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I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for good sources of fuel for someone on a low gi/low carb plan. I'll be training for a long race this summer and need suggestions (ie sports drinks, fruit, etc). Thanks!

Thu. Apr 13, 6:45pm

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I assume you are referring to the practice of "carbing up" before an endurance event. In 1999, when I was in training in the months before my karate black belt exam, I changed from a low-fat diet to a low-carb diet. It took a week for my body's metabolism to change to be able to use protein as my fuel and I felt quite weak and sick during that week. But after the adjustment, I had more stamina than any of the guys in my class, and I was 45 and female (still female, no longer 45). I used the book Protein Power to teach me a balanced approach to using protein as fuel, and I still recommend that book. I no longer carb up before endurance events, and I use protein bars and shakes as my fuel. In sum, I guess what I am saying is that if you are going to go low-carb, it would be a good idea to give your body some time to adapt to protein and healthy fats as fuel. I think you will be pleased with your increase in stamina, and you just may surprise yourself at your ability to outpace the competition.

Thursday, April 13, 2006, 7:27 PM

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OP here-
Thank you for the information! I actually have been eating lower carb (not really low like atkins, but I mostly stick to lean meats and lots of veggies, and sometimes nuts) for 4-5 years now, so my body should be adjusted. I will be doing a 200 mile bike ride in 2 days (which I have never done before) and some people are worried that I'll have a hard time since I don't eat much in the way of simple carbs. Any experience with a long event like this?

Thursday, April 13, 2006, 7:42 PM

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Dear OP, this is 7:27. Sorry, I have no experience with a 2-day event. The black belt exam was 5 days of 2-3 hour events each day. My gut feel from my own experience is that you will be fine, however, you may have to adopt the mindset of a pioneer... Early in your training (so that you can recover and make adjustments), experiment with long events so that you can get a feel for your own stamina. The book Protein Power was written by 2 MDs and may help to give you confidence in your own methods. Over the years, I've learned to just trust myself and keep my mouth shut about my eating habits... I know that I am careful and I don't need others to agree with my experiments and my methods. If your own early experiments with protein as fuel are not working for you, then you will have time to switch back to carbs or any other plan that seems good for your body. Trust yourself and pay attention to the little signals that your body and intuition will send to you.

Friday, April 14, 2006, 1:59 AM

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Thank you!
Does anyone have any advice/suggestions?

Friday, April 14, 2006, 3:01 PM

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I say start with having steel cut oats for breakfast with cinnamon and raspberries, since they are low GI. Oatmeal burns slowly and should help with the energy ramp up. And since you've been on low carb for a long time you should really feel the effects.
During the event I suggest those fruity gel packs that you squeeze into your mouth. 200 miles in 2 days is not the time to worry about carbs. Your body NEEDS the carbs and will burn through them like nothing. After about an hour of strenous activity, you should be drinking mostly Gatorade, and some water (small sips). You have to maintain the sodium balance in your cells, so go easy on the water and take slightly longer sips of Gatorade. The last thing you want is to go into severe dehydration. Not fun. So don't worry about the carbs in the Gatorade during the event, either.
Hope that helps! :)

Friday, April 14, 2006, 6:00 PM

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One of my friends has recommended taking some Cytomax or electrolyte tablets. However, I haven't tried it. I personally don't really care too much for gatorade because it's REALLY sweet.

However, I did the Breast Cancer 3- Day walk (60 miles in 3 days--20 miles a day) and I brought along gatorade and power gel.

I mixed my gatorade double concentration and drank mostly water, but then switched to gatorade every now and then--that way, I didn't need to drink it as often, but still got the proper electrolytes in my system.... The gels are also good, but again, sickly sweet.... I'm looking into trying the Emergen-C sports pak powder (I use thier regular powdered vitamin mix after working out at home sometimes.) I understand the Sports Pak powder does not have a lot of sugar.....

I did find that when I took the powergels, I COULD feel the burst of energy (despite the sickly sweet taste.) The good thing is that you wash it down quickly, so the sweet taste doesn't linger...

Saturday, April 15, 2006, 1:25 AM

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last poster again:

Oh, and they had salty snacks at the pit stops, so I ate them as well-- however, you are biking, so that's a bit different... :-)

Saturday, April 15, 2006, 1:26 AM

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The one thing you should NEVER do is try any thing new on "the big day." If you're planning on eating Powergel or drinking Gatorade, then try them on one of your work outs prior to the actual event. It is important that you use them during your work out, not just try them during the day, your body acts different when you are stressed out during a strenuous work out and you could have a bad reaction.
Don't worry about the carbs, your body needs them during this time.

Saturday, April 15, 2006, 8:02 AM

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Agree with the last poster-- make sure your body can tolerate whatever you're using BEFORE the big day. Otherwise, you could get diarrhea, cramping, etc. if it's a new mix of things!

Saturday, April 15, 2006, 1:52 PM

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I bike centuries

First, I start the day with a good meal of protein/fat/carbs. A good time to splurge on a bagel w/ the fixings - salmon and cream cheese or peanut butter. Orange juice or some fruit.

During the ride I eat fruit and peanut butter sandwiches at the stops. Fig Newtons are popular. I drink water and use Cytomax for electrolytes (you pack it in plastic baggies and put it in your pouch pocket). I also eat Clif bars but in 1/4 - 1/2 portions because the soy can feel like a gut-bomb to me if I eat the whole thing at once.

The thing with sugars on an endurance ride is often that when you're blood glucose levels get too low, your brain senses it and you "bonk" - your legs just won't listen to your brain anymore - even though you've got plenty of fuel left in those muscles. When you take a gel shot like Gu, you are getting your blood glucose levels back up quickly, your brain takes a chill pill, and you can go right back to using the energy stored in your muscles.

Most important rules:

Like someone said, try out your "fuels" before the big day. The day of the ride is no time to experiment.

Eat before you're hungry; drink before you're thirsty. And I MEAN IT. My last ride sucked because I didn't take my own advice.

Saturday, April 15, 2006, 9:59 PM

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Thank you everyone for all the advice. I will have plenty of long rides beforehand to try out different food combos.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006, 7:27 PM

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