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Adkins Diet

Old 07-26-16, 12:36 PM
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turnerms98
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Adkins Diet

Hello everyone. I recently bought my first road bike and am averaging 100 miles a week. I have been on the Adkins diet since January and have lost a total of 64 pounds since last May. The trouble I am finding, is by my rides on Sunday I completely bonk and I'm sure it's from the lack of carbs throughout the week. We have a cheat day on Monday but average about 15 carbs a day the rest of the week. I have a 40 mile ride coming up in two weeks on a Sunday and know I'm going to have to change my diet if I want to continue riding longer distances. What are your thoughts on completely changing the diet? I know I need more carbs and I also know all the meat and cheese can't be as good for me as fruits and veggies! Look forward to all of your thoughts!!
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Old 07-26-16, 12:41 PM
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Start eating McDonald's.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:47 PM
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Just kidding above. What are you eating on your rides? When I was low to no carb I would still eat fruit/power bars on some rides and it was like rocket fuel.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:50 PM
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I figured as much after I saw the McDonalds post below. Honestly I am eating nothing on my rides. Just a handful of almonds about 30 minutes before. We've been so strict on the diet that I'm very nervous about adding carbs but know that it's a must now. I've almost passed out on my last two Sunday rides and I'm not letting it happen again!! I get very light headed and tingling through my body.
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Old 07-26-16, 12:55 PM
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Ya you want to experiment with eating something. I tried eating carb light during my rides and it was fine for regular rides but once summer rolled around I just couldn't handle so much fat/protein during the heat so I went to power bars and fruit. I try to eat only to my level of exertion and "use up" all the carbs in my body before I get home. It's a dumb way to think about it but seems to be working for me.

How long have you been riding? It can take a few to several months to really get in shape and be able to exercise low carb or fasted for longer (1+ hours).
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Old 07-26-16, 01:58 PM
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When I was low carb I had no problem riding 60 miles without food. But that was averaging 13 - 15 MPH (including stops). So a 60 mile ride would take about 5 hours. Not high intensity. But salt intake was more critical than when I rode high carb.

Higher intensity rides (at least for me) required including some carbohydrates the day before and day of the ride. But those didn't happen often.

At this point I'm back to a higher carb diet. I like beer too much and ended up juggling high / low carb all the time and it didn't work very well.
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Old 07-26-16, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by turnerms98 View Post
What are your thoughts on completely changing the diet? I know I need more carbs and I also know all the meat and cheese can't be as good for me as fruits and veggies! Look forward to all of your thoughts!!
If you think this diet is unhealthy, it's affecting your riding, and maybe putting you in danger (I wouldn't want to be riding a bike feeling extremely light headed and dizzy) then why follow it?
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Old 07-26-16, 04:03 PM
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If your low-carb diet is having a negative effect on your performance then it's time to change and try something else...Add some potatoes and rice to your diet.
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Old 07-26-16, 05:03 PM
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I'm not any kind of expert. But I'm sympathetic; I did Protein Power back about 15 years ago and had a large drop in weight, and kept about half of it off in the years since.

Are you really on an Atkins diet or just following what you believe to be Atkins? It's been a while since but I recall that these diets have a crash phase and a taper phase and a sustained phase. The crash phase was very limited but also short, a couple weeks. The sustained phase of Protein Power had a good portion of complex carbs, like vegetables. And even the crash phase was a lot of fish and turkey breast and peanuts and skim dairy, not cheeseburgers. It required a minimum amount of protein at the same time as a maximum limit of carbs, and it was pegged to activity level; you weren't supposed to starve.

I just looked it up, the sustained phase of Protein Power is 70-130 grams of carbs per day or like 300-500 calories.

It may help to have more carbohydrates in order to do a lot of exercise. But the diet is working. Are you happy with where you've landed? What is more important to you, to continue your success on the diet, or to go on the ride? Will you get back on the diet when you have finished the ride? Or will this be the end of it, are you looking for permission to break it?
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Old 07-26-16, 06:04 PM
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If you're on Atkins, you should be eating more than 15 carbs a day. That low level is only meant for the first two weeks, called Induction. After that, you're supposed to bump the carb level with more vegetables and fruit.
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Old 07-26-16, 06:40 PM
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I'm definitely not looking to stop the diet. I still have 20 more to lose to reach my goal. Just looking to be able to ride more comfortably. As someone who has struggled with weight for most of my life finding something that works and maintaining is the hard part. I feel I have found that and have also developed a love for cycling along the way!!
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Old 07-26-16, 07:06 PM
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"We have a cheat day on Monday"

