Significant energy depletion...Need some nutritional advice, please
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  1. #1
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    Significant energy depletion...Need some nutritional advice, please

    Hello All, I'm currently riding about 30-50 miles regular and hope to be making my way up to my first century rides. Half-Centuries have proven to be successful for the few that I've done, thus far. I'm working on increasing my steady cadence, endurance during climbs, and over all endurance on long rides. My problem is that I'm typically running out of energy regularly. I'd say the last 15-20 miles of a 50 mile ride, I'm out of steam.

    The obvious might be going too hard out of the gate and not pacing myself, so I've been mindful of that. But I'm thinking that I'm not eating enough. I'm 6'1" and about 166-167 lbs. right now.

    I'm thinking about signing up for Sufferfest videos and doing additional indoor training between rides, hoping this will help me to manage my pace, output, and overall endurance. The piece that I'm not clear about is what I should be eating pre-rides, post-rides, how much, etc. I can admit that I eat healthy, but probably not enough. But I'm not sure of this.

  2. #2
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    1. How many calories do you eat per day?
    2. How many calories do you eat pre-ride?
    3. How many calories do you eat during the ride? And how many bottles of fluid?

    if you don't know that is part ofyour problem.

    Do you ride with a heart rate monitor?
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  3. #3
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    Measure rides by hours, not miles. Your stomach does not know how many miles you've ridden.

    I can do a three hour morning ride on a good breakfast. Any longer and I need to eat. Many people would need to eat for 2+ hour rides. About 200-250 calories/hour, starting after an hour (assuming a good breakfast). A good breakfast would be a little protein and mostly complex carbs, little sugar. Real oatmeal not the sugar-laden instant junk is one example of a good breakfast.

    Don't forget to drink. Depending on the heat, length of ride and your physiology you may need electrolytes too.

  4. #4
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    Eat after 60-90 minutes and every hour after that.

    You can go out and ride a century tomorrow if you eat enough. For simply completing longer rides, nutrition is more important than training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skhan007 View Post
    Hello All, I'm currently riding about 30-50 miles regular and hope to be making my way up to my first century rides. Half-Centuries have proven to be successful for the few that I've done, thus far. I'm working on increasing my steady cadence, endurance during climbs, and over all endurance on long rides. My problem is that I'm typically running out of energy regularly. I'd say the last 15-20 miles of a 50 mile ride, I'm out of steam.

    The obvious might be going too hard out of the gate and not pacing myself, so I've been mindful of that. But I'm thinking that I'm not eating enough. I'm 6'1" and about 166-167 lbs. right now.

    I'm thinking about signing up for Sufferfest videos and doing additional indoor training between rides, hoping this will help me to manage my pace, output, and overall endurance. The piece that I'm not clear about is what I should be eating pre-rides, post-rides, how much, etc. I can admit that I eat healthy, but probably not enough. But I'm not sure of this.
    Per several other comments - you mention pre-ride and post-ride but not during the ride. If you don't eat during the ride it is no surprise that you run out of steam toward the end.

  6. #6
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    If the ride is long enough that you need to eat during it (usually over 2-3 hrs) you should consume ~100 cal every 1/2 hr starting 30 minutes in. This can be gels, energy drink, a banana, two fig newtons, etc... The reason to start soon is that it takes time for what you eat to be digested and metabolized.

    For the full story, read a book like "Sports Nutrition for Endurance Athletes" by Ryan.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

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    Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'm clearly not eating enough before and not at all during rides, so I suppose it's to be expected that one runs out of energy. I'll make those adjustments straight away. I'll also take a look a the book recommendation, as well. Cheers!

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    If you're goal is endurance, then look to train in zone 3 (about 70% - 75% effort) on an empty stomach, and with no food on the ride. Train your body to burn fat for energy.

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    Remember that no amount of food can make up for lack of endurance. "Energy gels" aren't some magical force that gives you power where you don't have it.

