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Dave Smith unleashes the fact burning zone

A couple of weeks ago I’d have worn out the batteries in my Face Palmer if I had one. Another online article that on face value appeared to make perfect sense, referencing a research paper no less, related to ‘fat-burning’ rides. The reality however was that the interpretation was erroneous, condemning numerous cyclists to riding along at 14 mph to ‘burn fat’.

The only thing that grates with me more than the use or even consideration of the use of the term ‘anaerobic threshold’, is the utter confusion that surrounds the term ‘fat-burning zone’. It’s understandable given the terms adoption by the fitness industry, but let me tell you a little secret. The fitness industry embraces the fat burning zones on their cardio equipment to help the unfit think they’ve done a valuable workout. I know this as a director of one of the world’s largest fitness equipment manufacturers said it to me. He conceded that ‘fat burning zones’ had little real value, but stated that “most people who go to a gym don’t want a strenuous workout”.

But back to bikes

The first issue with fat burning zone, is that it exists. There is certainly a level of intensity at which fat contributes a greater proportion of energy to fuel exercise. The level of intensity varies from one individual to another and also within one individual from day to day, based on training status and nutritional inputs.

For example, if you wake up and exercise in a fasted state, you’ll burn more fat and at higher intensities than after a carbohydrate breakfast.

So what’s my problem?

Quite simply, this fat burning zone is something you should pretty much ignore if you wish to lose body fat. That’s a prime example of those sneaky counterintuitive things. There are several reasons to eschew the slow plodding rides that will have you favouring fat over carbs as fuel.

The first is that you’ll burn very little body fat in the first place. One gram of fat is worth 9 calories. Since ‘fat-burning zone’ exercise burns roughly 140 to 180 calories in 30 minutes, with an estimate of 50 to 60 percent of those calories coming from fat it translates 8 to 12g of fat in 30 minutes - or two times that amount in an hour.

Good luck losing that stone. 

The second reason to avoid long slow training sessions is that they increase appetite, whilst high intensity intervals suppress appetite. So you may have done 3 hours and burned 60 grams of fat (whoop) but you’re more likely to reach for the tub of ice cream afterwards.

An interval session will have a greater calorie cost when recovery metabolism is included, and also suppresses hunger. Whilst losing body fat is not a simple case of ‘calories in calories out’, calories do play some part in waist management.

You don’t believe me, do you?

Boffins at Laval University in Quebec* had two groups participate in different exercise sessions. Seventeen subjects trained on an indoor bike four to five times per week for 20 weeks, with workouts lasting from 30 to 45 minutes and exercise intensity ranged from 60-85 per cent of maximal heart rate.



A second group of 10 subjects completed 30-minute workouts at an intensity comparable to that attained by the first group. However, the second group also conducted 19 short and 16 long interval sessions during their 15-week programme. The short-interval sessions consisted of 10 to 15 intervals lasting for 15-30 seconds, while the long-interval efforts were composed of four to five intervals with durations of 60-90 seconds.Total energy expenditure during training was twice as great in the first group as in the second group – they burned more calories. However, each group achieved about a 30% increase in maximal aerobic capacity. Most surprisingly however, the interval-trained athletes (who performed less total work remember) had a 9x greater loss of body fat than the first group.

This research was done more than 20 years ago, yet the misconception still exists that low intensity exercise in your ‘fat burning zone’ is best for losing body fat, hence my palming of the face last week.

Still not convinced? Try to recall the 100m final at the Olympics - men and women. What do the fastest men and women on earth look like? They’re not the fattest athletes on display are they? In fact, I suspect they have less body fat than marathon runners yet how much training time do you think they spend in their ‘fat-burning zones’?

So what should you do to lose body fat? Firstly, forget about your fat burning zone. And I hate to break it to you but ‘eat less, exercise more’ only has a 5% long-term success rate. It’s also not all about calories as we’re not a sealed unit where calories in and calories out have a great relevance – we have hormones and feedback loops and all kinds of bat-shit crazy things going under the skin.

The simple answer is to choose food and exercise that will control your appetite and hunger effectively, avoid switching on the sugar fuelled ovens in the body when you start the day, and focus on high intensity interval training. Choose foods that don’t encourage the storage of body fat, which in practical terms means that unless you’re exercising hard, set aside the sugar for the builder’s tea.

Oh, and lift heavy things. Make your muscle work hard regularly.

