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Under fueling?

Old 01-27-21, 01:37 PM
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Miller219
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Under fueling?

Hi all,

I am new to the forum and have been cycling for about 1 year now. I train pretty regularly and I am currently using Trainer road (currently in Build 1 phase of a custom plan).

During the past year, I have not experimented much with my fueling both on and off the bike. I generally maintain a low-carb diet. My question surrounds how not fueling beforehand may be affecting my performance.

A bit more background:
  • I find that I have no issue completing the trainer road workouts. Fuel = I ride in a fasted state, water + electrolytes consumed during the workout - no carbs.
  • I finish top 10 on my local group ride (usually lasting around 2 hrs). Fuel = I ride in a fasted state (BCAA/black coffee in the morning), water + electrolytes consumed during the workout - no carbs;
  • Extended group rides - I ride in a fasted state, water + electrolytes in one bottle, carb drink like Gatorade in the other.

Is my fueling strategy costing me performance? Recommended books? On the face of it, it seems as though I am following a Ketogenic diet however I have not increased my fat intake to accommodate the lack of carb intake. My concern surrounds my recovery, am I hurting myself re recovery and not gaining the benefits by fueling this way?
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Old 01-27-21, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Miller219 View Post
Is my fueling strategy costing me performance?
Almost certainly.

If you're concerned about performance, it would be worth trying some carbs before, during, and after rides and see what you think after a few weeks of that.
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Old 01-27-21, 04:01 PM
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I'd look more to how you feel 3 or 4 hours after the rides to tell you if you need to do anything different. If you have an overall feeling of being tired, possibly including the day after, then you probably need to change something. When I do it right for me (hydration and nutrition), I feel good with just some tired legs, but otherwise ready to go again.

I don't put much into eating this or that before a ride. I feel that if a persons glycogen level is otherwise topped up, then carb-loading prior to a ride is bunk. But if you ride long enough, generally over 1.5 to 2 hours, or hard enough on even a short ride, carbs consumed during your ride and within 45 minute to an hour after the ride will make a difference. Especially to keep you from having any feeling of general overall tiredness. And also they'll give you a way to have more available energy during the ride if you were to ever need it.

I also feel that hydration during the ride that gives you a post ride weight within a pound or two of your start ride weight is important toward feeling good later too. I don't religiously check my pre/post weight, but just occasionally do that. I've ridden in over 100F temps and only been 2 pounds lighter returning after any ride no matter how long. I've also been more than 5 pounds lighter and suffered cramps and feeling like crap that evening and a day afterwards. Thankfully that was many years ago before I'd been clued into the hydration thing. Of course this mostly is my opinion as I'm not going to search for the studies and reading material that served as a basis for what I'm currently doing.

But this site did serve as one of the places I felt that I got fairly decent info:

https://www.cptips.com/index.htm

It was created by a medical doctor that rode bikes for his fitness and was simply trying to organize ideas of what he was finding from other studies to help with his understanding of cycling physiology and nutrition. For a while it didn't seem to be updated much but I've noted more updates recently. It's heyday was probably well before 2010 when I think I first stumbled on to it. Sometimes you get to pages that don't have a link back. So navigation sometime is a little frustrating. But hey, he's a doctor, not a web developer.

He also wrote a book that's interesting too, but it is even more dated than the site, though both still hold up fairly well, IMO. https://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Fue.../dp/0933201176

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Old 01-27-21, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
I'd look more to how you feel 3 or 4 hours after the rides to tell you if you need to do anything different. If you have an overall feeling of being tired, possibly including the day after, then you probably need to change something. When I do it right for me (hydration and nutrition), I feel good with just some tired legs, but otherwise ready to go again.

