View Full Version : Okay, need nutrition advise

04-17-2006, 06:53 PM
I am working on getting ready for my first full century at the LRRH June 3rd. As of this point, my longest ride has been 40 miles. However, my recovery time is terrible and my legs often feel like lead. I'm convinced part of the problem is that I'm still working on the strength to weight ratio - got about 6 more pounds to go - and I'm sure the food I'm eating is not enough/right for trying to increase mileage.

I'm thinking of going to a nutritionist (looking forward to hearing about your appt Denise) to see what I can do to get more 'bang' for my points (Weight Watchers). As an example - this morning I just grabbed some toast before taking the boys to school and started my ride. I had cytomax (sp?) in one of my bottles. I planned to do a 25 mile loop. So, my legs were dead for the first 6-8 miles and then I stopped to drink some water and then also had a gu. After a little while I started feeling much better and finished the rest of the ride strong and not really very 'spent' at the end; so I'm sure its a nutrition thing. I have a 40 miler to do on Wednesday and then I've got to bump up to 50 next week and do that mileage a couple of times before I do the Tour de Conejo (68 miler - 3k elevation gain) 5/13.

My question is this - are there any particular foods that work well (or better) for recovery? I am usually not sore, just fatigued for more time than I feel is appropriate for the effort I'm expending.

Sorry so long, I'm getting frustrated because I really wanted to have bumped up my long ride a little further and feel a little stronger by now. Although, maybe this is all normal given that I started from zero March 1st after having been off the bike for 7 years???? OR, maybe its just old age :eek:

Anyway, any suggestions, comments, info, rumours etc. would be greatly appreciated!


Pedal Wench
04-17-2006, 07:02 PM
Ooh, ooh, ooh! I'll go first!

I find that if I don't have some protein with my carbs as soon as possible after I stop riding that I feel VERY tired and hungry all day. So, I make sure I have some protein - some PB&J on a bagel as soon as I can after my ride. Otherwise, look out - I'll eat everything in reach, because I'm too tired to move far from the couch!

04-17-2006, 07:12 PM
ohhhh, and that's something I can pack too :rolleyes: I usually drive to where I'm going to ride so that's a great idea for an after ride snack! So, add protein to whatever I eat right after the ride? yes?

Thanks PedalWench!


04-18-2006, 03:41 AM
Tracy -
Just toast before a 25-mile ride doesn't sound like you're starting with enough fuel onboard. The peanutbutter suggestion is a good one - but I'd add it to the toast in addition to having some available for an after the ride snack. Just an example - my before-ride breakfast usually consists of cereal with fruit (bananas + strawberries if available) plus a piece of toast or a toasted (frozen) waffle with peanut butter. My after-ride snacks often include either yogurt or yogurt smoothies.

--- Denise

04-18-2006, 05:23 AM
So, my legs were dead for the first 6-8 miles and then I stopped to drink some water and then also had a gu.
As an aside, my legs USUALLY feel dead for the first 20-40 minutes (depending upon terrain), unless I take it reallllly slow (which I probably only do half the time). That's your warm up time. While it was good to stop and have some fuel, I'll betcha you would've started feeling better if you'd kept going as well. One of SadieKate's mantras for warm up time is one minute per year of age. In other words, give yourself ample time to get the blood flowing, and keep moving if you can.

04-18-2006, 07:12 AM

I don't see a place for "files" on this forum (there is on a Yahoo Group) so let's see if it will let me copy and paste all of this:

C-Sig Training Series

I. How body uses fuel for energy

ATP - A compound in body called adenosine triphosphate allows muscles to contract.
How well body supplies ATP determines performance.
There are 2 anaerobic & 1 aerobic sources of ATP.

Anaerobic (functions without oxygen—weight lifting is anaerobic, for example)
1. ATP in muscle cells most powerful source; allows for short, intense effort but used up almost immediately; can regenerate but loses efficiency.
2. Glycolysis “Lactic Acid System” uses glycogen that is stored in muscles & liver.
Glycogen definition: Carbohydrates stored in body for use as fuel
Carbohydrates are primary fuel for intense muscle contractions, but
Lactic acid is waste product when body burns glycogen for fuel. When lactic acid buildup becomes debilitating, it’s called anaerobic threshold, because:
lactic acid interferes with ability to turn fuel into energy;
causes fatigue;
draws in water, reducing blood volume, so it’s harder for blood to deliver oxygen.
You can find your anaerobic threshold by calculating your maximum heart rate--220 – age x 85%
Beyond anaerobic threshold, body can’t continue exercise for long – bonking.

3. Aerobic system provides an almost indefinite energy source, as Oxygen is carried continuously to muscles from blood stream.

