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Portable, "Healthiest" Foods for Glycogen Fuel-up

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Portable, "Healthiest" Foods for Glycogen Fuel-up

Old 03-03-21, 01:57 PM
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Portable, "Healthiest" Foods for Glycogen Fuel-up

I'm new to cycling and trying to get better at finishing stronger while slowly building up my fitness over time. As was wisely pointed out to me in another thread, part of my problem seems to be that my glycogen usage is likely soaring during the final third or so of 50-mile rides. I am looking for specific ideas on what kinds of "healthy" foods (in my medical situation, that might be, e.g., whole grains and fruits) that I can consume before I do a hard 50-mile ride, and, more important, similar healthy, portable foods I can carry and eat very frequently during those rides. Thanks.
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Old 03-03-21, 02:05 PM
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Maltodextrin.
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Old 03-03-21, 02:41 PM
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on a 50-mi ride? bananers. PB&J sandwiches. home-made trail mix. Honestly, whatever sounds good that you can work with. If you're bonking, then the nutrition is (more?) important earlier in the ride. Good preride meals that work for me include oatmeal with a little almond milk, walnuts, honey, and blueberries (that combo is off the top of my head, you can make it however you'd like). What are you eating pre-ride now?
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Old 03-03-21, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by GrainBrain View Post
Maltodextrin.
That's the highest glycemic sugar available. Probably not that healthy for someone concerned with it.
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Old 03-03-21, 05:23 PM
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I'm also in the pre-ride oatmeal camp. Whole grain oats in 1% milk, sometimes with a splash of real maple syrup. It's my go to for any ride or race in which I'm looking to put in a good performance. On the bike I default to Cif bars (if there's been a recent sale), Belvita bytes (lower glycemic) or pop tarts (high glycemic), and if a really gung-ho ride, a scoop of gatorade powder and two spoonfuls of brown sugar in a bottle of water.
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Old 03-03-21, 05:50 PM
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Carbs 2hrs before a ride, on the ride either use a gel after an hour and a half and then a gel every 45-60mins, after 2:30 have a bar, can be a sports bar or a granola bar. It will depend on the sports nutrition brand on how often you need to take the product, sports nutrition is just convienince food in a different wrapper, much the same as what we had 30+ years ago, just easier to get hold off. What you do need to do is keep a food diary along side your training diary, there is no point doing a 5hr ride but eating for a 7hr ride. During the off season we would do 'Bonk' training, an 8hr ride with two bottles of water, ride at 160bpm until you crack and keep going, till you crack again, this trains your body to use everything and helps speed up the transfer of ADP to ATP, we did this every two weeks.
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Old 03-03-21, 06:57 PM
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Thanks for the responses.

Oatmeal sounds great as a breakfast centerpiece. I'll think more about what I want to take on the ride itself...I know I have to take more than my customary banana and some nuts.
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Old 03-03-21, 07:47 PM
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I just read your Newbie thread, which I hadn't seen. I think you're on the wrong track in this thread, not that nutrition isn't important. So let's take nutrition first because it's simplest. Rules: Eat a high carb breakfast 3 (three) hours before your group or other long hard ride. I shoot for 400 calories total. Yeah, that's a lot. Then during the ride, eat small amounts, say at most 50 calories of carbs every 15' or 100 every 30' - experiment with different foods. You might be fine with half of those calories. And just keep it coming. With small amounts on a consistent schedule you won't spike and won't run out either. IME, glycemic index doesn't matter for foods eaten on the bike in small amounts. I ride with diabetics who eat like that, so experiment, see what feels good. So that part's actually easy. I set my Garmin to beep at me when I should fuel.

The harder part is building endurance. The only way to do that is to ride a lot. Gradually increase your weekly miles, no more than 5%/week, but be consistent. Ride your miles every week. I think it's easiest to do frequent say 20 mile rides and then a long ride on the weekend. Eventually make that 2 long rides on the weekend. A good goal is 150 miles a week. Of course more is better, but at ~150 miles/week, more miles start to have diminishing returns per mile. And not necessarily that many miles every week, but shoot for ~5000 miles/year. Depending on where you live, you'll probably do less in winter, but with an indoor trainer you'll keep up the consistent riding, just fewer weekly miles. It's a year-round sport.