I don't put much into eating this or that before a ride. I feel that if a persons glycogen level is otherwise topped up, then carb-loading prior to a ride is bunk. But if you ride long enough, generally over 1.5 to 2 hours, or hard enough on even a short ride, carbs consumed during your ride and within 45 minute to an hour after the ride will make a difference. Especially to keep you from having any feeling of general overall tiredness. And also they'll give you a way to have more available energy during the ride if you were to ever need it.

I also feel that hydration during the ride that gives you a post ride weight within a pound or two of your start ride weight is important toward feeling good later too. I don't religiously check my pre/post weight, but just occasionally do that. I've ridden in over 100F temps and only been 2 pounds lighter returning after any ride no matter how long. I've also been more than 5 pounds lighter and suffered cramps and feeling like crap that evening and a day afterwards. Thankfully that was many years ago before I'd been clued into the hydration thing. Of course this mostly is my opinion as I'm not going to search for the studies and reading material that served as a basis for what I'm currently doing.

But this site did serve as one of the places I felt that I got fairly decent info:

It was created by a medical doctor that rode bikes for his fitness and was simply trying to organize ideas of what he was finding from other studies to help with his understanding of cycling physiology and nutrition. For a while it didn't seem to be updated much but I've noted more updates recently. It's heyday was probably well before 2010 when I think I first stumbled on to it. Sometimes you get to pages that don't have a link back. So navigation sometime is a little frustrating. But hey, he's a doctor, not a web developer.

He also wrote a book that's interesting too, but it is even more dated than the site, though both still hold up fairly well, IMO.
100% feeling of fatigue 3-4 hrs after the ride. Legs are fine but a definite feeling of a lack of energy - I do not think I would be able to execute the same effort the following day.

I observe a 5-7lb decrease in weight post-ride, is this a sign of under hydration?
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Old 01-27-21, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Miller219 View Post
100% feeling of fatigue 3-4 hrs after the ride. Legs are fine but a definite feeling of a lack of energy - I do not think I would be able to execute the same effort the following day.

I observe a 5-7lb decrease in weight post-ride, is this a sign of under hydration?
Yeah, unless you are about 300 lbs, then I'd consider that saying you don't drink enough during your ride. And I do correlate times I don't drink enough water whether riding or working hard with my general feeling of no energy to do other stuff after a ride or working. And it sometimes takes a day or two to recover.

Though there'll probably be plenty that probably are use to doing this with apparently no ill effect. But that isn't my experience.

Carbs consumed on the ride have a little to do with that tired feeling too, but more so with carbs, I just find I don't have as much energy to exert myself to the same high level of performance I've previously done. Or I just get a voracious appetite after a ride and eat everything I can find and still want more.

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Old 01-27-21, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Yeah, unless you are about 300 lbs, then I'd consider that saying you don't drink enough during your ride. And I do correlate times I don't drink enough water whether riding or working hard with my general feeling of no energy to do other stuff after a ride or working. And it sometimes takes a day or two to recover.

Though there'll probably be plenty that probably are use to doing this with apparently no ill effect. But that isn't my experience.

Carbs consumed on the ride have a little to do with that tired feeling too, but more so with carbs, I just find I don't have as much energy to exert myself to the same high level of performance I've previously done. Or I just get a voracious appetite after a ride and eat everything I can find and still want more.
Thanks for the insight will increase hydration + increase carb intake the night before + during to see if there is a notable effect.
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Old 01-27-21, 09:47 PM
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If your only concerned with performance on those rides, you're probably okay. Just don't start a ride low on fuel or water.

The bigger impact is that you've dug a hole, and post-ride it takes time to refuel and rehydrate. During that time, your body should be rebuilding but instead it's scavenging for fuel and hampered by lack of water. IOW staying ahead of fuel and hydration on a ride is as much about after the ride as during the ride.

It's also about developing habits that let your rides grow longer. Having the habit of ending a 2 hour ride dehydrated and out of gas is not conducive to future 3+ hour rides. The same thing is true for going from 200km to 300km, or 300km to 400km.
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Old 01-28-21, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
If your only concerned with performance on those rides, you're probably okay. Just don't start a ride low on fuel or water.