If your long rides are on Sundays; can you make that day the "cheat" day?
Stick with what ever calorie schedule you're used to; just push the schedule
one day.
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Old 07-26-16, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by turnerms98 View Post
I recently bought my first road bike and am averaging 100 miles a week. I have been on the Adkins diet since January and have lost a total of 64 pounds since last May. The trouble I am finding, is by my rides on Sunday I completely bonk and I'm sure it's from the lack of carbs throughout the week.
If your goal is loosing weight, then the bonk is the cost of doing business, suffer through it knowing that you are reaching your goal. If you are more concerned about the cycling performance, eat some complex carbs. So what is the dietary plan for after you loose the weight?
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Old 07-26-16, 07:44 PM
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I would go into maintenance phase of the diet where I am allowed much more carbs.
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Old 07-27-16, 10:01 AM
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Anecdotally, low carbers have found that they can combine low carb eating with bike performance very simply: Start eating or drinking carbs about 15 minutes before your ride. Then eat or drink high carb foods or beverages during the whole ride. After the ride, have a carb/protein recovery drink of about 25g protein and 75g carbs for a 150 lb. rider. Then go back to low carbing. You want to consume between 100 and 250 calories of carbs/hour while on the bike, eating at least every 1/2 hour. You'll have to fiddle with the dosage to see what works for you and your usual riding intensity.

Hammer Gel in one of their Hammer flasks would be a good choice: easy to store, consume, no mess, and keeps forever in the fridge.

The ideal is to consume about 1/2 the energy you use on the bike. So you'd be half fueled by fat, half by carbs, and no weight gain potential from consuming the carbs on the bike.
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Old 07-27-16, 10:07 AM
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Make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids. I followed the Atkins diet for a while and lost some weight but also developed a kidney stone. Kidney stones are proven risk from high protein diets, particularly if you don't drink enough fluids. It is easy to dehydrate if you are cycling a lot, which contributed to my problems.

I understand your reluctance about sticking to the diet as it has helped you lose weight. However, you really should consider eating some carbs in moderation on days that you ride. I lost 10 lbs following the Atkins diet (which I later gained back), but lost 30 lbs on a more balanced diet by simply tracking calories and eating a healthier diet that included all of the food groups.
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Old 07-27-16, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by turnerms98 View Post
I'm sure it's from the lack of carbs throughout the week.


I'm sure it's from lack of carbs that day, not throughout the week. Carbs you eat Monday thru Friday will not still be carbs on Sunday: they'll be fat.


High performance cycling requires carbohydrate intake. Your body simply cannot convert fat into energy fast enough to fuel a moderate to high intensity ride of that distance.


Don't give up the diet if it's working for you and other aspects of your life aside from cycling aren't suffering. Like Spoonrobot said, when your body is conditioned to function on minimal carbs a banana or a Clif bar is like a blast of jet fuel. Just don't continue to eat like that when you're not cycling or else you might not be able to stop.
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Old 07-28-16, 02:37 PM
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So rode today for the first time in 3 days after visiting family. Had some bacon for breakfast before my 5 hour drive home and then ate a cliff bar and power gel. I killed my ride today!!! Then I went to the store and bought some rice and Quinoa. No more bonking for me!! Thank you all for the kind responses!!
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Old 07-28-16, 02:51 PM
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Originally Posted by turnerms98 View Post
Hello everyone. I recently bought my first road bike and am averaging 100 miles a week. I have been on the Adkins diet since January and have lost a total of 64 pounds since last May. The trouble I am finding, is by my rides on Sunday I completely bonk and I'm sure it's from the lack of carbs throughout the week. We have a cheat day on Monday but average about 15 carbs a day the rest of the week. I have a 40 mile ride coming up in two weeks on a Sunday and know I'm going to have to change my diet if I want to continue riding longer distances. What are your thoughts on completely changing the diet? I know I need more carbs and I also know all the meat and cheese can't be as good for me as fruits and veggies! Look forward to all of your thoughts!!
I lost 160+ lbs eating a primarily low carb diet (not strict Adkins, but similar). When I reached my goal weight, I found that I was able to increase my carbs on days I ride (primarily right before, during and after the ride) and get a performance boost without adding weight or body fat. YMMV, but if you're riding very hard at all, you're burning carbs faster than you can eat them, so why not give your body some decent fuel while you ride, but otherwise stick to the diet that's working for you off the bike?
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Old 08-01-16, 01:53 PM
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tried it.....bonk city for me. Looks like you are doing well though
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Old 08-01-16, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
I lost 10 lbs following the Atkins diet (which I later gained back), but lost 30 lbs on a more balanced diet by simply tracking calories and eating a healthier diet that included all of the food groups.


+1. There is so much more to fueling the body for an active lifestyle.
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