Paleo + Chronic Mountain Biking?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created January 11, 2012 at 12:23 PM

I just started Paleo and am on about day 4. I'm not in it for weight loss (cur. 170lb and 6'3"), I just want to feel better throughout the day and experience the difference. I'm a non-racer mountain biker and I ride often:

After work about 4 days a week, 10-12 miles, 8-11mph pace (easy to moderate terrain). This used to involve chowing down a Clif Bar before each ride.

Longer weekend rides in the mountains of NC can go up to 25 miles with strenuous and lengthy climbing and can last around 3 hours. I usually have one every weekend :)

I'm on the fence about getting 'Paleo for Athletes' as this seems to be for much more endurance oriented sports (which might apply to a few of my weekend rides, but not my week day rides).

I haven't been able to ride since being on the diet w/ rain around here but plan on taking it easy the first few weeks to see how it feels.

So my questions:

-How should I fuel up for the weekday rides, or should I be able to perform well on the normal diet? How to fuel up and what to bring on longer weekend rides?

-What about Recovery? anything I should eat after a ride? I often push myself to the max and like to have something to nosh on when I get back to the car.

-Any suggestions from other bikers or those who have a similar frequent exercise regimen?

Thanks in advance!!



on January 12, 2012
at 03:02 PM

Have fun - I'd agree with the others, wait and see if you struggle before deciding you need to do anything different.

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4 Answers


on January 11, 2012
at 02:54 PM

Hey man. I race elite mountain biker so I kind of know where you are coming from. I had some of the same questions when I started. Originally I ate a high carb diet consisting of pasta with little fat or vegetables. And I payed for it, I felt like crap and got sick a lot. I started with the paleo diet for athletes as it tought me how to refuel and time my macro nutrient ratios. My diet has now evolved since then and is kind of an addiction. And I am the 6-2.5' and 170! Ill try and answer your questions.

For your weekday rides you should not have to change your diet before the ride. No cliff bar required. 11 miles isn't too long that you will need extra carbs. If your worried about glycogen stores then you can add some carbs like rice to your meals after words.

For recovery, if your going all out and exhausting your muscle glycogen then it's allright and even good to have a high glycemic drink! For me, after completing a race or very intence workout like todays will be, I have a scoop of whey isolate with about 55grams of 50/50 glucose/maltodextrin mix. (The amount of sugar depends on the ride, I calculate everything). But you can also go with a banana or rice with some meat. Thats my backup.

Besides that the only time you really need to switch your diet up is maybe during the ride if you take a banana or whatever and after your ride. But only have a high glycemic meal if you truely need it and need to recover fast. Keep you carbs cals around 30% on hard days and closer to 20% on easy days and I find I feel amazing and recover fast. Hopefully that helps a bit and good luck. I know one month after switching my diet I got me best race result ever. You should feel great after a couple weeks and will have a ton more enrgy on the bike. Happy Trails! :)



on January 11, 2012
at 02:50 PM

  • for 1 hour rides, you really should be fine with normal meals, i.e. meat/eggs/vegetables, etc. AFter the ride you may wanna have a banana/apple/sweet potato/maybe white rice, along with some protein. I like sardines as you get a ton of omega 3s along with the protein

  • for long rides you'd probably do best with carbs before and after. I bring either a banana, or a homemade bar which winds up looking something like a lara bar but with coconut oil and raw honey.

You can search on this site for 'cyclists' and find a lot of great answers.



on January 12, 2012
at 01:00 PM

Thanks guys - the sun is out and I'm looking forward to giving it a go.



on January 12, 2012
at 03:02 PM

Have fun - I'd agree with the others, wait and see if you struggle before deciding you need to do anything different.



on January 11, 2012
at 03:45 PM

Sounds perfectly primal to me.

Your 1 hour rides are part of "moving slowly a lot". Normal paleo diet is fine, as others have said...just don't push the pace too hard to start with while your body adjusts to being fuelled by something other than glucose from the carbs.

Longer rides sound like a combination of "play" and "sprint occasionally" and may require some additional "safe starches" rice or sweet potato on ride days - but I'd recommend only to add them if you really, really (no I mean really) need them. I occasionally fry up some sweet potatoes in some good fat and throw them in my rucksack to take with me on longer jaunts (obviously in some sort of robust container, otherwise they do tend to ruin the rucksack - learned that one from bitter experience).

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