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Meg Poore Tuttle

Talk to me about whole30 + cycling

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Hi! So I've attempted 3 whole 30's. I've failed every time. One of these days I will start (and complete) one and I cannot wait. Until then I attempt to make healthy paleo choices :)

 

One place that I'm stumbling is that I am a avid cyclist. I also race. I'm a little worried about doing the whole30 in the midst of training/racing season. Any cyclists have experience? I feel like the whole "Carb loading" thing is extremely heavy in the cycling world so I feel like I would be very alone in the endeavor! Would love to hear from fellow cyclists.

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My cycling is still pretty mild... But my brother is an ironman, competing this weekend, and will be finishing his 2nd whole30+ after the race. I think that he would say that doing whole30 has greatly improved his performance with both cycling and running, especially with recovery. One of his goals is retraining his body to slow burn fat which eliminates the need for carb loading. He has been GF/DF for several years now too.

Also check out the whole30 for athletes section of the forum. The beginning weeks WILL impact your performance for sure! But after that it gets better. So it might be better to do it in your off season.

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Hi Meg!

I wish I had some words of wisdom, but the truth is that I am very curious about the answer to your question as well!! I'm 18 days into my first Whole30, & my partner is an avid cyclist... I'd love to be able to allay his fears about fueling his cycling should he choose to embark on a Whole30 of his own!

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Hello,

 

There was a time in history that I was actually a cyclist. Not sure if I will go back, but at the time cycling was my life. I rode a century per month and did a bit of racing.

 

I have not read the book, but I know the book titled Paleo Diet for Athletes may be a worthwhile read. The authors should sound familiar. If you know Paleo, you've heard of Dr. Cordain. If you know cycling, you've heard of Joe Friel. They worked together to author this book.

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Well, do any other cyclists have ideas? I am starting another Whole30 while training for a century ride. The last few rides have wiped me out!  The worst part is that I ride with a nutritionist who preaches moderation and is completely against any elimination diets. She is a great cycling buddy otherwise. I can't even begin to talk with her about nutrition.

 

I was wondering if anyone had some mid-ride nutrition ideas that are easy to pack? I find myself bonking after the first hour. This is another reason why I am embarking on another Whole30. 

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I am not a cyclist, but I do endurance running! I have seen the compliant Larabars listed as good for endurance sport no-bonk snacks. I gave them a try on some long runs pre-Whole 30 and they seemed to work just fine. I would just take them a little earlier than you would normally take whatever you use, especially if you were using gels or something very fast-digesting like that. I've also heard of people just using straight up dried dates in place of gels with good results.

I was previously using gels, and I would pop one every 45 minutes in a long run. However, with Larabars I take a bite or two every 30 since they are slower digesting, and that seems to have worked fine. Searching this forums also FINALLY allowed me to find a sugarless electrolyte drink for endurance sports: http://www.eletewater.com/ .

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lots of ex cyclists here it looks like?  I did both tris and bike racing-road and track 

 

Another suggestion for Paleo for Athletes, it's a good read.  That is actually how I found the paleo diet. 

 

I wasn't 100% paleo but I hated hated hated gels, blocks and sports drink. I could not handle the sticky sweetness of it.  Gatorade made me vomit and I thought to myself how on EARTH can anything with this much sugar be healthy? Why bother with  all this exercise and then eat pure sugar?  After a 3 day stage race I decided extreme endurance sports weren't healthy (for me) at all!! Sometimes I do miss the velodrome. Now I just ride my mtb around town and on the fire roads like a fred   :blink:

 

As to food I did a lot of larabars and sweet potatos. I actually make my own larabars--  they are expensive and I can control the portions exactly.  Google larabar recipe. There's TONS out there, find one you like.. I  do them in bite size balls and roll them in coconut. I also did a lot of sweet potatos and bananas.  A lot. Whip a sweet potato out of your pocket on a group  ride and the people around you eating gels will be jealous!

 

Hey, dave zabriske went paleo! He used to be VEGAN. If he can do it, anyone can!! 

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Dear anzadel,

 

Have you read Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek's The Art and Science of of Carbohydrate Living and/or The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance? Phinney is a cyclist, BTW. There are many interviews around, especially with Stephen Phinney

 

Another really good book is Rich Roll's Finding Ultra.  He is vegan but his training and eating regimen would be relevant for you and a W30 approach. 

 

What is good with all three of these authors is that they talk about a lifestyle/way of eating and do not make exceptions to it when they are competing.

