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Diet/ pre-event carbo loading/Etc.(6 posts)

Diet/ pre-event carbo loading/Etc.MrCelloBoy
May 16, 2002 2:18 PM
I've always heard that it's good to carbo load the last couple of days before a Double Century. I've also read that one reason "starving yourself" as a form of dieting doesn't work is because (in simple terms) your body thinks it needs to hang onto the little food it's getting and doesn't want to let it go, so the person dieting actually gains weight.
I'm discovering some interesting stuff.

I've been eating more frequent meals and eating more total calories for a couple of days leading up to a Double Century on Saturday. It appears that my "gut" is getting smaller! I'm thinking that my body is burning my calories at an increased rate making my larger consumption "normal." Is this why it's only recommended to carbo-load for 48 hrs before an event?
It seems that since I'll be eating frequent and smaller meals during the DC, that the conditioning i'm getting may actually be good preparation.
during matters more than beforeDougSloan
May 16, 2002 2:32 PM
True carbo loading and just eating more are two different things.

Carbo loading involves eating no carbs for several days, then eating lots of carbs the day or two before the event, with the idea that your body will overcompensate and suck up more glycogen.

I don't mess with that. I've tried, to no avail. It just messes up your eating and bowel patterns.

Here's my advice. Eat normally, but just emphasize carbs a little more the day before the double. CHEETOS work for me. I eat a bag the night before and morning of (one bag divided up). Drink plenty of water the day before, too.

You don't want to pig out the day before. This may cause you to spend excess time in the bathroom during the ride.

Ultra riding, to me, is more more about what you eat during the ride than before. You can only store about 1.5 hours of glycogen. What difference will it make if you up that to 1.7 hours worth?

Focus on 300 carb calories per hour and bottle of water per hour during the ride. I guarantee you, if you are trained and do that, and don't ride way too fast, you won't bonk.

Cheetos?Tom C
May 16, 2002 3:02 PM
are you sure this isn't some kind of placebo effect that works for you because you happen to like them? Last I remember reading the back of the bag they're largely empty white flour calories + fat no? Reminds me of something 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist on the road wrote about cyclists and nutrition, " riders often perform well in spite of what they eat not because of it."
May 16, 2002 8:05 PM
Lots of experience now. Tried everything. Cheetos work. They are mostly corn meal, cheese, and salt. Little fiber, which is bad on long rides.
Flawed analysisKerry
May 16, 2002 3:48 PM
Dieting does two things: it slows down your metabolism and makes your body more efficient at storing fat when it sees a surplus of calories. Dieting people only gain weight if they eat more calories than they burn, so it is a fallacy to say that "the person dieting actually gains weight" - it's only true if calorie intake is greater than calorie burn.

You don't gain or loose weight in "a couple of days" except with mostly water balance changes. Most likely your gut is getting smaller because you think it is, not because it actually is. Or perhaps because the water that is normally sloshing around in your stomach is being drawn into your muscles as they pick up more glycogen. Frequent meals mean a more steady blood sugar level, which means your fat storing mechanism is better controlled - no large blood glucose levels that accelerate fat storage. To some extent, your body will become less efficient as you take in XS calories, but you will still gain weight. You just don't gain weight as fast as the strictly calorie math would suggest.

The whole system of carbo loading is about producing a temporary increase in stored glycogen. It cannot be sustained (it's temporary!) and so if you just up your carb intake, you're body will establish a new equilibrium - it will get used to the higher intake and therefore "de-load" your glycogen stores compared to the temporary peak. The idea of carbo starving first is to establish a stronger driving force for glycogen storage - when your body sees carbs after the carb shortage, it boosts that temporary level a bit higher. But only a bit. And as noted by DS, a long ride requires you to eat a lot, unlike a 3 hour marathon which lets you almost get by without eating. So eat a higher % carbs in the couple of days before the event (not much point in the low carb segment) and eat sufficiently on the ride. Give up on the "miracle" of eating more and losing weight. It doesn't happen.
re:This stuff can be as individual as saddles.dzrider
May 17, 2002 4:50 AM
For a Sunday event I stick to protein and vegetables from Monday evening until Friday noon. From supper Friday to Sunday breakfast I try not to overeat and load up on carbs . It may make no physiological difference, but I feel lively and I'm happy to accept the placebo effect if that's what it is. I also drop a few pounds which, with my body, is a good thing.

I agree heartily with Doug about eating during long rides. I need to start at about 90 minutes and continue througout. My recent pocket favorites are Balance Bars, Hammer Gel and Endurolyte Caps. I eat whatever looks good at Aid Stations. Potatoes, peanut butter, bananas and raisins, work well. Chocolate, dairy products, and most fresh fruit don't. If I feel nauseous, I drink water and or ginger ale if it's available and take another capsule. If you've been eating more frequently I think you're headed in the right direction. Good luck.