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How many calories a day?

lastantlastant Posts: 526
edited April 2010 in Tour & expedition
Was just wondering what sort of figure in terms of calories in I should be looking at to keep myself going on a twelve-day tour, covering no more than a hundred miles a day and at a steady touring pace rather than pushing myself!

Haven't managed to 'bonk' in any training runs yet, but equally I don't want to be taking in / carrying too much really. Any advice from anyone?

Finally, these energy 'shots' that seem to be all the rage at the moment. I'm guessing there's no benefit at all in picking them up for cycling at all, given they're caffeine as opposed to actual energy?
One Man and LEJOG : End-to-End on Two Wheels in Two Weeks (Buy the book; or Kindle it!)


  • andymillerandymiller Posts: 2,856
    'no more than a hundred miles a day'. so taking it easy then? :wink:

    Somewhere on the web there are figures for the amount of calories used for different activities. IIRC a sedentary male gets through about 2000 calories a day. So pick a multiple of that. HRMs aren't a particularly reliable method of measuring calories but on a big day mine tells me I've got through about 6000. I wouldn't panic too much as most people have fat reserves that they can afford to loose - I tend to loose at least a kilo for every week touring.

    Energy shots are all very well for training runs but they are a bit bulky for touring (not to mention wasteful packaging etc). You could take a tub of powder to make your own energy or recovery drink. Or buy your favourite sugary drink or sugary snack en route. I'd try to focus on low GI foods that will release energy steadily rather than relying on sugar: a good breakfast always helps (I find - I know it's a personal thing) - if you're camping try mixing powdered milk with muesli.
  • bobloboblo Posts: 360
    Hmmm toughie, it depends on pace/load/terrian to an extent. I use a HRM that countsb calories burnt and though people question their accuracy, it gives a good comparative reference. E.g during a 'normal' day I burn 2k - 2.5k calories whilst cycling and 4k - 5k during a 'beast'.

    When touring, I eat as much as I can. I eat a good breakfast, stop for elevenses (cakes, choccy or cereal bars and pop), lunch, afternoon tea (more cake, choccy or cereal bars and pop) and a good dinner. I also drink large amounts of pop (full fat no diet stuff) as this has a good couple of hundred cals per half litre in it. Even with this regime, I still run out from time to time and aways carry additonal choccy/cereal bars etc.

    On long tours, no matter how many cals I consume, I lose weight but generaly don't bonk if I follow the above grazing pattern.
  • lastantlastant Posts: 526
    Thanks for the quick replies!

    It's a LEJOG I'll be doing, but over twelve days. I'm not aiming on breaking any records, if one of the legs takes me all day then so be it; what's the point of going from one end of the country to the other if you're not going to take it in on the way?

    boblo - that's the sort of approach I've been taking with the long training runs so it's good to see it's not complete madness! You can't whack cake!

    andymiller - it's bed and breakfasts or hostels I'm staying in on the way so that I don't need to worry about tents / camping equipment. I'll be sure to get a good breakfast on board each morning!

    I've got a Suunto HRM so going to take that along as a rough guide, was just wanting some 'real life' tales to give me that little bit more confidence (if that makes sense?!).

    Thanks once again.
    One Man and LEJOG : End-to-End on Two Wheels in Two Weeks (Buy the book; or Kindle it!)
  • anything with oats, bananas, nuts, dried apricots and noodles - eat lots of! snarf yersen some chip butties and eat loadsa bacon and eggs - best bit about touring is you can eat eat and eat some more! - get it down you son! oh and shortbread 'n' figrolls.
    'since the flaming telly's been taken away, we don't even know if the Queen of Englands gone off with the dustman'.
    Lizzie Birdsworth, Episode 64, Prisoner Cell Block H.
  • gert_lushgert_lush Posts: 634
    I did a 12 day jogle a few years back and although we had tents and sleeping bags etc we still ate at pubs etc.

    I found however that i was constantly hungry! would get up and eat a few bananas and cereal bars whilst packing up the tents, get about 30 miles in, then have the largest full fry up we could find, another 30 odd miles and then lunch from a shop, normally sandwiches and cakes, then about another 30 miles till camp and find a local pub for the most calorie laden 3 course meal :D . interspersed with all that was copious amounts of cereal bars and 5 bananas a day and some lucozade. I usually have to eat something every hour otherwise I bonk. Ideally a big porridge with banana raisins and honey would be my ideal tour breaky and will work on that for the next tour now I have a small stove

    I love fooooooooood :D
    FCN 8 mainly
    FCN 4 sometimes
  • I was going to add that surely you will be stopping and eating, in which case just eat "heartily" in the style of Mark Baumont on the occasions he was able to!
    I did a holiday / tours years ago, and did a similar daily mileage over 8 days along the south coast of Cornwall and Devon back to Bristol. We had a full brekky every day, drank sugary drinks, huge pub lunches, beers, curry for tea, more beers, a kebab/burgr/chips repeat until got home. Don't know how many calories we consumed but it was all used up in our physical effort, I only kept score of the mileage and beer - 748 miles, 8 days, 47 pints.
  • lastantlastant Posts: 526
    SteveR_100Milers - sod Beaumont's 'Man Who Cycled Across The Americas'...I wanna watch your documentary!
    One Man and LEJOG : End-to-End on Two Wheels in Two Weeks (Buy the book; or Kindle it!)
  • PokerfacePokerface Posts: 8,640
    I'd say 5000-6000 calories a day - but that takes into account everything you eat ON and OFF the bike.

    100 miles at a steady pace will take you around 7 hours. At a conservative 650 cals an hour - that's 4500 calories burned. Add in your normal 2000 and you're up to 6500 already! (Part of the 'normal' 2000 daily cals will be used up in the 7 hours of cycling - so subtract about 500 cals - giving you 6000).
  • lastant wrote:
    SteveR_100Milers - sod Beaumont's 'Man Who Cycled Across The Americas'...I wanna watch your documentary!

    I have about 100 photos of the week. 20 years later and its still one of the most enjoyable holidays ever had. Highlights included a nightclub in Weymouth wearing lycra shorts and cycling shoes, and beating some Cornish locals in a drinking contest to avoid getting a bashing for being 'gay'; passing a club cyclist riding along Chesil beach seafront in all the gear and then riding a TT effort complete with panniers and hangover to drop him - life is full of such pointless little victories :roll:

    Most memorable town visited of course was Beer! Oh did we just.
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