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  1. #1
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    Riding fasted with good results.

    So Iíve been doing the intermittent fasting thing (only eating from 12pm-8pm) for about 2 years now. I was looking for a way to drop some weight without making a huge change in my diet and did end up dropping about 20 lbs within the first few months.
    Anyway, I was a little nervous about my first ride without any calories ( only black coffee) before hand. I live in Denver and most of my rides consist of about 3,000ft vertical climbs and Iím out for 2-3 hours. I know everybodyís body may react differently but I found no negative effects on my energy level and in fact I feel slightly better than when I ate breakfast. Before, when I was feeling fatigued it felt like my brain was telling my body that I might be hungry and may need to stop and have a Jell shot or a bite of a Cliff bar to continue on. Nowadays I never really feel hungry on the trail but when fatigue sets in a quick breather and a sip of water usually gets me back on track. The only thing besides water that I consume on my rides now is a little bit of salt if the ride goes a little long to stage off cramping. I also stopped riding with a Camelback and Iím drinking a lot less water which I was told was prompting a cramping issue by diluting the salt in my system too much.
    Again, I know everybody has different fitness levels and metabolisms but I just wanted to get this information out there because it helped me simplify my rides, diet, and mental focus, by not having to think about being hungry, so I figured it might help somebody else if they were thinking about trying this route.

  2. #2
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    I have a similar "nutrition plan", except its due to being poor and lazy. I get at least 2k calories from a single meal--2 rice cups in my rice cooker (1300 kcal), combined with whatever else (700 kcal from 15 oz can of sardines, with lemon juice and hot sauce). I supplement with sugary drinks (e.g. lemonade), currently drinking about 4-8 L of water this summer daily (2L lemonade prepared daily). I also hardboil 6 eggs and pop a couple periodically kind of like a protein shake alternative (stored in ice water in fridge).

    I ride circles around my friends. It's more cause I commute by bike everyday, than the nutrition plan. My bike weighs at least 10 lbs more than some of theirs. I'm also at a toned weight, half because of genetics, and half cause I don't eat junk food. The lemonade is kind of a energy drink that I'm using mainly because of summer. Co-workers don't know how I have energy; they become even more shocked after I tell 'em my typical daily meal plan.

    Calories are calories. Repeatedly riding makes you more efficient at riding. *shrug*

    I'm not nervous about doing anything, considering my nutrition plans. Only thing I suffer from is light headedness if I "skip" my meal before going into work, and I'm running late so I have to up the pace to over 17.5 MPH average (~14 miles) to make it to work on time. It's when I'm just resting during the "stand-up" meeting that I feel light headed. I do fine for the rest of the day and just have my meal after work. I just treat the 1 meal as a base, and add on meals accordingly to whatever else I do (sometimes preemptively, sometimes as recovery), but I try to never treat food as a reward. It's rare to need the extra meals though--I sometimes just do it for security, and leave it to my body's metabolism to poop it out if it doesn't need it.

  3. #3
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    I also ride fasted. I eat a modified keto diet (I eat a lot of green veggies as well as high fat, moderate protein, low carb) and also OMAD (One meal a day)

    So Im usually fasted about 12-14 hours before my ride. I have zero loss of energy. Actually experience much higher mental clarity and focus! I absolutely love it!!

  4. #4
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    I ride for about a hour in the morning and if I eat first I am really sluggish. I do have some coffee and a pre-workout drink (that stuff is amazing). Then I drink a recovery drink and meal shake when I get home. Then I go on to a normal lunch and dinner. Some days I need a snack before lunch. I know I am not ridding the distance that some people do and I am guessing if I was to go further I would need some kind of food. I do carry a bar incase my sugar decides to drop but havn't had a problem.

  5. #5
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    People bring weird food on rides. One good buddy offered me pizza slices and I tried to refuse, but I dislike seeing food wasted and he played that card on me. Rode like 12 miles up, took a 20 min meal break, and for about 2-3 miles 10-15 mins, I felt like my "max" output was limited. I was forced into an eco mode, while my blood was diverted to the stomach instead or something.

    I think it's what you eat that matters. When someone gave me a container of mixed nuts/cashews, I snacked periodically on it, finishing it over 2 days, and I had issues with watery poop. It came out in a similar schedule of small amounts every so often, and it'd feel like I'd have hemorrhoids (itchy and slightly swollen, typically right before bed) from the effort I'd use to keep it in before I could find a toilet, and trying to squeeze as much out as possible to not need an immediate follow up. It was a bad experience that got me to think twice about snacking on that stuff. I think it was all the fat/protein in it, and my body wasn't used to processing that kind of stuff. My body's more efficient at processing stuff like beans, after eating it so regularly, seemingly making it so I don't suffer much from gas. Same thing kind of happens when I go out to eat... my body isn't inefficient at processing the new kinds of foods, and it isn't all that high quality anyways, likely precooked, stored in their fridge/freezer, then reheated.

