If you’ve ever dreamed about touring through the mountains of France or spending a week biking the trails in Whistler, you probably thought about whether or not you can fly with a bike. The answer is yes! Use my step-by-step instructions on how to bullet proof your bike for traveling on a plane.
What you will need
Bike Case. I am using Thule RoundTrip Sport (link).
Use a pedal wrench or hex key to unscrew the pedals from the crank arms. Rightpedals loosen by turning counter-clockwise, left pedals loosen clockwise. Applybike grease to the new pedals and screw them in at an even 90 degree angle. Right pedals tighten by turning clockwise, left pedals tighten counter-clockwise.
2. Place chain onto the large chain ring at crank.
There are so many diets that promote incredible results with weight loss, muscle gain or overall well being. How many diets or different approaches have you tried in pursuit of your goals? How many times have you failed? Don’t rely just on somebody’s opinions or suggestions to eating. I encourage you to take proactive approach and learn what works and what doesn’t, specifically with your body. Create your own “perfect” diet to live a long and healthy life.
I can not overstate the facts that we are what we eat and our health totally depends on what we put in our mouth. Every human being is unique and different is so many ways. Therefore there is no universal recipe or diet that will give you all that you want. You got to realize that you are the only one responsible for your health and there is not a single person in the world that would have the answer to what works and what doesn’t for your body. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of good information on the internet and books, but you got to take the initiative in your hands and figure out what works specifically for YOU. Luckily you live in the age, when genetic tests are freely accessible to the public. 10-20 years ago, food intolerance or DNA tests were done only in sophisticated laboratories by scientists. Today you have the luxury of access to a lot of blood testing tools that can help you improve your health and live longer.
Food Intolerance Test is one of such tests. I did it at the lab called Dynacare in Toronto, Canada. The test costed me $250.
What this test will tell you?
The test will show show how your body reacts to certain foods that you eat. It will help to discover food intolerances you were not aware of that could compromise your health and well being. Results of the test will help you to create a diet that suits specifically your body’s needs. It help you to see the correlations between the foods you eat and the way you feel. I can also explain why you had some of the food intolerances symptoms. Some intolerances symptoms include and not limited by:
Headaches and Migraines
Itchy skin etc.
How is test being done?
Your immune system, in response to external stress that come from food, produces antibodies called IgG. Your blood is being tested against 125 most common foods, while measuring the levels of IgG antibodies. This test determines if you have intolerance to certain foods and how severe the intolerances are.
Note: food allergy and intolerance are not the same. In response to allergy, your body produces IgE antibodies, which are different from IgG. Also while allergies usually cause immediate reactions, it can take few hours or days for the symptoms caused by food intolerances to occur.
Egg Whites, Peanuts, Yeast (Beer) and Barley are on top of the list. That’s a no-no foods for me. Below is the full list of foods they tested me agains. Some other foods to keep an eye on are: pretty much all nuts and seeds, mustard, wheat, corn, potatoes.
Eat the rainbow. Eating variety of foods insures that you get the full range of important vitamins and minerals.
Once you eliminate some foods from your diet, you also loose the nutrients that came along with them. To replace the nutrients you need, use the table below to find “safe” replacements options for you.
Nutrients found in Common Foods
Know your body. Take full responsibility for your health and well-being. Learn what works and what doesn’t. Create your own “perfect” diet.
As you already know, during exercise you lost a portion of electrolytes along with sweat. As you drink after the training, you increase the fluid levels in your body, which will lower electrolyte concentration even more. Natural foods, like fruits will replace nearly all the electrolytes, except sodium. Add two-three pinches of salt to your post-exercise recovery drink for sodium replenishment. The table below lists great fruits and juices for your recovery drink to replenish electrolytes in your body.
Notes: Liquid protein consumed within 30 minutes after exercise improves muscle repair. Including fruits and greens will deliver extra antioxidants. Stay aways from added sugars.
To fully restore the fluid and electrolyte losses after the workout, aim to drink around 24 oz (700 mL) of liquids for every pound lost. Don’t drink too fast, but instead consume your solution or water slowly over a 60-minutes period and later throughout the day. Listen to your body and use the thirst as an indicator of your hydration status. Doesn’t matter if you replaced all the fluids lost, forcing it down if you’re not thirsty is not a good idea. As a general guideline: if you urinate more often than 10 times in a 24-hour period and your urine is clear – you’re drinking too much.
Better Hydration = Better Performance
Karel, L. (1948). Gastric Absorption. Physical Reviews, 28(4), 433-450.
Cordain, L., & Friel, J. (2012). The Paleo diet for athletes: The ancient nutritional formula for peak athletic performance. Emmaus, PA: Rodale.
