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What Was It About Today's Ride That Sent Me Over The Edge?

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  • What Was It About Today's Ride That Sent Me Over The Edge?

    I need help. I went on a bike ride today for 50 miles. I have been riding about 30 to 45 miles without any difficulty of having horrible carb cravings. Many times, I leave so early in the morning that I don't eat before my ride. I usually take a bottle of gatorade, or Accelerade, a bottle of water, and some shot blocks. I drink the gatorade (or Accelerade) for the 1st hour, than after about 20 miles or so, I will eat 3 shotblocks (about 25 grams of carbs). That is usually sufficient, fuels me well, and like I said, I finish the ride without being overly hungry or craving carbs.

    Today, I rode a little later, so I ate a breakfast of 3 eggs with salsa, and 2 slices of beef bacon. I rode with a different group, and I think I may have rode a little harder than what I have been riding, with quite a few hills. I drank my bottle of gatorade throughout the ride. At mile 22, I ate a Lara Bar (Cashew cookie) which is made up of cashews and dates, and drank water. I did not fuel with shotblocks.

    After the ride, I was STARVING! I came home, ate 2 pieces of chicken, squash, and swiss chard. I was still craving carbs like crazy so I ate some nuts. Than I drank some milk (raw). I was still craving carbs. I ate a handful of cereal (in my house for my kids). I just ate some ice cream.

    So, what did I do wrong? I have been so good, not craving carbs, not craving sugar, eating till I'm satisfied, but not full. What was it about today's ride that sent me over the edge? Any clues? I would so appreciate your input and advice. Thanks!

  • #2
    I would think that eating pure sugar (shot bloks) would keep you from going through the withdrawal phase which gets rid of carb cravings. You've been feeding your addiction this entire time.
    In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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    • #3
      No, I asked Mark about this at Primal Con. He said that during an endurance event, this is the one time you can feed your body pure sugar, because the muscles are uptaking it as fast as you feed it. There is no insulin response when you are doing an endurance event, because muscles can uptake the glucose without insulin. This is why it is so important for diabetics to workout. In the Paleo Diet for Athletes, Loren Cordain advises drinking Accelerade and eating GUU Gels, etc. for this very reason. Your muscles need the glucose so that you don't use up all your glycogen stores and bonk.
      That said, I have NOT been craving carbs at all, except for today after this 50 mile ride that was a little more intense than usual. I am thinking it was the Lara Bar that I ate, that did not provide the instant fuel because it had to be digested first. The shotblocks and the gatorade go through my system quickly, allowing the muscles to uptake the glucose as fast as it enters the blood stream. This is how I have learned to train. I use to not fuel properly at all during the event, so that when the event was over, I craved carbs and sugar all day long. Since I have learned to fuel properly at intervals, I haven't had that problem......except for today. And today I ate a Lara Bar, instead of doing shotblocks. So, maybe that was the issue. Don't know.

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      • #5
        probably more to do with the intensity being slightly above what you were used to rather than the detail of what you ate. How much higher was your heartrate? Would be interesting to know how much of your ride was outside your normal HR zone.

        (i get exactly the same after a harder-than-normal ride, I keep some high protein recovery drinks in the cupboard just in case I get home and want to empty the fridge!)

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        • #6
          I read the article on Ketogenic Diets and Physical Performance. I am going to try staying in the Ketogenic zone while I work out to see if my body responds differently. I think I am overly sensitive to sugar in any form. I am the person that can be off of sugar for six months, take a bite of sugar, and I am back craving it. I think possibly the intensity of the ride plus eating the Lara Bar, that was all natural, but full of carbs, is what sent me over the edge, back to craving carbs. My husband can eat dried fruit without a problem, but I have to stay away from it. I stay away from fruit of any kind on most occasions for the very reason that it's too many carbs for my body. It just sends me back into that mode of wanting more carbs. I think when I fuel with Accelerade or shotblocks, the fuel is so instant, that I don't really have to deal with it, because my body uses the glucose as soon as it comes into my bloodstream. But the Lara Bar had to be digested, the glucose was available later, rather than sooner, and probably not at the point where I was still riding. But, I am going to try training ketogenically and see if that makes a difference.
          Thank you everyone for your input!!!!!!

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          • #7
            Originally posted by FordRN View Post
            I read the article on Ketogenic Diets and Physical Performance. I am going to try staying in the Ketogenic zone while I work out to see if my body responds differently.
            http://www.med.upenn.edu/timm/docume...8-9Lazar-1.pdf
            β-HYDROXYBUTYRATE: THE MOST EFFICIENT FUEL Veech and colleagues discovered that administering β-hydroxybutyrate to the perfused rat heart in place of glucose increased work output but decreased oxygen consumption (35).
            Originally posted by FordRN View Post
            I think when I fuel with Accelerade or shotblocks, the fuel is so instant, that I don't really have to deal with it, because my body uses the glucose as soon as it comes into my bloodstream.
            The sugar will raise your insulin, which inhibits the body from burning fat. As the gnolls.org article points out, those energy drinks will also make you weak.
            Last edited by js290; 08-08-2011, 09:43 AM.

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            • #8
              Yes, I just re-read that, thanks! My body just needs to re-adjust to fueling without the glucose. I love to bike ride, I have been following Loren Cordain's book, Paleo Diet for Athletes, but he recommends fueling with Accelerade (the only sports drink with protein). However, I am willing to give the no fueling thing a try. What would I fuel with on a long bike ride? Most of my rides are currently 30 to 45 miles, which I don't really need to fuel for those. But fall is coming and I know I will be riding a lot more.