II. What foods to eat for energy (Food = carbohydrates & protein & fat)

Before a Ride
• Day before: High carbohydrate diet; lots of complete/complex carbs (fruit, veggies, grains, whole wheat bread and pasta)
• Morning of ride: Breakfast combining quick energy (simple carbs—OJ/jam/sugar) & steady burn (complex carbs—cereal/whole wheat toast/fruit) & a little protein (milk/eggs/soy)

During a Ride Feed muscles with simple & complex carbs
Simple carbs easier to digest while exercising
Complex carbs digest slower, but provide steady energy
Snacks Fig Newton’s/banana/peanut butter & jelly on whole wheat bread/salted pretzels/trail mix of nuts & dried fruit/energy gels/energy bars
How often? On long rides, eat small amounts, frequently (ex: ½ energy bar every half hour)
If fading, take in sugary foods (simple carbs) ASAP

After a Ride Protein, Carbs, Fat (Daily Intake Carbs- 60%, Fat 20-25%, Protein 15-20%)

Protein Eat protein within 2 hours of ride to reduce muscle soreness & begin to rebuild muscle cells. Choose lean protein such as white chicken or turkey, egg whites, beans, soy products like tofu and edamame, or low fat dairy. Any fish and a small amount of nuts are ok, too.

Eat about 4 oz. at dinner. Most of us eat far in excess of that amount, but excess protein is not stored in body, unlike carbs & fat, which are stored as energy.

Carbs After depleting glycogen stores, they must be replenished. Try to eat a little carbohydrate within half an hour of ride finish, and then have more with evening meal. Entire process of converting carbs to glycogen for storage in muscle cells takes @ 24 hours, so do not do anaerobic exercises (weights, hill climbs on bike) the day after a hard ride. You can do a recovery ride on mainly flat terrain.

Fat During rides we rely on carbohydrate stores as primary fuel, then switch to burning fat when glycogen fuel is exhausted.
Fat is 3 X less efficient as a fuel than carbs (50-60% of maximum aerobic capacity, compared to up to 85% with glycogen).
Choose healthy fats like canola & olive oils, nuts & seeds, peanut butter, avocado, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel in your diet.

III. How to get energy to muscles using fluids

Our body is 60% fluids; 45% of which is stored in muscles.
2 Purposes for fluids: to avoid dehydration
to supplement body’s limited store of carbs.
A fluid deficit of 4 % (huge) can reduce aerobic capacity by 50%.

Blood delivers oxygen to muscles and takes heat away (to the skin as sweat).
Plasma is blood’s watery portion. If plasma volume is reduced and not replaced, it causes
• muscle fatigue and cramps, especially in the legs (this is linked to low electrolyte levels, which help regulate muscle contraction).
• heat exhaustion (body can’t cool down)
• the heart to overwork (the heart beats faster to try to maintain blood volume levels).

Before Ride drink 1-2 glasses of water at least 1 hour before

During Ride sip every 10-15 minutes; drink 1 bottle per hour
Short ride need only drink water
Long and/or intense ride, needs liquid carbs in gel or sports drinks or fruit juice (fruit juice not as readily absorbed as first two) rather than just water.
Why? Essential minerals are lost during exercise sodium, potassium, chloride calcium
Water bottle holds @ 20 oz; 2 bottles = 1 quart, the maximum amount the body can absorb per hour.
When exercising hard and in hot weather, body can loose, through sweat, evaporation and urine, up to 2 quarts per hour.
Cool water absorbs faster than warm; sports drink gets into blood stream faster than water.

After Ride drink lots of liquid; avoid alcohol.
Rule of thumb, weigh yourself before ride, drink equivalent amount of liquid after ride to replace lost fluids. Don’t worry that drinking water gives you a weight gain. It’s only water, not carbs or fat!

04-18-2006, 11:22 AM
I too, sometimes have trouble fueling the fire, so to speak. That article is helpful!

04-18-2006, 03:30 PM
I have been training really hard for an adventure race. Running and mt biking. I am pretty serious about my nutrition....not nuts, but serious. Immediately after training running or mt biking I use Endurox or chocolate milk. Both have a good carb to protein ratio. Doing this consistently has made a huge difference in my post workout recovery. I usually have a bit of a drive home, so I have a snack on the way home also. Some carbs and protein.

I used to suffer from dead legs. At the start of EVERY workout. It has stopped since I added in the post workout recovery drink. It seems like such a simple thing, but it has made a huge difference,

10 days to go till the race......


04-19-2006, 03:06 AM
I agree with Ruth- a recovery drink with a 3:1 carb/protein ratio is very, very important within the first hour after your ride. I'd say ASAP. Endurox or choc milk.

I think dead legs at the start of a ride is either a sign of overtraining or not a good recovery. My legs feel like they're bursting with energy at the start of a ride, like they can't wait to go.

I'd also be eating/drinking something with protein if I was out more than two yours.


04-19-2006, 05:19 AM
Thank you everyone for the great suggestions/information! Nanci, yes it seems like I'm not recoverying which was the initial reason for my question. However, I'm not riding that much; maybe a 25 and a 40 each week with a 6 mile walk/jog in there once a week and then some odds and ends running around w/my kids. I don't think I should have such an issue but think it is related to the fact that I'm not eating that much while trying to drop the last 6 pounds. I'm going to try the chocolate milk thing today as my ride begins/ends at a grocery and I can easily run in there after I load my bike and 'experiment'.