Now the bit where I contradict myself - it’s not all a big downer on exercising to become more efficient at burning fat. It does have an important role to play for enhancing endurance performance in longer events, preserving glycogen and allowing you to plod on without pockets and bottles full of sugar.

To become better at fat burning, ride in a fasted state and ride long. Don’t fuel up on cereals and gels before a sportive - that will switch your fat burning off. Do all of this and keep riding when you feel empty to force your muscle to make powerful adaptations - turning you into an efficient fat burning machine that will drag your bike though the darkness of a 600km audax, or the last hour of the Dragon Ride.

Just don’t do it to lose weight**. Please.

* 'lmpact of Exercise Intensity on Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism, ' Metabolism, vol. 43(7), pp 814-818, 1994)

**Although you will lose some weight.

Dave Smith has been involved in coaching cyclists in all disciplines for more than 25 years. A former GB national and Olympic road coach, Dave has trained Tour stage winners and Olympic medallists, world champions and numerous national champions. In addition he has applied his quirky and counter intuitive thinking to help dozens of regular cyclists, polo players and F1 drivers. He rides 250 miles a week on and off-road in all weathers.

136 comments

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spincycle [6 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

who cycles for 30 min?? long steady miles will always burn calories riding 20h a week and sticking to 2400 calories a day your certain to lose weight but the truth is you can't ride 20h steady in the real world there are hills and traffic lights, cars and sprints for signs. Ride your bike, better still ride your bike in the hills and you will lose weight... Just don't look for a quick fix

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tomturcan [66 posts] 4 years ago
2 likes

"Neither is it possible to do intervals for 4-5 hours instead as the intensity is too high."

Try the Fred Whitton: 8-10 hours of high intensity intervals!

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Cyclist [295 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
tomturcan wrote:

"Neither is it possible to do intervals for 4-5 hours instead as the intensity is too high."

Try the Fred Whitton: 8-10 hours of high intensity intervals!

Pathetic post, simply shows how ill informed you are, and how poorly you understand Daves post.

This is easy to solve. Every naysayer post a pic of themselves in just shorts and along with that how long you have been riding, distances covered weekly, a weeks nutritional diary and training diary, body composition stats height weight BF% lean muscle tissue %.
So, I look forward to it, put your money where your mouth is.

And.... Just because you have lost weight does not mean you have lost body fat...FFs. I will pretty much bet that the majority of the naysayers are sugar addicted, so the chances of you tapping into your fat stores are slim to non.
Oh another point, also you might weigh 68kg at 5'8, it still doesn't mean you are not carrying too much BF.

)))))Dave is bang on((((

My session today.

Am: long steady state commute

Main session@ lunch time.

Turbo:

5 min w/u
4 min tabata protocol 20/10 @100%+ each 20sec
2 min recovery spin
4 min tabata protocol 20/10... As above
2 min recovery spin
3 min sustained 90/95% Effort
2 min recovery spin

Then off bike trainers on:

Conditioning work.

10 min of:

X15 press ups ( nose to floor full extension)
X10 air squats (bodyweight only ass 2 calf)
X5 Burpee- jump with overhead clap

Complete as many times as possible in 10 mins rest as required.
Count how many full rounds completed for comparison.

28 rnds +8 press ups.

32 min of work done. That's how you torch bodyfat and train your body to oxidise fat as fuel.

3 hrs later... Commute home.

These sessions, intervals etc are there to supplement your training not remove the pleasure of your Sunday sugar stop ride, no one says do them, it's your choice, who gives a shit what you do.

But it's funny how when you go on a group ride it's the fat bloke who always knows best.

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Quince [380 posts] 4 years ago
1 like

Thank you for the article.

Changing the subject slightly; for those less interested in weight loss and more in building (endurance-ish based) fitness over the Winter, I take it that you DO recommend some number of reasonably long, steady(ish) miles be regularly included in training? This is what you touched upon on the final section, right?

And out of curiosity; for those wanting to both lose weight AND gain fitness, do you recommend focusing on weight first and then fitness? And would that mean changing training plan as the weight reduced to more include longer rides?

I understand this is an article based solely around debunking 'fat burning-zone' myths, so these questions aren't entirely topical, but I am curious!

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J90 [430 posts] 4 years ago
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One of the worst articles I've seen on Road.cc, so much BS.

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Dave Smith [47 posts] 4 years ago
2 likes

One of the best comments I've seen on Road.cc, so little BS

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jimbo2112 [94 posts] 4 years ago
2 likes
J90 wrote:

One of the worst articles I've seen on Road.cc, so much BS.

