The foundations for successful riding
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Just wondering when is the best time to eat (or not) to assist in effective weight loss? I have heard conflicting reports.
Before the ride:
I should eat before a ride to 'kickstart the metabolism'' - because if the body has not eaten it puts itself into 'starvation mode' and metabolism slows dramatically, reducing weight loss.
I should not eat before a ride because the body then fuels itself from excess existing fat stores in the body (rather than from the food in the stomach which has just been consumed) - resulting in more effective weight loss.
After the ride:
I should eat within 20 minutes of completing a ride to replenish the body from the calories burned during the ride and thereby reduce muscle soreness for the next session.
I should not eat immediately after a ride because after a ride the body is still burning fuel for up to 3-4 hours after exercise has ceased, resulting in very effective weight loss if the stomach remains empty during this time and by eating post ride I am negating this effect.
What's the truth?
The simple truth is that if you are a recreational cyclist like most of us then you don't need to change your normal eating habits (as long as they are good ones). You probably risk overcompensating if you do - just what you don't want if your goal is weight loss.
If you are an athlete and racer, you should consult a sports nutritionist.
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Arlberg, if your riding doesn't go beyond 90 minutes at a time, in the interest of weight loss, don't eat at all to support your exercise.
The riders of the Tour Divide (MTB from Canada to Mexico) apparently ate up to 10000 calories a day and still lost weight. That's what twelve plus hours of aerobic activity for two weeks can require!
The before and after 'methods' are red herring. Weight loss does not come primarily from exercise, although it does play a role, it comes from what you eat.
All the info I have read is related to two goals. Neither is weight loss. Take proteins on board soon after stopping the ride. Super long ride (120kms?) try and ingest some protein beforehand as well. Sugar rinse during longer rides to trick the brain into thinking it is not starving.
Both are interested in peak performance, not weight loss. Muscle preservation and muscle endurance. Ignore your weight. Drink lots of water. Zero calories keep riding hard and don't deprive yourself of lean protein.
Don't eat for weight loss, eat to fuel yourself up and ride heaps.
Last week I did over 350km in the week (it was probably over 360km if I didn't forget to start the Garmin at one point) - and I did lose weight. You don't even have to ride that hard - just ride long distances at a reasonable pace (my reasonable pace is pretty slow).
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I like this one (after I fixed it ). Consume less calories than you eat and you will lose weight. Simple. Of course, it may not make you healthy, and it may not be necessarily fat that you lose, but they are completely different goals.
From everything I've looked at, this seems to be the key point. The thing with exercise is that you need to fuel your body to exercise effectively. If you push yourself into the starvation mode/area most stuff I've read says your body system will choose to eat at the muscle over the fat. Eat whatever you need to train effectively and balance the total consumption sums over the rest of the day.
That's what I've been doing in preparation for Tour of Bright - no change to my pre and post ride nutrition routine, but reduce all the other stuff (smaller main meals, no snacks, no desserts, no booze etc.) and I have dropped 5.5kg in 6 weeks. I haven't noticed any decrease in performance, in fact I feel like I'm the fastest I have ever been (and the numbers support that) so I guess it's working.
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