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LIVESTRONG Training Tip #2 – Avoiding the Bonk

August 6, 2009

Have you ever bonked?

Not fun right?  So what is a bonk? A bonk
happens when your bodies glycogen stores
are depleted in the liver and muscles.  As
a result your body becomes fatigued and
you loose energy.  Have you ever felt like
you just couldn’t turn over the easiest gear
on the flattest stretch of road?  You probably
bonked or had a food flat.

What do I eat, when and how often?

When training it is important to plan your meals around your training schedule.  A solid meal with plenty of carbs is recommended the night before a hard workout in order to top of your energy stores.  In the morning you should pick foods with a low glycemic index for your pre-ride meal.  Pastas, grains, rice, oatmeal, pancakes or even sweet potatoes.  Plan on eating 2-3 hours before your longer workouts.  This will allow your body time to properly digest.

The meal should be low in fat and protein.  Fat and protein are harder to digest and this will tie up the resources needed to fuel your legs for your workout.  Energy gels, syrup and white breads are not recommended pre-ride.  Ingesting sugars pre-ride will increase your glucose concentrations forcing your body to produce insulin.  The insulin will block your ability to use fat for energy.

During your ride you will be burning those calories and converting them into energy.  Like an old coal engine you will need to continue to “feed the fire” if you hope to avoid the dredded food flat.  A general rule is 200 – 300 calories per hour and 1 – 1.5 bottles of water an hour(maybe a little more in the Texas summers).  A good rule of thumb is to consume your bars and other solids the first half of your ride and then gels during the second half.  Typically, you will want to wait an hour before ingesting any food.

After your ride you should try and get in approximately .5g of carbohydrates per pound of body weight within 40 minutes of finishing. This can be done with a recovery drink or with foods rich in carbs.  Be sure and get .5-.8g of protein per pound of body weight daily. Protein is what helps our bodies maintain, repair and grow body tissue.

Besides the references below our resident Chemist Mr. Brant Speed is wealth of knowledge concerning performance nutrition.

1 .Campbell, W. W., et al. 1995. Effects of resistance training and dietary protein intake on protein metabolism in older adults.

2. Exercise physiology: energy, nutrition, and human performance By William D. McArdle, Frank I. Katch, Victor L. Katch Edition: 6

3. Beat the Bonk by Nick Morgan

4. Photo credit: Paul Smith

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One Comment leave one →
  1. SAH permalink
    July 1, 2013 4:25 am

    pancakes & pasta are not low GI.

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