Intermittent Fasting, Lab Testing, Why Sweetspot is Hard & More – Ask a Cycling a Coach 194


IT has been shown with mice:
Mizushima N, Yamamoto A, Matsui M, Yoshimori T, Ohsumi Y. In vivo analysis of autophagy in response to nutrient starvation using transgenic mice expressing a fluorescent autophagosome marker. Mol Biol Cell. 2004;15:1101–1111.


When I have tougher rides (such as Kaweah +2 this morning). Big bowl of Vector cereal about 3 hours before the ride (around 700 calories), then two bottles with Gatorade during the ride (around 240 calories).

I can do this because I work from home as an independent consultant. Get up around 6:15am, take my kids to daycare around 7:45am, start my workout at 9am.


Does that mean mid-week endurance rides are fair game or does low intensity mean active recovery?


I appreciate the insight. Are you referring specifically to autophagy or the whole relationship between insulin and fat burning? I understand autophagy is more a theory but I was under the impression with Dr. Fung’s experience and other studies that the insulin is one of the keys to fat burning vs fat storing.

Apart from autophagy, I feel like this graph illustrates how the relationship between fasting, time and insulin can help switch your body from using and storing sugar to using and burning fat.


@Nate Great Company and Great Podcast!
Something has been rubbing me the wrong way (especially on this episode) is your understanding of USAC categories. I was cringing very hard and I’m assuming I’m not the only one.
Cat4’s are literally Cat5’s who did 10 races, a 4/5 field won’t be easier than a 4 field.
As for other people’s fitness within categories, it’s a wash (you’ll have a cat1 mtbiker in the bunch and on the opposite spectrum you’ll have a cat4-4-life type rider).
Categories are based by results, which (besides emerging talents) is reflected by experience.
Don’t expect to ride cat4’s off your wheel just because they are 4’s (everyone is strong for a 30min race)
As far as slowing down, I’ve noticed that in the higher categories that slow down time is further and further from the finish (maybe 3-4 to go) whereas in 4/5’s it could be within 1-2 to go.
Good luck on snagging cat3 point’s!


We’ve also cured the cancer we caused in mice…


Also in humans…


Yes - I’ve tried both Bob’s Red Mill plain and Tera’s plain. I like both - easy to dissolve. Tera’s also offers vanilla and chocolate flavors, but I find the stevia messes with my gut. The plain is tasty enough for me! Think both are a little pricey, but worth it - IMO - given the lack of additives. There are plenty of great recovery drinks out there too - best to find what tastes good after a workout and works for your budget!


Thank you! The struggle is real. For all of us. I’ve trained and raced with Olympians and World Champions, and I can tell you - they face the same struggles and doubts as all of us. Truly. I think people feel like they have to live up to a certain image, though, which can make it hard to talk about things that could be perceived as weaknesses. I can tell you from firsthand experience, though: these are not weaknesses. These are human challenges we all face, which make the striving and progress meaningful. Thank you for that wonderful compliment!


Thank you! :smiley:


Thank you for that lovely compliment, and even more so for sharing how you crushed Darwin! So awesome!


I think the big thing is to shift your body from sympathetic to parasympathetic at least for a short while following the first race. Assuming you’re topped up on glycogen before the first race (sounds like you probably are given fueling strategy and assuming you didn’t tank yourself the day before), you’re not going to burn through all your glycogen in a 30min race (especially given you’re taking in a gel then). That said, you’ll have heightened insulin sensitivity following that effort (assuming you’re taking those preview laps pretty chill), so you might as well take advantage to shore up your fuel stores before the second race. I’d have more CHO than a banana in the first 30min post-race. That could be a recovery shake (maybe half of a usual dose, if a full one feels like too much) or a slightly more concentrated form of your usual drink mix (to increase CHO intake). I think the key is to make sure you get plenty of CHO into your system leading into the 1/2/3 race (hydration is key too - but it sounds like you’re on top of that), since that will be a high intensity, high-CHO-burning effort. You don’t necessarily need a recovery shake after the first 30min race, but I think you’ll feel better with more than a banana. Probably more important is your mental state during that hour. I think you’ll get a lot out of unplugging mentally (a good playlist could help with this), and really framing those preview laps as “play,” making them fun to the point of goofy. This will help your central nervous system shift into parasympathetic at least for a short while, which will help your focus in the second race, when you’re back into sympathetic. Try a few different playlists, mantras, and fueling strategies between races and figure out what works best! Have fun with it. Hope this helps!


