From the Coaches: Nutrition 101

@BykeRyder18, when I crave a burger, you bet! I make the best burgers in town with roasted pablano, grilled onions, and homemade gochujang mayo. I like spicy! And when I am feeling over the top, I add an egg. Dammit!! now I want a burger! hahahahaha!

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Dear @Coach.Suzie.S!
When we went into the office, I had people want me to make their lunches for them. I laughed! I told them how I do it, and how easy it truly is. I cook 4 lunches at a time (on Sundays) and make my salads in the mornings before work. Throw in some fresh fruit and you have an incredible meal, snacks, and nutrition to last you the workday!
I seriously want to make some videos on how to do it for busy people.

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OK ok! Now I want a Burger like that too! LOL!

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I will offer a little insight here as well. I am a Nephrologist in Pittsburgh, I specialize in kidney disease, as well as electrolytes and water balance. The guidance here is on point, however the sweat testing has been pretty unreliable unless tested in a very highly controlled setting and over a series of controlled testing sessions. The best approach is to measure pre and post effort and gauge how much fluid is lost based on the weight difference. You should also factor in any intake during the workout and keep in mind the conditions of the effort, hot or cold, sunny, humid etc. The rates of salt loss vary considerably from individuals, but what has been quite evident is that folks tend to lose what would be considered significant amounts of electrolytes after the first hour, warranting replacement. The formulations such as Skratch, EFS, heed, Gatorade Endurance are unique in that they have considerably higher concentrations of sodium, magnesium, and potassium that more effectively aid in hydration. Generally, sweat is far less concentrated than the blood that provides it, ergo, much more water loss than salt. Hence, replacing water early is best. My advice to anyone I am seeing is to say drink to thirst, this has proven successful in a number of sports medicine trials, and is certainly true outside of athletics. I would add that if one gets thirsty while exercising, pay attention and drink fluids. It is also entirely reasonable to separate water and solute intake with things like bloks, or other gels etc. but the more concentrated fluids have been a real game changer for most.

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So I’ve been re-reading teh Eating to Suffer Plan and using an app called myfitnesspal.com to track my food intake for the past couple of weeks, and I’ve got a couple of questions:

  1. I’m an omnivore, but react poorly to dairy, including whey proteins, so I’ve been using soy protein powders as a substitute but it takes a LOT to meet the recommendations of 30-40g per serving.

I’m having trouble hitting my daily protein targets (even eating boiled eggs and pouches of tuna as snacks).

Do I just need to cook a bunch of chicken breasts and eat them with everything?

Here’s what my last week looked like:

Any guidance appreciated!

@Michael_Robertson,

I think we’ve discovered some information in that Eating to Suffer Plan that may give protein recommendations that are too high.
I’ve checked in with @Coach.Neal.H and we recommend a protein intake of 1-2g/kg of body weight, but that can be a big range, depending on the fitness level of different individuals. For someone who is fit, an intake anywhere in that range would be appropriate, but for someone who is overweight, it would be way too much. In easy to apply terms, 20-30g per meal is a reasonable target for most people, and you can increase or decrease for your specific needs if necessary.
So I’d suspect that you’re getting plenty of protein and do not need to eat extra chicken breast with every meal!
Does that help?

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Thanks! Yeah when I started putting together a spreadsheet based on the SUF recommendations it was looking near impossible to hit the protein recommendations. Based on the new info and my current weight of 72.6 Kg, my daily intake would be something like this:

Carb g/day Protein g/day Fat g/day Total Kcal/Day
218 145 65 2039

In terms of percentages:
51% carb (at 3g of carb/kg body weight)
34% protein
15% fat

Am I on the right track?

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Yes, it looks like you have reasonable targets there. I don’t think you should have any problem meeting those, but if you do, you can certainly modify, as long as your energy levels are good and recovery is not compromised.

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Can I ask about Keto here? I joined my wife on her Keto diet in December. So far I’ve lost 15 pounds and my workouts on the TOS prep plan are getting easy, even the Shovel which was my nemesis.

Anyway, I’ve little experience with training in Ketosis, and wondered if I could get an informed opinion about the challenges and benefits that I can expect to encounter.

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If we meet all our carb targets, will this mean we lose the ability to become fat adaptive, thereby losing endurance

I’m not sure you can lose endurance by eating healthy, so long as you aren’t overeating.

On my century+ rides, my goal is to consume 250-300 calories per hour, at the limit of what my body can digest.

On a 6 hour ride, that puts me at a calorie deficit of around 1,200 calories. Assuming that I’ve started with a full tank, and moderate fat metabolism, this generally gives me enough fuel to finish without bonking. I find it’s my legs that give out.

Granted not a scientific explanation, just my experience of trial and error on endurance rides.

Thank you sir Brian, My early understanding was that the body consumed carbs until they ran out, then switched to fat. I learned later that both systems worked together, rather than independently. One of the ways to increase endurance was to teach the body to use fat thereby preserving carbs.During high exertion the body cannot produce energy fast enough using fat so it is predominantly carbs.My question was really, that if the carb requirement was met, would the body lose efficiency at burning fat?.We see books on the shelves nowadays telling us how great fat is,or to go keto or something, have a high fat diet and get your body to burn it efficiently , yet if we have to surge , sprint or go really hard, we would surely be worse off using fat.If this process is made redundant because carbs are plentiful , how would this effect our riding?

TLDR, and it’s a bit technical for me, but one point they make is that fat oxidation can be improved with training, basically improving the amount of oxygen that can be used during exercise, effectively raising VO2 max.

Conversely if fat oxidation can be improved, then it stands to reason that it can also be adversely affected as well. That would imply both training and the need to eat a balanced diet without too great an emphasis on carbs vs fat or vice versa.

Come to think of it, donuts have both carbs and fat. And they are shaped like a wheel.

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Where can I find the Eating to Suffer Plan?

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On protein: I like to eat a few slices of turkey lunch meat after a workout. My teenager prefers whey protein powder. Who’s right?

There are two issues here, one long term, the other short term.

In the short term, the body does not care where the carbohydrates, or protein that it needs comes from. In the longer term, the food choices do matter.

Neither one of you is wrong, but I’d say the whey protein is probably a better choice immediately after training. You’re both getting protein, the difference is in how quickly that protein can be absorbed and utilized. The whey protein will probably be more effective in the immediate term, as it’s liquid and can be more easily/quickly absorbed and utilized since it has a shorter, less extensive digestion process to go through. It also provides an element of hydration, and if mixed with milk, oatmilk or rice milk, can also provide some carbohydrates to help repair/re-fuel the muscles as well.

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Suzie, thank you so much for that thorough and illuminating answer. I really appreciate your taking the time to write it. :slight_smile:

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@Coach.Suzie.S Great article. Love the content. I have not had a chance to read through all of the responses so if you’ve addressed this question then my apologies. But are there any meal subscription services (such as Trifecta, Fresh and Lean, HelloFresh, etc…) you might recommend given the nutritional needs of cyclist? I’m not a great cook, nor do I always have the time to cook, but I want to ensure that eat properly given the physical demands of cycling. If you are aware of any meal subscription services that might be beneficial to me, please let me know.