View Full Version : Newbie Nutrition Question

06-03-2005, 11:01 PM
So I've been riding for about three months. Right now my long rides are around 50 miles on Saturdays. I ride with some more experienced riders, and all of them seem convinced that if I don't start consuming things like HammerGel and Accelerade I'm going to turn into a pumpkin. Well, they say I'm going to "bonk". What is at issue is not that I am not consuming calories on the bike, just that I'm not consuming them in "sports nutrition" form.

I just don't see spending my hard-earned money on high tech sports food. I eat a decent meal ahead of time and have been drinking Gatorade (made from powder) and water, and eating fig newtons, bananas, and Clif bars. I suppose according to current "theory" I'm supposed to be consuming some protien too, but there's protien in the clif bar. I also for the most part can't have whey protien unless it's the isolate type because I'm lactose intolerant.

Am I making some terrible mistake? Are these drinks somehow superior to Gatorade? I suppose if my stomach were bothering me or I was unable to actually consume enough, that would be different. At least one of the guys I ride with is of the "expensive is better" school of thought and I get the impression that all their gels and drinks are part of their strange "I'm an athlete" thing. I also have the suspicion that if I could pay for a clinical trial of fig newtons and my homemade soy protien recovery drink, I could "prove" it's 44% better too.

06-04-2005, 03:03 AM
The important thing is that you eat and drink - and that the food & drink that you choose supports your activity. I do not believe that means you need to use sport-specific foods or gels. And your choice of Gatorade, bananas, fig newtons, and Clif bars sounds fine to me.

On the liquid front - I used to drink just water, but I switched to Gatorade a few years back and I find that works better for me. If I'm on a long ride - one that will last for at least several hours - I often have Gatorade in my water bottles and water in a Camelbak. Food? I tend to carry bars of some sort with me just because they are easy to carry. The bars I currently eat are Pria and Luna Bars. Bananas are great, but not so easy to carry without getting them bruised.

From your description of your pre-ride food and your snacks on the bike, it seems that you are doing just fine!

--- Denise

06-04-2005, 06:18 AM
Your riding food sounds good to me! Fig newtons are a good source of simple sugar & the fig part adds a little fiber so some of the carbs should last you awhile. I carry Clif bars & use them as well. I know a guy who rides many miles who carries raisins and peanuts. Everybody's body is different. Check out the thread on bonking for more info.

06-04-2005, 01:03 PM
This house spends no money on flash energy bars at all.

We have some muesli bars which we have found with an apple and blackberry mush inside... and with maybe a half can of creamed rice before the ride, they are all that is needed. Sometimes a can of V or Mountain Dew before the race too.

We do spend money on stuff like LEPIN and CARBOSHOTZ which my partner uses in serious endurance races, and we have sports recovery powders to have after a hard ride.

But those energy bars are too difficult to eat.

I agree with the majority - your nutrition scheme sounds fine.

Eat well either side of the ride, and just take with you on the ride what you are comfortable eating - your body knows what it can cope with- or if whatever you have chosen isn't enough. Listen to what it says and you'll be fine.

06-04-2005, 02:11 PM
Well, I'll tell you, I just got back from a 3.5 hour 62 mile ride, drank only water and ate a Clif bar and a peanutbutter sandwich. :) My post-ride recovery drink was a tall glass of chocolate soymilk.

My sweetie's way more experienced than I, and he has one of his bottles with Gatorade for longer rides and races, and will do a Gu in a race, but otherwise his ride nutrition is pretty much the same -- I think I eat more often, as is appropriate for a woman cyclist!

06-04-2005, 02:33 PM
LOL... I often want chocolate milk when I finish a ride too... I wonder how many choc milk fans there are here?

06-04-2005, 03:24 PM
Chocolate soymilk with a scoop of chocolate whey protein post ride for me...

06-04-2005, 04:50 PM
LOL... I often want chocolate milk when I finish a ride too... I wonder how many choc milk fans there are here?