Well done on your informed and useful entrance to the debate. Please enlighten us with your wisdom on the matter?

Really though, why troll a fellow cyclist that's made some effort to add value to our training regime? There are a lot of people that have disagreed with Dave, but had something more useful to add as a counter rather than a puerile 1 liner.

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andyp [1605 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
J90 wrote:

One of the worst articles I've seen on Road.cc, so much BS.

So. Just to get this right. Dave is a coach with many years experience at the very highest level. You are...who? Explain to me why I'd listen to you over Dave?

And you're not even contributing *anything* other than calling BS. Brilliant.

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fukawitribe [2889 posts] 4 years ago
1 like
Cyclist wrote:
tomturcan wrote:

"Neither is it possible to do intervals for 4-5 hours instead as the intensity is too high."

Try the Fred Whitton: 8-10 hours of high intensity intervals!

Pathetic post, simply shows how ill informed you are, and how poorly you understand Daves post.

Whoa fella !... are you sure it wasn't meant in jest ? That's how I took it anyway, and I could well be wrong - but then again so could you.

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_SiD_ [163 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Good article Dave - great addition to the Health and Fitness section too which has been largely dormant to date.

Also good to see a healthy debate on the topic.
70+ comments on burning fat!

I recommend riding in the "stress burning" zone - good things usually happen.

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Reg Molehusband [58 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

My exercise and fitness regime is not as intense or scientific as 'Cyclist'. I don't think I could cope with that sort of regime at my age (61). I do regular 12k runs, road cycling and upper body strength training, in addition to 4 indoor bike sessions a week at my local health club. Whether you would call any of my training 'fat burning zones', I really couldn't say. I'd never heard of the term before this article and had certainly never considered the TIMING of food intake in relation to fat burn.

The indoor bike sessions in particular, are essentially 45 minutes of brutality on a static cycling machine, in a class with others, to loud chart music. I attend sessions run by two different spin instructors - one specialises in high intensity short bursts of energy and the other in long hill climb sessions, out of the saddle. Not only have I greatly increased the strength of my legs after 15 months of these sessions, I have lost a significant amount of body fat and improved my cardio endurance. I find the sessions addictive, despite the intense lactic burn throughout.

'Dave' has given me food for thought (pardon the pun).

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WolfieSmith [1402 posts] 4 years ago
5 likes

I couldn't comment on the numbers in terms of grams but from my own experience running 30 mile interval based winter rides with no breakfast has done more to control my weight than going out after a carb breakfast over 60 slowwww miles with the gippers from the club with a cafe and cake break in the middle. Seems pretty obvious to me. Michael Hutchinson's book Faster is pretty good on carb reserves and the fat burning threshold.

Ageing's a big factor too. I'm 50 next year and have had to devise a better and quicker training ride to control my weight over winter. I use rollers for half an hour three times a week to keep the leg muscle fresh rather than any weight loss target. A short low carb ride once or twice a week on top and I arrived at Easter just 2 kgs overweight rather than 5kgs.  4

My advice for winter training for middle aged men:

- 30 miles is enough in the cold. Plodding out on long dreary rides with cold muscles isn't a benefit. .

- Go out on an empty stomach but obviously take food with you for the way back. I do 25 miles without and then eat. It feels great and I'm certainly burning something.

- sprint the boring patches of road on your route for 30 seconds at a time. 5-6 intervals keeps you warm and the cardio vascular up for the winter.

- drink half a pint of milk and stretch as soon as you get home.

- don't eat puddings. Ever. And biscuits? I like a McVities digestive like the next man but they are the Devil's work.

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Cyclist [295 posts] 4 years ago
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@mercuryone  41

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antonio [1169 posts] 4 years ago
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Right, here's my two pennorth, age 77, recent NLTTA ten mile time trial, ave heart rate for ten,182 bpm, max during ten 187.
These figures are not unusual for me. Resting heart rate after recovery, low fifties, 52/54. Intervals have been a regular favourite of mine since the early advent of the Polar Accurex, inspiration being the Moser hour record rides. Most of my fitness rides now consist of a 26 mile lumpy circuit and weather induced indoor intervals, despite the efficacy of intervals I still have problems controlling my weight, (I am a big lad) and the old adage that unfailingly works best is, eat less, and that is much harder than doing intervals.