  6. #6
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    I don't want to dampen the enthusiasm but whether you can ride in whatever state is the latest flavor of the month, really depends on how you ride, your fitness, and the intensity of your ride. If you are mostly in zone 2 or 3, then by all means ride fasted, low carb or whatever. But go on some training rides with your Cat 1 XC buddies where you are mostly in zones 4 and 5, then good luck with that.

    I wish more people would give more details about their riding style and intensity before giving feedback about nutrition.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by midwestmtb View Post
    I don't want to dampen the enthusiasm but whether you can ride in whatever state is the latest flavor of the month, really depends on how you ride, your fitness, and the intensity of your ride. If you are mostly in zone 2 or 3, then by all means ride fasted, low carb or whatever. But go on some training rides with your Cat 1 XC buddies where you are mostly in zones 4 and 5, then good luck with that.

    I wish more people would give more details about their riding style and intensity before giving feedback about nutrition.
    I had a similar experience this past weekend. I've been doing a Whole 30 type diet for probably 8 months now, lost about 35lbs in the first 5 months with no real exercise. Just bought my YT Jeffsy about 3.5 months ago and hadn't been on a bike really at all in 8 years, I'm 51. Anyway, being in this diet/losing weight mode I was riding on an empty stomach or a couple of eggs and bacon breakfast. Local rides are 1.5 hours or so, no problem. Even rode Sedona/Flagstaff 3 days with a couple of buddy's, all of similar cardio level, we took breaks, drank water, ate some almonds after, no issues really. Well last Saturday i was riding solo on some ozarks singletrack. I've been training the last week on a spin bike at home in 45-60 min sessions each day. So I'm feeling pretty good about testing me level. Was out for 2.5 hours, 14 miles or rocky singletrack, nothing but water, taking short breaks when I just couldn't push anymore, I get back to the truck and I am DONE. I was starving, craving food. Normally food was the last thing on my mind after a ride...so this had me concerned. Thankfully I had some almonds and a couple of jerky strips with me. I just sat on the tailgate in a daze munching on that food before I could gather my shit up and get going. No endorphins, no satisfaction from the ride, just in a bad place. It took hours to recover. If I had been out with my regular riding buddy we would have probably taken some longer breaks and made a "day" out of it. Had we just been out on a survival ride line in Arizona, just enjoying the day, taking breaks so we can spend as much time out as possible, then I feel like I can ride all day with just water. Testing my personal best is something I'll need to prepare for next time. I have enjoyed the healthy eating that Whole 30 instilled in me, no bread (maybe some croutons or part of a bun I don't discard), no dairy (maybe some ranch dressing), no sugar (maybe some ketchup), but the longer rides need planning and fuel no doubt.