Land, S. (2018, March 18). Everything About Getting Enough Electrolytes While Fasting [Digital image]. Retrieved February 3, 2019, from https://i0.wp.com/www.wildfirex.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2013/08/Electrolytes.png?zoom=2&w=700&ssl=1
What we are trying to achieve here is to prevent more than a 2% drop in body weight caused by fluid loss (about 3 lbs (1.4 kg) of weight loss for 150 (68 kg) pound athlete). The two main goals of performance hydration is to:
Improve calorie absorption by utilizing performance hydration as a “transporter”
Maintain blood volume.
Don’t wait until you get thirsty! Remember: better hydration = better performance. Now pull out your calculator, I’ll teach you how to create your ideal hydration solution:
Carbohydrates: 4-8% solution. To calculate it, divide the grams of carbs (sugar) per serving size by the volume of the serving size (in mL), then multiply by 100 . So let’s say you want to fill your bicycle flask of 500 mL with a 6% solution we will need 30 grams of carbs (sugars).
Electrolytes. Calculations are easier here: 0.5-0.7 grams of sodium per 1 liter (34 oz) of water. So in the same 500 mL cycling water bottle you will need to add 250-350 milligrams of sodium.
The chart below describes carbohydrates and electrolytes needs for optimal hydration during exercise, based on time. Athletes don’t always need to take extra electrolytes during training or racing. Anything under 75 minutes doesn’t require extra supplementation with sodium pills or salt tablets.
Notes: Glucose can be absorbed around 1g/min and fructose has been shown (when combined with glucose/maltodextrin) to be absorbed at 1.5g/min.
The reason is why you should include calories into your hydration solution is to improve fluid absorption rate. “Fueling” and hydration should be separate from one another, so you’re not trying to get your fuel from your hydration solution. A little bit of sugar works as a transporter to pull the sodium across the intestinal barrier to keep your blood plasma volume up.
When creating your ideal performance drink strive for 2:1 ratio of glucose:fructose as it has been shown to improve absorption rate.
Drink 5-8 oz (150-250 mL) of your solution every 10-15 minutes.
Train yourself to get used to drink fluids on a schedule while exercising.
If exercising at higher temperatures or humidity, reduce the intensity to improve the gastric emptying.
Go with sports drinks over the plain water to minimize the risk of hyponatremia.
As I already mentioned in the introduction, starting a workout in dehydrated state will take you places you don’t want to be in. As little as 1% of body weight decrease due to fluid loss will make you competitively disadvantaged and put you at greater health risk. Research shows that adequate hydration level prior physical activity reduces muscle tissue breakdown. You don’t want to use the muscles to fuel your workout. You should always go into training or competing in well hydrated state.
Pre-exercise hydration general recommendations:
4 hr before: 16-20 oz (500-600 ml)
1-2 hr before: 12-16 oz (350-500 ml). Water only. Carbohydrate (sugar) rich drinks can cause hypoglycemic reaction (low blood sugar), making you dizzy or lightheaded right before the start.
10-20 min before: 8-12 oz (250-350 ml). High glycemic drinks or sports drinks are safe to consume.
Add a pinch of salt to retain fluids in your body. Avoid drinking too much too fast as you may have to interrupt training session to use the washroom.
The first thing to do, straight from the bed, is to objectively access your hydration status. Run quick self-assessment on your body:
Do I feel not thirsty at all or particularly thirsty and your urine is bright yellow? You’re starting your day in a good state and there is nothing special you need to do before your workout.
How dark is my urine? The first pee in a day is the most accurate indicator of your background hydration status.
If you feel quite thirsty, the good idea would be to postpone the session 15-30 minutes to get some fluids in and make sure you’re not putting yourself into the deeper hole.
If you train in the afternoon and especially if you also been training in the same day morning, you have to take more aggressive approach to your hydration. Before going into your evening training, you have to completely restore your hydration status, especially if the morning session was challenging.
Your body stores much more energy in form of fat than as carbohydrate. Some athletes strive to change their metabolism so that their bodies rely more on fat to fuel exercise which in turn allows them to spare the carbohydrate that’s stored in muscle and liver and improve your endurance capacity. In theory, training when carbohydrate availability is low, may force your metabolism toward a greater reliance on fat as a fuel for exercise.
There are two approaches to creating a state of Low Carbohydrate Availability:
1. Exercising after an overnight fast. Stores of carbohydrates are used while you sleep and not replaced before a workout in the morning. 2. Exercising after a prior heavy, high intensity exercise. In this case carbohydrate is used up during an exercise bout and not replaced before the second workout.