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Paul J [966 posts] 4 years ago
1 like

That's an amazing max HR for a 77 yo!

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Bryin [48 posts] 4 years ago
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Mostly agree with this article... BUT it is a matter of calories in and calories out. This is a physical FACT, that to lose weight one must burn more calories than they consume. There is no way around that.

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rjfrussell [527 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

Has this been updated at all?  Or just rebadged with today's date and stuck on the front page?  I have no objection in principle to old articles being recycled, but it would be useful ot have a intro saying, "Here is an interesting one from the archives" or, alternatively, "Dave has updated his piece from two years ago- the key changes are...".

 

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madcarew [1002 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Great article Dave. Unfortunately  you undermine both your credibility and credentials with your comment about "Try to recall the 100m final at the Olympics - men and women...In fact, I suspect they have less body fat than marathon runners ..."

For a man espousing the science this is a long way from a science based approach "I suspect". You're happy to provide reference for other things, LMGTFY... in fact sprinters, in common with nearly all weight bearing (as opposed to swimmers, kayakers etc) have roughly the standard body fat %ge as most individual sport elite athletes (including marathon runners): 6-7% for males, and 12 -13% for females  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6650717. The body fat %ge is much less about their sport or training style, than it is about the fact they are an elite athlete. 

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PRSboy [565 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Seems a bit irrelevant in the context of this article to compare highly trained olympic athletes with someone venturing into the gym looking to lose a few pounds.  Of course a gold medal contender won't spend much time in the fat burning zone, but they are already at the right weight, presumably have very high metabolic rates due to their muscle mass, have carefully calculated diets and training regimens.

The problem I have with high intensity training is that most untrained or unfit folk will not work at sufficient intensity to get the apparent benefits.  Working at high-ish intensity off and on for 1/2 hr then stopping is going to be less beneficial and sustainable than getting out for a fun long ride or walk.

I'm not disagreeing with the science, merely pointing out what is practical for many people.  Horses for courses.

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davel [2723 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
PRSboy wrote:

Seems a bit irrelevant in the context of this article to compare highly trained olympic athletes with someone venturing into the gym looking to lose a few pounds.  Of course a gold medal contender won't spend much time in the fat burning zone, but they are already at the right weight, presumably have very high metabolic rates due to their muscle mass, have carefully calculated diets and training regimens.

The problem I have with high intensity training is that most untrained or unfit folk will not work at sufficient intensity to get the apparent benefits.  Working at high-ish intensity off and on for 1/2 hr then stopping is going to be less beneficial and sustainable than getting out for a fun long ride or walk.

I'm not disagreeing with the science, merely pointing out what is practical for many people.  Horses for courses.

I think that's the gist of what Dave's saying, or at least how I'm interpreting it:

specifically target burning fat via the 'zone' and most people will fail. 

Specifically target something that has to burn fat as a side-effect (eg. training to get round an ironman without quitting in emotional turmoil at the end of the bike) and you'll turn into a fat-burning machine and burn a load of fat in the process.

Alternatively, do some heavy weights/HIIT.

I think what's overlooked is that loads of people just ride a bike lots and 'accidentally' (ie. did not necessarily set out to) get a load of physiological benefits, even if they can't identify each one. A commute with a sprint away from the lights, or changing winds, or a couple of hills, is a pretty decent way to 'accidentally' get regular intervals in.

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Canyon48 [1147 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

Once again, I fail to understand a lot of the comments on these road.cc articles (go see lightweight vs aero). You have an author who's experienced in their field providing evidence and explanation then some members comment calling BS and then either provide no real evidence.

Dave Smith clearly has a fair bit of experience in his field (he's been working in his field longer than I've been on this planet!).

Eat less - do more, is fairly clearly BS. Go and look at people who do the crash diets (whatever you want to call them), where people basically starve themselves for a few weeks and do exercise - yes they lose lots of weight, but they put it all back on within a few weeks.

In the last year, I've got fitter than I've ever been, but my average ride length has halved. Why? Becuase I began working full time after uni so I don't have much time. This led me to do rides of around 60 mins doing HIIT - on the recommendation of the cycling club's fitness coach. My FTP has increased and I now find that rides of 70+ miles are fairly easy because I'm working way below the effort I'm used to.

The other great thing about 1 hour long hard cycles is that I don't have to eat before, during, or after the cycle, just an espresso beforehand. I'm doing not many more miles than before and I'm eating about the same (when I cycle commute a couple times a week). It's also helped me shed a couple more kg.

