Monday, June 13, 2011

Primal Cycling In A Carboholic Sport

If there are sports that are synonymous with high carb diets they are cycling, endurance running and multisport competitions such as triathlons.Spectators and athletes alike know that these sports require discipline and fitness but also carbohydrates to fuel performance....in fact it is considered essential.

Whereas I cannot truly speak from experience about endurance running or multisports, other than competing in an occasional duathlon, I can speak from the cycling point of view. I question the belief that high carb diets are the cornerstone of cycling nutrition and performance.

As an amateur club cyclist and racer participating in the 2011 road racing schedule I continue to successfully maintain a low carb WOE within the Paleo/Primal school of thought. Needless to say I still get those "looks" from other competitors, club mates and associates. You know the look I am refering too....that mixture of pity, fear and awe all us "paleo" enthusiasts deal with on a daily basis. Pity in that we are obviously deluded and not of sound judgement. Fear that we are indeed "crazy" by questioning the accepted nutritional guidelines of the experts.  In awe that we are stubbornly determined enough to stick to our chosen WOE despite criticisms, peer pressure and ridicule.

I have also been self experimenting with the concepts of intermittent fasting and fasted training of late and that has only increased the questionable looks I gather from others. Sometimes I get the head shake....a denial of my way of eating. Sometimes I get the blank stare....when pity, fear and awe suddenly gets trumped by an incomprehension of the science. To many it doesn`t matter that I am leaner and have lost weight. It doesn`t matter that I am stronger. It doesn`t matter that I am faster. It doesn't matter I can train in a fasted state. Low carb and competitive cycling just doesn't mix. I beg to differ.

I`m sure most folk simply adhere to the old proverb..."if it isn`t broke then don't fix it." and cannot quite understand the need (or reason) of thinking outside the "dietary" box. It is all about personal choice, expectations and wellness and I choose to question the current status quo in  the pursuit of improved health and fitness. The widely accepted (current) dietary model does not work for me so that has been my impetus for change.

So I remain a primal cyclist in a carboholic sport. I no longer fear the dreaded (carbohydrate) "bonk" - get thee behind me. I no longer "graze" myself into a carbohydrate haze - it holds no power. I no longer "carb up" before training rides or competitions - I seek balanced nutrition or ride fasted.Training is now about quality over quantity - I no longer log unproductive kilometres for the sake of numbers on a cycle computer. I will not preach my choices but will elaborate upon them when asked. I will not condemn the choices of others but will encourage change. At the end of the day(or ride) I can only hope my legs have done the talking.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

You'll notice he said nothing about his high performance or race wins.

George said...

Hehehe....it's all posted under race reports if you are so inclined. Two races(so far)this year and two personal bests all while training less?.Coincidence?