  8. #8
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    I've experience the same, I'm 50 and have been Paleo/Low Carb/Keto for many years. Long slow up to Zone 3 is no problem, I can go for hours and have no problems with bonking or recovery after. As others mentioned, it's when you get into the upper zones that this became an issue. I was feeling super drained after too many of these efforts, not having good recovery, and just feeling like I had a bad attitude. I now make sure I get some targeted carbs in either before or during these hard efforts and have not had anymore problems with the deep fatigue I was getting from Zone 4 and 5. I've been using a maltodextrin based carb fuel, but today I'm trying out one of the newer cluster dextrin based fuels, Glycofuse, we'll see how it goes.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chowder Head View Post
    I've experience the same, I'm 50 and have been Paleo/Low Carb/Keto for many years. Long slow up to Zone 3 is no problem, I can go for hours and have no problems with bonking or recovery after. As others mentioned, it's when you get into the upper zones that this became an issue. I was feeling super drained after too many of these efforts, not having good recovery, and just feeling like I had a bad attitude. I now make sure I get some targeted carbs in either before or during these hard efforts and have not had anymore problems with the deep fatigue I was getting from Zone 4 and 5. I've been using a maltodextrin based carb fuel, but today I'm trying out one of the newer cluster dextrin based fuels, Glycofuse, we'll see how it goes.
    Are you guys all riding with heart rate monitors and tracking this during your rides?? I just started using one indoors. Again, this riding a bike thing, that I used to do only as a last resort to riding my KTM dirt bike because pedaling SUCKS, has become an obsession!! I think part of it is that I had already taken some weight off before I started back riding again and part of it because the geometry on the new bikes is so freaking good! I just don't feel like I'm wasting any energy on climbs like I used to bobbing on the old bikes. There is nothing I've found my bike won't climb (that's climbable at all), I am the limiting factor.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chowder Head View Post
    I've experience the same, I'm 50 and have been Paleo/Low Carb/Keto for many years. Long slow up to Zone 3 is no problem, I can go for hours and have no problems with bonking or recovery after. As others mentioned, it's when you get into the upper zones that this became an issue. I was feeling super drained after too many of these efforts, not having good recovery, and just feeling like I had a bad attitude. I now make sure I get some targeted carbs in either before or during these hard efforts and have not had anymore problems with the deep fatigue I was getting from Zone 4 and 5. I've been using a maltodextrin based carb fuel, but today I'm trying out one of the newer cluster dextrin based fuels, Glycofuse, we'll see how it goes.
    I do mostly the same diet and when pushing really hard. Especially in heat the new dextrins work really well. They are utilized quickly since no digestion is needed. And less of an insulin spike. I order mine from True Nutrition. Less expensive and they are a supplier for most other supplement companies.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I do mostly the same diet and when pushing really hard. Especially in heat the new dextrins work really well. They are utilized quickly since no digestion is needed. And less of an insulin spike. I order mine from True Nutrition. Less expensive and they are a supplier for most other supplement companies.
    Heat! That's something I have yet to ride in really. I got my bike in Sept (in KC area) and it we had a colder than normal fall. Even riding the dez near Scottsdale never broke 72 degress...actually that felt hot! LOL But ya the summer humidity will be a test.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by escrowdog View Post
    Heat! That's something I have yet to ride in really. I got my bike in Sept (in KC area) and it we had a colder than normal fall. Even riding the dez near Scottsdale never broke 72 degress...actually that felt hot! LOL But ya the summer humidity will be a test.
    Im pretty keto adapted but ill sip on 30'50grams of HBCD when its its really hot. Helps to not sweat all the minerals out.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by escrowdog View Post
    Are you guys all riding with heart rate monitors and tracking this during your rides?? I just started using one indoors. Again, this riding a bike thing, that I used to do only as a last resort to riding my KTM dirt bike because pedaling SUCKS, has become an obsession!! I think part of it is that I had already taken some weight off before I started back riding again and part of it because the geometry on the new bikes is so freaking good! I just don't feel like I'm wasting any energy on climbs like I used to bobbing on the old bikes. There is nothing I've found my bike won't climb (that's climbable at all), I am the limiting factor.
    I do, on every ride, sometimes I don't pay any attention to it, but many times on days I plan on going easy, I try to keep my heartrate below a certain number for the entire ride to keep me out of Z4/5. It works. I wear an armband version from Scosche, called the Rythm 24. It works great, is really comfortable(I literally forget I have it on), is accurate, and pairs with all types of devices including phones.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus75 View Post
    I do mostly the same diet and when pushing really hard. Especially in heat the new dextrins work really well. They are utilized quickly since no digestion is needed. And less of an insulin spike. I order mine from True Nutrition. Less expensive and they are a supplier for most other supplement companies.
    Thanks for the heads up and info Cerberus75, I used it for my first time today, but it was really cool. I had no energy or GI issues so that is good so far.

    I'll check out True Nutrition.

  15. #15
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    I always start my rides fasted. I've never thought anything of it, it wasn't a plan. My old commute was 2.5 hours in the morning, I just got up in the morning and ate when I got to work. So my body is adapted to that. My current commute is one hour, same thing. If I am planning a long and/or hard ride (8 hours or so?) I will eat soon after I hit the road, at least within the first hour.

    I don't have a diet, well, maybe a 'seefood' diet

  16. #16
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    I'm doing a intermittent fasting and high fat diet so pretty fat adapted. I'm currently doing mostly low intensity (MAF strategy) rides which I can do for many hours with only water. I typically eat something with carbs around hour 3 but mostly so that I recover faster. For the high intensity group rides, I usually start trickling in the sugars about 1 hour in.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by midwestmtb View Post
    I don't want to dampen the enthusiasm but whether you can ride in whatever state is the latest flavor of the month, really depends on how you ride, your fitness, and the intensity of your ride. If you are mostly in zone 2 or 3, then by all means ride fasted, low carb or whatever. But go on some training rides with your Cat 1 XC buddies where you are mostly in zones 4 and 5, then good luck with that.

    I wish more people would give more details about their riding style and intensity before giving feedback about nutrition.
    ^ +1 Exactly

    At high intensity, or for a longer duration than 2-3 hours you need calories. One meal a day riding 15-18 hours a week? No thanks.

    Context is important for this type of conversation (fad).

    (I'm the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I will stuff my face before a big ride so I don't have to bring as much food with me. Or, if I'm on a long ride I might stop for a whole meal, twice, to refill water and get calories. I also have a cast iron stomach and have no problem riding and taking in food. For endurance racing I split between solid food and liquids like Tailwind.)
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  18. #18
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    I do 3-hour, climbing rides fully fasted. It simply works. Fat as fuel is a clean-burning, mind-sharpening way to torch body fat FAST. Wanna see those abs? Ride fasted....
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cayenne_Pepa View Post
    I do 3-hour, climbing rides fully fasted. It simply works. Fat as fuel is a clean-burning, mind-sharpening way to torch body fat FAST. Wanna see those abs? Ride fasted....
    Right, for a specific application or a certain period of time I'm sure it great. Once a week for a specific workout, fine.