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              • #9
                Originally posted by FordRN View Post
                What would I fuel with on a long bike ride?
                Try eating well the days leading up to the ride. Use the old knowledge of exercising on an empty stomach. If it's a morning ride, maybe take an L-carnitine supplement, jump on the bike and go. If it's an afternoon ride, maybe have a big fat (and protein) breakfast and skip lunch.

                The trick really is to become keto adapted, which may take 2-4 weeks. Most healthy people should have enough fat stores to use for at least a marathon. Aside from the uphill sprints, you should be using muscles capable of burning fat for fuel. Put your body in a hormonal state where it can access those fat stores, i.e. low insulin.

                If you have to up your carb intake to feel like you're performing, then chances are you're not fully keto adapted. I'd recommend increasing the good fats. I tend to agree with Dr. Rosedale when he suggests lowering saturated fats when you're trying to lose your own, but for endurance performance, my guess would be to increase it as much as your digestive system can tolerate.

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                • #10
                  Thanks for the advice. So, do I really not need to eat at all when I'm riding.....i.e. Do I just drink water? That is what I'm bringing for today's ride but it's only 45 miles. Once I'm keto adapted, will I stop feeling that gnawing hunger after I ride, because I will not be inducing the insulin response? The last week (except for Saturday), my fat intake has been the majority of my calories. I've been keeping my carbs to around 50 grams/day, and that is eating vegetables. To remain keto adapted, do I have to maintain a carb intake that low all the time?

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                  • #11
                    After my ride this morning, I will read the article on becoming keto-adapted. Thank you so much! I am very excited to try this.

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                    • #12
                      Originally posted by FordRN View Post
                      Thanks for the advice. So, do I really not need to eat at all when I'm riding.....i.e. Do I just drink water?
                      You should be eating your own fat stores during your ride. Just stay hydrated.

                      Originally posted by FordRN View Post
                      That is what I'm bringing for today's ride but it's only 45 miles. Once I'm keto adapted, will I stop feeling that gnawing hunger after I ride, because I will not be inducing the insulin response?
                      The ravenous hunger you feel is your brain looking for glucose because that's what it's been conditioned to burn for fuel. When you become keto adapted, your body is metabolizing fatty acids effectively and producing some ketone bodies. Whatever glucose requirements the brain needs can be supplied by the liver, and your brain and your heart will happily use the ketone bodies as well.

                      Originally posted by FordRN View Post
                      The last week (except for Saturday), my fat intake has been the majority of my calories. I've been keeping my carbs to around 50 grams/day, and that is eating vegetables. To remain keto adapted, do I have to maintain a carb intake that low all the time?
                      I don't think it's necessary to go into ketosis or be on a purely ketogenic diet. But, the days leading up to your ride, you may want to lower your veggie intake and up the fats. On rest days, may be the opposite.

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                      • #13
                        I am not as hardcore a bike rider as you, I'm just a middle age commuter doing the 11 mile one way commute to my work 2 or 3 times per week. For safety reasons, I cannot go too fast without putting myself at undue risk although I do have some hills on the way back home that are taxing.

                        I don't understand your need to time meals so much around your rides but that's probably because I plan my rides around my day and not the other way around. I eat breakfast, then ride and I'm not hungry until lunch. Then I ride home and eat dinner, end of story.

                        I find that Vitalyte is a good sugary drink, it only has 10 grams of sugar per serving although that is designed for 8 oz of water and I usually dilute to a pint for my ride home. You can find a tub of it at REI for about $12. I find that I don't need sugary drinks when the weather is cool, water is fine when the temps are below 80F or so.

                        It may be that initially you are pushing your riding into chronic cardio rather than keeping it at movement at low intensity. You might find that while you are adjusting to lower carb eating you need to really keep your rides moderate until your body gets over the adjustment hump (sometimes called carb flu). It may be too much for your body to do these long taxing rides while breaking it into low carb eating. I find that really intense long workouts do make more hungry but more moderate ones don't. That's one reason why I view my bike commuting as my form of movement at a low intensity.

                        If your goal is to lose weight (and maybe it is not your post does not say), you obviously don't want to do things that make you ravenous so why not just keep your rides less intense? Why care how fast your bike ride is if your primary goal is to lose weight?
                        Last edited by JeffC; 08-09-2011, 06:49 PM.

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                        • #14
                          I am not really worried about how fast my rides are, although at one time (Pre-Primal) I was all about my speed. I feel like I have relaxed on that end of the spectrum. I just like to ride, I ride with a great group of people that I love to be with, and I love being outside. I live in an amazingly beautiful place south of Nashville, with rolling hills, and some not so rolling hills. My group rides about 4 to 5 days a week. I don't ride that much anymore, but probably get in about 3 days/week. It is as much social as it is exercise. It is my "play." That said, I don't need to lose any weight. Of course what girl doesn't want to lose 5 lbs, but I am blessed in that I've never struggled with weight. But, I don't want to gain weight. When I carb-binge, I can gain 5lbs overnight, and it takes me a good week to get it off.
                          I like JS's idea of keto-adaptation. I've read the articles, it makes perfect sense to me, and I am on board. I am really tired right now which I attribute to "carb-flu" because I ate a hard boiled egg at work last night at 6pm, than ate nothing until 9 am this morning, after my ride. I definitely could not ride at the intensity that I am use to. I am cool with that. I have been doing it wrong for so many years, that it's going to take time for my body to adapt to what is right.
                          But, I am not "compelled" to ride so that I can get in my chronic cardio. OH, LAW! I jes loves to rides my bike!

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