nutrition question

royceroyce Posts: 24
edited January 2013 in Road beginners
Hi All

I'm fairly new to cycling (3 weeks)
I've slowly built up to a 25 mile ride.
However when I first did a 20 mile ride I found my energy levels just switched off after 15 miles.
I've been using gels since and haven't had any problems.
However I've been looking at the options available and I've got a question.

If I was to get an energy drink, would I no longer need gels or would the drink and gels work together?

Many thanks

Roy

Posts

  • smidsysmidsy Posts: 5,273
    For rides of upto 2 hrs you should be able to comfortably complete them without any food.

    If you can not then it sounds like you are not fuelling properly during your normal day.
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  • pinarellokidpinarellokid Posts: 1,208
    id agree.. 2 hrs then feed but if its hard to do now just chill and keep getting out there..
    you have built up fast so may be good to slow a little and get a few 25 miles under your belt and see if you can manage them without any fuel..

    after 6 months of riding i now ride regular 30-40 mile rides with just electrolite drink and no food.
    but i do feed up well before i set off.
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  • lc1981lc1981 Posts: 820
    smidsy wrote:
    If you can not then it sounds like you are not fuelling properly during your normal day.

    A lot depends on overall fitness as well. The OP might be eating very well, but if they've never exercised much, then it's going to be tough to begin with. You've only been cycling for three weeks, but how is your general fitness?
  • themekonthemekon Posts: 197
    id agree.. 2 hrs then feed but if its hard to do now just chill and keep getting out there..
    you have built up fast so may be good to slow a little and get a few 25 miles under your belt and see if you can manage them without any fuel..

    after 6 months of riding i now ride regular 30-40 mile rides with just electrolite drink and no food.
    but i do feed up well before i set off.
    Yes but even an electrolite drink will have a carbohydrate content. A two hour hard ride will need some sort of energy replacement even if it's in liquid form.
  • royceroyce Posts: 24
    Thanks for the replys
    My overall fitness level is poor and I'm trying to lose quite a bit of weight at the same time.
    So I'm watching what I eat day to day.
    Quite possibly I'm not loading up (I'm guessing thats what you eat before riding).
    I generally eat a bowl of muesli an hour before riding, sometimes a banana too.
    I've been using a zero cal isotonic drink during my rides.
    I'm definatly pushing myself quite hard as I have a specific goal to meet by March.
    Myself and about 15 people from work are doing a sponsored ride from Cardiff to Heathrow airport over 2 days.
    See here for details www.helpingharry.net
    I want to be doing 50-60 mile rides comfortably before then, hence the rapid increase in rides.
    If anyone could point me in a direction of any advice for training I'd be grateful

    Thanks for the replies

    Roy
  • MattyyPMattyyP Posts: 142
    Just keep riding, truth is it's going to be hard to start with if you have a poor fitness level. Get the miles in and you'll soon find 25 miles is easily done without energy gels :)
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  • Do whatever it takes to keep on riding. Get the miles in. Keep on improving.

    You'll know when you don't need the extra fuel on a shorter ride but I wouldn't worry about it now.
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  • kayo74kayo74 Posts: 299
    I find that the first 15/20 miles can be the hardest then once I've hit that mark I can then do another 30/40 miles no problem. With a few snacks and a nuun drink(s).
  • royceroyce Posts: 24
    Thanks for the replys guys all much appr

    I'll carry on as I am and keep putting the miles in.
    Did another 25 today about half way round started to think a days rest inbetween would have been a smarter idea lol

    Thanks again

    Roy
  • sungodsungod Posts: 11,752
    for the cardiff-heathrow ride in two days, it all depends on the pace

    if it was, say, 80 miles/day, doing those miles in 4-5 hours will be a lot tougher than doing them over 8-10 hours with a few feed stops, taking things at the easier pace it becomes more about comfort on the bike

    as you're also looking to drop weight, i'd go for a mix of training...

    weekday mornings, before eating breakfast, just have water then warm up and do 15-20 minutes hard riding, you'll have no risk of running out of energy and the hard start will give your metabolism a boost, your body will learn to burn fat better

    avoid food/drink with high glycemic index, go for low gi foods that will release energy more slowly during the day

    healthy foods can have a high gi, so it takes some research to see what's what and strike a balance

    maintain a calorie defecit, not a huge one, but enough to achieve your target weight over time

    weekend, do a long ride at, or a bit above, the pace you will be aiming at for the c-h ride, use the other day for rest, don't increase distance more than 5%/week until you are comfy with things, then go to 10%, more if you feel good

    i'd guess you'll be using 500-700 calories/hour for the 8-10 hour pace including stops, depends on terrain, weight etc., so before the long weekend ride fuel on that basis with low gi food and go ride, take water to drink, not energy drink, by all means carry a gel for emergency but you really should not need it
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  • Fuel and rest are just as important as each other.