    But as others have said, you should be eating while riding. A moderate breakfast & 100-200cal per hour of riding. If that doesn't do it, you just need to ride more to build endurance.
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    People have given some good advice regarding fuel and nutrition. An easily overlooked factor is hydration.

    Dehydration sneaks up on you and it is much easier to stay hydrated than it is to come back after your mouth starts to feel dry. While everyone is different, I follow a one bottle per hour rule. To maintain this, I need to drink early on the ride, well before I ever feel thirsty.

    How is your hydration?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    If you're goal is endurance, then look to train in zone 3 (about 70% - 75% effort) on an empty stomach, and with no food on the ride. Train your body to burn fat for energy.
    Ignore this op. This is stupid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Remember that no amount of food can make up for lack of endurance. "Energy gels" aren't some magical force that gives you power where you don't have it.
    Doesn't take that much power to ride 100 miles. Just takes energy.

    Now to ride 100 miles fast is an entirely different matter...

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    Quote Originally Posted by runabike View Post
    Ignore this op. This is stupid.
    I take it you have no clue what fat metabolism is, and how/when to ride in manner when you can maximize the usage of that huge fat reserve, and when you must go a bit harder and dip deeper into a higher % of glycogen? You're so clueless I won't even bother. I'd dumb myself debating any further with you

  14. #14
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by runabike View Post
    Doesn't take that much power to ride 100 miles. Just takes energy.

    Now to ride 100 miles fast is an entirely different matter...
    FYI.. Power = energy/time
    If it takes energy... it takes power.
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    Be careful about eating before the ride. It takes energy to digest food.
    Personally I feel sluggish with any more than a bagel right before a ride. All my rides of any significance start in the morning and it seems a good dinner the night before is way more important than what I have or don't have right before the ride.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Be careful about eating before the ride. It takes energy to digest food.
    Personally I feel sluggish with any more than a bagel right before a ride. All my rides of any significance start in the morning and it seems a good dinner the night before is way more important than what I have or don't have right before the ride.
    There is a reason for this. When we consume food, especially food rich in carbs, it causes an insulin spike, and insulin spike is a bad bad thing because it causes our muscles to burn glycogen more than fat. There are other negative effects of insulin on athletic performace, but basically, you don't want an insulin spike right before or during an athletic performance. And eating too much also divert blood to the gut for digestion; you want blood going to the muscles, not the gut. And eating too much right before hard exercise causes an osmolarity imbalance in the gut as your body starts to demand water just as much if not more than calorie; and an osmolarity imbalance can cause hydration issue once into the event. As you can see, eating right before a ride can cause a host of different undesirable factors that will affect performance once you start going at it hard.

    The best way to eat for an endurance event is to eat about 3+ hours before the event, and let the food clear out of the stomach completely or almost completely clear out. I see too many people goobling a gel or a bar (or even a sandwich!) right before an event. These folks are coping each other and doing it wrong. But I don't blame them though since they probably don't know. Heck, even a coach who posted on the USA Cycling website once recommended taking a gel or bar 30 minutes before an event. Wrong!

    I think there is a lot of good information out there regarding sport performance and nutrition. The problem is that there is also even more "bro science" out there too, and it's the "bro science" noise that is contributing to the confusion and misinformation
    Last edited by aclinjury; 06-27-2014 at 05:31 AM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    I take it you have no clue what fat metabolism is, and how/when to ride in manner when you can maximize the usage of that huge fat reserve, and when you must go a bit harder and dip deeper into a higher % of glycogen? You're so clueless I won't even bother. I'd dumb myself debating any further with you

    Well, that was insightful.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    FYI.. Power = energy/time
    If it takes energy... it takes power.
    Cycling forum, dude. Power = force x speed.

    He doesn't need to produce much power to ride 100 miles.

