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Nutrition advice for daily commute (30 miles per day)

dac73dac73 Posts: 15
edited April 2009 in Commuting chat
G'day,

I've just started cycling a little extra per day - (2 x 15 miles) and I'm finding I'm lacking in energy by the time I cycle home in the evenings. I was previoudly cycling 10 miles a day less and was ok.

I am looking for ideas to help me feel a little more energetic.

My daily routine is:

5:45 Wake up
6:00 Double expresso for Breakie
6:30 15 mile commute to work
8:00 Porridge with 1/4 banana and syrup for breakfast + double expresso
11:00 Chicken/Ham and salad sandwich
13:00 Another sandwich
17:00 15 mile cycle home (with aching legs!)
19:30 Dinner - usually meat and veg Or a pasta meal

I'm easil drinking a few litres of water per day and have just changed my habit of snaking on sweets to snacking on nuts.

I'm 35 years old and weigh 105kgs - I'm currently losing weight (yay!).

I was going to start by trying a banana at 16:00 to give me a burst but am worried about the extra calories I'm eating, however, I could be tire because I'm not eating enough - any thoughts on that?

All advice is welcome!

Cheers.
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Posts

  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    Oh ya!

    I am 35 years old and 85kg.

    I do about 25 each way on long days (Tues and Thurs mostly, but depends on dog and kids).

    I am on the same food intake except, I go for a banana at about 4pm - just before I set off.

    And I am a Latte man - cannot do espresso!
  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    Thing is, dac, you're going to be using 500-800 calories on your ride home, so the banana will still mean a net loss. It's very hard for the body to use stored fat as a source of immediate energy, so no matter what you eat or otherwise your ride home won't directly translate to weight lost.

    If you have your banana, you'll be able to put in that much more effort on the way home, which will speed up your metabolism, use up more calories, and make you fitter.

    No diet of worth involves starvation, but that's in effect what you're trying to do to yourself by riding a fair distance without the nutritional backup. So don't fret about the calories in a banana - a fit and healthy ride home is worth so much more than pushing yourself beyond your capabilities.
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    I do 20, and do something like this, but it's 'flexible'...

    6:45 - Bowl of porridge made with a bit of milk & sugar, coffee
    7:00 - Ride to work - 20+ miles, occasional swig of weak squash or water en route
    8:15 - arrive, recompose, coffee or tea (1 sugar), change for work
    8:45 - small bowl of muesli
    9-12 - 1 or 2 more tea or coffees
    12:30ish - couple of sandwiches, banana or other fruit, yoghurt, World At One on the wireless.
    2 - 5 - more tea / coffee, apple if any left in drawer. Banana or bar of chocolate soon before leaving
    5ish - away, occasional swig of weak squash or water en route
    6:15 - home. Normal tea en famiile - spag bol, fish pie, chicken or whatever. Nothing special for cycling though.
    Later - a nice glass of wine some nights, maybe a G&T too or instead of.

    The ride is pretty easy now that it's normal to ride to work, and the 'diet' for what is keeps me going at a reasonable pace. Not too worried about my weight tho.
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    I guess it depends on exertion too - do you nail it? Is it hilly?
  • dac73dac73 Posts: 15
    Good advice so far guys, it makes perfect sense to me.

    I hear what you are saying about starvation, Biondino. I had a terrible habit of eating a slice of cake a day AS WELL as a chocolate bar. I have been changing my habits, looking for healthier alternatives.

    However, I did decide that if I had a choice of cake / chocolate or nothing - I would now say nothing. Having said that, I appreciate I need to feed the machine, so to speak, so I need to eat well, healthy and regular - but the trick is what? and when?

    I have bought a banana a lunch so will eat it later this arvo. I'll let you know how I get on!

    Cheers.
  • dac73dac73 Posts: 15
    gtvlusso, I ride from Canary Wharf to Wallington / Carshalton via Brixton - Streatham Hill. I move along at a reasonable pace - around 30km/hr on the flat. I like to chase others who are faster and fitter than me but I find that by Thurs / Fri - I'm particulary knackered!
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    I have a similar distance commute. Try a granola bar or bananas in the afternoon and one shortly before you leave (preferably a banana IME for the latter).
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    dac73 wrote:
    gtvlusso, I ride from Canary Wharf to Wallington / Carshalton via Brixton - Streatham Hill. I move along at a reasonable pace - around 30km/hr on the flat. I like to chase others who are faster and fitter than me but I find that by Thurs / Fri - I'm particulary knackered!

