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caleries per day on tour

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caleries per day on tour

Old 07-06-10, 03:51 PM
  #1  
liquidmonkey
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caleries per day on tour

i'm pretty sure i'd (35 year old man in fairly good shape) need around 5000 calories per day but i'm wondering what other people have experienced when touring? am i on the right track? is it the same for a 32 year old woman in OK shape?

we plan on biking between 60 - 90 km per day around iceland.

thanks!
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Old 07-06-10, 04:09 PM
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I've never ridden with other people but her intake will depend on all the usual variables... what load is she pulling, will she be drafting along behind you, etc.
Likely she will be eating the same as any man.
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Old 07-06-10, 04:39 PM
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Without getting scientific of pulling out a calculator I tend to assume I'll need one extra major meal per day if I'm touring fully loaded in the mtns. I may eat a bit more each meal, I may snack heavily or I may eat 4 normal sized meals. I don't bother trying to set up a specific plan as each tour is different.

I would suggest you listen to your body and if you feel like you need more food/water make sure you feed the engine. I do carry a lot of snack type food [nuts, jerky, dried fruit, chocolate, fruit, etc...] so I can eat while riding if I want to.
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Old 07-06-10, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by redbike72 View Post
Likely she will be eating the same as any man.
not necessarily, less muscle mass and body mass could mean a lower resting metabolic rate as well as calories needed to move up in elevation. If one person needs 100calories/hr just for walking around and another only needs 80calories that difference is 480calories a day.
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Old 07-06-10, 05:29 PM
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A general rule of thumb is 250 calories, per hour you ride, mostly carbs -- while you are riding.

You also need to eat regularly while riding. Basically, while you are riding you are using up the glucose in your bloodstream, which is the most readily available source of fuel. It doesn't take too long to burn that up; and once it's gone, your body will start using less efficient sources of fuel, including from muscle and fat. If your brain doesn't get enough fuel in time, you will bonk. So, you need to intake calories routinely.

I.e. if you have a huge breakfast, ride 4 hours, have a big lunch, then ride another 4 hours, your body won't be working very efficiently and you risk bonking. You're better off with energy drinks and/or eating (healthy and carb) snacks while riding.
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Old 07-06-10, 06:27 PM
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Why are you so sure you need 5,000 calories a day? That sounds very excessive to me. If I ate that much on a tour, none of my clothes would fit after a week. In any event, it's impossible to generalize because someone's caloric need is largely a function of their metabolism, their body weight, and their physical activity.
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Old 07-06-10, 07:10 PM
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I would ballpark it at 1.5 - 2.5 times what you normally eat. You can't carry it all, though, unless you are only riding for a couple of days. So you'll figure it out as you go along. No need to overthink it.

By the way, in your other thread you mention freeze dried camping meals - those are pretty awful, if I had to eat that stuff on tour I would get sick and lose a lot of weight. THey are loaded with sodium and other crap.
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Old 07-06-10, 10:12 PM
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You might be able to simplify the issue by cooking a decent sized gnosh-up at one point in the day and split it in half...half for her and half for you....
If she complains about being hungry all the time (or she gets woozy), then she's obviously not getting enough food.
I don't think it will take too long to figure out how much food you need to consume.
As they say"it's not rocket science".
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Old 07-06-10, 10:23 PM
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here are some of my recent Garmin metrics
http://connect.garmin.com/activity/38071102

you can use the charts as a reference...
yes... its very easy to burn up 5000 calories
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Old 07-06-10, 10:44 PM
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Originally Posted by AsanaCycles View Post
here are some of my recent Garmin metrics....
Keep in mind the Garmin Edges are notorious for overestimating calories. I have a 605 and it's consistently about 30% optimistic on road rides, closer on MTB rides. It seems the 605/705 weigh speed too much in their calorie estimates. Purportedly the 500 series has a more accurate algorithm. Regardless, that's some prodigious riding AsanaCycles!
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Old 07-06-10, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by zaphod911 View Post
Keep in mind the Garmin Edges are notorious for overestimating calories.
Agree. I've got a Garmin Edge 705 on my road bike, along with a PowerTap power meter. The rule of thumb I've always heard is that 1KJ of work registered by the power meter is equivalent to 1 "calorie" burned assuming a "typical" 25% efficiency for the human body. My Garmin's calorie estimates are typically 1.9-2.0X higher than the number of KJ reported by the PT...

For my tour down the Pacific Coast, the Garmin's estimates of calories burned ranged from a low of 3000 (~55 flat miles) to a high of 5500 (~90mi + elevation). Bike, luggage, and water weighed 51lbs and my average speed was around 15mph. For whatever that's worth.
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Old 07-07-10, 10:15 AM
  #12  
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I have no idea how many calories I eat on tour...LOTS!

I like to eat a little something every hour or less,depending on if I'm in the mountains or if it's really hot outside.

If I stop for lunch somewhere and find myself wanting everything on the menu or scavenging for the last crumbs in my panniers or my leather belt and shoes are starting to look good,I know I need to up my intake some.If I stop for lunch and I eat like a normal human,everythings good.

