As the first entry of the 40th Chainring, this post is the starting line. That was the first week I really hit it, hitting the exercise program to really get going and loose that weight and build some efficient power with endurance. This beginning was a four day trip starting on August 13th. By screwing this all up I rapidly developed a splitting headache by the 16th. I wanted to do this right and right from the beginning. I thought I knew best from friends and TV and the internet so I read a bit online about cycling specific workouts and from what I knew of nutrition based on the last ten years of flying with some real masochistic exercise nuts, I felt like I was going to hit the ground running. I would do about fifteen minutes of squats and lunges, both forward and side, and some other leg intensive maneuvers (it’s amazing what your own body weight can do for you especially when you have some excess in that department) and then hit the bike for an hour of cardio. On day three of the trip, I weighed myself in my work uniform on a hotel scale. 241 lbs. I knew I would be back to this hotel and this scale frequently so that will be my reference scale for a while. The same uniform every time and the same scale. I knew that nutrition was half of the battle so I thought along the same lines. What have I learned from TV and friends and the internet? Well, everything about getting fit but nothing specific about endurance cardio and cycling that’s for sure. So I cut carbs to cut fat. That’s what the common world tells us right? Up the proteins to build muscles from a work out right? Build muscles to burn fat right? What they didn’t tell you is that your muscles actually need a lot of carbs when you use them to do a lot of cardio. That’s why the professional cyclists eat 9,000 calories a day during competition, otherwise they hardly touch carbs when they are not exerting energy. Think about that one. I was not eating carbs and I was burning them. My tank was empty in short order.
So let’s get back to the Mid-day of the 16th. That headache was growing right in the middle of a three hour sit right in the middle of the terminal. Just what the hell happened? What did I do to myself? My half-baked research on nutrition is what happened. I was minorly correct in anything at all. I starved my body of essential carbs at essential times. My Electrolytes were all kinds of crazy by now. Proteins were fine, but the carbs! They are so amazingly essential that I didn’t know there was a timing thing for pre and post workout consumption. I had a great start of exercise lined up for three days in a row and here I was screwing myself up for three days. I had been doing legwork and then a sweaty hour on the bike at a constant 140-150 bpm heart rate and the end result? I just about killed myself.
Rob, Have a pill and a bananna….
Some water and a moment to sit with the eyes closed…..Much better…..
After that event, this is what I learned. I burn carbs. I can’t burn anything else and survive. I have to have carbs to make my body work properly because when I tear it up on the bike, I will burn all the carbs. I need proper electrolytes. They don’t have to be at the same time. Sip water from the start, and especially begin already hydrated. It’s amazing how many people start lifting or exercising and they only had a small cup of coffee that morning. Drink water first, Electrolytes and carbs later on. After an hour on the bike I will have run out of carbs and proteins and sugar storage in my legs and I must refuel. I need to eat and drink and restore myself around 45 minutes into a ride before that hour is up or I will cramp as I ride past that hour, have a headache, be dehydrated, etc. Who want’s that? Do it right from the start and you can go a very very long time. I’m using the hotel bike for 60 minutes. That’s all I need so I will save the eating for right after I’m done. Pop some tuna on a wrap or at least a Cliff bar right away after and your body will feel so much better so much faster. As long as I eat I’ll be alright in weight loss because the carbs are going through my muscles to fuel me and not skipping that step going straight through my lower intestine. Ill drink about 20-30 oz. water during that hour on the bike if I’m hitting things right. In the mornings I try to eat a banana with a Greek yogurt with blueberry’s. Any fruit I eat has to have the skin and pulp for the fibers or the sugars in the fruit don’t get digested properly and I just pack on some fats. The fruits and bananas start loading me up with electrolytes and some proteins so that helps me sustain myself on the bike by the time I hit it in the afternoon.
That is all now. That is how I learned what my body needs. I had to almost kill it first.