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Atkins diet for cylclist??

Old 02-05-13, 02:29 PM
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joe englert
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Atkins diet for cylclist??

Was considering going on the Atkins diet to see if I can improve my cycling etc. Im not overweight at under 150 lbs but a friend told me that if one was to eat just meat...no carbs..one would lose more weight and have more energy. I always thought carbs were the number food for a cyclist...in fact....my current diet is meatless...well, i do eat tuna once a week. mostly doing the rice and beans thing with lots of fruit and veggies and bread.
Wondering if any pro cyclist to the Atkins thing.
appreciate any help
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Old 02-05-13, 02:42 PM
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I don't think any pros do Atkins.

Some ironman triathletes and ultra distance cyclists have had results with a very low carb diet, which forces them to burn fat. I am not conviced that it works for everyone. And I don't think it will work well for typical road races/crits. There's too much high intensity effort, and that requires a lot of glycogen.

If you're not overweight what weight do you expect to lose?
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Old 02-05-13, 04:09 PM
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If you're not overweight, losing weight is not a good idea. You should eat a balanced diet, and enough to keep your weight roughly the same. Sounds like protein would be something to watch for- by not eating meat you'll need to get it from other sources. Expect to gain a little from building muscle.
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Old 02-05-13, 04:52 PM
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Thanks much for the input. its true that i was only considering this diet. I wouldnt mind getting down to 140 at five foot 8 I would like to climb better. I usually ride about 350+ miles over the summer and only about 200 or so over the winter since im a teacher and get my summers off, i devote alot more time to my habit.
I only know that this guy Iknow says that the atkins diet would make me a better rider and im open to advice. thanksagain.
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Old 02-05-13, 05:49 PM
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If that's 350 miles for the entire summer, not per week in the summer, you can improve the most simply by riding more.
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Old 02-05-13, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by joe englert View Post
Thanks much for the input. its true that i was only considering this diet. I wouldnt mind getting down to 140 at five foot 8 I would like to climb better. I usually ride about 350+ miles over the summer and only about 200 or so over the winter since im a teacher and get my summers off, i devote alot more time to my habit.
I only know that this guy Iknow says that the atkins diet would make me a better rider and im open to advice. thanksagain.
Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
If that's 350 miles for the entire summer, not per week in the summer, you can improve the most simply by riding more.
+1

350 miles over even just 2 months is hardly any cycling at all. Double or triple that and you may lose weight and will quite likely become a better rider.
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Old 02-05-13, 06:59 PM
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I ride 1200-1700km a month in summer and 1000-1400km in the winter. With that kind of distance keeping weight off is easy, but 350miles in 3 months would have me gaining weight fast. As for no carbs, thats a really bad idea if you want to cycle any distance at all. Your body needs fuel and if you have low reserves of fat anyway you need the carbs to keep those legs moving.
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Old 02-06-13, 10:55 AM
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sorry for the misunderstanding. 350 + per week over the summer 200 + per week winter
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Old 02-06-13, 11:59 AM
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You should have a good base then. Climbing speed on long climbs is basically power/weight ratio. So you can work on you FTP, and try to lose weight. At that volume losing weight should be a matter of eating a little less. IF you have weight to lose. Go too low and you will lose resilience, i.e. get sick a lot. Lose more and you'll get slower, not faster.

You can build FTP by doing SST or 2x20s.
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Old 02-06-13, 12:37 PM
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Yeah. 350/wk is a bit much IMO, except perhaps for base. Reduce time/miles total but add in appropriate HIT sessions. See Joe Friel et al...

As far as weight, it might be better to think in terms of percentage body fat. See Matt Fitzgerald, Monique Ryan, et al...

