Has anybody been fasting and gone riding?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Has anybody been fasting and gone riding?

    Ideally you're fasting and have plenty of fat stores. Just wondering if anybody has been fasting and been able to go mountain biking and climb hills etc and feel ok energy wise.
    :)

  2. #2
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    Fasting for how long? I do the intermittent fasting thing, finishing eating at night around 8 PM and don't eat again until noon or later the next day. A month ago I did a largely gravel road century (6000 feet of climbing) without eating since the night before and yesterday I rode 70 miles on the road (3800 feet of climbing) without having eaten anything. Both rides started around 8 AM, so about 12 hours after having taken in any calories. On weekdays I ride in the evening so have had lunch. On weekends I ride in the morning and never eat before hand -- probably 90% of my yearly mileage is done with at least a 12 hour fast under my belt. And I NEVER eat during a ride -- just water. But I've been riding seriously -- road and mtb -- for 40 years and have tried lots of things and like where I'm at for the type of riding I'm doing now. If I spend 98% of my time aerobic I don't bonk, so only digging deep for the toughest uphill obstacles. Riding without having eaten t doesn't mean you have to go slow -- if you know your body and are fit you can work very close to your VO2max fueling on residual glycogen and fat (plentiful for all but the anorexic among us) and avoid the dreaded low-blood sugar crash. Your mileage may -- and almost certainly will -- vary!
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptor View Post
    Your mileage may -- and almost certainly will -- vary!
    Mine sure does.



    Bonkage assured at the first steep hill.

  4. #4
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    I always ride fastest unless I do a late ride. If I'm going long, 5-6 hours or something I will eat along the way somewhere, but usually a while into the ride.

  5. #5
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    I was thinking people who are on a multi-day fast. In ketosis.
    :)

  6. #6
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    I ride mornings on a fast, but have done rides on a 24 hr fast. I do 12-18 hour fast I feel just fine riding, no notice in performance so nothing to gain there. 24 Hour fast rides no different, sometimes don't feel great throughout the day but when it comes to the ride performance is the same but man that meal after the ride is GLORIOUS! Fasting is great for weight loss but for performance gains its has done nothing for me, I did the ketosis thing and it knocked me on my ass when I started, Lost my energy and muscle/fat, took me 2 months to regain my strength and performance, now I am 35 lbs lighter and still the same speed but happier

  7. #7
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    I eat between the hours of 11:00 am and 8:00 pm. On a reduced calorie diet (1300/1400), ride almost every day for up to 2 hours. Spent by the end of day though. But the upside is that I'm down 45 pounds since Jan. 1.

  8. #8
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    I think it really depends on what your goals are.

    I can plunk along Z1 for a long time on my touring bike without eating much....can't do the same on MTB.

    I also don't think you'll be recovering as quickly nor getting the same training benefits if your not eating. If I eat consistently and the right stuff on a ride, I recover much quicker.

    I read the book "Racing Weight" it kinda hits on the subject. Basically don't wanna lose too much weight in too short of a time....for PERFORMANCE. If you are strictly weight loss based, YMMV.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by andytiedye View Post
    Mine sure does.



    Bonkage assured at the first steep hill.
    Lol. Mine too. I'm on a 3000 calorie minimum per day diet..

  10. #10
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    I've trained in ketosis, but only because it was part of a research study we were doing. This is probably manageable (depending on the person) in certain training phases. However, if you're doing much MTB, this is inherently intense and you won't be able to manage a huge load.

    Training fasted is something a little different, but is something I recommend for all my athletes for their easy rides. It's true that you wake up with glycogen stores basically at max capacity...most can get away with 1.5-2 hours before they need to start eating.
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  11. #11
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    Sometime back I was training for a multi day bikepacking excursion where I planned to do 12 hours plus per day. i trained using intermittent fasting and would start multi hour rides fasted but starting eating during the ride. My last meal would be diner around 8pm, start riding at 8am. Go about 3 hours and start introducing high fat but some carbo. Occasionally, I could go longer than 3 hours but for sure I didn't want to jeapordize recovery or even completing the ride.