In your Newbie thread, years were mentioned, and very true. It takes about 7 years to go from newbie to you're not going to get much stronger than this, that is if you keep up with the consistent riding. That 7 years seems a bit arbitrary and probably does vary with age and individual, but IME it's about right. It's a long term thing which demands a bit of dedication and a lot of consistency. If you keep it up, you'll find that you can ride a century on any given day, no problem.

Riding consistently, you'll notice that you can't ride hard every day. Most of your rides will have to be at a moderate pace or you won't recover and be able to do another one the next day or even 2 days out. That's a good thing. However, when I do full-gas weekend rides, I don't do anything for a day or 2 before the ride. Moderate rides shouldn't be so hard that you need to rest a day before the next one. That said, you can do other things and miss a day or even 2, no big thing, you just need to do your weekly miles, whatever that is..

Gradually building distance over time will change how your body stores and uses nutrients and not only that, you'll figure out your nutrition and hydration needs and all that. That'll all come over time as a result of riding more.
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Old 03-03-21, 08:30 PM
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Carbonfiberboy, thank you for taking the time to write such an informative post. Many valuable nuggets in there.
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Old 03-04-21, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tenniscyclist View Post
Carbonfiberboy, thank you for taking the time to write such an informative post. Many valuable nuggets in there.
hes great, has helped me alot in the past!
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I don't like any other exercise or sports, really.
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Old 03-05-21, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by tenniscyclist View Post
I'm new to cycling and trying to get better at finishing stronger while slowly building up my fitness over time. As was wisely pointed out to me in another thread, part of my problem seems to be that my glycogen usage is likely soaring during the final third or so of 50-mile rides. I am looking for specific ideas on what kinds of "healthy" foods (in my medical situation, that might be, e.g., whole grains and fruits) that I can consume before I do a hard 50-mile ride, and, more important, similar healthy, portable foods I can carry and eat very frequently during those rides. Thanks.
NOT knowing about your bold statement situation, I am just another soon to be a 71yo guy with some issues including PCa (Prostate Cancer) who throws the healthy foods requirements out the window when a serious ride is done.

Some good advice has been given.

GOOD LUCK!!!
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Old 03-05-21, 09:04 AM
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I can't add anything to what has been said other than to make sure you start recovering from your rides soon after you get off the bike. Properly eating before your ride is great, but that should be adding to a well-recovered body.
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Old 03-05-21, 10:08 AM
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Eat whatever your favorite healthy diet is when off the bike. Just be aware that within 3 to 4 hours of a long hard ride, filling your gut with certain stuff might detract from your performance. During the ride, you probably need some carbohydrate supplementation. After the ride, its' said that your body is able to absorb/process stuff at a faster rate for about 45 minutes to an hour, so make sure you get some good carbs and proteins during that period.

I typically use a maltodextrin product to put in my bottles for carbs while riding and just after. It doesn't get used for any other part of my normal diet. So why should I care if it's "healthiest"..... I can't stand threads that use "best" or any "....iest" term. Have I ever said that before or can anyone tell? <grin> The rest and majority of the time, I eat a lot of vegetables, fruits and some meats.
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Old 03-08-21, 11:03 AM
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This thread is interesting. Thanks.
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Old 03-09-21, 06:48 PM
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fig newtons
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Old 03-10-21, 03:07 AM
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Originally Posted by tenniscyclist View Post
Thanks for the responses.

Oatmeal sounds great as a breakfast centerpiece. I'll think more about what I want to take on the ride itself...I know I have to take more than my customary banana and some nuts.

Oatmeal raisin cookies
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Old 03-11-21, 03:30 PM
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Dates
Bocadillo - has sugar but it is unrefined whole cane
Bananas
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Old 03-12-21, 02:48 PM
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Thank you for all of the info in your responses.

Ideas such as fig newtons, oatmeal raisin cookies, dates, bocadillo, and bananas will definitely work for me.
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Old 03-13-21, 08:55 AM
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As was wisely pointed out to me in another thread, part of my problem seems to be that my glycogen usage is likely soaring during the final third or so of 50-mile rides. I am looking for specific ideas on what kinds of "healthy" foods (in my medical situation, that might be, e.g., whole grains and fruits) that I can consume before I do a hard 50-mile ride, and, more important, similar healthy, portable foods I can carry and eat very frequently during those rides.
I just want to "wisely point out" that your glycogen usage is dependent on your status through out the ride. If anything is "soaring" on the final third of your ride it is because your effort and intensity have increased respectively.

