Monday, September 26, 2011

Tour De BBQ Week! Nutrition! GO!

Ok, this is the week! The Tour De BBQ! WE ROLL on Saturday a.m. Oct. 1st, to join in the fun and Fight against Cancer! Many of you have been training with us all year at the SPIN! Rides, some of you have even rode enough with us that you are part of the SPIN! Team for the Tour De BBQ! That in itself is a huge accomplishment, it takes many rides and atleast 120 miles of riding to get on that team. Yeah, I bet you never thought of it in those terms did you? If you were a consistant rider doing 3 SPIN! rides a week you were averaging 40 miles a week on the low end and close to 65 miles if you were doing our longer routes. Either way, you were pedaling with us toward a goal and we thank all of you for your efforts. What a fun season!

In order to further prepare you for this Saturday, I am featuring a series of articles and tips to help you improve your performance for your best Tour De BBQ ever! Today we are featuring Former Ride Guide and 24 hr Mountain Bike National Champion, Cameron Chambers. He has extensive training with Carmicheal Training Systems and personally with the food at SPIN! So, take a moment to read some words of wisdom on how to be reading for your best ride this Saturday! GO!

Cycling and food have a beautiful relationship. If you ride your bike more, something we are always shooting for, you are going to have to eat more, something most of us are more than happy to indulge. The two always have to find an equilibruim. We all understand the effects of to much food with to little calorie expenditure. Our bodies store the excess calories as fat cells at choice places on our frame, not our bike frame unfortunatley. Instead hips, butts, and stomachs lay claim to the unused calories. On top of a host of medical problems this can lead to it also has the added misfortune of acting like an achor for our forward progrees on a bike ride, especially noteble when the road turns up. What is less understood is the flip side of the coin, when we ride and burn more calories than we take in. This can be just as detrimental to our riding as carrying extra weight up hill. It is important to develop a sound nutritional strategy that does not have you eating to much food but is delivering fuel to the engine to keep you motoring down the road.
First of all it is crucial to understand what we are using for fuel to understand what our aim is in keeping us running. Riding a bike is by and large an aerobic activity. As opposed to our glycolitic or creatine phosphate energy systems, our aerobic energy system uses fat as its primary fuel source. Great news for us as cyclists, as even the leanest riders have ample stores of energy in the form of fat cells to drive near endless miles of riding. But the story does not end there. At all levels of activity, even sleeping, we are also burning some glycogen. Glycogen is the carbohydrate form of fuel stored in working muscles. As excercise intensity increases, the overall number of calories we are buirning increases and the percentage of those calories which come from glycogen increases. We have a finite supply of glycogen stored in our muscles at any time. Even a well trained well fueled cyclist has only minutes of time where they could ride at an extremely high intensity, burning maximum amount of glycogen. As glycogen begins to run low our bodies smartly begin to rely more on glucose, delivered from our liver straight into our blood stream and immeadiatley available to working muscles. As both of these sources run low, which very generaly speaking happens in a time frame around about 90 minutes of excercise, we "hit the wall" or "bonk" or whatever other name you may call it. The phenomena is the same and you probably all have experienced it. No amount of will power or desire could possible drive your body on faster and further. It is simply over.
Luckily it is relatively easy to combat this. By providing our working bodies with nutrition as we are excercising we can continue to supplement the glucose in our blood which in turn allows us to continue to burn fat effeciently to fuel our continued effort. So then we now have to look at what is the most effecient way to go about this supplementation. When we put anything into our stomach it has to go through the digestion process before it can make its way into the blood stream. Our goal here is to eat something that requires the least amount of work to get to where it is needed. We want to minimize the water and blood and overall energy required for our digestion. If we are under three hours of duration in excercise then I reccomend keeping these calories to a liquid form for two main reasons. With liquid calories you are also combating the additional dehydration situation that we have taking place (another topic for another article) and you are providing a slow drip of nutrition to your gut. You want to avoid overwhelming your digestive system with a 100+ calorie dumping at one time. If you rode for 2 hours and you drank two water bottles and half way through chow down a full energy bar, in the end you did not accomplish anything different as if you had two water botttles mixed with sports drink that you sipped, but you did create a greater stress on your system forcing your body to work at something besides driving the pedals. Drinking the calories in sips provided you with 15-25 calories per gulp and gave yourself a steady stream of glucose and kept your body happy by allowing it to process your nutritional requests in smaller increments, therefore requiring less energy at any one given point and not having spikes and valleys in your energy levels. Think of it like an IV dripping into your blood stream. Another consideration here is your core temperature. Especially in hot conditions we need to be mindfull of our own effects on our teperature. The thermic effect of food can drastically descrease our ability to perform if what we are taking in causes an overal spike in core body temperature. We are talking a small spike but nonethless the overall consequences can be significant.
Just as we train ourselves to ride longer and stronger we must train ourselves to be able to take in and process the calories we give it. The goal is not to match our calorie burn rate one for one, but by providing somewhere in the window of 300-500 calories an hour in the form of maltodextrin and in smaller amounts fructose we can continue to maintain the fat burning environment within our aerobic energy system. Start with two bottles on your bike and having each mixed with roughly 150 calories for a 24 ounce bottle. Start sipping on it early into the ride as a preimptive strike against depleted glycogen and glucose. If you have trouble getting yourself in the habit then set a watch to beep at you in reminder to take another drink. In longer rides, ie 2.5 hours +, begin to experiment to see if you can handle a little higher calorie load. Must of us, after finding a product that works well and training with it for a few months, can comfortably ride with around 400-500 calories an hour.
The SPIN! crowd is not one that I have to remind of the importance of a good post ride meal. I am preaching the the choir here. But it is still worth mentioning that it is equally important to re-fuel after a ride to be able to recopver and come back sooner for another ride and workout. Even if you are a rider looking to cut back on calories in order to lose weight, during riding and post riding is not the time to create the calorie defecit. Our muscles are the most receptive to taking in fresh stores of glycogen during the first 30 minutes after excercise. A balanced meal provides us with all we need in terms of recovery and rebuilding. Obviously it should be somewhat higher in carbohydrate calories but we certainly also need protien and fats as well. Just as in all other times of your life, you certainly should not eat until you are stuffed full, but taking in a good meal is essential for setting you on the fast track to coming back stronger for your next ride.
Continue your steady riding throughout the year and put in place these simple nutritional principals and you are well on your way to being able to tackle any cycling challenge that you decide to lower your sights on.
Bon a pettite!

Tune in Tomorrow as we feature SPIN! Co-owner Richard Lozoff and his re-post of an article from 2010 concerning Electrolyte replenishments!

See you on the Road!


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