Thursday, 13 May 2010

Why nutrition is important

Obviously, as we're riding 8+ hours a day, we have to eat quite a lot. We have a number of different foodstuffs available. Let's look at some of the popular ones.
  • Little Snickers. 244 kcal, 24g carbs, 13.5g fat.
  • Malt loaf, ¼. 172 kcal, 36g carbs, 1.2g fat.
  • Torq bar. About 220 kcal, 65g carbs, 1g fat.
  • Pringles, small handfull. Um, small amount of carbs, quite a bit of fat (I've lost the packet..)
  • Scotch egg (you really don't want to know)
Notice that some have quite a lot of fat, and some don't have much fat at all. As we're exercising, carbs are good. Although we are mainly burning fat, you need carbs to trigger the reaction. We all have lots of stored fat, so we don't really need to eat any more. What we need to eat is lots of carbs. We can store carbs in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is good.

Let's look at a couple of examples. For lunch, we could have
  • Rice, pasta
  • Ham, other lean protein
  • Energy bars
This would give lots of energy that is easy to use, and easy to digest.

An alternative, hypothetical, lunch would be
  • Several handfuls of pringles
  • Cake
  • Scotch eggs
Hmm, that's a little fatty. What would happen in this case hypothetically would be that all the fatty stuff would sit in your stomach, making you feel lethargic and bloated. What would also happen would be that you would fancy eating any of the nice energy products that are stashed about your person. You would be doing pringle flavoured burps and trying to sip water, but failing. However, you'd feel OK for a bit due to having some stored glycogen (carbs).

OK, for a bit.

Until you start to run out of stored glycogen.

And then... you have trouble burning fat. Your vision goes a bit blurry, you start to shake, and you have trouble turning your legs round. This would happen, hypothetically, about 2km from the camp site.

When you got to the camp site you would fall off your bike, collapse on the floor, beg for recovery drink and be generally pathetic. Hypothetically. You would then eat a whole malt loaf, two torq bars and a couple of pints of water.

Of course, none of us would ever do this, as it would leave us so tired that we would be unable to write a blog entry.

We're much more professional than that.

(Now North of Dingle, which is a real place! Assault on JOG tomorrow. Tim plans to ride, so it could all end in casualty)
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