The bigger impact is that you've dug a hole, and post-ride it takes time to refuel and rehydrate. During that time, your body should be rebuilding but instead it's scavenging for fuel and hampered by lack of water. IOW staying ahead of fuel and hydration on a ride is as much about after the ride as during the ride.

It's also about developing habits that let your rides grow longer. Having the habit of ending a 2 hour ride dehydrated and out of gas is not conducive to future 3+ hour rides. The same thing is true for going from 200km to 300km, or 300km to 400km.
Yes this makes sense.

I made a point to have carb-up yesterday evening + added carbs to dinner (nothing crazy, normal portions) and added carb snack. Had one gel before riding (20g). Did a fast-paced group ride with 20oz of Lucozade and 20oz of Water w/electolytes. Finished the ride with 1/4 bottle of water remaining. Noticeable improvement in recovery times after big efforts.

Immediately After Ride
Protein (20g) + Carb (40g) shake.

2 Hrs After Ride
Balanced breakfast + extra carbs added (25g banana)
2 Glasses of Water

4 hrs After Ride
I observe no fatigue. In fact, I only observe slight soreness in legs - which is pretty normal. Definitely feel like I could put out the same effort tomorrow.

Observed no significant weight loss post-ride (1lb).
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Old 01-28-21, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by downtube42 View Post
If your only concerned with performance on those rides, you're probably okay. Just don't start a ride low on fuel or water.

The bigger impact is that you've dug a hole, and post-ride it takes time to refuel and rehydrate. During that time, your body should be rebuilding but instead it's scavenging for fuel and hampered by lack of water. IOW staying ahead of fuel and hydration on a ride is as much about after the ride as during the ride.

It's also about developing habits that let your rides grow longer. Having the habit of ending a 2 hour ride dehydrated and out of gas is not conducive to future 3+ hour rides. The same thing is true for going from 200km to 300km, or 300km to 400km.
I'm astonished that pro riders can do multiple 100 mile rides for a months as in Le Tour. Given that those people are extraordinary physical specimens, they must still do everything right to be competitive, correct nutritional preparation to adequately recover to compete. As suggested above, a lot depends on the kind of rides you will be doing and the need for complete recovery. There are plenty of You Tube Videos with tips on recovery.
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Old 01-28-21, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by berner View Post
I'm astonished that pro riders can do multiple 100 mile rides for a months as in Le Tour. Given that those people are extraordinary physical specimens, they must still do everything right to be competitive, correct nutritional preparation to adequately recover to compete. As suggested above, a lot depends on the kind of rides you will be doing and the need for complete recovery. There are plenty of You Tube Videos with tips on recovery.
I'm not in any way shape or form an amazing athlete, I just extend myself with randonneuring rides. What I've learned it's that, aside from having some level of fitness and some amount of desire, riding multiple hundreds of miles without rest is all about your stomach. When I finish a 1200k, I'm tired of eating.
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Old 01-28-21, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Miller219 View Post
Yes this makes sense.

I made a point to have carb-up yesterday evening + added carbs to dinner (nothing crazy, normal portions) and added carb snack. Had one gel before riding (20g). Did a fast-paced group ride with 20oz of Lucozade and 20oz of Water w/electolytes. Finished the ride with 1/4 bottle of water remaining. Noticeable improvement in recovery times after big efforts.

Immediately After Ride
Protein (20g) + Carb (40g) shake.

2 Hrs After Ride
Balanced breakfast + extra carbs added (25g banana)
2 Glasses of Water

4 hrs After Ride
I observe no fatigue. In fact, I only observe slight soreness in legs - which is pretty normal. Definitely feel like I could put out the same effort tomorrow.

