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  1. #1
    apfrancis's Avatar
    apfrancis is offline Junior Member
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    Low Level Endurance Cycling

    Junior member here with a story and a question. First the story: A week or so after going Primal, and after reading a ton of research articles about ketosis and endurance excercise, I tried an experiment. I bicycled for 4 hours after a breakfast of bacon and eggs. I wore a heart rate monitor (which I rarely do) to make sure that my heart rate never exceeded 70% of my max, even up hills. I ate only two bananas for the entire four hours and never bonked or even got very hungry. My heart rate averaged about 115 and I covered over 50 miles. At the end of the ride, I was not tired at all and had plenty of energy to take my dog to the park. In the past I have often done similar distances at much higher heartrates, and was always "cooked" afterwards, good for little more than guzzling pizza.

    The ride was really enjoyable and I was able to talk with my wife and see things that I would usually miss. Is it really this easy? What are your experiences endurance cycling/touring at a low level with very few carbs? Do you guys eventually have to eat carbs or can one go indefinitely without? It seems like I would have burned a ton of fat, but is that really the case? It was so easy and fun it seems like cheating!

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    js290's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apfrancis View Post
    Junior member here with a story and a question. First the story: A week or so after going Primal, and after reading a ton of research articles about ketosis and endurance excercise, I tried an experiment. I bicycled for 4 hours after a breakfast of bacon and eggs. I wore a heart rate monitor (which I rarely do) to make sure that my heart rate never exceeded 70% of my max, even up hills. I ate only two bananas for the entire four hours and never bonked or even got very hungry. My heart rate averaged about 115 and I covered over 50 miles. At the end of the ride, I was not tired at all and had plenty of energy to take my dog to the park. In the past I have often done similar distances at much higher heartrates, and was always "cooked" afterwards, good for little more than guzzling pizza.

    The ride was really enjoyable and I was able to talk with my wife and see things that I would usually miss. Is it really this easy? What are your experiences endurance cycling/touring at a low level with very few carbs? Do you guys eventually have to eat carbs or can one go indefinitely without? It seems like I would have burned a ton of fat, but is that really the case? It was so easy and fun it seems like cheating!
    KGNU-How On Earth, Show: Exercise and Low Carb Diets (with Stephen Phinney)

  3. #3
    sbhikes's Avatar
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    You still ate two bananas during your ride. That's not exactly very few carbs, if that's what you were aiming for.

    I have done lots of hiking where I have a bowl of scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast, hike all day and either eat nothing or perhaps have a few macadamia nuts, all while climbing 2000-4000 feet of elevation. I've also done a few overnight backpacks with very low or fairly low carb.

    I honestly think most people have it backwards when it comes to fueling the body for cardio exercise. Low-level cardio such as long distance walking or cycling works way better on low carb than high carb. As long as you are ketoadapted or have good metabolic flexibility you can tap into your body fat for energy and just keep going and going like the energizer bunny. High carb is good for activities that require high energy bursts.
    Female, 5'3", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
    I can squat 180lbs, press 72.5lbs and deadlift 185lbs

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    UniqueTII's Avatar
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    I need to get a heart rate monitor to do this same thing. I want to be able to bike regularly again but don't want to be burning through glycogen like crazy. I attempted my first ride of the year on Saturday but had to cut it short with a flat after 6 miles (no spare tube...ugh) and walk the bike home from there. This was in the middle of a 22 hour fast and I felt great up to the 6 mile point, though. The last time I rode last year, while still eating SADly, I had an awful sugar crash after about 12 miles.
    I wish I liked to eat liver.

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    js290's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UniqueTII View Post
    I need to get a heart rate monitor to do this same thing. I want to be able to bike regularly again but don't want to be burning through glycogen like crazy.
    Target heart range may not be a good paradigm.

    Dr. Mercola Interviews Doug McGuff about High Intensity Exercise - YouTube

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    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Interesting, thanks for posting that. Now the issue is that there is no way to measure actual cardiac output while on my bike, so instead of measuring the wrong thing, I'm measuring nothing. Is breathing rate a good marker? I suppose I could just take it easy and not worry about heart rate. It's not like I need the most accuracy or efficiency...I'm just out for a fun ride.
    I wish I liked to eat liver.

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