Fad diets, like Adkins, are attempts at making you eat less. The way you lose weight is by appropriate caloric restriction and that is infallibly done is by strict calorie counting. When restricting calories, it's even more important to monitor the quality and variety of the foods you eat to ensure optimal nutrition for training. I strongly suggest and recommend "Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes", by Monique Ryan, or "Racing Weight" by Matt Fitzgerald. General training books like The Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel also contain relevant information.
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Old 02-06-13, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by joe englert View Post
Was considering going on the Atkins diet to see if I can improve my cycling etc. Im not overweight at under 150 lbs but a friend told me that if one was to eat just meat...no carbs..one would lose more weight and have more energy. I always thought carbs were the number food for a cyclist...in fact....my current diet is meatless...well, i do eat tuna once a week. mostly doing the rice and beans thing with lots of fruit and veggies and bread.
Wondering if any pro cyclist to the Atkins thing.
appreciate any help
Honestly, I'm not sure why anybody does the Atkins thing. When he died unexpectedly following a fall and his cardiovascular system was examined, he had terrible arteries and other issues.
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Old 02-06-13, 02:16 PM
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Hey guys, really appreciate the tips. I think I will pass on the Atkins diet from what youve been saying. Your right, its hard to find the best remedy. Its true, if I dont eat enough, I do feel weaker and I have been known to overtrain a bit as well. What I do is ride 2x a day. Over the summer for instance I do a 30-60 mile ride and then after dinner around 6 or so i do a recovery ride 10-15 miles. I do ride 7 days a week
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Old 02-06-13, 02:19 PM
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Good point. Will try your suggestions. Cool to see your in the same neck of the woods as me. Some of the best cycling in the world in those santa cruz mountains. Love training on hills like redwood gulch, Hicks, etc etc.
Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
You should have a good base then. Climbing speed on long climbs is basically power/weight ratio. So you can work on you FTP, and try to lose weight. At that volume losing weight should be a matter of eating a little less. IF you have weight to lose. Go too low and you will lose resilience, i.e. get sick a lot. Lose more and you'll get slower, not faster.

You can build FTP by doing SST or 2x20s.
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Old 02-06-13, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
Honestly, I'm not sure why anybody does the Atkins thing. When he died unexpectedly following a fall and his cardiovascular system was examined, he had terrible arteries and other issues.
None of which were attributed to his diet.

https://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/atk...tkinsdeath.htm
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Old 02-06-13, 03:22 PM
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I practice a low carb diet and avoid wheat and processed foods... a few folks said there is no way you can't perform at a decent level without filling up on carbs but this is simply not true.

Each of us is different so a diet that works for one may not work for another... my body just does not tolerate wheat very well and highly processed foods just aren't good for anyone.

If you can ride 350 miles a week and are getting adequate rest and eating right then this is ok... I was riding at this pace for a long time and found that taking a rest day where I might just pootle around instead of going out hard for 40 miles made a huge difference.

Allowing for recovery time is very important.
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Old 02-06-13, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
None of which were attributed to his diet.

https://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/atk...tkinsdeath.htm
First off, that link is an About .com guide, not a medical doctor's opinion. The jury is still very much out on Atkins, with some research suggesting that Atkins does contribute to blood and tissue damage. Far more people have had success with a plain-old low fat diet that emphasizes the right proteins and exercise. I just don't get why people buy into Atkins.
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Old 02-06-13, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver View Post
a few folks said there is no way you can't perform at a decent level without filling up on carbs but this is simply not true.
How have your race results been on that low carb diet?
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Old 02-06-13, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by cafzali View Post
First off, that link is an About .com guide, not a medical doctor's opinion. The jury is still very much out on Atkins, with some research suggesting that Atkins does contribute to blood and tissue damage. Far more people have had success with a plain-old low fat diet that emphasizes the right proteins and exercise. I just don't get why people buy into Atkins.
So, your evidence that "Atkins does contribute to blood and tissue damage" is...?

Low-carb diets are useful because the lack of glucose spikes/crashes and the satiety of protein-rich foods can help curb overeating (although the Atkins people took pains not to acknowledge this mechanism.) If a person does feel that they have more energy, it is likely the result of doing away with the sugar crashes once the body adjusts.