I had the same concern when my nutritionist recommended this strategy to me. First of all - everyone has different insulin sensitivities, so the time-to-insulin-spike will be different for each individual. That said, when I do a training session, my heart rate gets up to an aerobic zone (~130bpm) quickly (within less than five minutes). I’m not attacking from the gun, nor am I soft-pedaling. For me, this means I don’t experience an insulin spike, so long as I start pedaling with reasonable effort within about ten minutes of taking the pre-workout gel. But that’s me. Others may have different insulin sensitivities, or may soft-pedal longer at the start of a workout. I try to be pretty focused with my training sessions, so my insulin response is quickly mitigated by the aerobic effort (most especially for sessions done on the trainer). What I wanted to convey by sharing this anecdote is that it is important to eat early and often when training. It really makes a big difference. Once you’re pedaling and once your heart rate elevates, you need to let your brain know that you have plenty of fuel to cover the effort you’re putting forth. I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone to take a pre-workout gel. I do think it can be helpful especially, for example, in races where you know the action will go from the gun (i.e. criteriums or road races where positioning is important early). But again, each individual needs to experiment with what works for him or her. I don’t want to think about fueling for the first fast-and-furious laps of a crit, so a gel on the start line helps me with that. I’ve also experimented with a pre-ride gel in training and know that it works for me. Trial and error always involves some error, so get comfortable with the fact that not everything you try will work for you. But the insight you gain will be worth the errors in the process. If you bring your effort up pretty quickly in your workout to a reasonable aerobic effort (e.g. mid- to high-Z1, if using a 0-5 zone scale), a gel taken <10min pre-workout likely won’t cause an insulin spike. But if you take longer to ease into your workout, maybe it’s best to save that first gel for 10-20 minutes into your ride. Also, I will say that a few times I took a gel ten minutes before I planned to ride, only to have to repair a flat tire or answer a phone call (or to discover the race start had been delayed), which threw me off my timing. It happens. The important thing, though, is to try a few different strategies to see what works for you.


Thanks for the advice! I will definitely up my carb intake with a stronger drink mix or adding another gel/chews. Maybe a waffle? Most of my “down time” is entertaining kids or cleaning my bike (or showing them how to do it)! I will try to chill out a bit too:)


Mix of products, here are the built in ratios:

SiS Beta Fuel

Then I’ll do it myself with a mix of honey stringer chews (They are 1:1), sis gels and scratch. Or I’ll throw in clif block chews, but I’m not sure what their ratio is, I think it’s 2:1.


I understand all of this. I still think a cat 4 race is faster than a 4/5 race. Even doing 10 races means you probably have more commitment to the sport.

My power file from the weekend shows that the 4/5 race was the slowest race I did over the two days.


Interesting regarding intermittent fasting. I got sucked in after reading Fung and watching some of his videos online. I think what stood out for me was his dismissal of exercise to lose weight – the example provided was 45 minutes of walking burning around 104 calories, and how this is only 4% TDEE. At this point, I figured his advice is more for overweight/obese people or those who don’t train regularly.

Today’s workout for me was Tallac +3, which was ~1000 calories… Which is far more substantial (around 50% of my TDEE, possibly more!) than 45 minutes of walking.

Still though, I am somewhat curious to try intermittent fasting. I’m wondering how much harm there is in trying 16:8… I already ‘fast’ (to use the term loosely) my workouts. I eat dinner, sleep, then do all my workouts in a fasted state in the morning.

A 16:8 fast would just mean that instead of eating immediately after working out, I would be waiting until around 2 PM (assuming I stop consuming food 10 PM the previous night – 8 PM would possibly be more sensible, meaning I can eat at 12PM). Would this be hugely detrimental?.. Seems like it may be worth trying, although a 16:8 fast, from what I’ve read, seems introductory for those who haven’t fasted before, so may not provide much/any benefit.

I’m on a vegan, largely whole foods diet and have been eating reasonably healthy for a couple of years now. Prior to this, in my university days, I consumed lots of soda, refined carbs, etc – managing to get my weight to 93 kg at one point back in 2012. I’m now at 72kg (167cm tall), although would like to get my weight down a little more.

I am not familiar with the time frame or prevalence of insulin resistance, so was wondering if, despite my greatly improved diet, my insulin levels may still be high, and I may benefit from fasting. I was kinda wondering if I may have some residual insulin resistance considering a large portion of my life, up until a couple of years ago, was quite unhealthy…


This is what I tried to get across in the podcast. He’s got a solution for the common obese person.

We are not them! You can tell us to sit on a bike for 90 minutes and suffer the entire time and we’ll thank you for it…you’ll even pay someone for the opportunity to do it!

Getting the regular population to take daily 20 minute walks is hard to do.

If anything we want to change our nutrition and sleep so we can train more! We’d like to burn 2000 calories per ride. We want a way to add an extra hard day per week without burning out.

If we optimize for performance, our body composition will follow. The only small diet change we need to do is focus on fruit, veggies and whole grains.


Great Padcast again guys…and gal! :blush:

Just a note on @Jonathan 's comment about Cross Training on a Dirt Bike… Personally I find that Enduro riding on a dirtbike for a couple of hours helps me so much in my MTB riding. Just the movement on the bike, the commitment getting up climbs, riding down rock gullies, balancing on the pegs, shifting weight to suit the conditions and most importantly for me… choosing lines in a fast changing environment and looking up and ahead adds massive value to my MTB Skills. Not to mention that during a proper Enduro ride my Heart Rate is also pretty high for a couple of hours and you sweat a TON! So you are getting a very good aerobic workout as well. I do not do any proper motocross riding, just enduro, but I know that a few laps on a 450 round a MX track is one of the toughest workouts you will ever do!
Of course, the risk is so much higher on a dirt bike… but once you throw a leg over that KTM300 and you smell the 2-Stroke fumes… man,… it is all worth it!! BAAAAAAARP… :fist:t3::fist:t3::fist:t3:

ps… @Jonathan, I know you come from a MX and Dirtbike backgound and I am sure it has helped you a lot in MTB…:wink:

Awesome podcast again THANKS!!


I’m going to try taking your high carb advice to take the edge off harder workouts now I’m about to move into build… Thinking crumpets or English muffins with golden syrup a few minutes before