    Like I said, for finishing long rides, nutrition is more important than training.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by aclinjury View Post
    The best way to eat for an endurance event is to eat about 3+ hours before the event, and let the food clear out of the stomach completely or almost completely clear out. I see too many people goobling a gel or a bar (or even a sandwich!) right before an event. These folks are coping each other and doing it wrong. But I don't blame them though since they probably don't know. Heck, even a coach who posted on the USA Cycling website once recommended taking a gel or bar 30 minutes before an event. Wrong! I think there is a lot of good information out there regarding sport performance and nutrition. The problem is that there is also even more "bro science" out there too, and it's the "bro science" noise that is contributing to the confusion and misinformation
    And you think you're helping alleviate that confusion with the nonsense you're spouting? It's "advice" like yours that leads to issues like the op is having in the first place.

    Not eating to teach your body to burn fat? Has your body gotten stupid and magically forgotten hundreds of thousands of years of evolution? It KNOWS how to burn fat.

    What you need to do is get FITTER so you're operating at a lower intensity in which less calories are being consumed from glycogen.

    And what you need to get FITTER is to train.

    And what you need to train is energy which comes from... wait for it... EATING!

    Of course, you're the guy who thinks you're only training if you're riding at 85-90% and riding at 60% is simply recovery, so I can see why you've got issues reconciling the correlation between the two.

    Bottom line, OP, you need to eat. A lot more and a lot more often. You'll notice that most everyone else said that.

  20. #20
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    double post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by runabike View Post
    Bottom line, OP, you need to eat. A lot more and a lot more often. You'll notice that most everyone else said that.
    That's completely true if lack of fuel is is the underlying issue. Based on the posts here, can we confirm that?

  22. #22
    tlg
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    Quote Originally Posted by runabike View Post
    Cycling forum, dude. Power = force x speed.

    He doesn't need to produce much power to ride 100 miles.
    Physics dude.


    Energy = Force * Distance.
    Throw in Time (it is taking time right?) and you have Distance/Time (aka Speed).

    Power = Energy/Time
    Power = Force * Distance/Time

    Like I said, If it takes energy... it takes power.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    Physics dude.


    Energy = Force * Distance.
    Throw in Time (it is taking time right?) and you have Distance/Time (aka Speed).

    Power = Energy/Time
    Power = Force * Distance/Time

    Like I said, If it takes energy... it takes power.
    Are you seriously being this pedantic? It does not take a lot of watts to ride 100 miles. I hope you're not really that obtuse.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Local Hero View Post
    That's completely true if lack of fuel is is the underlying issue. Based on the posts here, can we confirm that?
    Based on the posts here? Like this one?

    Quote Originally Posted by skhan007 View Post
    I'm clearly not eating enough before and not at all during rides, so I suppose it's to be expected that one runs out of energy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by runabike View Post
    Well, that was insightful.
    I'm replying here not to engate in a debate with you, but to show you that not only are you ignorant, but also rude as well, and that combination makes you a little stupid looking.

    Here is what you wrote in your earlier post:

    Eat after 60-90 minutes and every hour after that.
    If eating in such fashion as you described, it is equivalent to dumping about 2 gels (~200-220 calories of carbs) into the gut every hour. This acute influx of sugar will cause an insulin spike, which can lead to chronic degradation of performance due to the insulin effect on how muscles will now select which energy source to use (% of glycogen versus % of fat). The goal of endurance racing/riding is to use fat as energy as much as possible, and spare the glycogen for use in higher intensity effort. In addition, an acute influx of food every hour, can cause a hydration issue because of the change in osmolarity in the guts. And hydration is just as important if not more than food intake.

    In your two posts directed toward me, you're not debating, but trying to be smartass. And you weren't attempting to debate because you really know nothing about the issue. Most people resort to smartass quip when they can't debate. You seem to fit that mold. Listen jr, it's ok to be ignorant, but lose the rude attitude and maybe you'll go further. I'm not debating with you, but I'm telling you I won't debate with a rude ignorant person.

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