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Would love to hear any updates on how fellow cyclists are going with whole30. My husband and I are both keen cyclists and plan to do whole 30 after the 3 peaks gran fondo (235km and 4500metres of climbing). Our training for this event has meant many 10+ hour days on the bike so we haven't gone full paleo yet. To date we are mostly paleo except for the 2 days prior to a big ride and during when we eat white rice, potatoes as well as plenty of sugar laden bars, gels, drinks during the ride. It's not ideal IMO and would definitely like to ditch the sugar during rides. I have read the paleo diet for athletes and it seems to suggests the use of non paleo foods pre/post and during endurance events.

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I am a cyclist and do endurance events.  I am on day 11 today.  Saturday, day 8 was hard, my legs were dead. Sunday was a little better. Monday hard, Tuesday, better.  It is hot here (100') and windy.  That is tough in and of itself.  I have a hard ride tonight, wondering how it will be.  I love cocount water and larabars for fuel/hydration.  Can't wait to get my speed and endurance back!

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I am on day 26 of my first Whole30, and am training for a multi-day dessert marathon. Over the last 4 years or so I have slowly moved away from the carbo-loading mentality I grew up with (as a competitive school & university rower), and more towards a paleo(ish) / less-processed food diet. I did most of my ironman training with minimal pasta/rice/white potatoes etc, but still relied on sugary gels and energy bars whilst training. One of my main worries for this whole30 was as lots of people have said above - fuelling during exercise. As Alliath said further up on the posts, Elete water (http://eletewater.co.uk/) has been my saviour. I currently live in the Middle East, and I have never sweated so much in my life. I either just add it to straight water, or add it to a half water - half natural fruit juice for one of my water bottles on a long ride. For long rides I stick a banana in my jersey pocket, as I have always done. I also try to take a little tin-foil packet with some compliant beef jerky in, sometimes with sugarsnap peas too. You might get some funny looks from your fellow cyclists when  you dig into it at a water stop rather than something sugary, but I really find it helps. When googling for energy snack ideas, Larabars kept coming up - I'm from the UK and have never heard of them, but again as people have already said, recipes are dead easy to find. The equivalent bars are SO easy to make, customizable by what you personally like, and taste amazing. I tend to eat a few bites quite often, and they work a treat, plus much tastier than the cardboardy energy bars I used to eat. 

Last week's were date, cashew, dried pear and cinnamon. Did my first long ride (100km) in 5 months last weekend, and although tired at the end (unsurprising given lack of cycle training), food was never an issue. Long runs have been the same - even better when we stop at a coffee shop that has fresh coconuts and I can have coconut water straight from the coconut with a straw :)

Run fitness and speed have also increased dramatically in the last 2 weeks. Loving the Whole30 + training!

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I did my hard bike ride last night, still 100' and windy.  WooHoo  legs are back!  That was day 11 for me and I felt great!  Plenty of energy the whole time.  I ate a good lunch, chicken, carrots, half a sweet potato with ghee and a plum.  Then I had a coconut water before the ride and one during.  I rode hard hills for 2 1/2 hours and felt strong, even at the end.  It was the best ride since starting w30.

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I am a randonneur (ultra long distance cyclist, non-competitive cyclist).    Yesterday I did 126 miles.  Yesterday was also Day 4 of my Whole 30.

 

My fuel for the ride was 3 bottles of OJ watered down by half, in my bottles.  2 Larabars.  1 apple.  1 banana.  3 roasted sweet potatoes peeled and tucked away in a tupperware container in my seatpack.   Total ride time was 10 hours door to door. (8 hours pedaling, 2 hours "socializing" with other riders, buying drinks, etc)

 

The first half of the ride went pretty well.   Legs felt fatigued the second half, and the last 20 miles were tough.  I was running on fumes, and had no more calories with me on the bike.  I could have used a few hundred more.    When I finished, my legs were uncharacteristically achy.

 

I was also famished.   Ate an apple, then went straight to Whole Foods and made a huge salad topped with plenty of grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs and an entire avocado.   Ate half immediately, and the rest over the next 90 minutes.   I was still pretty hungry so I ate a handful of almonds.

 

3 hours after finishing, I was STILL hungry, so I ate another piece of chicken.  Then I went to bed.

 

I was worried I would wake up hungry, but didn't, and when I woke up in the morning I wasn't hungry at all.   I'm also not sore at all, though I'm not typically sore after a ride this short regardless.   Went to the gym for an hour (legs had no "snap" but that's typical the day after a ride) then came home and made breakfast.   I've been very hungry all day, though, and have eaten two full meals.  

