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International level cyclist performance going down due to becoming vegan?

Hi guys,

Im an international level cyclist, vegan for 5 months. Im 5.6 and my weight is 58kilo. At august my weight was 62 and i managed to drop it down to 59 till October due to heavily restricting food. Then I became 100% fruit based vegan and ate as much as I wanted. At first everything was fine. My climbing became really great. NOBODY can drop me in my team, and we got some really strong climbers. Then my weight became 58 and remained this way. Im really low on the sodium also and Im like 85% 7% 8% most of the time. Before I was finishing top 15 most of the time and sometimes podium places and top 5's. Now its hard for me to get a top 15 (The season only started) I NEVER GET DROPED UPHILL (only if i bonk or something witch did happened once) I GET DROPED IN THE CROSSWINDS AND WORST - DOWNHILL!! that never happened to me before... all my friend say I lost weight and I look really skinny even in my face! even the national coach said I look really really skinny... I try to consume only raw fruits and vegi's  and some steamed rice and I really eat as much as I can, I dont gain weight and I dont lose more... some of the guys say that my body need to get used to the new weight and it will take time... any thoughts guys??  

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Weight is very important when going downhill. I remember cycling with my father, who was 30kg more than me: I had to pedal like crazy to *try* to catch him in slopes, when he just had to let his bike go its way.

Maybe try to add some weight on your bike when you reach uphill, a few litters of water/juice could help !?

Hi Matan,

Are you logging all your food/drink/supplement intake into cronometer.com or similar? You may have to eat more calories, or maybe you are not getting enough sodium? You could need more greens and veggies for that. What might be good to do is log a bunch of "faux days" on past dates. Look back very critically and try to remember what you would eat & drink typically and as best you can, enter that food for several "faux days". Also, enter the amount of sleep you'd typically get and training. Be sure to include any supplements, etc you may have been taking also!

Then enter some days now, all the same details, but of course the food is different. Now look at the nutritional profile and see if there's any big differences. Calories could be lower, minerals could possibly be lower too if you aren't eating enough.

If your performance is suffering, the last thing you want to do is start jumping all over the place nutritionally without data to back up your nutritional moves! You need to get some good data and then start changing variables one by one to see what really makes a difference for you. So yeah don't try a bunch of stuff all at once to try desperately to regain what you had before. Really drill down into it in detail so you can SURPASS where you were before!

I'd personally start with adding more calories and drinking more water. Maybe even just with more water. If you aren't getting as much sodium, you probably are not hanging onto water as much and knowing how just getting a quick drink from the fountain at the gym can make a huge difference for my next set, I'd pay attention to the water. Then that will lead you to really pay close attention to your minerals too, because if your electrolytes get out of balance, that can really not just drop, but slam you hard!

I'll be interested to see what some of the other bikers on here recommend, they may have some even better, very specific tips for you.

man... one thing i notice is that i get only 3-4k cals a day... its just so hard to eat more! i feel too full and like i want to vomit if i eat more... I also notice that my sodium is like 350-400 a day, is that enough?

Some suggestions:

Eat more! I'm an amateur athlete, and I eat as much as you do...

Maybe eat some more fats (after training, don't try to eat e.g. avocado before you start to work out)? nothing wrong with some fats in reasonable quantities. also helps to get in enough calories. I like my nuts, avocado's and peanuts....

Arnstein does take salt during his ultra runs, to keep his sodium intake high enough. there are i believe more 811 ultra runners who do so as well i believe i can remember. maybe something to take into account if you bike a lot in the heat....

This diet does work, it did improve my performance a lot.... even at my age (40 plus) 

don't forget plenty of greens as well

I just want to stress that it is an important distinction to remember, mike only does salt pills in ultra marathons and only because he does not have the support/crew to keep him loaded with fresh raw fuel and high sodium foods like celery and melons.  He first tried it without salt pills and got hyponatraemia, not everyone gets hyponatraemia or needs salt pills.  I would only do salt pills as a last resort when you know you are doing everything else optimally and have no other alternative available.

It is quite clear that you not consuming enough calories. You need at least to double that, eat more dates, and may also add some date or other more natural sugars into your drinks during the race/training, also can drink some good quality grape juice. Even Durian Rider during his Strava challenge consumed sugar.

Also you need to check  your blood, make sure your Hb, RBC and other markers are ok.

Regarding sodium, again I think you may need to take a bit of salt or sodium tablet, because you sweat a lot and therefore lose a lot of electrolytes. If you have a chance ask your team docs to take a blood test after race/hard long training and see if you have hyponatraemia(low sodium level), if yes you definitely need to take some, as hyponatraemia is dangerous.

Good luck, I hope once you carb up, your results will improve and will be nice to hear about well-performing professional vegan.

I really understand what you mean, be careful not to fall into burnout,

15 years ago i was a competitive Mountain biker athlete, i was training

like crazy, and then i decide to cut my proteins(meat at that time) and

everything fall apart i did not know about greens, for two years it was almost

impossible to train i had this burning acid lactic feeling all over my body,

finally it took me 5 years to recover  and when your are obsess

by endurance sport its really hard.

I see two possible reasons for you, your body is trying to adapt to a raw food

diet, i also lost allot of weight when i started 5 years ago.

Or you need more proteins from leafy greens(no powder), you have to experiment, be your

own guru.

As you know oxygen is the most important thing for an athlète and chlorophylle 

from greens are very similar to human blood cells.

Raw food change my life, i have more energy than ever before, 

 Good luck Matan

if you are a top level cyclist your caloric output will be really really high.. supplement with rice and maybe a bit more fat could help.. 

one athlete's daily meal plan and schedule:

80/10/10 athlete's daily routine

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