These two approaches are different in their bio energetics and will lead to different adaptations.
At night, while we sleep the liver secretes glucose to maintain blood glucose levels and supply the body with carbohydrates. This is very important for the brain because it relies almost entirely on blood glucose to function. By morning 60 to 80 percent of the liver glycogen has been used by your body. However muscle glycogen levels remain high throughout the night and are high when you wake up for your morning run, because it isn’t secreted from or consumed by skeletal muscle cells while you sleep.
In summary, you go to sleep with high glycogen levels in both muscle and liver and you wake up with no change in muscle but with low levels in liver.
As you begin your workout in the morning skeletal muscle prefers its own fat and glycogen stores but gets some of its energy from fats and glucose in the blood. The liver breaks down glycogen to ensure that blood glucose levels are maintained to support all the cells of your body. During exercise a person hits the wall or bonks when they run so low on liver glycogen that the blood glucose levels drop. Muscle glycogen levels will also be low at this point because the muscle has been preferentially consuming it.
In endurance community the concept of exercising when the body is low in available carbohydrate (“training low“, meaning low in glycogen and glucose), has been adapted by athletes to encourage adaptations that favor the use of fats for fuel. In theory, improving fat utilization will lead to a sparing of limited glycogen stores and reduce the need to consume as many calories while exercising. Some recent research has shown that fat utilization can be enhanced by depleting muscle and liver of glycogen through high intensity interval training in the evening and then stressing the muscle in a prolonged moderate exercise about the next morning without eating any carbohydrate in between. With that goal in mind there are two approaches commonly used by athletes for training on low glycogen:
1. Exercise first thing in the morning without eating breakfast. 2. Exercise after depleting stores through a prior workout. In this case athlete would perform a high intensity workout then not eat carbohydrate until after a second workout. The two workouts would be performed approximately 10 to 12 hours apart. For example: early morning and then late evening or late evening and then the following morning.
These two methods are very different with respect to the bio energetics.
THE FIRST METHOD
Exercise first thing in the morning after an overnight fast and without breakfast. This method stresses your liver glycogen stores because only the liver uses its glycogen stores overnight. Skeletal muscle will rely on its own stores of glycogen during the morning training which it prefers anyway. The glycogen that is stored in muscles is for “locals only”. In other words, once it’s stored in muscle, it’s not capable of being transported to other areas of the body to provide fuel. Instead, it must be used at the site. When your body can’t push for one more rep, this likely means that the glycogen has been depleted in those muscles. While you exercise, your muscles may run out of their stored glycogen sooner than if the liver was supplementing them with additional glucose but muscle won’t be very compromised energetically and any stress for adaptations in fat metabolism will be small at best. Exercising in this manner you primarily stressing the liver because it can’t maintain blood glucose once it runs out of what it has left from your overnight fast. A rough estimate would be 5 to 10 miles run, depending on bed time and duration of sleep. After that you may feel the bonk because your brain isn’t getting the glucose it needs but your active muscles aren’t very stressed.
THE SECOND METHOD
Complete a high intensity workout or long run to deplete muscle of glycogen followed by a near zero carbohydrate diet for ten to twelve hours. Depleting workout forces both muscle and liver to use up their glycogen stores. During the 10 to 12 hours without carbohydrate the liver will metabolize any remaining glycogen to maintain blood glucose levels as best it can. When you start a second workout 10 to 12 hours later muscle and liver will be low in glycogen reserves. You’ll feel the same level of bunk but in this case it’s not just your brain bonking, it’s your muscle to muscle too. The muscles will be forced to rely much more on fat for fueling your exercise and they may adapt so that you rely a little more on fat in the future if you do this regularly.
It may seem that depleting muscle glycogen through prior exercise (second method) is the way to go if you want to really force muscle into a greater fat utilization, but be careful and consider the fact that the first workout places a substantial stress on muscles, it’s a depleting workout after all. Following such workout your immune system works hard to repair your muscles and it needs carbohydrate to do so. By depleting carbohydrate and not replacing it, these repair and adaptation systems are unable to function optimally. The second exercise, where the goal is to stress fat utilization, comes with consideration that the muscle is functionally compromised. Therefore the second bout should be of low or moderate intensity. Carbohydrate feeding should begin immediately upon completion of the second workout.
Endurance events are typically performed at average
intensities at roughly 60 to 70 percent of maximum heart rate. At such
intensities fat utilization is highest in most all athletes and nearly 60
percent of total energy expenditure progressing to 65 plus percent after
exercising longer than 2 hours.