<Raises hand>

I have been known to buy a chocolate milk on a ride and drink it at a rest stop! The dairy doesn't bother me, and the fat/protein seem to help me go longer. And I always enjoy endulging my inner child. :D


06-04-2005, 05:09 PM
Post ride drink for me is a chocolate shake. Yummy!! Or just give me a beer :D Decisions, decisions :cool:

06-04-2005, 05:39 PM
MMMmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!!!!! Chocolate Milk - especially when its the really thick syrypy kind!!!!!!

Pedal Wench
06-04-2005, 06:45 PM
Does a YooHoo count? :o

06-05-2005, 08:09 PM
ROFL - I guess I really am the odd one - I seem to want an apple after a long ride. we can't figure out what it is that an apple would have that my body seems to want.....but I want a glass of cold water and an apple.

06-05-2005, 09:14 PM
Tonight it was a chocolate malt in the middle of the ride for DH & me. Did wonders for my energy. :)

06-06-2005, 04:59 AM
Apples are a good source of quercitin (sp?) a natural anti-inflammatory. Listen to your bod!

06-06-2005, 07:31 AM
Studies have shown that chocolate milk is a very good recovery drink! Since it's sweetened, it's got a better protein-carbo ratio than regular milk. We go with soy because cow milk doesn't treat our tummies too well.

Since starting this routine, I come home, slam about a cup of chocolate milk, have a salty snack, replace a little water, and THEN have my cold post-ride beer. ;)

06-06-2005, 11:23 AM
MMM... Chocolate milk... now I can feel justified instead of slightly guilty! Particularly armed with the scientific info Alison, thanks

Mmmm... chocolate milk... *makes best Homer drool impersonation*

06-06-2005, 03:08 PM
homemade soy protien recovery drink

ooh, do you have a recipe?

i generally eat about the same as all of you here... a splurge for a luna bar (when else can i feel "healthy" eating something called "Nutz over chocolate"?! ;) ) or a Gu during a race.

personally i canīt stand "sport drinks" and just drink H2O. or chocolate milk :D that sounds pretty good right now....

i swear one time a powergel saved me (or at least let me salvage a little pride) when i bonked so bad at a mtn race that i ended up sitting in the woods in tears for a good 5 min. It was chocolate-flavored. thank goodness!

a friend of mine makes his own peanut butter-honey "gu" and keeps it in a little re-fillable plastic bottle (like those travel shampoo bottles that you can buy that donīt have anything in them). i need to get the recipe from him-- i think thereīs more in it than peanut butter and honey)


06-06-2005, 03:21 PM
Fultzieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee welcome back!!...haven't seen you in ages hun!

06-06-2005, 03:26 PM
a friend of mine makes his own peanut butter-honey "gu" and keeps it in a little re-fillable plastic bottle (like those travel shampoo bottles that you can buy that donīt have anything in them). i need to get the recipe from him-- i think thereīs more in it than peanut butter and honey)

Oh do get his recipe, please! I love pnut butter and honey, so this sounds good. I've seen that "honey stinger" gel but have never tried it. I like the peanut butter addition for some fat and protein; I find that I need some of both rather than just straight carbs on rides of over 60-90 minutes or I'll bonk.


06-06-2005, 03:33 PM
:D thanks corsair!

iīm actually technically not "back" yet... iīm studying abroad this semester... iīve been off my bike(s) since february! noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!! :eek:

i tried spinning classes... but now i have tendonitis in my ankle (perhaps from hiking as well) so iīm trying to lay off for a bit. :(

but i definitely will get his "gu" recipe, emily! it may not be for a month or so, since my teammates are scattered to the winds for summer break, but iīll post it as soon as i do :)

happy riding!

06-06-2005, 03:49 PM
On weekends I take longer rides, Sundays aroun 40 to 50, not far for most of you! I normally eat an apple/banana and V8, is this not enough. I normally bring some type of energy bar with me.

I usually feel fine though so I'm probably okay.

06-11-2005, 10:56 PM
ooh, do you have a recipe?
I kind of make it up as I go along, but I have two main variations. A natural foods store near me sells a regular soy protien powder (just ground up, defatted soybeans) and vanilla flavored soy protien powder which has a finer, more mixable texture.