    Ah - I have a few hills, so my diet includes flapjack and banana's + allot of water! Sometimes an energy drink in one bottle if I mean business - on road bike. On the fixed bike doing 10 miles twice a day - No water, but I do have a banana before I leave as I have one big hill to get up.
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    dac73 wrote:
    I like to chase others who are faster and fitter than me but I find that by Thurs / Fri - I'm particulary knackered!

    Yep, that's normal. :) For me, the Friday rides up Dark Hill (inbound) and Broomfield Hill (outbound) in Richmond Park are rarely free from difficulty.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • I commute about 30 miles - My diet largely consists of wholewheat pasta, veg and either, tuna/chicken/turkey all bound together with olive oil and balsamic (for a little bit of tang) and black pepper...Cook off a huge bowl for about 2 days worth of food and eat if possible 5 small bowls a day - this will regulate your blood sugar levels nicely - Eat about 30 minutes before setting off and you'll have good glycogen levels but not be uncomfortable from eating. Full of protein, complex carbs for slow burning energy, essential oils, vitamins and minerals: Just vary the veg and protein - You could even try it with sweet potato or brown rice. Good staple diet which is cost effective and quick to cook (only once every two days!). Just keep it in the fridge and take it with you in a lunch box to work. Simplicity is the key - It's just a case of boiling things and maybe stir fry/grilling - Shouldn't take more than 20 minutes.

    Definitely thinking the porridge/bran flakes for brekkie.

    Coffee is also a life saver. I also find a protein shake when I get to work useful - capture the post execerise window with some easily absorbed protein to make the most of your workout.

    After that - Just loooooads of water - You need to be well hydrated to feel energised and to metabolise your food. Low hydration affects your nervous system, hence you have low concentration, poor technique and ultimately feel tired on the bike.
    What wheels...? Wheelsmith.co.uk!
  • Greg TGreg T Posts: 3,266
    dac73 wrote:
    I like to chase others who are faster and fitter than me but I find that by Thurs / Fri - I'm particulary knackered!

    Join the club....

    I find that my energy stores deplete during the week (I'm on 2X15 miles a day also) so that by Thurs / Friday I'm feeling the effects and the legs don't have go in them that they will on Monday.

    When I started the cycle commute this effect was much worse and I'd be seriously run down and bonking on the journey home later in the week. I've found that as my fitness levels have improved this hasn't been happening and I've been able to cut down on the calories taken onboard at the same time. (not that you'd think that to look at me but my glacial metabolism is constant source of annoyance)

    Anyhoo - I'd go with the suggestions to utilise the magic 30 min window post exercise to get some easily metabolised carbs on board so that you re-fuel as effectively as you can.

    Good luck
    Fixed gear for wet weather / hairy roadie for posing in the sun.

    What would Thora Hurd do?
  • Christophe3967Christophe3967 Posts: 1,200
    Greg T wrote:
    dac73 wrote:
    I like to chase others who are faster and fitter than me but I find that by Thurs / Fri - I'm particulary knackered!

    Join the club....

    I find that my energy stores deplete during the week (I'm on 2X15 miles a day also) so that by Thurs / Friday I'm feeling the effects and the legs don't have go in them that they will on Monday.

    When I started the cycle commute this effect was much worse and I'd be seriously run down and bonking on the journey home later in the week. I've found that as my fitness levels have improved this hasn't been happening and I've been able to cut down on the calories taken onboard at the same time. (not that you'd think that to look at me but my glacial metabolism is constant source of annoyance)

    Anyhoo - I'd go with the suggestions to utilise the magic 30 min window post exercise to get some easily metabolised carbs on board so that you re-fuel as effectively as you can.

    Good luck

    +1. You're not doing anything wrong really - just need a bit of a boost mid afternoon. I'm also on 30 miles a day and rarely set a PB on Friday!
  • dac73dac73 Posts: 15
    Wow! Tried the banana trick 1/2 hr before ride home - my ride home was worlds apart from yesterday, heaps more energy! Now ... just need to work on stamina and aerobic fitness :D
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    Good stuff. :)
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • RedAendeRedAende Posts: 158
    dac73 wrote:
    Wow! Tried the banana trick 1/2 hr before ride home - my ride home was worlds apart from yesterday, heaps more energy! Now ... just need to work on stamina and aerobic fitness :D

    Good stuff, but if you want a change in case you get bored eating bananas every day, try and energy drink.

    I usually have a banana but ocassionally add a couple of jaffa cakes as a wee treat just before leaving office.

    Red Aende, Red Spesh Hardrock, Wine Mercian, Rusty Flying Scot
  • sarajoysarajoy Posts: 1,675
    A flapjack an hour or so before leaving sometimes helps me too (when bored of teh bananananas) - I have a little pack of Tesco ones that come individually-wrapped in fat finger-sized sections, just enough sugar and oatiness for an energy kick and some carb to burn on the way :D
    4537512329_a78cc710e6_o.gif4537512331_ec1ef42fea_o.gif
  • chuckcorkchuckcork Posts: 1,471
    Crikey, you guys eat a lot!

    I only get to ride in one day a week at the moment, Tuesday, (having just started work again that means I've done it twice), but thats 24 miles each way, and coming after a 50 mile sunday club run.

    For my diet I'm having

    Large bowl of Fruit and Fibre cereal
    Cup of tea
    Energy drink stuff on the bike and a 'nana
    Tea while at work if I get the time
    Filled baguette for lunch
    More tea
    Maybe another 'nana and energy drink on the way home.

    Average over 39km was 29.4 kph...fast enough.

    My diet while commuting last year, 14 miles each way (with a sunday club run of 45-50 miles or so) was about the same, I'd frequently do the run home at 20mph+
    'Twas Mulga Bill, from Eaglehawk, that caught the cycling craze....
  • dac73dac73 Posts: 15
    Well guys, after a few days trying the banana trick plus a light carb snack when i get home, I can report I have heaps more energy - quite amazing really. Now, just waiting for the kilos to fall off .... 10 kgs to go ...
  • georgio15georgio15 Posts: 77
    although i am doing a lot more exercise in a week than most on here, you guys seem to
    eat diddly squat.

    8 am: 3 large bowls of muesli tea and some oranges (sometimes i have 8 weatabix
    instead)

    11.10 am: large malt loaf and a couple of bars of chocolate

    1.30 pm: 2 large bowls of pasta with chicken or whatever meat is on offer and lots of
    bread.

    4.15 pm: 6 slices of bread and jam and fruit juice

    6 pm: same as lunch

    8 pm: couple of bowls of shreddies and toast

    9-10 pm: about 12 pieces of toast
  • lost_in_thoughtlost_in_thought Posts: 10,563
    @georgio15 - that is an insane amount of food! What on earth are you doing that warrants that intake??

    I am going to try this banana thing, especially if I go to the gym at lunchtime then eat something carby I am having dreadful afternoon dips at the minute which often carry over into my ride... :(
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,701
    I saw the 4 hour gap between the OPs lunch and the ride home and guessed this would be the problem. I suggest a banana or half a cup of raisins and some nuts somewhere after 4pm. Nuts have fats so go easy, but they're "good" fats. Almonds, brazils, cashews and walnuts plus seeds. I prefer not to use peanuts.

    Beware of factory-made flapjacks, they're fatty (often saturated, sometimes hydrogenated), which isn't ideal. OTOH malt loaf is good. A colleague mentioned that he likes it because even after being shoved in the bottom of a huge, heavy rucksack and carried across Lakeland fells all day it still looks and tastes as it should.

    I only have a lumpy ten miles to ride for 9am, but find that if I eat my porridge beforehand I will be Hank Marvin by 10 o'clock. So now I microwave it a short while after I get to work, having eaten half a grapefruit and a small dish of cereal before leaving. If you can't do porridge then DIY muesli is good - the nuts & seeds above plus chopped apricots, raisins and half an apple mixed with oats and barley flakes is excellent. If you soak it overnight the nuts apparently release more enzymes (like sprouting seeds).

    A glass of warm water with lemon juice is the kindest way to start your liver and digestion systems working. Coffee certainly isn't. Save it for later.

    I used to be a big fan of bread but nowadays I find it's like mattress padding and not satisfying, and can make me sleepy. Tortilla-type wraps work better and I have even been known to substitute with North Staffs Oatcakes.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • georgio15georgio15 Posts: 77
    i row. i train at least 2 hours a day. on a tuesday and thursday i train 4.

    also the fact i am 15 and have a ridiculous metabolism and a problem with my insulin levels.
  • RedAendeRedAende Posts: 158
    georgio,

    How much exercise do you do, girl I train with now looks anorexic, I am worried about her, I know she does eat, seen her scoff a massive lunch recently, but think she needs to adopt your diet, 3 hrs a day in gym for her + cycling.

    Red Aende, Red Spesh Hardrock, Wine Mercian, Rusty Flying Scot
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    georgio15 wrote:
    i row. i train at least 2 hours a day. on a tuesday and thursday i train 4.

    also the fact i am 15 and have a ridiculous metabolism and a problem with my insulin levels.