    Edit: this strategy worked for me and I was able to complete the ride and felt strong. This was not about losing weight but about being able to use fat for energy under the theory that it's not possible to consume carbs fast enough when riding at a fast (no pun) pace.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbkrmike View Post
    Lol. Mine too. I'm on a 3000 calorie minimum per day diet..
    Here too. Especially during hard training blocks...I'm eating constantly. And not becuase I'm a pig...my body needs it. I literally get faint if I don't keep the food going in. If I tried to ride fasted...I would probably make it about a mile, unless I was taking it really easy (zone 1/2).
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  13. #13
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    The only way I could pull this off was if I was on a strict, just turning the pedals over recovery ride.

    No way could I go for a real ride, without a good meal or two in me, and not blow up completely.
    Death from Below.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    The only way I could pull this off was if I was on a strict, just turning the pedals over recovery ride.

    No way could I go for a real ride, without a good meal or two in me, and not blow up completely.
    ^This. Our bodies don't convert fat fast enough to maintain high intensity exertion for very long without carbs. Even when following a diet that's low in both carbs and calories, I take in plenty immediately before and during rides. As far as I'm concerned, they don't count. It's not like any of it has the opportunity to be stored as fat, and I'm not worrying about 800-1k extra calories over the course of a ride that burns 3-4k of them.
    The point being that I couldn't DO that 4,000 calorie ride, and create a much higher calorie deficit for the day as a result(5x higher when dieting) without the extra.
    That's how I average .5lb per day without feeling like crap in spite of my "weight loss diet"(I have several, including the "see food" diet) only creating a 600 calorie daily deficit vs. my estimated basal metabolic rate...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtb_phd View Post
    I've trained in ketosis, but only because it was part of a research study we were doing. This is probably manageable (depending on the person) in certain training phases. However, if you're doing much MTB, this is inherently intense and you won't be able to manage a huge load.

    Training fasted is something a little different, but is something I recommend for all my athletes for their easy rides. It's true that you wake up with glycogen stores basically at max capacity...most can get away with 1.5-2 hours before they need to start eating.
    The 1.5 to 2 hour ride in the morning before breakfast is my limit without eating and it always has been. At the end of a 2 hour ride I can feel the bonk coming on.


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  16. #16
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    Just sat down at my local diner for some breakfast after dropping my wife off at work. 2.5 hours and 40 miles, I could easily double back right now without food. Though I would need to refill my bottles.

    But now it's time to feed the horses and try to catch the partial eclipse

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Duke View Post
    The only way I could pull this off was if I was on a strict, just turning the pedals over recovery ride.

    No way could I go for a real ride, without a good meal or two in me, and not blow up completely.
    Yeah, that's where I started. It took me several weeks to notice any adaptation and even then I avoided anything close to sprinting. This type of training is probably only useful as a sort of base training for a very narrow style of riding ...literally all-day race pace. And that narrow style of riding is not very healthy anyway.

  18. #18
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    As other have mentioned, when you are doing the ketogenic diet, you can sustain exercise for several hours without eating. You would basically be burning up fat storage. However, you couldn't just decide to do this today or tomorrow, and go do it. It takes several weeks for your body to switch gears metabolically.

    I like how OwenM put it. Your body can't break down fat stores quickly enough to perform higher intensity exercise. That means no sprints, no intense hill climbs, or anything that puts you in high demand for energy.

    Another important thing to note is that if you just up and decide to do a ride in the state of fasting, you are going to be burning up muscle protein for energy. This is a side effect of the early stages of fasting. So my recommendation is to avoid hitting the wall. Don't bonk. Fuel your rides.
    That is unless you want to commit to the ketogenic diet for the long term.

  19. #19
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    Interesting article on this.

    https://intensivedietarymanagement.c...se-fasting-23/

    "Endurance athletes occasionally do hit this ‘wall‘, where glycogen stores run out. Perhaps there is no more indelible image of hitting the wall as the 1982 Ironman Triathlon where American competitor Julie Moss crawled to the finish line, unable to even stand. Athletes also term complete exhaustion of short term energy stores ‘bonking’. I know some of you may think ‘bonking’ refers to other activities done on all fours, but this is a nutritional blog!