 

What would I do differently?   I'd eat more calories on the bike so that I didn't feel so freakin' hungry by the finish.  It's hard to find compliant food on the road, though, and I can only carry so much.   I might do more potatoes next time.  Problem is that I like to eat while riding, and its hard to do that with potatoes.  I would probably also water down the juice a little less and drink more calories.    I think I also needed more salt, which is my theory as to why my legs ached so much at the finish.  I can salt the 'taters, but otherwise, I might rely on electrolyte tabs to make up the difference.  

 

Anyway, this is just my experience.   Hope it helps someone.

 

Susan

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I am a randonneur (ultra long distance cyclist, non-competitive cyclist).    Yesterday I did 126 miles.  Yesterday was also Day 4 of my Whole 30.

 

My fuel for the ride was 3 bottles of OJ watered down by half, in my bottles.  2 Larabars.  1 apple.  1 banana.  3 roasted sweet potatoes peeled and tucked away in a tupperware container in my seatpack.   Total ride time was 10 hours door to door. (8 hours pedaling, 2 hours "socializing" with other riders, buying drinks, etc)

 

The first half of the ride went pretty well.   Legs felt fatigued the second half, and the last 20 miles were tough.  I was running on fumes, and had no more calories with me on the bike.  I could have used a few hundred more.    When I finished, my legs were uncharacteristically achy.

 

I was also famished.   Ate an apple, then went straight to Whole Foods and made a huge salad topped with plenty of grilled chicken, hard boiled eggs and an entire avocado.   Ate half immediately, and the rest over the next 90 minutes.   I was still pretty hungry so I ate a handful of almonds.

 

3 hours after finishing, I was STILL hungry, so I ate another piece of chicken.  Then I went to bed.

 

I was worried I would wake up hungry, but didn't, and when I woke up in the morning I wasn't hungry at all.   I'm also not sore at all, though I'm not typically sore after a ride this short regardless.   Went to the gym for an hour (legs had no "snap" but that's typical the day after a ride) then came home and made breakfast.   I've been very hungry all day, though, and have eaten two full meals.  

 

What would I do differently?   I'd eat more calories on the bike so that I didn't feel so freakin' hungry by the finish.  It's hard to find compliant food on the road, though, and I can only carry so much.   I might do more potatoes next time.  Problem is that I like to eat while riding, and its hard to do that with potatoes.  I would probably also water down the juice a little less and drink more calories.    I think I also needed more salt, which is my theory as to why my legs ached so much at the finish.  I can salt the 'taters, but otherwise, I might rely on electrolyte tabs to make up the difference.  

 

Anyway, this is just my experience.   Hope it helps someone.

 

Susan

 

You might find it easier to get baby food sachets of sweet potato, apple, banana, etc - it's pretty easy to find compliant ones (generally the organic brands), and they have handy little squeeze tops so you could suck it down while riding - a lot of energy and nutrients in an easy little packet.

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You might find it easier to get baby food sachets of sweet potato, apple, banana, etc - it's pretty easy to find compliant ones (generally the organic brands), and they have handy little squeeze tops so you could suck it down while riding - a lot of energy and nutrients in an easy little packet.

 

That's a good idea.  I'll see what I can find.    This weekend I am riding 65 miles on Saturday and 135 miles on Sunday.   The temps are expected to be moderate, so I may try carrying a hard boiled egg or two and maybe an avocado in addition to the sweet potatoes and larabars.   The Sunday route in particular is very rural, so even if we find services there's not likely to be much compliant available on the road other than fruit.

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I successfully rode 65 miles this Saturday (Day 17) and 135 miles yesterday (Day 18).   I was less hungry overall, and finished both rides not feeling behind the curve as I did 2 weeks ago. (I also took last weekend off randonneuring for the first weekend since June or July, to give my body some time to adapt to the new eating protocol.)   My 2 days of nutrition went like this:

 

Saturday:

 

Breakfast 8am:  ground pork sauteed with onions, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, and swiss chard.  Two eggs over hard cooked in ghee.  1/2 and avocado.

 

65 mile ride (10am) during which I ate 2 Larabars (dates, coconut, cashews) and drank ~24 oz of OJ plus plenty of water.

 

Immediately post-ride: an apple and a few grapes, while I waited for a friend to show up to the post-ride social.  She had my Tupperware container with my food.