There is a way to do it in a very healthful way, as well -- lean meats and green vegetables, good oils, etc. I wouldn't do it as an athlete with lots of short-term energy needs, though.
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Old 02-06-13, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
So, your evidence that "Atkins does contribute to blood and tissue damage" is...?

Low-carb diets are useful because the lack of glucose spikes/crashes and the satiety of protein-rich foods can help curb overeating (although the Atkins people took pains not to acknowledge this mechanism.) If a person does feel that they have more energy, it is likely the result of doing away with the sugar crashes once the body adjusts.

There is a way to do it in a very healthful way, as well -- lean meats and green vegetables, good oils, etc. I wouldn't do it as an athlete with lots of short-term energy needs, though.
Good god, doesn't anyone else know how to google? Fercryinoutloud. The third result googling on the phrase, "research suggesting that Atkins does contribute to blood and tissue damage" is
Ketosis leads to increased methylglyoxal production on the Atkins diet
and that's not a good thing. Read all about it here:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16037240

I ride with a fairly large group of older but still competitive cyclists. None of them eat low carb. It is possible to ride slowly on a low carb diet. No argument there. However it is not possible to ride fast or hard, which is the reason we don't meet anyone doing that. I don't count the internet under the category of "meeting anyone." As Eric pointed out, some LD athletes do eat low carb, but that falls under the category of riding slowly. They do the bike leg in zones 1 and 2, where that diet will work.

Looking at my last 154 mile mountain ride, I was almost never in zone 1 and in zone 2 only about 25% of the time. Low carb's not going to fuel that. At 250 miles in the mountains, I've slowed down so that 75% of my time is in zones 1 and 2, but at only 80 mountain miles those zones comprise only 15% of the time. So it just depends on what you're doing and how hard you're going. All those rides were fueled at 85% carbs.
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Old 02-07-13, 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by joe englert View Post
sorry for the misunderstanding. 350 + per week over the summer 200 + per week winter
OK that's better.

But you might want to mix it up a bit, if you aren't already ... include a couple days a week where you do hill climbing and/or intervals. Or maybe join a cycling club that will push you.
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Old 02-07-13, 06:16 AM
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I consume a high fat/low carb diet. I've been rather Ill lately and not cycling as much as I would like but I was cycling fairly hard on a low carb diet. Yes, when your really cycling hard you do need some carbs but you would be surprised on how far you can get on a low carb diet. You can eat the carbs just before you go and while your riding. You don't need to Carbo-load the day before.

Yes if you keep your heart rate down low carb/high fat diets are good for long rides.

Anthony

Last edited by AnthonyG; 02-07-13 at 06:19 AM.
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Old 02-07-13, 08:32 AM
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I tried a low carb approach for a while. I have never felt so crappy in my life.
I did end modifying my diet from a high carb diet to something more moderate in all respects.
When I am riding and\or racing it naturally moves more towards a high carb diet.
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Old 02-07-13, 10:58 AM
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Im not really a racer per say, although I ride-keep up with-drop-get dropped by cat3 and 4 riders pretty regularly. I may try some road races though in the near future. At the present time, im eating pretty high carb diet with veggies and no red meats or foul at all. nuts, beans,tuna, dairy, are my source of protein, which im not too sure I get enough of
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Old 02-07-13, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
The third result googling on the phrase, "research suggesting that Atkins does contribute to blood and tissue damage" is and that's not a good thing. Read all about it here:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16037240
I find that it's interesting they checked blood levels, but didn't actually check to see if any damage was being done. So we have to assume that methylglyoxal does what they think it does.
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Old 02-07-13, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
... Low-carb diets are useful because the lack of glucose spikes/crashes and the satiety of protein-rich foods can help curb overeating ...
IMO, it's far better to count and limit calories systematically to control overeating rather than rely on some kooky diet in hopes that it will curb your appetite.
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