A study was conducted, where after 12 hours of running at 60 to 70 percent max during a 100 km race, glycogen levels were measured to decrease by 64 percent in the thigh muscle and it was still very high in the calf muscle. These observations led to question practicality of doing anything extreme in an attempt to influence fat utilization in athletes competing in endurance events. Any shifts in fat utilization will have very little impact on performance, when compared with the many other factors, such as temperature regulation, hydration, fueling and especially mindset.
Overall exercising while carbohydrate stores are low may be something you choose to experiment with but it’s unlikely that it will lead to a large impact on your performance. Because exercising in glycogen depleted state makes it very hard to keep the intensity high, and places additional stress on your body and nervous system, you may compromise the quality of your trainings while you try to figure out what works for you. If you choose to train in a glycogen depleted state the biggest take home recommendation is to make sure that you’re actually depleting the tissue you’re trying to stress. If you want to stress skeletal muscles fat burning, exercising in the morning without breakfast won’t do it. To do so, you need to deplete your muscles with a bout of high intensity or long duration exercise and then not replace the carbs until after the next workout.
First a little bit of background. In 1853 Claude Bernard discovered that the liver secretes your body’s main carbohydrate glucose by observing that the blood flowing out of the liver of fasted or meat fed animals contained glucose while the blood flowing into it contained little. When a cell takes in glucose from the blood it is modified by the process called oxidative phosphorylation (the major cell energy provider). This locks the glycogen molecule into the cell for future use. Only the liver can secrete glucose and it has the highest concentration of it. If you ever ate cooked liver, you know that it doesn’t taste sweet at all. That’s because the glucose in it stored as glycogen and glycogen does not taste sweet.
Liver contains 100 to 120 grams of glucose as glycogen. Compared to the liver, skeletal muscle contain less concentrated glycogen. However, because there is much more skeletal muscle than liver, we can they have much grated storage capacity. In total, your skeletal muscle contains 400 to 500 grams of glycogen. One gram of glucose produces 4 kilocalories of energy. Therefore the net energy stored in the liver is about 500 calories and about 1500 calories in skeletal muscle. Comparing trained and untrained individuals, more trained people are able to store more glycogen in their muscles and liver, however the difference is little. Average athlete might store 2000-2500 calories in total as usable carbohydrate energy in muscle and liver.
Carbs is preferred source of fuel for your body. They are easy to digest and provide fast energy. However due to the limited amount of them stored on board, you can easily deplete your carb storages just within 2 hours of moderate-intensity exercise.
75% of glycogen is used by the brain and central nervous system. For athletes, eating carbohydrates is like putting the octane in their engines. Consuming carbs will increase your blood glucose levels and help to fill your tanks before training or racing.
Glycogen is either created directly from food (glycogen synthesis) or through an indirect pathway (gluconeogenesis). When you eat a meal with carbohydrates, your body releases insulin, which takes glucose from the blood for energy into the cells. When the body gets excess fuel, the glucose molecules are linked together in a chain, producing longer units, called glycogen. As mentioned before, your body can store a limited amount of glycogen before it gets converted to fat.
FAT or CARBOHYDRATES for FUEL?
Adequate glycogen storage in your body is the key for optimal performance. Exercising at low and moderate intensities your body uses both: muscle glycogen and fat. The higher exercise intensity, the more carbohydrates are required to fuel your engine. Below is an example of how your body shifts from using fat for fuel towards running purely on carbohydrates. This is my VO2 test, conducted in professional laboratory:
Red column on a left is my heart rate (HR), measured in beasts per minute (bpm). Two columns on the right show the carbohydrate (CH) and fat (F) utilization related to heart rate. What we see here is that at lower intensities (<111 bpm) my body works primarily on fat as fuel. However the higher intensity of the exercise becomes, the faster my heart beats, more carbohydrates are being burned. Approximately at 111 bpm my body’s engine works as a pure hybrid, utilizing about the same amount of fat and carbohydrates for fuel. As the intensity increases, less and less fat is being used to fuel the exercise, until my body shifts completely to using carbs for fuel at 163 bpm.
Maintaining optimal carbohydrate stores is essential not only for good performance, but for protecting your health. Your nervous system, and brain primarily use carbohydrates for fuel. When glycogen stores get depleted and blood sugar level is low your brain will do anything to stop you from continuing exercising. You “hit the wall”. Pack your bags buddy, cause you are not going anywhere at this point. Consider yourself lucky if you finish the race.
What restores glycogen?