Recovery drink #1:
Orange juice watered down so it's not too acidic, with two tablespoons of vanilla soy protien powder. I was making it with orange gatorade, but regular OJ tastes much better and seems healthier.

Recovery drink #2:
Frozen ripe banana pieces + soymilk + two or more tablespoons of regular soy protien powder in the mini food processor. Process until smooth. Tastes like a milkshake! I like this one before the ride too.

The soy protien powder is much cheaper than lactose free whey protien powder.

So my riding partners loaded me up with hammergel and heed (hammer's sports drink) today and by the time we hit the convenience store, I needed some plain old sugar (gatorade). I'm not so sure about my ability to digest the maltodextrin in large quantities, so maybe I'll try a different gel or go back to gatorade for the sugar. The gel is easier to suck down than eating actual food, I'll give them that, although it reminds me of sucking the middle out of a jelly donut, and not in a good way. I'll keep experimenting to find what works. My digestive system is awfully finicky, I'm sure I'll have to make some compromises. Thanks everyone for their input.

06-14-2005, 11:13 AM
I have to be careful with maltodextrin - it does not always react in a positive way in my tummy! :eek:

06-15-2005, 06:50 AM
There is a well-known triathlete (I can't remeber his name) who, instead of gatorade, or gels or other "sport" nutrition stuff, found out that something more mundane fit him as a nutrition aid in IM Tris: chicken broth. :eek: Yes, the guy would fill up his bottle with the chicken concoction and have it all throughout the race. Now, this really shatters the myth! As far as I know, he never turned into a pumpkin.

06-23-2005, 10:06 PM
:) My vote is for simple, easy, non-expensive stuff too. For general training rides (30-50 miles) or endurance rides (60-90 miles), small slabs of dark fruit cake, wrapped in foil for easy unwrapping on the bike, work really well for me. It's packed full of energy that lasts. Drinks are full strength carb / electrolyte formulas (Staminade, with a scoop of Endura Recovery).

For short races (30-40 miles), or crits, I might use just the bidons with the formula, and I'd probably carry a gu or two for a short road race just in case.... and for longer rides both bidons with electrolyte / carb formulas, gus, and maybe banana, fruit cake, or fruit slice things (those ones that are just fruit and sugar in a bar). the harder the ride is going to be, the less solid I need my food to be - and the easier to digest.

After seeing a nutritionist really early on at the start of my first racing season, I found out that on an average eating day, I was barely, if at all, covering the energy used by my body, despite hoovering so much that I had colleagues and friends threaten to buy me a nose bag (like those used for horses) as every time anyone saw me I was eating :p I also found out that I needed to mix my carb / electrolyte formulas at full strength in order to keep my body topped up. Initially they tasted vile (way too strong and sickly), but these days I love them - but only on the bike. Can't even stomach them off the bike. Funny how your body adapts and tells you what you need, hey? Good, too.

When I was just recreational and not as into the whole lifestyle thing required with full on riding / racing, I, like CorsairMac, used to crave fruit after a ride, apples, oranges, bananas, paw paw etc. I've since found out that the reason for this is that fruits contain lots of electrolytes which were being lost during the rides.

These days, post ride, I still like some fruit or fruit juice to kick start recovery, followed immediately by loads of water, and things like creamed rice, home-made high gi goodies like caramel rice bubble slice, pancakes drenched with honey and peanut butter, and yes, even a glass of (no, not chocolate) plain skim milk. An hour or two later I keep going with fresh fruits and vegies, complex carbs, and some proteins, along with loads more water throughout the day.

06-24-2005, 05:07 AM
I go for yogurt post-ride - it seems to have everything I need and my brand is sweetened with fruit juice (which probably makes no difference at all except in my head :rolleyes: ) But chocolate soy sounds good! I never even considered it and you can buy it in those aseptic packages so you could carry it with you if you could stand to drink it warm.

Now I'm thinking of a beer float with a scoop of chocolate ice cream.... :eek: