Atkins and Cycling

Discussion in 'Health Nutrition and Supplements' started by ds0709, May 12, 2004.

  1. ds0709

    ds0709 New Member

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    I have just started to enjoy cycling and have done a fair share of reading about diet. The question is, is it possible to maintain the Atkins lifestyle and cycle given the fact that you need so much in carbs a day. Again, I am just starting to work my way into the 15-20 miles per ride while keeping my carb intake to less than 30 grams per day. Is this O.K.?

    Thanks to all that reply!!
     
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  2. Duckwah

    Duckwah New Member

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    Of course you can still exercise while on a low carb diet but you have to consider the following

    1. You may feel flat and tired on the bike, especially after 30-40 mins

    2. Your ability to sustain a high power output will be severely compromised.

    3. If energy supply is a limiting factor then you won't be able to improve your cardiovascualr fitness as much as if you were eating carbs.

    If your goal is fat loss then this is not such an issue but if you have any desire to race or get much fitter then I would suggest that atkins is not an ideal diet.

    One way to maintain an overall atkins lifestyle while still training hard would be to calculate the amount of calories you will use during your ride and then eat those calories as predominantly carbs in the hour prior to exercise and during your ride. Note this is FAR from ideal however it may prevent that bonked feeling on the bike.

    My personal opinion on Atkins is that I would never do it myself and that I would never put a client on it but i understand some people get good fat loss results on it.
     
  3. ds0709

    ds0709 New Member

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    Thank you very much for your help!!
     
  4. stone61cm

    stone61cm New Member

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    Atkins was developed for fat middle aged women who power walk for 2 miles, 3 times a week. If you ride enough, it really doesn't matter that much what you eat, as long as it's balanced. Hell, right now, I'm eatting two hotdogs with cheese and am planning on riding hills in an hour.

    If you're looking to lose weight, just lessen your caloric intake by eatting more filler foods like veggies. It worked for me.
     
  5. Randybaker99

    Randybaker99 New Member

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    Duckwah has a very good point, which is that there is nothing wrong with mixing extended riding with a low carb diet, but keep in mind that your endurance will be less because of the lack of readily accessible fuel (carbs).

    If you are planning to do some serious riding (80+ miles per week) with weight loss in mind and are also closely following the Atkins plan, you might be working at cross purposes. I am not an expert by any means, but there are situations where you can trigger a starvation response in your body and metabolism drops and it tries to store fat - not the desired effect!

    If you are very serious about both biking and a low carb diet, consider getting an expert opinion from a nutritionist. The problem is they may steer you away from Atkins as it seems to be falling out of favor with many.

    Consider looking at the South Beach Diet - call it an Atkins variant for people who want to eat a more balanced healthy diet. It still reduces carbs, but has more flexibility so is probably more realistic in the long run.

    Regardless, I wish you the best in meeting all your goals!
     
  6. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Just remeber that once you decide to go off of the Atkin's diet, you can expect to gain back all of the weight you lost plus a few more pounds. Atkins is a temporary fix to a long-term issue.

    You also have to ask yourself if you want all of that grease and sludge running through your veins. It's much harder on your heart.
     
  7. tacomee

    tacomee New Member

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    I've been told by a doctor that the Atkins diet and cycling might kill a person! Sure, it will make you skinny-- but healthy is a totally different thing.

    Cycling on the other hand is totally healthy-- keep riding and eat more veggies. I'll bet you'll be in great shape in a year, and you will be able to STAY that way.

    good luck
     
  8. ds0709

    ds0709 New Member

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    Thanks to all that responded!!
     
  9. davidbod

    davidbod New Member

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    If you want some advice from somone who cycles and actually follows the Atkins Lifestyle then I can tell you what my experience has been over the last 10 months. Besides losing 35 lbs in 4 months, keeping it off for the last 6 months and dropping my cholesterol from 235 to 171, my riding has improved dramatically. I too was concerned with hard riding and low carbs, but found very quickly that you do not need tons of carbs to be in top shape and kick arse on a bicycle.

    My regular pre ride breakfast consists of 2 atkins shakes which have a total of 2 grams of net carbs. I can easily ride 40+ miles on that at a 20mph average. I throw in extra carbs like a banana or 2 if I'm doing anything longer. When I do realy long rides like centurys I load up on carbs a couple of days before and don't worry about the extra carbs. For 15-20 miles you should not have any problem.

    If you want to read an interesting article get this months 'Bicycle Magazine'. There is an article on how the pros are eating more fat, up to 40 % in their diets and the benefits that this provides. Just remember that all fats are not equal. Fats from vegetables, fish and lean protein are better choices than fats from red meat. Also substituting carbs for more vegetables and salad is a better choice as well.

    Good luck,
    David
     
  10. fabiosav

    fabiosav New Member

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    as an ex-atkins guy (42 years old) I will tell you I am riding better, and loosing weight faster, since I increased carbs. You just bonk out without them. I just follow them, and use them with care. Don't use gatorade with fructose that just slams you, but a slower acting carb, as you need it. You can also get Ultima, which is a zero carb "replinisher". Good luck
     
  11. trekchic

    trekchic New Member

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    This is just my $.02 worth:

    I lost about 40# in 4 months doing the low carb diet and working out with resistance machines last Spring and Summer. By July, I was working out less, but increased my aerobic work (walking 5+ times a week for about 45 mins to an hour). I got hooked on cycling, and found out I couldn't stay on the bike very long with my current diet; someone suggested carbo-loading before a ride and adding them back to my regular diet. I kept that up thru Christmas, watching the carbs and keeping up on the walking. However, when I quit watching the carbs...especially sweets... and the only workout I was getting was an hour or so on the trainer 3-4 x's a week, some of the weight came back and I feel horrible. I am sure it's because I put the bad carbs back into my diet. I let bleached flour and sugar back into my life! I am so mad at myself and even though I am riding as much as possible and walking 4+ times a week, I couldn't get the weight loss to kick in again until I eliminated the sugar and flour from my diet cold turkey! It's only been 2 full days, but I already feel better.