When the body experiences glycogen stores depletion, it takes about 24 hours to refuel (i.e., to ingest, digest, and convert food into glycogen). It is understood that carb-containing foods will help replenish stores the most efficiently. When food is digested, glucose is created. The pancreas recognizes this and produces insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of glucose present in the bloodstream. Any glucose that isn’t used at this time is directed to the liver to be stored as glycogen.
There are two commonly used methods among athletes to store large amounts of glycogen is through carb loading and “training low”. We will get into these methods more in depth later in a book.
Past 4-5 weeks were hell. The taper began 5 days ago and my training volume has been decreased. Having failed so many times I am not looking forward to this workout. The race is in one weeks, but I am not excited, I am not confident. Not in a right place mentally or physically. I made an effort to eat more carbohydrates than usual two days prior to this workout. Staffed myself with oatmeal and quinoa right before bed on Thursday night, continued eating quinoa and oatmeal the entire day on Friday. Little to no fat or protein, carbs only.
Lessons Learned Last Workout:
Reduce fiber intake 1-2 days before
Two water bottles (1400 mL) on the bike last only for about 1 hour (30 km). During the race I will need to make 2stops to refuel at aid stations (First at 33 km; Second at 58 km)
Highway 1 that goes north has nothing besides hills… and more hills. Good to work on hill climbing; Not good for speed work. Maybe riding West to East or vise-versa will have less hills.
A brick workout is any workout that combines swimming, biking and/or running into a single session. The most common example is the bike to run brick, where you go for a run immediately after finishing a bike ride.
Formula: min 0.25 – max 0.33 grams carbs per hour x body weight (lbs) Or min 1 calorie/hour x body weight (lbs)
The main focus is to maintain adequate glycogen levels in muscles and liver to delay fatigue and prevent “bonking“.
0.33 g/h x 150 lb x 2.25 (2hr 15min) = 111 grams of carbs required.
TheGOAL: prevent loosing more than 2% (1.5 kg) of body weight in fluids.
What do I need? Sweat Rate: 1400 mL x 2.25 = 3150 mL Sodium: 0.5 x 3150 = 1575 mg Carbs: (X / 4125) x 100 = 5% -> X=0.05 x 4125= 206 g of carbs!?
Pre-weight: 69.9 kg Post-weight: 68.7 kg Liquids consumed: 1950mL (Left one bottle) Weight lost: 3.150 kg Sweat Rate: 1260 mL/hour
Total weigh loss: 3.150 kg (4%)
Not good 2% is maximum loss allowed
Felt Strong! Holding 210 Watts felt easy. 300 Watts for a minute were easy as well. Even knowing I was planning on fueling with protein bars, it felt too easy to inject extra carbs to fuel the workout. Therefore I did not eat anything and completed the ride purely on very little sugar from isotonic drinks.
Felt Strong! Experiencing really bad digestive issues previously. I was going into the run worried they will come back. However I did not have diarrhea or even the slightest symptoms of it. Thats a Win!
I reduced fiber intake two days before workout (starting Thursday evening) this helped to prevent GI issues. Also, NO FRUCTOSE and supplements or foods containing high concentrations on VITAMIN C.
“Carb Loading”worked. Making emphasis on eating more complex carbs such as quinoa, sweet potatoes and oats, two days before filled up my glycogen stores and made me feel strong. I even didn’t need to fuel during the ride. Also glycogen do not get filled up overnight. It took me about 36-48 hours to begin feeling better.
It can not continue like this What can I change? Where was the mistake made? At this point I believe it’s fair to say that
my preparation for IronMan 70.3 Marbella has failed
For the past month I was constantly failing on my bike workouts. Such failures pushed my confidence to the lowest point it ever been. I feel insecure and begin developing negative associations with cycling. Before I was excited to see a bike workout on my schedule, now I am not looking forward to it. I approach the bike with fear of physical and emotional pain caused by self judgment and mental fatigue. It’s not a plato, it’s degradation. There is something very wrong either with my Training Program or Recovery (Nutrition, Sleep, Health) or all together. I keep on hitting the wall over and over again. I slowly kill my passion for sport and self-confidence. I reached a peak of performance 3-4 weeks ago and now it’s falling down a cliff.
Why do I train so much? Where is the FUN? How are you feeling, how are you performing? Does the training data reflect that? Is there is a correlation between objective and subjective measures?
My hobby has become my second job. Every workout had to be perfectly executed. Pass or Fail. I approached every big workout was with anxiety and worries. Pass or fail, win or loose.
“Analysis paralysis“. I got drawn into obsessing over daily workout metrics. Never look at individual session to measure the level of your improvement. Stop seeking for validation of performance improvement from each daily session. Great performances does not require perfect training! No one has perfect training!