Observed no significant weight loss post-ride (1lb).
Yes. That's about what I do also. We know we fueled and hydrated correctly today if we can repeat the effort tomorrow. That includes a century if one is in shape for it.
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Old 01-29-21, 10:25 AM
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This is all very rule-of-thumb-ish, but my understanding is that, depending on intensity, you can get up to of your calories on a ride from stored fat, and you've got enough readily accessible energy on top of that to get you through about 2 hours of riding.

I never ride fasted (at least, not intentionally). My approach has been that for rides of less than two hours, I don't bother eating during the ride; for rides of 2+ hours, I have a Clif bar (250 cal) at the end of each hour. I'm probably burning about 600 cal/hour on those longer rides, so—even if I am getting 300 cal/hour from fat—I'm not quite calorie neutral, but so far I've been getting through pretty long rides feeling pretty good at the end, and am not wrecked the next day. I do plan to increase my rate of calorie intake as I increase my ride length.

I don't have a scale at home, so I can't report on weight.
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Old 01-29-21, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
This is all very rule-of-thumb-ish, but my understanding is that, depending on intensity, you can get up to of your calories on a ride from stored fat, and you've got enough readily accessible energy on top of that to get you through about 2 hours of riding.

I never ride fasted (at least, not intentionally). My approach has been that for rides of less than two hours, I don't bother eating during the ride; for rides of 2+ hours, I have a Clif bar (250 cal) at the end of each hour. I'm probably burning about 600 cal/hour on those longer rides, so—even if I am getting 300 cal/hour from fat—I'm not quite calorie neutral, but so far I've been getting through pretty long rides feeling pretty good at the end, and am not wrecked the next day. I do plan to increase my rate of calorie intake as I increase my ride length.

I don't have a scale at home, so I can't report on weight.
Be aware that the Clif bar you eat now, is for energy that you'll want/need about 1.5 hours after eating it, since those bars are primarily made from complex carbs that take about 90 minutes to be digested. So if you only have 90 minutes or less til the end of your ride, then a Clif bar is not the right choice, and a liquid Gu/Powerbar gel pack is the better option since those are typically made from simple carbs (aka sugar) that break down much faster.
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Old 01-29-21, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
Be aware that the Clif bar you eat now, is for energy that you'll want/need about 1.5 hours after eating it, since those bars are primarily made from complex carbs that take about 90 minutes to be digested. So if you only have 90 minutes or less til the end of your ride, then a Clif bar is not the right choice, and a liquid Gu/Powerbar gel pack is the better option since those are typically made from simple carbs (aka sugar) that break down much faster.
Yes. The idea of Clif bar nutrition is that you know your burn and eat accordingly. So you eat your first bar in the first hour and continue that practice, 1 bar an hour, 1/2 bar an hour, whatever. This is where "eat before you're hungry" comes from. I use maltodextrin for my main fuel, which hits in 20 minutes or less, so I can fuel by hunger if I want to, though more usually I fuel by time, just like the Clif example and occasionally by dropping HR and less often by hunger.
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Old 01-29-21, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
Be aware that the Clif bar you eat now, is for energy that you'll want/need about 1.5 hours after eating it, since those bars are primarily made from complex carbs that take about 90 minutes to be digested.
That's a good point, and something I've overlooked. It's been working for me so far, but that doesn't mean that something else wouldn't work better.
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Old 01-29-21, 12:23 PM
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Originally Posted by adamrice View Post
That's a good point, and something I've overlooked. It's been working for me so far, but that doesn't mean that something else wouldn't work better.
The reason it may be working for you is because you may be eating a Clif bar 2.5 hours before your rides ends, which means it's been digested and giving you fuel for those final 60 minutes of the ride. All I'm saying is that eating a Clif bar during the final 90 minutes of the ride doesn't do much for you, unless of course your bar of choice is coated in a sugary layer, which is true for some bars. In that case, the sugary layer is what's fueling you, or possibly the sugary drink in your water bottle.
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Old 02-01-21, 02:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Miller219 View Post
I observe a 5-7lb decrease in weight post-ride, is this a sign of under hydration?
Dehydration is pretty normal, but it's also a sign that you've burned a lot of glycogen.