    Yes you could get round a 2hr ride without fuelling, but i wouldnt recommend it, especially if you are trying to get fit as your body wont be used to doing 25miles, its a shock.
    Also, it all depends what time you are doing the rides. If you are riding out at 8am in the morning after getting up from bed then you wont have fueled before hand so it might make it harder to complete the course.

    You need to look at what youre eating before the ride and on the ride. if you have fueled before hand ok then you'll probably only need an energy gel an hour into the ride and plenty of water. But if you dont eat before hand then you will find your energy leves drop of sooner.
  • RiggedRigged Posts: 214
    royce wrote:
    Thanks for the replys
    My overall fitness level is poor and I'm trying to lose quite a bit of weight at the same time.
    So I'm watching what I eat day to day.
    Quite possibly I'm not loading up (I'm guessing thats what you eat before riding).
    I generally eat a bowl of muesli an hour before riding, sometimes a banana too.
    I've been using a zero cal isotonic drink during my rides.
    I'm definatly pushing myself quite hard as I have a specific goal to meet by March.
    Myself and about 15 people from work are doing a sponsored ride from Cardiff to Heathrow airport over 2 days.
    See here for details http://www.helpingharry.net
    I want to be doing 50-60 mile rides comfortably before then, hence the rapid increase in rides.
    If anyone could point me in a direction of any advice for training I'd be grateful

    Thanks for the replies

    Roy

    Obviously the topic of nutrition/diet/fueling is pretty extensive and there's a lot of variable to consider. One thing to keep in mind is if your goal is to lose weight by additional exercise then you need to be very careful that the fueling you're doing doesn't completely negate the calories you're burning.

    Generally I'd say (purely from my own experience) that rides under 90 minutes don't require any extra fuel at all. Even if I'm riding before breakfast I have plenty of energy reserves to handle a ride of that duration, and I'm by no means a 'strong'/'fit' rider. Rides longer than 2hrs and I'll risk bonking without additional nutrition, but usually regular sips of a sugary drink (not necessarily a dedicated sports drink) is all it takes to keep that at bay.
  • Wrath RobWrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    Lots of good advice, but you need to factor in some intensity. The best type of riding for you right now (based on your goals of loosing weight and building endurance) is going to be some classic "zone 2" riding. The name comes from the heart rate/power training zones, but I wouldn't worry too much about that. Your target for the ride should be for you to feel like your putting in a little effort, but never enough to get out of breath, i.e. if you were riding with someone you should be able to hold a conversation with them, rather than resorting to short/one word answers. Take it easy on the hills, go a little harder on the descents so that you're holding a consistent level of effort.

    This kind of training stimulates your body to use fat as the fuel for the exercise, rather than using the glycogen stores that more intense riding (zone 3/4) would use. This not only helps to loose weight but also means that you can more easily stick to your diet and won't be tempted to raid the fridge when you get back as your body won't be crying out to replenish the glycogen.

    Once you start to increase your endurance and are looking to ride for more than a couple of hours particularly if you increase the intensity with some harder efforts (e.g. hills), you'll need to think about eating during the ride otherwise you'll rapidly run out of energy, something called "bonk". This happens when your body cant get enough energy to your muscles and brain to keep you going. Symptoms include rapidly weakening legs, loss of power, sudden & extreme fatigue, hallucinations and even passing out. Trust me, its not a pleasant experience. But its easy to stave off. After an hour, just start to have a little bite of your chosen food (energy bar, malt loaf etc) every 10 mins or so and you'll be fine.

    If you're a British Cycling member, they've now got some training plans to follow for sportive rides (similar to your Cardiff/Heathrow ride) and plenty of tips on eating right. Or do a search on nutrition for cycling. There's loads of information out there, just make sure you try it out on your training rides. You want to have it sorted before your charity ride, rather than failing on the day.
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  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,671
    At this level there's really no substitute for riding. Flatter miles will of course be less taxing than hilly miles (current windy weather notwithstanding) so I'd save the hills for when you're feeling a bit stronger. You're doing something your body isn't used to, it takes a while to adapt but you will improve both your general cardiovascular fitness and strength in your legs.

    Some people like to make training complex but I think that, as long as you're pushing yourself a bit each time, you're doing the right thing. Try to develop a feel for how hard an effort you can sustain, whether for a few minutes to get over a hill or an hour or more, and of course eventually how to wind up steadily to a pace you can keep going for half a day.

    Listen to your body, rest or have an easy day when you feel too tired, do extra miles when you're feeling good. Eat real food, including lots of fresh veg and fruit. Make sure you drink enough water while you ride, I'd say aim for 500ml/hour when you're riding fairly hard, more if you're sweating lots. Add squash, fruit juice or electrolyte tabs if you like. You don't need gels while riding but you will need to consume something if you're riding for 2 hours or more.

    A recent discussion:
    viewtopic.php?f=40011&t=12900756

    Good luck with your training and your big ride.
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