I hope you elicit some healthy snack suggestions - good luck.
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Old 03-13-21, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post
I just want to "wisely point out" that your glycogen usage is dependent on your status through out the ride. If anything is "soaring" on the final third of your ride it is because your effort and intensity have increased respectively.

I hope you elicit some healthy snack suggestions - good luck.
Thanks for the clarification. I am loving learning about all things glycogen and related matters.

Rode for 50 miles today. Enjoyed oatmeal before the ride and snacked about every 30 minutes on some dates, bananas, and fig newtons. Haven't been doing this long but I definitely felt stronger over the final third of the ride. Thanks. ,

Last edited by tenniscyclist; 03-13-21 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 03-16-21, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by tenniscyclist View Post
Thanks for the clarification. I am loving learning about all things glycogen and related matters.

Rode for 50 miles today. Enjoyed oatmeal before the ride and snacked about every 30 minutes on some dates, bananas, and fig newtons. Haven't been doing this long but I definitely felt stronger over the final third of the ride. Thanks. ,
You're on the right path.

I recently went through a period of struggling to figure out what fuel and nutrition protocol worked best for me. Much of the advice I received led to over-eating on the bike. Through experimentation I found that eating something substantial and healthy about 2 hours before a ride and simply topping off as needed during the ride works best for me. Depending on the length of my daily route I'll usually have 1-2 servings of hot oats with cinnamon, banana, pecans or walnuts, ~1 tbsp raw agave nectar and salt to taste.

The other thing I learned through my own experiementation is that electrolytes are much more important than food on the bike. To my 750ml bottles of water I add 1/2 tsp. magnesium citrate, 1/8 tsp. potassium chloride and 1/8 tsp. himalayan pink salt. Increasing my intake of electrolytes on the bike has provided more benefit than anything else I have tried.

Example: For a 100-mile ride (which I do often) I will front-load with 2 servings of hot oats, banana, nuts, cinnamon, salt and raw agave nectar. That pre-ride meal provides about 700 calories, ~100g of carbs, 700-800mg potassium, a little protein, a modest amount of fat, and a bit of fiber. In cooler weather (sub 70 degrees) I've been consuming two 750ml bottles with water and electrolytes. If temps are above 80 I'll usually consume one or two 750ml bottles of straight water in addition to the two bottles with electrolytes. On average, that's roughly 750ml of fluids every 25-50 miles depending on heat. As for on-the-bike food I usually consume one Cliff bar (or some dates and a banana) around mile 50.

For me and my style of riding I have found this fueling and hydration protocol quite ideal. The recommendations to pump my body full of carbs at a rate of 30-60g per hour led to poor results... especially maltodextrin.

A note about maltodextrin: Many on this forum espouse the wonderful benefits of maltodextrin. And if it works for you then I say that's great. For me,however, it was terrible in all respects. When I first mixed maltodextrin powder with water I suddenly realized what that aweful smell is that's so prevalent in Wal-Mart and Target stores. That weird, funky, plastic-y smell that drives me nuts whenever I have to enter a Wal-Mart or a Target is exactly what maltodextrin smells like. And people put that crap into their body?! Absolutely gross! Just my opinion.
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Old 03-16-21, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Cycletography View Post
You're on the right path.

I recently went through a period of struggling to figure out what fuel and nutrition protocol worked best for me. Much of the advice I received led to over-eating on the bike. Through experimentation I found that eating something substantial and healthy about 2 hours before a ride and simply topping off as needed during the ride works best for me. Depending on the length of my daily route I'll usually have 1-2 servings of hot oats with cinnamon, banana, pecans or walnuts, ~1 tbsp raw agave nectar and salt to taste.

The other thing I learned through my own experiementation is that electrolytes are much more important than food on the bike. To my 750ml bottles of water I add 1/2 tsp. magnesium citrate, 1/8 tsp. potassium chloride and 1/8 tsp. himalayan pink salt. Increasing my intake of electrolytes on the bike has provided more benefit than anything else I have tried.