The body holds about 2400 kCals or 600g of glycogen between the muscles and the liver. The body also retains 3 grams of water for every gram of glycogen, so 1800g (4 lbs) of water.

It's unlikely you're depleting all of that in a 2 hour ride since your energy comes from burning a combination of glycogen and fat, but with zero fueling, it's reasonable to assume maybe half your glycogen is depleted, along with 2 lbs of water.
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Old 02-01-21, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Miller219 View Post
Hi all,

I am new to the forum and have been cycling for about 1 year now. I train pretty regularly and I am currently using Trainer road (currently in Build 1 phase of a custom plan).

During the past year, I have not experimented much with my fueling both on and off the bike. I generally maintain a low-carb diet. My question surrounds how not fueling beforehand may be affecting my performance.

A bit more background:
  • I find that I have no issue completing the trainer road workouts. Fuel = I ride in a fasted state, water + electrolytes consumed during the workout - no carbs.
  • I finish top 10 on my local group ride (usually lasting around 2 hrs). Fuel = I ride in a fasted state (BCAA/black coffee in the morning), water + electrolytes consumed during the workout - no carbs;
  • Extended group rides - I ride in a fasted state, water + electrolytes in one bottle, carb drink like Gatorade in the other.

Is my fueling strategy costing me performance? Recommended books? On the face of it, it seems as though I am following a Ketogenic diet however I have not increased my fat intake to accommodate the lack of carb intake. My concern surrounds my recovery, am I hurting myself re recovery and not gaining the benefits by fueling this way?
-Your trainer workouts are either likely short enough or at a low enough intensity to not call on your stored glycogen OR deplete it and necessitate fueling. For this point, I would say you're not able to perform work at a high enough level either due to the zones of the workouts OR your fueling. You can't ride 250w of sweetspot for 2 hours with zero fueling, that's mostly glycogen and at that burn rate you're depleted after that time (if you started at 100% fueled).

-You don't win group rides. Your "place" in it is irrelevant. Ask yourself if the group ride achieves the desired amount of time spent working the in the training zones you want and gave you the bike handling skills you wanted.

-Again, all these group rides may be in a low enough zone to not need the fueling. Even middle Z2 requires some carb if long enough. So, likely they're either too easy or too short.

Cliff notes: you are absolutely shorting yourself on potential fitness by doing this unless you're a Randonneur type rider burning only fat for 12hrs a day.
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Old 02-01-21, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Riveting View Post
The reason it may be working for you is because you may be eating a Clif bar 2.5 hours before your rides ends, which means it's been digested and giving you fuel for those final 60 minutes of the ride. All I'm saying is that eating a Clif bar during the final 90 minutes of the ride doesn't do much for you, unless of course your bar of choice is coated in a sugary layer, which is true for some bars. In that case, the sugary layer is what's fueling you, or possibly the sugary drink in your water bottle.
The #1 ingredient in clif bars is brown rice syrup so I imagine you get a fairly quick jolt followed by continued energy from the complex carbs.
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Old 02-01-21, 04:59 PM
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I have finally started to regularly take in nutrition before and during workouts and there is a noticeable difference in RPE. I like the Honey Stinger Waffles for something solid 30-40 minutes before and 1-2 gels for most 60-120 minute workout sessions.

I will add that I was able to pull off a win in my last Cat C race by 0.08s. I have to believe that if I were not fueled properly it would have cost me that win since it was razor thin and a long grinding uphill finish over 500W for what seemed to be an eternity.
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Old 02-01-21, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Cycling Boss View Post

I will add that I was able to pull off a win in my last Cat C race by 0.08s. I have to believe that if I were not fueled properly it would have cost me that win since it was razor thin and a long grinding uphill finish over 500W for what seemed to be an eternity.
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