    But doing it all day every day for 2 years seems extreme.
    Rigid SS 29er
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    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  20. #20
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    Started wearing a HRM the last couple of rides...VERY eyeopening! I have been powerzone training on the peloton bike, retesting my FTP 3 times so I know I'm getting work done and improving my overall fitness like I cannot believe, 45 to 90 min a day. Indoors (and assuming on a road bike) I can control my heart rate pretty well, even then it's really hard to stay in my HR zone 2 and do much work. We finally had a break in the weather and hit the singletrack. 10 miles, mostly tight, rocky, rooty, some tougher short climbs, etc, up and down through ozarks woods if you will. I was stunned at how high my HR stayed throughout the ride!! 1:30 (of actual moving time) to do 10 miles so it's not exactly flowing and it was straight mashed potatoes in some sections. Avg HR was 149 for the ride! Seemed like every time I looked down I was 155 to 165, but felt great. I'm 51, about 210 lbs, my max HR is around 176 from what I've seen. So this was almost all zone 4/5 HR for me. I really thought I was going to be able to relax and get in a "zone" at some point like I do on the peloton, even at a higher HR...but it's impossible. Trail is so unpredictable and some climbs you just can't find a gear low enough to make it "easy" or even moderate...you're just going to die regardless. HOWEVER, all the training has taken me to another level in just 8 weeks. To the point that I'm eating a couple of hours before outdoor rides and ate a Larabar on the trail. I have some tailwind that I've been using as a recovery drink right after the ride, seems to help as well. Also making a conscious effort to do at least 5 min cooldown ride around the parking lot and stretching as soon as I get off the bike. All that said, I could easily do an hour or more ride fasted and do most of my indoor training fasted. I think knowing what I know and if I'm sure we're going to be out 2 or 3 or more hours I definitely need some food/tailwind.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cayenne_Pepa View Post
    I do 3-hour, climbing rides fully fasted. It simply works. Fat as fuel is a clean-burning, mind-sharpening way to torch body fat FAST. Wanna see those abs? Ride fasted....



    Depends on your body type. 6'3" @ 160# and I can't seem to eat too much food, even with a pretty clean diet I can easily bonk if I don't keep topped off. I can see my abs just fine, also my ribs
    I brake for stinkbugs

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by escrowdog View Post
    Started wearing a HRM the last couple of rides...VERY eyeopening! I have been powerzone training on the peloton bike, retesting my FTP 3 times so I know I'm getting work done and improving my overall fitness like I cannot believe, 45 to 90 min a day. Indoors (and assuming on a road bike) I can control my heart rate pretty well, even then it's really hard to stay in my HR zone 2 and do much work. We finally had a break in the weather and hit the singletrack. 10 miles, mostly tight, rocky, rooty, some tougher short climbs, etc, up and down through ozarks woods if you will. I was stunned at how high my HR stayed throughout the ride!! 1:30 (of actual moving time) to do 10 miles so it's not exactly flowing and it was straight mashed potatoes in some sections. Avg HR was 149 for the ride! Seemed like every time I looked down I was 155 to 165, but felt great. I'm 51, about 210 lbs, my max HR is around 176 from what I've seen. So this was almost all zone 4/5 HR for me. I really thought I was going to be able to relax and get in a "zone" at some point like I do on the peloton, even at a higher HR...but it's impossible. Trail is so unpredictable and some climbs you just can't find a gear low enough to make it "easy" or even moderate...you're just going to die regardless. HOWEVER, all the training has taken me to another level in just 8 weeks. To the point that I'm eating a couple of hours before outdoor rides and ate a Larabar on the trail. I have some tailwind that I've been using as a recovery drink right after the ride, seems to help as well. Also making a conscious effort to do at least 5 min cooldown ride around the parking lot and stretching as soon as I get off the bike. All that said, I could easily do an hour or more ride fasted and do most of my indoor training fasted. I think knowing what I know and if I'm sure we're going to be out 2 or 3 or more hours I definitely need some food/tailwind.
    Dude, you have got to break that into paragraphs or I'm not even going to try and read it.
    Rigid SS 29er
    SS 29+
    Fat Lefty
    SS cyclocross
    Full Sus 29er (Yuck)

    Stop asking how much it weighs and just go ride it.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by *OneSpeed* View Post
    Dude, you have got to break that into paragraphs or I'm not even going to try and read it.
    I know...I know...but be thankful I use punctuation and don't say things like "I seen" or "for sell". :-)

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