    So, how do you get around that? Glycogen stores are not enough to power you through the entire IronMan race. However, you know at the same time, that you are still carrying vast amounts of energy in the form of fat. All that energy is stored away and not accessible during exercise. But the only reason it cannot be used is because your body is not adapted to burn fat."

    "During the period where you are adjusting to this change, you will likely notice a decrease in performance. This lasts approximately 2 weeks. As you deplete the body of sugar, your muscles need time to adapt to using fat for energy. Your energy, your muscle strength and overall capacity will go down, but they will recover. So, LCHF diets, ketogenic diets and training in the fasted state may all have benefits in training your muscles to burn fat, but they do require some time to adapt."

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Driverfound337 View Post
    I ride mornings on a fast, but have done rides on a 24 hr fast. I do 12-18 hour fast I feel just fine riding, no notice in performance so nothing to gain there. 24 Hour fast rides no different, sometimes don't feel great throughout the day but when it comes to the ride performance is the same but man that meal after the ride is GLORIOUS! Fasting is great for weight loss but for performance gains its has done nothing for me, I did the ketosis thing and it knocked me on my ass when I started, Lost my energy and muscle/fat, took me 2 months to regain my strength and performance, now I am 35 lbs lighter and still the same speed but happier
    Yup the meal never tasted so good. I do IF as well and can do a balls out 10mile ride. But longer rides I will have a little something before hand.

  21. #21
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    I am 56 years old and have been riding MTB since 1985. I live in Tucson and my riding goes to shit in the summer, and I tend to get fat. This year I went to a no sugar, low carb diet, and now that the winter riding season is starting I am 20 pounds lighter right from the get go. Last Sunday I did a 25 hour fast with a 2 hour ride about 20 hours into it. Got home, did some chores, and showered before eating at the 25 hour mark. Felt totally fine on the ride. Yesterday I did a did a 3 and a half hour ride. I ate dinner the night before(salmon and sauteed greens), but no breakfast, just a cup of coffee with butter and coconut oil in it. Rode from 9am til 12:30. Funny thing is, I had a tiny hunger pain just before the ride that made me worried, but as soon as I started riding, it went away and never returned until after the ride. By the time I ate it was 1pm and I had gone about 18 hours since dinner the night before. I never bonked or ran out of energy on the ride. The only thing I noticed was simply my lack of condition from a summer of very little riding. But I never felt woozy, light headed, or shaky during the 3 and a half hours of riding. And I am starting my riding season 20 pounds lighter than I did last year. I believe my body has become more "fat adapted" and as soon as I get riding, it just switches right over. In the past it would have told me "GIVE ME CARBS!". But now it just knows that exercise is here, and carbs aren't coming, so it does not even bother to harass me. It just says "Ok, guess I have to burn this fat here".

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptor View Post
    Fasting for how long? I do the intermittent fasting thing, finishing eating at night around 8 PM and don't eat again until noon or later the next day. A month ago I did a largely gravel road century (6000 feet of climbing) without eating since the night before and yesterday I rode 70 miles on the road (3800 feet of climbing) without having eaten anything. Both rides started around 8 AM, so about 12 hours after having taken in any calories. On weekdays I ride in the evening so have had lunch. On weekends I ride in the morning and never eat before hand -- probably 90% of my yearly mileage is done with at least a 12 hour fast under my belt. And I NEVER eat during a ride -- just water. But I've been riding seriously -- road and mtb -- for 40 years and have tried lots of things and like where I'm at for the type of riding I'm doing now. If I spend 98% of my time aerobic I don't bonk, so only digging deep for the toughest uphill obstacles. Riding without having eaten t doesn't mean you have to go slow -- if you know your body and are fit you can work very close to your VO2max fueling on residual glycogen and fat (plentiful for all but the anorexic among us) and avoid the dreaded low-blood sugar crash. Your mileage may -- and almost certainly will -- vary!
    This is exactly how I roll as well. I would venture to say that I'm faster than your average dude. This has helped me become this way.

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