body acclimate to this new stuff. You might also be able to discover more about how well your bike is fit to your body. Good bike fit helps to avoid injury as well. If you go too hard too early you increase the risk of injury or burnout. Riding should be fun (for the most part). You can shift more to "challenging" later on.

You'll find that your two laps will get easy pretty soon. So increase it to three laps when that happens. When that gets easier, start picking a day or two where you go harder. Maybe you go slow the first lap and then the second or third lap you go hard up the hills. The thing about training is that your body adapts to it. And once it does, it is important to increase the total work load if you want fitness to continue to increase. You'll have to spend either more time or shift more of the time you are riding to higher intensity - or both. And when/if you start doing rides 90 minutes or more, that's when you'll want to learn more about fueling before, during and after a ride.
That sounds like a plan.
I have an apple watch that lets me check my heart rate.
Does it matter if my pulse goes up climbing the bigger/longer hills? My watch usually shows my pulse peaking around 147 on the hills.
I will pedal downhill but a big obstacle to maintaining speed is there are a lot of S curves on the path and very little straight stretches.
Btw those curves are interesting with dead leaves on them.

Last edited by pepperbelly; 12-20-23 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 12-20-23, 07:50 PM
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I didnít stop after 2 laps due to fatigue. My triceps were getting really sore on the first lap. I havenít had that happen before. My right arm muscle is still sore to the touch. I had just moved my saddle forward so I really think that caused it.
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Old 12-20-23, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by pepperbelly
That sounds like a plan.
I have an apple watch that lets me check my heart rate.
Does it matter if my pulse goes up climbing the bigger/longer hills? My watch usually shows my pulse peaking around 147 on the hills.
Everybody is a bit different. My heart rate tends to be slow. If I'm at 147, I'm almost surely maxed out. I'm not sure what 147 means for you. It might be a sign of less fitness. It might be that your actual max heartrate is higher than mine. But yeah - the aim is to keep HR pretty steady.

All this said, none of this is so important that you have to dance on some special line or you don't get improvement. The main point I wanted to make to you was that you don't have a fuel issue other than you want to remove some fuel storage from you body. Until you are riding more than 90 minutes at a time or so, you, quite literally have plenty of fuel to burn. Shoot for longer rides (burns more directly if nothing else) and don't knock yourself out up the hills and you'll end up in Zone 2 longer. And this should help you drop below your weight plateau.
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Old 12-20-23, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Jay Turberville
Everybody is a bit different. My heart rate tends to be slow. If I'm at 147, I'm almost surely maxed out. I'm not sure what 147 means for you. It might be a sign of less fitness. It might be that your actual max heartrate is higher than mine. But yeah - the aim is to keep HR pretty steady.

All this said, none of this is so important that you have to dance on some special line or you don't get improvement. The main point I wanted to make to you was that you don't have a fuel issue other than you want to remove some fuel storage from you body. Until you are riding more than 90 minutes at a time or so, you, quite literally have plenty of fuel to burn. Shoot for longer rides (burns more directly if nothing else) and don't knock yourself out up the hills and you'll end up in Zone 2 longer. And this should help you drop below your weight plateau.
Itís tough to get my heart rate over 150. I have had some cardio stress tests and it takes a while.
The formula says my max should be 155.
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Old 12-21-23, 12:12 AM
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I did a screen capture from the map my ride app showing the elevation changes. It looks like an ecg of a heartcattack!😄


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