We should have really asked questions about food and nutrition for our cycle trip before we set off, but better late than never! We learned mainly through experimentation, getting hungry and grumpy at thow to prepare our food he end of a long day cycling.
I have the pleasure of being a long time friend with Matt Bevege – an experienced and qualified Personal Trainer who has given us some good tips as follows.
Matt is currently running a survey on personal fitness goals and that can be found here.
Are there any difference in nutrition requirements for endurance athletes and cycle tourists?
Nutrition requirements depend on many different factors… Even different athletes will have different nutrition requirements. There will be similarities and differences. Key considerations would be exercise volume, individuals dimensions and composition (the bigger the more calories burned), access to foods. As a rule I’d imagine tourists can stop for a somewhat proper meal whereas and endurance athlete would have to make do with gels/ drinks etc.
According to Strava, we are burning an additional 3,000 calories a day when cycling about 90km. We know this doesn’t take into account the extra 30kg in pack weight too. How much food do you think each represents?
I’d say a 30kg Pack would be an extra 500-700 cals per day… If you were burning 3000 per day based on bodyweight.
Note: We weighed our packs after this and we were respectively carrying 40 and 50kg. So that would be almost 1000cals!
I think I’ve lost over 5kg in weight over 4 weeks. Is this not eating enough, or just excess the body needs to get rid of?
Depends… How much did you weigh at the beginning of the 4 weeks? Need more data… Hydration levels, body fat, Fat Free Mass…. Typically if there is a lot of Fat Free Mass loss, then your body is using Protein as an energy source, indicating dietary intake is too low.
Note: I also weighed myself and I have actually not lost any weight. I just look skinnier…
We often get tired in the evening. What are the different symptoms between not enough food and too much exercise?
Symptoms for both are very similar and can be hard to distinguish as they are often linked. Symptoms of both typically include, tiredness (mentioned) ongoing muscle pains/cramps etc. Feeling sick/ under the weather. Monitoring and measuring is the best course of action. I would either reduce exercise volume (if able) or increase dietary intake and look for symptom changes…
We cook only vegetarian meals. What considerations as cycle tourists do we need to have to make sure we are eating enough?
Following vegetarian protocols shouldn’t put you at risk of low dietary intake, more likely is the risk of inadequate micro nutrient intake, which can directly impact system functions (such as energy production and endocrine function). As a rule I would say ensure you are getting two palm full of whole natural high carb foods per meal, and lentils are a great friend for their protein content.
Food safety; Is raw food better? What is the shortest amount of time you should allow to cook nachos from frozen?
Sometimes raw food is better, depending on the food. For example some vegetables are better raw as cooking degrades the micronutrients they contain, however some foods (such as spinach) can be better cooked as oxalates are broken down giving the digestive track more access to the nutrients within!
I’ve heard of some moron who took Nacho’s (meatballs) from frozen to cooked in 12mins (highly not recommended).
I weigh a good 40% more than Tam. Is it a good idea to continue halving our meal portions when sharing?
Energy expenditure in humans is based around total body weight. That means you will be burning a as an estimate 35-45% more calories than Tam. Food amounts should be purchased and divided on that basis if longevity and health are of primary concern.
So, I’m getting from that I need more than half of the share. Will relay that to Tam.
Super-food. The term depends on the activity of course. What food offers the most bang for buck? What food offers the most bang with least carry-weight? Two very important considerations for cyclists.
Calorie breakdown by Macronutrient:
Carbs: 4 Calories per gram
Protein: 4 Calories per gram
Fat: 9 Calories per gram
Alcohol: 7 Calories per gram
Great, so I can drink straight spirits and eat blocks of butter for breakfast. I guess there is some merit to running on fumes.
Some countries we find it really hard to get good grains i.e. Italy, everything is refined white bread and oats are near impossible to find. Are there any good alternatives?
The addition of fats and fibre to meals containing highly refined foods (such as white bread) will give it more whole food type properties (lower glycaemic load, slower digestion, greater satiety). I would recommend addition of high fat foods for dinners as it takes longer to get into the system. Will help with energy the following days.
Some great advice from Matt. Particularly around food quantity vs food quality. If you have any more questions drop us a line and we can put you in touch.