Switching Gears, So I Need Some Nutrition Advice

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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budru21
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:34 pm

by budru21

I am looking for some advice on nutrition for mountain biking. I am new to the sport and am absoluely LOVING it. :lol: I am riding 5-6 days a week, riding anywhere between 3-10 miles, with the majority of the mileage being climbs. I live in Montana and am surrounded by various mountains, so I am fortunate in that department. 8) I am adding in a day of steady state riding on a flat surface, just to work on riding for longer periods of time (30+ miles is the starting distance). I am still lifting 4 days a week. I am coming from a nutrtion mindset that served me very well with my last hobby, which was figure competing. I lived in the gym, lifted heavy and hard 5 days a week and did HIIT cardio once or twice a week. So, I am used to eating to repair and build muscle, while shedding or maintaining body fat levels. High protein with every meal, minimal carbs except post workout (where I would eat most of my carbs and would eat simple, quick carbs) and moderate fat. I would only consume enough carbs to get me through my day and to fuel my workouts. On rest days, I would drop carbs and add fat. I have been biking for three months now and am doing fine on my current diet, but would like to improve at biking and feel that I probably need to make some adjustments to my diet to fuel my workouts better. I have read a ton on it, of course, but would like to know what you guys do. Is there a need to adjust my current diet to improve endurance and power, or will I continue to get stronger without making any adjustments? Do I NEED to add carbs prior to my workout, or just consume some quick carbs during my longer rides? Right now, I am used to fasting for the 2-3 hours prior to lifting or riding. Does it help with energy, without gaining weight, to add a quick carb right before the ride? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Oh...and I have been eating about 1800-2000 calories a day for the past year and have maintained my current weight of 145. I am 5'7". Since adding biking to my routine, I have actually gained a couple pounds, but haven't changed anything. I am not a number freak and don't care about how much I weigh, I am just wondering how it is possible to gain weight when I am buring anywhere between 300-800 more calories in a day, yet not consuming more. Hmmmm. Thanks all!

ultyguy
Posts: 2230
Joined: Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:35 pm
Location: Geneva

by ultyguy

Well whatever way you stack it, you need more carbs in order to ride longer and harder. Now if you're content to ride around at a pace where you can still hold a conversation, this might not be the case as your body can still burn a good percentage of fat at those intensities. But if you start riding more than 1.5-2 hours you will need a bigger store of glycogen to begin with (so more than just eating a couple of carbs before you ride), and you will definitely need to ingest some carbs along the way to keep from bonking over 2-2.5hrs. Also if you know you're going to be riding a long one, start eating after 30 min to one hour as it will also stretch out how far you can go on your own glycogen stores as your body will burn a mix. Finally, after riding its good to get in a 3:1 or 4:1 carb:protien ratio within the first 15-30 minutes after finishing. Your body will restore these carbs as glycogen most efficiently during this 'window'.

Now this doesn't mean you've gotta start eating tons of pasta, apart from during and just after, lower GI is preferred.

by Weenie


budru21
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:34 pm

by budru21

Thank you for your response. I made some changes to my diet this weekend to see how my energy levels were affected. I rode for long periods of time (5-8 hours) for three days in a row, so it was a perfect opportunity to experiment. I ate some complex carbs with my usual proteins and fats in the morning 2 hours before I rode. I had my usual cup of egg whites with spinach, 1/2 cup of oatmeal and 1 tbsp of PB. A half hour into the ride I started eating 1/2 a protein energy bar every hour throughout the ride. It came out to 110 calories, 13g carbs, 3 g fats, and 10g proteins. Halfway through the day, I had a handful of cashews in addition to the bar. I had great energy for all three rides. I ate a big recovery meal after each ride which consisted of Ahi Tuna, salad and bread one night, thin crust chicken and veggie pizza (3 small slices) the second night, and chicken, salad, avocado and bread the third night. I had a protein shake and pumpkin before bed each night and feel AMAZING today after the weekend. I think the small amounts of calories and carbs, more frequently, worked outstanding for me. Carb loading (this amount of carbs post workout and before bed is carb loading for someone like me that isn't used to so many carbs in general) the night before seemed to help me start out each day energized and ready to rock and roll. :-)

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Tapeworm
Posts: 2585
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 10:39 am

by Tapeworm

Nutritional advice is highly debatable and subjective to the individual but on the face of it I would say that you're taking in a lot more protein than necessary for cycling. You of course need some protein but nowhere near as much as other sports.

In aerobic cycling the body is not really being that damaged, like training with weights for example, the limiters are more biochemical. The loose figure thrown around is approx 1.2grams of protein per kg of body weight, though I have read of people being successful on far less, in the order of 0.5gram per kg of BW. YMMV.

In just general reading on nutrition, KWalker posted this excellent article in Wattage Groups:- http://www.inigomujika.com/en/2013/08/i ... s-hit/3026

My personal viewpoint is I eschew "processed*" food wherever possible and opt for the "closest to source", i.e.: don't use sports drinks, protein powders, energy bars, junk food in general etc. Nuts, dried fruit, seeds are my "go to food" for snacks and when I am peckish.

* processed being defined to the point of food being made into something that doesn't resemble food, as just about all food is "processed" to some point (is cooking processing?).
"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG

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AGW
Posts: 477
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 2:11 pm
Location: Tucson, AZ

by AGW

@Tapeworm, the first book I ever read on the subject of fitness/nutrition suggested to avoid foods that required more than three "steps" to get to your table, e.g. picked from the field, ground, and baked is acceptable. On the other hand, you can't picture a herd of twinkies roaming a field.

budru21
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Aug 01, 2013 3:34 pm

by budru21

Thank you Tapeworm. I appreciate the input. Great article, too. Nutrition is my favorite topic. :up: Love reading all your posts.

by Weenie


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