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Form & Fitness Q & A
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Fitness questions and answers for February 28, 2005
The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel
Carrie Cheadle, MA (www.carriecheadle.com)
is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping
athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie
specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track
racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology
from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology
from John F. Kennedy University.
Dave Palese (www.davepalese.com)
is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16
years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities
from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl,
daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.
Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of
Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before
obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000.
Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows,
he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins,
CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural,
urgent care, inpatient and the like.
Fiona Lockhart (www.trainright.com)
is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting
(Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association
(Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy
for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports
Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in
the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10
years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.
Eddie Monnier (www.velo-fit.com)
is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds
undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy
from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.
Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track,
road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with
and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from
David Fleckenstein, MPT (www.physiopt.com)
is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included
World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes.
He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's
degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual
medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization
musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.
Since 1986 Steve Hogg (www.cyclefitcentre.com)
has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider
positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders
from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable
cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of
the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the
Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick
Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica
Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.
Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular
Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University
and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University
of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency
on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated
changes in menstrual function on bone health.
Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling
competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion.
Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.
Dario Fredrick (www.wholeathlete.com)
is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a
former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in
exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.
Scott Saifer (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and
has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years
of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.
Kendra Wenzel (www.wenzelcoaching.com)
is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching
experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.
Richard Stern (www.cyclecoach.com)
is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association
of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been
professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels
from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching
with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive
cyclist for 20 years
Andy Bloomer (www.cyclecoach.com)
is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training.
He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and
a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES).
In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports
Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered
training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past
4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.
Kim Morrow (www.elitefitcoach.com)
has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified
USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion,
and a Fitness Professional.
Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United
States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns
a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around
the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find
Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational
purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual
athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews,
you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before
beginning any exercise program.
Peroneal tendon strain
Urinating after exercise
Tightness just above kneecap
Seated vs Non-seated climbing
I am 27 years old and have cycled for fitness and recreation on a weekly basis,
injury-free since my early teens. I am 11.5 stone and 5'10.5" tall. I started
experiencing knee pain last October after training on a newly purchased turbo
trainer, set up with my road bike. I think I over-did the intensity somewhat.
My road pedals are Look Arc, (and as I have just discovered, the cleats are
worn by about 3-4mm on the outer side).
The pain started some hours after riding on the trainer for only my third time
- a session of about 40 mins. When it hadn't eased after 2-3 weeks, I had physio
treatment on both knees in November and was told I had fallen arches in my feet,
which caused a greater than normal force to be transmitted through my medial,
or inner cartilage, causing it to become inflamed. It was particularly sore
when I bent the knees into their end range, i.e. heel to backside. There were
no signs of any other damage to cartilage, ligaments, tendons or other soft
tissue. Following four or five treatments, involving traction, laser, daily
leg strengthening exercises, and the use of orthotic insoles for walking and
biking, the problem improved and I was able to bend knees fully without pain.
I began slowly building up weekly rides on my mountain bike (with SPD pedals
and shoes) from 30 - 40 minutes, then 50- 60 minutes, and things were going
well until January, when after a walk of about 90mins, I had a dull aching around
the knees - due to, I think, wearing additional insoles over my orthotics which
arched the feet a bit too much. This aching persisted for 2-3 weeks, however,
there was no pain in the end range of knee movement as had been previously.
I have since had around 5-6 weekly treatments from the Physiotherapist using
acupuncture and light traction. I kept off the bike in this period, but did
go swimming twice a week for the last 3-4 weeks, which I felt helped. Exactly
one week ago I went for a light to moderate 40-minute mountain bike ride on
a fairly flat course, after which the acute end range pain returned in the medial
cartilage (although there hasn't been any dull aching or other pain - I had
been riding in fairly low gears over this time since the first injury, with
high cadence). This pain has eased though, over the past week, with strengthening
exercises (hamstring curls, mini squats, calf raises, and hip hitches) and quad
stretches into the end range of knee movement. I had an illness just over a
year ago, which saw me lose about a stone and a half, (mostly muscle) in a fortnight.