    So, when I get off the first 2 weeks and need to increase the carbs to stay on the bike, what do I add? Carrots, potatos, corn, bananas, melons, apples...........stay away from the breads and sweets? I am terrified that I am going to gain the weight back + 40#! I've only gained 10-15 #, but it makes me feel horrible!

    Also, anyone ever heard that caffeine decreases metabolism? Someone on Atkins told me that........never heard that before.

    Kim in TN
     
  12. Duckwah

    Duckwah New Member

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    Caffeine decreasing metabolism?!?! Misinformation in nutrition has just reached new levels!:rolleyes:

    Caffeine is a general nervous system stimulant and all the research i've seen says that it increases metabolic rate.

    I'd treat anything that person says as highly suspect from now on.
     
  13. Randybaker99

    Randybaker99 New Member

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    Hang in there! I totally agree - not all carbs are created equal - big difference between a banana and a twinkie!

    My rule is the more processed the carb (white bread being the ultimate, even above white sugar!) the further I try to stay away. I mentioned this earlier, but the South Beach Diet addresses this aspect of carbs in great detail.
     
  14. trekchic

    trekchic New Member

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    Just FYI.......
    I talked to a nutritionist/freind/cyclist.......so everything they say is suspect, now! haha!

    She suggests staying away from processed carbs....refined sugar, bleached flour...but also to stay away from foods that spike "glycemic levels" (not sure if I spelled that correctly) like potatos, corn, bananas, watermelon.....mostly your "white" foods and sugary fruits. Limit the pasta to nights before a long ride or run and switch to brown rice (I hate rice, so I can ignore that all together!) and watch calories on days I don't ride. After I lose the amount of weight I need to, and she suggested staying off the scales and going by body fat instead...or by how your clothes fit.... to stop worrying about exactly WHAT I eat and watch how MUCH I eat. She said the worst thing to do when trying to decrease mass (i.e....lose weight) is to let your body become hungry. Feed it constantly and you won't have the urge to binge on things that sabotage your weight loss plan!


    Haven't heard anything else on the caffeine yet and forgot to ask her. I'll let you know what she says. **she is not the person who said caffeine slows metabolism.

    Kim in TN
     
  15. davidbod

    davidbod New Member

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    Good sound advice.

    The reason people on a low carb diet should stay away from caffeine is that it lowers blood sugar levels and decreases insulin sensitivity (a precursor to diabetes). Caffeine causes the release of the hormone epinephrine so definately raises metabolism.

    David
     
  16. speedyg

    speedyg New Member

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    Atkins has helped me tremendously to lose weight. The most significant aspect of this diet for me has been to avoid processed foods, candy, soda, tortillas, etc. If it's natural source of carbs, I have reduced but not eliminated these from my diet (beans, corn potatos). Since I burn a load of carbs during my rides, I don't see the sense in elimination of natural source carbos..., but the junk food is history, Amen.

    Speedyg










     
  17. natewilkes

    natewilkes New Member

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    Was your cholesterol of 171 LDL or total? Excellent progress but that is still pretty high, if your HDL~60 you are still only 9 points from intervention (Lipitor, etc.). Granted your risk for diabetes has plumetted (good job on the weight loss), but vigorous excercise could pop a sclerotic lesion and give you a coronary with an LDL of 171. No more Jim Fixes or Pete Maravichs please. Ever seen the pus inside those lesions, it is absolutely revolting.
     
  18. davidbod

    davidbod New Member

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    No my total cholesterol went from 235 to 171. My triglycerides plumetted to 70 and my HDL went way up. My HDL to LDL ratio is near 1 now.

    Total Cholesterol: 171
    HDL: 73
    LDL: 84
    TriGlycerides: 70
     
  19. natewilkes

    natewilkes New Member

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    nice
     
  20. vonnieglen

    vonnieglen New Member

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    I am riding between 200 and 300 miles a week at this time. I can't imagine attempting to do this without eating a lot of carbohydrates before, during and after the long rides.

    The easiest energy metabolized is the carbohydrate stored in your muscles and your liver. When these reserves are depleted, you had better hope that you have some carbohydrates in your digestive system, otherwise you experience the bonk in a bad way. You physically cannot keep up a good pace and you feel miserable.

    After a ride you have a four hour window when your system acts like a sponge to replenish the carbs stored in your muscles. If I don't eat a good meal shortly after a longer ride, I pay for it the next day.

    Personally, I think twinkies have taken a bad rap, they are fairly low in fat and they taste good. Your muscles can't tell the difference; it's all broken down into the same fuel for them. Refined sugars are broken down quicker. I admit some people's digestive sytems have a hard time with them, plus there are almost no nutrients, which you need more of if you ride alot. But I say twinkie eating cyclists step out of the closet.
     
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