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Thread: A struggling cyclist page

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    Jamielee's Avatar
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    A struggling cyclist

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    I admit that I (trying to change it) a chronic cardio. I worked out almost everyday and hard most of the time. I thought more was better. I have dramatically stepped back from that. I lift heavy once or twice a week. I have not done much cardio other than walking. Mostly because I have no choice. I do not have the energy to do more than a light cardio. I have been doing the primal thing for over a month. I have cut out grains completely and try to keep my carb intake around 100g a day. Digestively I feel great. Though I will say nothing else has changed. No weight loss or loss of body fat. I have been an avid cyclist for several years and really enjoy it. I ride with a cycling club on weekends. I have found that I can no longer keep up with them. My heart rate shoots through the roof with little effort. I say no wonder the exercise plan for primal is move slow. I can't sustain anything else. I want to ride with my riding buddies and to feel good when I do like I used to. What's the answer?

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    Karma's Avatar
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    As an athlete you will need to make a few adjustments to the standard protocol. You need to fuel during execise bouts over about 90 minutes. I prefer to use Oskri Organics coconut bars (original, not chocolate) and Generation UCAN superstarch for endurance activities. ( I run pretty far - 100K and 100M trail races that take 12-24 hours). You will need to bump that 100g of CH up on ride days, more like 200g. Sweet potatoes are great to do that. I have also reintroduced white rice and make Allen Lim's Rice Cakes for my long days on the trail ( basically eggs, bacon and rice). In the first month its tough to wait around for your body to become more metabolically efficient, give it time, you should see some results if you take some of my advice to heart. Read up on the subject more in Joe Friel and Loren Cordains book "Paleo for Athletes".

    Recipe: Allen Lim’s Rice Cakes : LAVA Magazine

    NOTE: To all the Nazi's that think this person should just suck it up, i have been there and done that with dozens of endurance athletes who wanted to be primal/paleo but failed before altering their plan. Yes, its a trade-off, but one that works well if you find joy in doing endurance stuff and want to do it as primal as possible.

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    Jamielee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback. it is good to know there are changes I can make that will allow me to ride for 4-5 hours and still be primal. If I am going to ride on Saturday when do I up the carb intake to fuel my ride. The night before or at breakfast or both?

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    Karma's Avatar
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    3 hours pre-ride would be perfect, just to top off the glycogen stores you lost in regular metabolism overnight. As you become more metabolically efficient at burning fat your carb needs will begin to come down too. Check out "metabolic efficiency training" by Bob Seebohar for some insight into the idea. He recently did a metabolic efficiency test diet and recorded it on his blog. Looks nearly primal to me but he needs to get the turkey bacon crap out of there! - Bob Seebohar-Sport Dietitian, Coach and Athlete

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    I think before you start worrying about how you're fueling your rides, you should figure out how to train properly. If you want to keep up with your riding buddies for a cycling session while avoiding chronic cardio (we can consider these rides as "play"), you will need to figure out how to make sure you can "play" well.

    There are various ways to train in a manner to take advantage of your training session, while avoiding chronic cardio (as much as possible). Using very intense, but very brief sessions have replaced my typical 60 minute training rides. Sessions like 1 mile hard, 1 mile spin (repeat). Or Tabata spin sessions, 20 s on, 10 s off; for 4 minutes. Also, a functional resistance training plan for cycle specific gains. Ben Greenfield is a triathlete who implements strategies like this rather than drawn out cardio sessions, and he is a professional (and competitive) triathlete. Look him up, he has a lot of good information on his website.

    While I think on-the-bike nutrition can be important, it is not the most important (in my opinion). I can rip up a big hill fasted and well fed, just the same.

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    ease into reducing carbs and go truly aerobic

    I typically train fasted and only add modest calories from a variety of sources when going beyond two hours on the bike. I didn't used to and the transition away from gels, chews, liquid food, etc. every 30 minutes or more was slow and purposeful.

    In my pre-primal/paleo days I was "almost" fasted for most events (ie. no food until just before the start and then I would have a gel). Today I still don't purposely eat before working out or events; that said, I typically eat whenever I want to (2 to 4 meals a day; 18 hour IF when it happens not on a schedule) so if I eat before a workout, it is just because that is when I was ready to eat.

    My typical day has morphed to 25 to 100 grams of carbs over the last couple of years and I don't do much adjusting for days with longer workouts (more calories but do not focus on just carbs). If I do eat on a longer workout I will choose things like Justin's nut butters (not peanut) and foil pouches of simple baby food (squashes, sweet potato, etc).

    I think there are two reasons I use very many calories and do not "need" carbs all the time when working out. First, I have slowly adjusted to it and didn't sweat it when things didn't go as planned (I still carry a gel or two "just in case"). Second, I focus on my aerobic engine which is much more likely to burn fat as fuel all day long. Although I do not like HR, power and other sports formulas (it is a rare person that perfectly fits into a prescribed percentage of this or that) the formula most likely to slow you down are Mark Allen's and Phil Maffetone's (Maffetone used to coach Mark Allen). Ask Coach Google about either of these gentlemen, heart rate and 180 and start reading. It will seem to most that you are going painfully slow, but with time (months, not days) you will be much faster at a lower HR and burning fat all the time. There are some coaches and testing methods (not lactate threshold) that are able to test individuals and guide them to specific HR zones for the individual (not formulas), but as a starting point the Maffetone/Allen approach is a good place to start to get truly aerobic (and, back to the original posting, away from chronic cardio).
    Kevin

    Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
    William James
    US Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist (1842 1910)

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    Cycling has become a very popular sport these days. Many people are taking up cycling either as a hobby or going competitive.

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    Before you tweak your diet I would check out Phil Maffetone and his training methods. I am an avid mtn biker and would blow up and get my arse kicked by the sugar burners on regular basis until I tried his training. You need to train under your specific heart rate to avoid the bonk and slowly build it over time. When properly conditioned you should be able to keep up and ultimately prevail at the end as the sugar burners tend to burn out easily. Word of caution though, if they step it up during the ride at anytime and you try to keep up and get out of your heart rate zone you will blow up. It takes some commitment and trust but once you buy into it you will be rewarded. Here's a link to get started, he also has a book out (long read but worth it even though there are a few nutritional recommendations I don't agree with but overall ok) Phil Maffetone, www.philmaffetone.com - 180-Formula
    You'll never see the light if you're in someone else's shadow, or said another way, life is like a dog sled team, if you're not the lead dog, the scenery never changes

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    Watched this video from the AHS after my first post in this thread: Jamie Scott—High Performance Evolutionary Fitness - Using EvoBio to Optimize Training for Endurance (AHS12) on Vimeo. Ties to the discussion here quite well.
    Kevin

    Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.
    William James
    US Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist (1842 1910)

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    My BF had the same issues when he started primal. The first week he was riding home and could barely pedal he was so wiped out (he was cursing my name). He found the first period quite tough. Now he easily takes on 4-5 hour hill rides and smokes the guys he rides with (an doesn't have to stop for a gatorade halfway). He doesn't measure his macros but he doesn't shy away from his sweet potatoes. I'd imagine his macros might be something like P40% F30% C 30% depending on the day. He hasn't changed how he rides or how much, and already had quite low body fat, but I think he has put on muscle and lost more fat through diet alone.

    Usually he just had salt, lemon juice and flavourless protein in his water.

    Good luck, just take your time you'll be back with your cycling buddies soon.
    The Paleo Strongwoman - A site dedicated to strength, and feeding strength.

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