Again, thank you everyone SO much! :D


04-20-2006, 12:47 PM
...I agree with that article. Another good resource is a book written by a dietitian named Nancy Clark..here's the link
As for me, I did my first century last year. For a 2 hr ride, at least an hr before, I have an egg, wheat toast, and 4 oz. choc milk. Then just water the rest of the ride. Anything more than that, I may bring GU or trail mix and use propel instead of water. For the century, we had alot of PBJ, clifbars, GU in the flask, etc. and ate every 2 hrs. I also supplemented the water with Gatorade & added salted nuts to help prevent hyponatremia. If you spread your calories out over the day, including protein each time you eat, you may feel more satisfied and lose the last few pounds, but I would bet as you increase mileage, you will lose it anyway. For recovery, if I don't have something within 30 minutes, my legs are killing me for days, but any protein/carb mix works for me, like again, a PBJ or choc milk...sugar sweetened iced coffee with lots of milk works nicely on those hot rides too.. Good luck!

04-20-2006, 06:32 PM
Thank you Plushride! I appreciate your professional opinion! My biggest problem has been what you described about the legs being 'dead for days' afterwards. I did a 41 miler yesterday and stopped and got a chocolate milk immediately after the ride. My legs are still pretty dead today but I'd expect that anyway. I'll be doing a little jogging over the weekend as we are going out of town but I plan on a 20 miler on the mtn bike Monday and I'm hoping for some energy on that ride ;) I'm really hoping the chocolate milk etc. just after the ride will do the trick. I am eating before/during/after my rides; I just find it SO frustrating that I can't do more riding due to slow recovery... UGH!!!

Thanks for your input!


Running Mommy
04-20-2006, 07:03 PM
Ok, I didn't read what everyone said... But here are my .02 FWIW....
First of all you need to eat more before you ride. I would add a cup of yogurt and some fruit maybe. Unless of course you don't do yogurt. But some protien sorurce will stay with you longer.
On anything longer than 3 hours you will need food. I use pretzels, gummy bears, and take a clif bar w/ me. When I hit the 50 mile mark I stop and eat the bar. I also drink cytomax mixed w/ a scoop of carbopro for added calories on the longer rides. If you want to try carbo I can send you some. I have a TON leftover. Oh and salt... I use thermolytes. Thats on the long stuff though 3+ hours only- or if it's REALLY hot, then anything over 2 hours.
Post ride ( or post ride/run) I stretch, grab a power bar and jump in the cold pool. In the summer I have to throw ice in the tub and jump in. Icing your legs will do WONDERS for recovery!! I'm totally serious about this! Even if you freeze some water in dixie cups, then peel away the cups and rub down your legs. It's an old distance running trick and it works! After I started doing this I totally noticed the difference.
Ok, hope this helps.

04-20-2006, 07:11 PM
You might also want to consider the time you are taking to cool down.

After a hard training session you should spend at least 15 minutes spinning at a nice easy pace. This time allows you to increase the amount of oxygen you are supplying to your muscles and allows an active recovery.

Running Mommy
04-20-2006, 07:15 PM
Oh and one more thing.... I don't get to see the dietician until June 2nd! sigh... But she wants me to keep a DETAILED (and she stressed that) food/training log for the next month. Should not be a problem. I already keep a training journal..

04-20-2006, 09:48 PM
Aaah! I can't do the ice thing on my legs but the goal really is just to activate circulation, so when I shower after my workout I alternate quite cold with hot water for about 3 sets, like cold water running on my legs while I massage shampoo into my scalp, warm water to rinse, hot water again while I apply conditioner, etc. :)

It works well, too. Otherwise a pool at a decent temperature (75-80) alternating with hot tub works well too. Or even just the pool.

05-12-2006, 08:10 PM
Lots of great recovery tips here. For me, I do find that ice, massage, baths and chocolate milk or Endurox really help.

But, you also mention that you have been off the bike for 7 years. Your post is about 6 weeks after your March 1 start date, and you are doing 60-70+ miles/week it looks like? We are all different and have different sports backgrounds, but it might be worth taking a look at your mileage ramp-up, and also the intensity of your rides (HR, difficulty of hill climbs, etc). Only you know what kind of an aerobic base you already had and what kind of strength training you had been doing.

I know my recovery is vastly different if my 40 mile ride is flatter and slower, or if it climbs like a booger and I'm struggling to keep up with fast riders.

05-19-2006, 06:41 PM
Post ride it is important to have fast carbs - i.e. simple sugars. I use chocolate soy milk, a scoop of protein powder and 2 gm of l-glutamine (to help muscles recover faster.) I have to water it down a little because I'm really not hungry post ride & I have to make myself eat something. Whatever you have post-ride keep the fiber & fats down because that will delay absorption of carbs.

Icing your legs is a great idea. When I was doing physical therapy for my neck, he would always ice me down afterwards. Once I was short of time & ran out without being iced. BIG difference the next day - lots of soreness.