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Yorkshire wallet [2428 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

LOL at that bit at the end about sprinters not being fat. As if that in any way compares to the real world. You can't compare people who are genetic freaks, living an utterly dedicated lifestyle (so never got fat in their life) and are also probably on the special sauce. You may as well say. look at bodybuilders, they're not fat and they do barely any cardio at all.

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hawkinspeter [4079 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
crikey wrote:

http://sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-i/ http://sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-ii/ http://sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-iii/ http://sportsscientists.com/2007/11/muscle-cramps-part-iv/ As a start, try the above. Worth bearing in mind when you are faced with attempts to get you buy whichever electrolyte drink or magic tablet which isn't that well grounded in actual science...

Very interesting links - I often get cramps in my calves after cycling, so these made interesting reading (even though this is a zombie article).

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Jimmy Ray Will [1031 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes
wellsprop wrote:

Eat less - do more, is fairly clearly BS. Go and look at people who do the crash diets (whatever you want to call them), where people basically starve themselves for a few weeks and do exercise - yes they lose lots of weight, but they put it all back on within a few weeks.

 

I wouldn't say clearly BS, I'd say more an over-simplistic summary.

As stated, the only way to lose body fat is to burn more calories than you put in. 

As also stated however, is that there are a whole load of processes going on in your body that make that a very hard thing to do sustainably. Your body doesn't care how you look in a bikini, its pure focus is on survival and thriving. So when there is an abundance of food, it stores excess energy as fat, when there is less energy coming in than being expended, it will take measures to ensure its survival by reducing expenditure.

A short term weight loss can be achieved through a calorie controlled diet and bloodimindedness, however the repercussions of this approach need to be considered. 

As outlined, staying clear of the high-octane energy unless you are using it is a good start, however the easiest way to get a decent body is to build and then use your muscles hard and regularly. Basically build your base metabolic rate. 

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Canyon48 [1147 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:
wellsprop wrote:

Eat less - do more, is fairly clearly BS. Go and look at people who do the crash diets (whatever you want to call them), where people basically starve themselves for a few weeks and do exercise - yes they lose lots of weight, but they put it all back on within a few weeks.

 

I wouldn't say clearly BS, I'd say more an over-simplistic summary.

As stated, the only way to lose body fat is to burn more calories than you put in. 

As also stated however, is that there are a whole load of processes going on in your body that make that a very hard thing to do sustainably. Your body doesn't care how you look in a bikini, its pure focus is on survival and thriving. So when there is an abundance of food, it stores excess energy as fat, when there is less energy coming in than being expended, it will take measures to ensure its survival by reducing expenditure.

A short term weight loss can be achieved through a calorie controlled diet and bloodimindedness, however the repercussions of this approach need to be considered. 

As outlined, staying clear of the high-octane energy unless you are using it is a good start, however the easiest way to get a decent body is to build and then use your muscles hard and regularly. Basically build your base metabolic rate. 

That's what I meant  3 I think your wording is a little more eloquent!

The key is definitely long-term sustainability. My own weight loss has taken about 5 years (my weight has stabilised for the past few months). I went from 82-67kg - the biggest changes were cycling more frequently, cycling harder and switching to a Mediterranean style diet with no pre-prepared and very little processed food. 

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davel [2723 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
Jimmy Ray Will wrote:

Your body doesn't care how you look in a bikini

When you're right, you're right. French sunbathers weren't too impressed either.

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996ducati [14 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

See also those people who simply cannot ride for an hour without drinking at least a litre of fluid, and those who think that they have to 'replace those electrolytes'... The Sports Nutrition industry, and it is an industry, have been telling and selling you rubbish for years...[/quote]

It depends on each riders body. Mine for example needs lots of electrolyte or I get major headaches 4 hours after the ride, other friends dont drink  at all. So the answer is that its a very personal to each rider

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Canyon48 [1147 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
996ducati wrote:
Quote:

See also those people who simply cannot ride for an hour without drinking at least a litre of fluid, and those who think that they have to 'replace those electrolytes'... The Sports Nutrition industry, and it is an industry, have been telling and selling you rubbish for years...

It depends on each riders body. Mine for example needs lots of electrolyte or I get major headaches 4 hours after the ride, other friends dont drink  at all. So the answer is that its a very personal to each rider

I'm exactly the same with headaches. I used to get crippling headaches that'd last hours after a long cycle. I tried some electrolyte tablets that I received free in a Wiggle order, never had headaches since - and it's reduced how much water I need.