 

Post-ride meal:  While everyone else ate an amazing-looking Italian spread prepared by our host, plus birthday cake, plus alcohol, I dug into my tupperware container of roasted chicken, roasted kabocha squash, and a kale-carrot-cabbage salad with a fantastic ginger-red pepper dressing I pulled off the interwebs.   Plus club soda. 

 

It was not nearly as hard as I expected to not partake in the food everyone else was eating.   And for the folks who asked why I wasn't eating the same food (everyone in the room was a good friend, so there was no awkwardness), I just kept it simple and told them I was working through some digestive health issues (which is true) and was using an elimination-diet type of program to help determine my issues.   This being progressive Portland, OR, people are more-than-average accepting of a huge variety of eating preferences, and really, no one thought it odd.  

 

Sunday:

 

6am:  Similar breakfast to Saturday, but with ground turkey instead of  ground pork

 

7am:  135 mile ride start.  (Elapsed time 12 hours.  Pedals turning just over 9 hours.   We were a diversely paced/social group, so we spent time hanging out at various locations waiting for slower riders to catch up periodically.)

 

During the ride:  I carried a Tupperware packed with layers of mash sweeted potato sprinkled with a generous helping of shredded unsweetened coconut, sea salt and pumpkin pie spice.  This was consumed at a couple of ride pauses between 9am and 1 pm.  Over the course of the 12 hours, I also ate 5 larabars, and drank about 30 ounces of OJ.  Lots of water.  3 small cups of coffee (mostly because the morning was very cold.  No real sun until 1pm and it's chilly waiting for other people at times.)

 

Immediately post ride: 1 apple.  It had been in my ride bag all day long, but I didn't eat it.   We waited at the finish over an hour for the last rider to come in, so I consumed it while waiting for him.

 

Dinner (which, by the time I got home, showered and cooked, was around 10pm):  a bed of spinach, peppers, mushtooms, topped with ground beef sauteed with onions, jalapeno and home-made taco spice mix.  Topped with cilantro, pineapple salsa, scallions and an entire avocado.

 

Overall, my energy levels were really good both days.  I'm certain I consumed fewer calories than I usually do on a 135 mile bike ride, but my speed and performance didn't seem to suffer for it.  I didn't have as much snap on the final hills as I might have liked, but then again, I rarely do...  :-)

 

I didn't wake up starving either morning, and have normal levels of hunger today.  I don't feel depleted.

 

One unfortunate consequence of eating so late and then going to bed is that a) I had some heartburn and B) my stomach was not overly happy digesting my dinner while I was sleeping.   I woke up around 1am still feeling pretty full, but I felt fine by morning.

 

I didn't carry along any eggs, as I expected it to be warmer.  As it turned out, the morning was actually quite cool and I could have carried both eggs and some roasted chicken in a tupperware.   Next weekend I have a 130 mile ride planned on Saturday, and - weather permitting - I will take eggs and chicken to be consumed in the first few hours.  I may freeze the cooked chicken overnight so it starts the ride even cooler, and keep it well wrapped in something insulating.

 

Its definitely a challenge to carry enough food for rides this long, but so far, so good.

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Guest sareemaree

Sotcenas, I'm intrigued by this. To carry your food did you use panniers or a trunk bag or what? How much gear are you carrying on your bike and what kind of bike is it? I'll sometimes do rides of up to 70 miles on my road bike but I feel limited to what I can carry in my jersey pocket! I did a 5 day 350 mile tour over the summer on a mountain hybrid carrying two loaded panniers and a handlebar bag but never came close to averaging 15mph with all that gear! Your rides sound like a blast!!

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Sotcenas, I'm intrigued by this. To carry your food did you use panniers or a trunk bag or what? How much gear are you carrying on your bike and what kind of bike is it?

 This weekend's rides were on a carbon fiber road bike.  I have a small bento box up front and I use a Detours Hightail bag on the rear.  They don't make the one I use anymore, but it looks like this, but shallower:  http://newingtonbike.com/product/detours-high-tail-exp-ul-ultra-light-seatpost-bag-66536-1.htm     The version I have is shallow, and was made to fit small women's bikes without enough clearance for such a deep bag.  So it's smaller than this one.

 

A tupperware container, plus some bars, my tools, spare tubes, tools, etc., all fit inside.  I can also squeeze in arms and leg warmers when I shet them.  The bungee straps on tops will take my vest and any other layers I shed.

