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Hitting the Hunger Wall (Physiological “Starvation Mode”?)

The past few days, I’ve been hot all night, indicating a high level of metabolic activity. I haven’t been able to maintain a deficit for 3 days running; the demand is there and some hard rides apparently insist on recovery calories. So I have complied for a few days, figuring that this means remodeling is going on (fat burned being replaced by muscle along with muscle repair).

Indeed, yesterday’s visit to 3DBikeFit for one final minor tweak the fitter noted that I had lost some weight (meaning a leaner look). And I can see that. So the effort is working, even if I am disappointed in the absolute weight, which compared to weight 3 weeks prior to last year’s race is 8 pounds higher. But worth noting is that last year it took a long time to break through certain “set point” barriers.

While the actual weight is not budging much, there definitely there have been changes, including a marked increase in strength (power) and tolerance of a much heavier training load. One has to be patient (a patient patient?), as the physiological remodeling proceeds at its own pace.

Still, the latest hint is a new low and what one must look for in a weight graph is lower highs and lower lows, so a new low (177.2 on July 29) might portend one of those multi-pound drops over a week or two that I’ve seen before.

Starvation mode?

But one suggestion was made which I might heed: I had not been eating much or at all on my rides (no sense of needing to), and the suggestion is that this puts the body in starvation mode, in effect making it use calories more sparingly.

Whether or not this is true in my particular situation at present (I think it is likely), a long race like the Everest Challenge demands a rigorous attention to hydration and calories in order to make it through both days. So I will resume my old habits of taking 200-250 calories per hour of riding along with ~1 liter of fluid per hour.

Steady caloric deficit vs body weight
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