Example: For a 100-mile ride (which I do often) I will front-load with 2 servings of hot oats, banana, nuts, cinnamon, salt and raw agave nectar. That pre-ride meal provides about 700 calories, ~100g of carbs, 700-800mg potassium, a little protein, a modest amount of fat, and a bit of fiber. In cooler weather (sub 70 degrees) I've been consuming two 750ml bottles with water and electrolytes. If temps are above 80 I'll usually consume one or two 750ml bottles of straight water in addition to the two bottles with electrolytes. On average, that's roughly 750ml of fluids every 25-50 miles depending on heat. As for on-the-bike food I usually consume one Cliff bar (or some dates and a banana) around mile 50.

For me and my style of riding I have found this fueling and hydration protocol quite ideal. The recommendations to pump my body full of carbs at a rate of 30-60g per hour led to poor results... especially maltodextrin.

A note about maltodextrin: Many on this forum espouse the wonderful benefits of maltodextrin. And if it works for you then I say that's great. For me,however, it was terrible in all respects. When I first mixed maltodextrin powder with water I suddenly realized what that aweful smell is that's so prevalent in Wal-Mart and Target stores. That weird, funky, plastic-y smell that drives me nuts whenever I have to enter a Wal-Mart or a Target is exactly what maltodextrin smells like. And people put that crap into their body?! Absolutely gross! Just my opinion.
Thanks, Cycletography. Many insightful specifics in your post.

Interesting to read your opinion and experiences with maltodextrin. Again, I enjoy hearing what works for others even if it wouldn't be for me. I am not a diabetic but consuming something so high on the glycemic index wouldn't interest me because of what I have read in general re: insulin resistance. Not here to preach to anyone but eating as healthy and naturally as possible on and off the bike simply makes me feel better.
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Old 03-16-21, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by tenniscyclist View Post
Interesting to read your opinion and experiences with maltodextrin. Again, I enjoy hearing what works for others even if it wouldn't be for me. I am not a diabetic but consuming something so high on the glycemic index wouldn't interest me because of what I have read in general re: insulin resistance. Not here to preach to anyone but eating as healthy and naturally as possible on and off the bike simply makes me feel better.
For a period of time, when I thought I needed more carbs on the bike, I mixed home made gels using brown rice syrup and raw agave nectar at a ratio of 2:1. IMO it was/is a much "healthier" home made solution compared to maltodextrin, but I found the extra carbs to be unnecessary for endurance riding.

For folks who are racing, spending substantial amounts of time riding tempo, at threshold power or above, the carbs (including maltodextrin) make a lot of sense.
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Old 03-16-21, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Cycletography View Post
For a period of time, when I thought I needed more carbs on the bike, I mixed home made gels using brown rice syrup and raw agave nectar at a ratio of 2:1. IMO it was/is a much "healthier" home made solution compared to maltodextrin, but I found the extra carbs to be unnecessary for endurance riding.

For folks who are racing, spending substantial amounts of time riding tempo, at threshold power or above, the carbs (including maltodextrin) make a lot of sense.
Ingenious home-made concoction!

You mentioned earlier "For a 100-mile ride (which I do often) I will front-load with 2 servings of hot oats, banana, nuts, cinnamon, salt and raw agave nectar." My box of oats says 2 servings is 1 cup of oats. Toppings aside, and we're all different, but 1 cup of oats is enough for you?
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Old 03-16-21, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by tenniscyclist View Post
Ingenious home-made concoction!

You mentioned earlier "For a 100-mile ride (which I do often) I will front-load with 2 servings of hot oats, banana, nuts, cinnamon, salt and raw agave nectar." My box of oats says 2 servings is 1 cup of oats. Toppings aside, and we're all different, but 1 cup of oats is enough for you?
LOL! Yeah, 1 cup of oats is 2 servings. By the time I add a cup of milk, the banana (sometimes 2) and nuts, it really fills up the bowl. Sometimes, in addition to the oats, I'll have an English muffin with butter and jelly. I need about 2 hours to let that meal settle before I push off, otherwise I feel sluggish, but it gets me through 100 miles with energy to spare.

If it's a particularly long ride and I need to get out the door before 6 am I will usually load up on carbs the night before, in which case I will eat a lot more than a bowl of oats and an English muffin.
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