I can easily get through a litre and a half of water per hour during a hard ride in the summer. I drink huge amounts and equally sweat huge amounts when cycling. I drink about 500ml per hour when I'm not exercising.

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BehindTheBikesheds [3322 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
wellsprop wrote:

Once again, I fail to understand a lot of the comments on these road.cc articles (go see lightweight vs aero). You have an author who's experienced in their field providing evidence and explanation then some members comment calling BS and then either provide no real evidence.

Dave Smith clearly has a fair bit of experience in his field (he's been working in his field longer than I've been on this planet!).

Eat less - do more, is fairly clearly BS. Go and look at people who do the crash diets (whatever you want to call them), where people basically starve themselves for a few weeks and do exercise - yes they lose lots of weight, but they put it all back on within a few weeks.

In the last year, I've got fitter than I've ever been, but my average ride length has halved. Why? Becuase I began working full time after uni so I don't have much time. This led me to do rides of around 60 mins doing HIIT - on the recommendation of the cycling club's fitness coach. My FTP has increased and I now find that rides of 70+ miles are fairly easy because I'm working way below the effort I'm used to.

The other great thing about 1 hour long hard cycles is that I don't have to eat before, during, or after the cycle, just an espresso beforehand. I'm doing not many more miles than before and I'm eating about the same (when I cycle commute a couple times a week). It's also helped me shed a couple more kg.

Except it's not is it, it's clearly not BS because the simple equation of consume fewer calories than you burn (eat less - do more) has the effect of reducing body fat %. You can argue all you like about crash diets and how most 'diets' are doomed to fail which is fairly well known and the reasons why they fail, but you outright called the very thing that DOES reduce body fat a load of BS which patently and obviously is incorrect.

If you reduce your daily intake by 150 calories and do more that burns 150 calories and repeat that every day then in one year you have a rough deficit in calories equivalent to between 29-38.5lb of body fat (based on body fat being 72-87% lipids) that's not to say that all of that deficit will be used in reducing the stored fat by those amounts but it will reduce your bodyfat % which is what you called BS.

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kevvjj [476 posts] 1 year ago
1 like
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:
wellsprop wrote:

Once again, I fail to understand a lot of the comments on these road.cc articles (go see lightweight vs aero). You have an author who's experienced in their field providing evidence and explanation then some members comment calling BS and then either provide no real evidence.

Dave Smith clearly has a fair bit of experience in his field (he's been working in his field longer than I've been on this planet!).

Eat less - do more, is fairly clearly BS. Go and look at people who do the crash diets (whatever you want to call them), where people basically starve themselves for a few weeks and do exercise - yes they lose lots of weight, but they put it all back on within a few weeks.

In the last year, I've got fitter than I've ever been, but my average ride length has halved. Why? Becuase I began working full time after uni so I don't have much time. This led me to do rides of around 60 mins doing HIIT - on the recommendation of the cycling club's fitness coach. My FTP has increased and I now find that rides of 70+ miles are fairly easy because I'm working way below the effort I'm used to.

The other great thing about 1 hour long hard cycles is that I don't have to eat before, during, or after the cycle, just an espresso beforehand. I'm doing not many more miles than before and I'm eating about the same (when I cycle commute a couple times a week). It's also helped me shed a couple more kg.

Except it's not is it, it's clearly not BS because the simple equation of consume fewer calories than you burn (eat less - do more) has the effect of reducing body fat %. You can argue all you like about crash diets and how most 'diets' are doomed to fail which is fairly well known and the reasons why they fail, but you outright called the very thing that DOES reduce body fat a load of BS which patently and obviously is incorrect.

If you reduce your daily intake by 150 calories and do more that burns 150 calories and repeat that every day then in one year you have a rough deficit in calories equivalent to between 29-38.5lb of body fat (based on body fat being 72-87% lipids) that's not to say that all of that deficit will be used in reducing the stored fat by those amounts but it will reduce your bodyfat % which is what you called BS.

I call BS on your response. If it was as simple as you say, why then does this not work for the majority of the population?  You simply can't ignore (as stated in the article) all of the individual complexities of each person's biology. Don't forget, insulin resistance and gut bacteria to name just two of the factors that control body weight and metabolism. Calories in vs calories out has, and always will be,  too simple to be anything other than BULLSHIT.

 

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