Last edited by Booger1; 07-07-10 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 07-08-10, 10:32 AM
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I wouldn't worry about counting calories on a tour unless you want to do big mileage days, every day. Eat three meals a day, plus a snack (trail mix, energy bar, fruit, etc.) every hour or hour-and-a-half that you ride. If you start losing weight, eat more; most of us have enough fat reserves that dropping a couple of pounds will not seriously affect your ability to cover 60-90km on a bike.

If you do count calories, the best way to estimate would be to go on a short tour (3-5 days) at approximately the same pace that you plan to use on a longer one, and record in detail what you eat. Weigh yourself beforehand, then after you get back (but make sure you aren't dehydrated when you do this), and see if you have gained or lost weight. Adjust your food intake accordingly.

If you want to do 200km days, every day, you probably need to keep a little closer track of what you eat, but if you are in that kind of shape, I'm guessing that you have a pretty good idea of your nutritional requirements.
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Old 07-08-10, 04:01 PM
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My method is pretty simple..... When hungry I eat.
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Old 07-08-10, 06:28 PM
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I shoot for 2500 calories base, plus 250 calories per 10 miles while I'm riding. I'm 24yo, male and ride fairly hard with a light load.
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Old 07-09-10, 01:29 PM
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I can't get 5000 calories in me in a day, well not true, I could eat junk, but its not good for me - So I do my best, watch my pants get bigger, and stop at buffets whenever I get into a big city

My stats of caloric intake vs ascent vs descent vs distance vs beer consumed are here: http://www.tiredofit.ca/stats-logs/
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Old 07-09-10, 02:22 PM
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The other problem is that even if the garmin calculated calories accurately the OP is traveling 60-90 km or 37-55 miles. Your profile showed 6000 Calories for 88 miles so they may burn 2000-4000 calories per day. this is quite a bit less than the 5000 calories that he guestimates. Where you rode for 8 hours the op would ride for 3-5 hours.

I went on a tour a few weeks ago for a week and wrote down everything that I ate and based on my weight and average speed I had a negative intake of 2000 - 3000 cals per day I should have lost about 5-7 pounds and when I weighed myself it was only a 2 pound loss. So I think that the cal/weight/speed estimate was a little off.
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Old 07-09-10, 04:18 PM
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On my 2006 tour from oregon to indiana in august I ate one meal a day breakfast consisting of 3 eggs potatoes whole wheat or rye toast coffee and cream no sugar. Along the way I took a refillable cup and filled it all the way up with ice then added cola. I averaged 101.6 miles a day and lost 14 pounds. My legs went from 26 inches to 23 inches however the muscle came back quickly over several months. My next tour I plan on drinking energy drinks AMPM has unbound energy in the fountains and circle K has dose energy in the fountains. Energy drinks have taurine in them this prevents muscle loss.
 
Old 07-11-10, 03:18 AM
  #19  
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Why concern yourself with numbers? Eat what you need. Your body will tell you when and how much.
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Old 07-11-10, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
Why concern yourself with numbers? Eat what you need. Your body will tell you when and how much.
Not necessarily! I went with the eat-when-hungry approach on my first tour. Second day out, I wasn't hungry at breakfast so I ate very little. A couple of hours later I bonked. Even though I recognized the problem and started forcing myself to eat, the rest of that day was pretty miserable...
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Old 07-11-10, 09:39 AM
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Same thing happened to me on the Frisco Highline. Eat BEFORE you're hungry.
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Old 07-11-10, 09:49 AM
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agreed. i am constantly nibbling. i find that when i dont eat ahead of time, my stomach starts hurting when i'm hungry... you're on tour - eat as much as you can while feeling good!
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Old 07-12-10, 02:13 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
Not necessarily! I went with the eat-when-hungry approach on my first tour. Second day out, I wasn't hungry at breakfast so I ate very little. A couple of hours later I bonked. Even though I recognized the problem and started forcing myself to eat, the rest of that day was pretty miserable...
I didn't suggest that using common sense wasn't necessary, I simply said that the numbers probably won't play a significant role. Avoiding "the bonk" and counting calories aren't the same. Eating before you ride is something that you can do without needing calculations and numerical complications.
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Old 07-12-10, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
I didn't suggest that using common sense wasn't necessary, I simply said that the numbers probably won't play a significant role. Avoiding "the bonk" and counting calories aren't the same. Eating before you ride is something that you can do without needing calculations and numerical complications.
Unless I've gone blind, all you said was:

Originally Posted by WillJL View Post
Why concern yourself with numbers? Eat what you need. Your body will tell you when and how much.
While I agree that you don't need to fastidiously count calories, I don't think you can wait for your body to tell you to eat. Many people have little or no appetite during heavy exercise. Those people need to remember to eat regularly even if their body doesn't tell them to eat! I, personally, shoot for the standard 250-300 cal/hr while pedaling. Off the bike, I eat whatever I feel like eating... and usually end up losing a bit of weight. Luckily, I usually have an extra 5-10lbs left over from winters so losing a few isn't a problem.
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Old 07-12-10, 03:44 PM
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Yup... if I had forced myself to eat an extra 200 calories at breakfast, I wouldn't have ruined my whole day out on the Frisco Highline... and although I probably wouldn't have gone through the trouble of counting out exactly how many calories I would need, success would have required me to *not* just listen to my body. I'm still actually quite perturbed about that day... I've never bonked before where I couldn't get back out ahead of it, but no matter what I did that day I was just TOAST.
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