    :shock: it takes me three days to eat that much.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,426
    cjcp wrote:
    georgio15 wrote:
    i row. i train at least 2 hours a day. on a tuesday and thursday i train 4.

    also the fact i am 15 and have a ridiculous metabolism and a problem with my insulin levels.

    :shock: it takes me three days to eat that much.

    I can't afford to eat that much :cry:

    What do people think of banana chips from holland and barret? would they be as good as and actual banana? I was thinking of getting a bag so i can put some in my jersey pockets for munching on the fly.
    Saracen Tenet 3 - 2015 - Dead - Replaced with a Hack Frame
    Voodoo Bizango - 2014 - Dead - Hit by a car
    Vitus Sentier VRS - 2017
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    prawny wrote:
    cjcp wrote:
    georgio15 wrote:
    i row. i train at least 2 hours a day. on a tuesday and thursday i train 4.

    also the fact i am 15 and have a ridiculous metabolism and a problem with my insulin levels.

    :shock: it takes me three days to eat that much.

    I can't afford to eat that much :cry:

    What do people think of banana chips from holland and barret? would they be as good as and actual banana? I was thinking of getting a bag so i can put some in my jersey pockets for munching on the fly.

    My personal preference is for bananas because you rip open the skin with your teeth and their easier to eat than in chip-form. Otherwise, I'm keen on fig rolls or jaffa cakes on the bike. Don't rule out jelly beans either if you're craving something a bit sweeter.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
    "Exactly."
  • defdazdefdaz Posts: 37
    simonaspinall hit it right on the head, great post.

    dac, I'd recommend that you concentrate on getting your fitness levels up first before worrying especially about dropping the fat as you're effectively trying to do two opposing things at the same time - getting fitter requires good nutrition whilst losing fat requires a calorie deficit, making it hard to supply the nutrients and energy your body needs to recuperate and adapt to your exercise.

    Once you're getting through the weeks commute and feeling great by Sunday then I'd start to focus on getting lean. After exercise you have a 'golden window of opportunity' - insulin and other hormones etc. try to push nutrients into your poor old muscles in order to kick start the recuperation period and you can make the most of this by getting a large portion of your diet in at these times whilst limiting the chances of any of the food being stored as fat.

    Caffeine, for all it's negatives is a fantastic diet aid (especially when mixed with ephedrine and aspirin - see the ECA stack) as it inhibits carb metabolism and boosts fat metabolism - this is more useful to you once you enter your fat burning period, not your fitness increasing period which you're currently in, though you should weigh this against the mental alertness plus if you're a bit tired or groggy before your ride home.

    As simon said don't neglect water - its the most important nutrient bar none and if you're dehydrated you won't be recuperating or operating at your most efficient.

    So -

    Water water and more water
    Try to improve your fitness before confounding your efforts with fat burning
    Lots of carbs and protein after exercise to maximise the golden hour
    Try to make sure you have some glycogen (carb) reserves before cycling - i.e. the banana or whatever an hour or two before cycling - or a good meal.
    Take a mega-vit/min tablet and vit c and a mega vit-b complex (improves carb usage) daily.
    Don't neglect protein - you need it to rebuild your muscles (muscles damaged during exercise and amino acids used during exercise need to be replaced)

    HTH, you're doing great!

    Daz
    BSc. Nutrition, Physiology and Biochemistry! ;) lol
  • RedAendeRedAende Posts: 158
    Daz,

    Good post, I follow most of your advice. As a marathon runner I try to eat properly and load up, I usually take sports drink + caffeine before a hard hour to perk me up. But still suffer from the beer belly (ok I know, too much beer on rest days) but interested in your caffeine + aspirin theory, please elaborate or provide link.

    Red Aende, Red Spesh Hardrock, Wine Mercian, Rusty Flying Scot
  • defdazdefdaz Posts: 37
    Thanks Red,

    wikipedia as usual comes up trumps:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECA_stack

    Basically the three substances act synergistically to become a highly effective and long lasting fat-burner. Ephedrine is a bit of a controversial little censored though (mainly because amphetamines are derived from it) so some people are wary of using it. I'd recommend against the ECA stack if you have high blood pressure or are particularly sensitive to stimulants.

    Oh, pure ephedrine is now over-the-counter in the UK but the herb Sida Cordifolia contains natural ephedrine and this is of course legal. Go figure.

    Daz
  • defdazdefdaz Posts: 37
    lost_in_thought, just read your post properly - if you're having a bit of a dip after your carby meal try mixing in something with a bit of fat in it to help drop the GI Index of the meal - this'll make it release more slowly from your stomach and give you a gentler rate of glucose release into your blood and hopefully you won't rise and crash so bad.

    Daz
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