In cold weather or wet weather I ride a different bike that is fully fendered. Steel.  That one has a rear rack that holds a much larger trunk bag.  That bike also takes a handlebar bag.  So I can carry plenty of warm layers, more tools (because Murphy's Law decrees that you always have more mechanicals when the weather sucks), and plenty more food.   In two weeks I'm riding starting a 200 mile ride at 8PM (not AM) and will ride all night and into the next afternoon until I finish.   For that ride I will carry enough food to get me through the entire 200 miles on compliant foods, and since it will be nighttime, I don't need to worry about spoilage (it will probably be in the mid-forties all night.)   My whole30 will technically be done by then, but I'm thinking of expanding it to a Whole60.

I don't average 15mph all the time, btw.  In fact, that's a summer-time on the fast bike in peak fitness kind of speed for me.   More typically, my average speeds are between 13 & 14 mph (moving average) on moderately hilly courses (say, 5-6,000 feet on a 125 mile ride) on the steel fendered bike with more gear.   On very hilly rides in crap weather, that overall moving average might drop to high 12s, low 13s...   

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Two more rides this past weekend.  135 miles on Saturday and 65 on Sunday.

 

This time I added hard boiled eggs into the rotation.  Two on Saturday, one on Sunday.  I also had a beef hamburger patty plus lettuce and tomato at mile 45 on Sunday.   

 

Both the eggs and beef patties were good additions.  I wasn't every very hungry and finished the rides feeling pretty good.   Saturday's ride had a LOT of climbing, including a 2000 foot elevation gain over 12 miles at the end.   I managed to drop two of the guys, so I can't complain.  ;-)

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Hello, everyone. I appreciate your posts. I have been reading these and the Paleo Athlete. I am on Day 22 of the program though I had pressed restart after non intentionally eating something off course so my body feels like it may be between there and my my initial go at the program (@ day 34). I do long distance road and mountain biking. I feel like my body is closer to being fat adapted though it has a bit to go. Before shorter workouts I would usually eat an egg and a fat. Before longer workouts, I saw someone note that they add in a carb before (and during) like sweet potatoes or Larabars. Will eating carbs before slow down my body's ability to become fat adapted? I survived on GUs and similar snacks before Whole30 so I would like to be intentional about giving my body what is best in the long run while also making sure I have enough energy to keep the pedals moving. Thank you!

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Emma7 are you currently doing distance riding, or are you easing back into it as you approach the end of your whole 30? I think I'm pretty fat adapted,(an hour of hard riding on water, even before a morning meal is no big deal for me, energy wise)  but I can't do long rides w/o some carbs on board. I think there is a guy/girl difference here (personal opinion), it seems like it's easier for men to do really long distance stuff with almost no carbs, but I know of almost no women riders who do that. And they're hardcore, low body fat, clean eaters. But still need some carbs on rides. Not necessarily before, but during. Don't know if that helps.

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Emma,

  I definitely am fat adapted, and I make it a point to ingest sweet potato baby food and other carbs during very long runs or rides. You do need some carbs in order for the body to continue burning fat. Not nearly as much as you needed before, when you were fueling purely on carbs, but some. Experiment. You may need to take in carbs/calories before you feel you need them, as your energy may be good for a long time.

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Thank you both for your replies - very helpful. Stravajunkie, I am just getting back to building up endurance as I near the end of Whole30.  I did a three hour mountain bike ride yesterday with a mixed pace and felt the best that I had felt during this Whole30 time.  What you said about eating during exercise versus before and your observations between genders was helpful.  Ultrarunnergirl, thank you for the tips - you have great information on your blog posts, too. Yesterday I ate sweet potatoes that I had cooked in coconut oil/salt, dates and cashews.  I will keep experimenting.  I am grateful to experience this type of nutrition and will continue with it.  Thanks again.

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Thanks for this thread! I am on Day 11 of my Whole30. I am currently training for a half ironman and am finding my legs to be dead! I will be done with the W30 by the time I get into the thick of training, but its always good to know some options other than gels. Which I hate. I haven't looked at the ingredients, but there is the HUMA gels now, which are similar to applesauce textures. Again, I don't know the ingredients, but there is also a really great drink, Skratch, that is so much better than Gatorade and PowerAde. Skratch isn't overpowering at all. Im pretty sure it was the only reason I survived the Tour of California Mt. Diable stage (spectator of course).

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I appreciate this thread and the W30 compliant whole-food options for randonneuring. Previously it had included things like bean burritos, so that whole notion is out. Seems I'll be making my own larabars in the future..

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