I have since regained about 80-90% of leg muscle mass by weekly swimming and
cycling and my overall weight is as it was pre-illness.
Is there any reason you can think of for this seemingly recurrent problem?
Is there any specific bike set up or exercise you can recommend? I have looked
at my pedalling and it seems linear enough, though I noticed my right foot toes
out slightly, the ball of my foot is directly over the pedal axle, and centre
of knee joint is directly over the pedal axle also. I dropped my saddle by about
8mm (as it was over the recommended 9% greater than inside leg length (which
is 812mm, 32 in.). Looking in the mirror whilst pedalling at a light resistance
on the turbo trainer, I think this keeps the pedal stroke more linear at the
bottom. I haven't tried it out on the roads yet, but I hope it will help.
What could be causing this knee problem, and what else should I be doing?
Steve Hogg Replies
I would not hazard a guess about why your problem is recurring without seeing
you in person. However you seem to have positioned your seat height, seat
setback and cleat position by ' the book'. My experience is that this causes
problems or exacerbates problems for many riders. Have a look at these posts:
Once you have digested that and tried the suggestions, please get back to
me and let me know what is happening.
Peroneal tendon strain
I am a 34-year-old male that recently got into road biking. I have been riding
mountain bikes for eight years without a single problem. I picked up a road
bike several months ago to do some additional training and notice that I have
been getting peroneal tendon strain on my left leg while riding. It doesn't
necessarily hurt very bad but it is uncomfortable on longer rides - it feels
like it is straining right around the lateral malleolus as it bends around the
ankle to the foot. I have tried various seat adjustments, seatpost height adjustments,
orthotics, and orthotics with lateral wedging, with no change. I ride a 56cm
Specialized Allez and have an inseam of 31.75 in. Thanks for your help.
Yong S. Chae
Steve Hogg Replies
You have tried a number of solutions in a general sense that I would suggest
already. The one thing that comes to mind is to enquire whether there is any
feeling on the affected side - of being less powerful with that leg.
If because of a leg length discrepancy measurable or functional, a rider
has trouble reaching the bottom of the stroke, one compensation that can happen,
though rarely, is to roll the ankle outward to reach that little bit further.
Usually the top of the pedal platform is worn or abraded more on the outer
surface from this. Have a look at your pedals and see if that is the case.
The other thing that may play a part is cleat position. Check the post http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=2004/letters07-26#Cleat.
If you set your cleats like that I would be interested to hear what happens.
If all else fails, is there anyone in your locality that has a reputation
for rider positioning to solve injury problems? If so, give them a try. If
not, ask around and find someone reputable, even if you have to travel.
Hi, I'm an 18 year old male, 175 lb, 6 foot, cat 4 / comp level mountain bike
racer that's looking to get into some endurance races. I've been doing a spin
class one day a week with my bike team, as well as several days per week on
the trainer. Last season I completed two 12-hour duo mountain bike races, but
at both of these races I became extremely uncomfortable in my saddle region
after 4-5 hours of riding. During my weekly training on the bike, I've recently
had lots of chafing in between my legs. I constantly have to re-adjust my shorts
in order to move the chamois of my shorts back into the correct position. In
addition, it seems like my "parts" are being pinched between my legs and my
shorts on my right side. After riding, when I take a shower, I have a rash on
the inner portions of both sides of my legs. Although I wash the area with soap
every day, it continues to cause discomfort and will hinder my endurance riding.
I use, on my road bike, the new Specialized Alias road saddle with my sit bone
width, 143mm. But I don't think the saddle is the problem, as I get chafing
on the spin bike as well. I believe it is the fault of my shorts - I have a
narrow 32'' waist, but a huge 35'' inseam for my 6' tall body. Right now I'm
using size medium shorts from Fox, Verge, and Performance, but all of them cause
chafing. Should I be wearing a size large short? Specialized has a new Body
Geometry short out - could this new chamois design help get rid of my chafing?
Or is there another lubricant product that I should try, like Chamois Butter?
I hope that this chafing is not permanent, and that it will resolve itself by
the time my base training outdoors starts. What are your suggestions?
Steve Hogg Replies
The likely causes of your problem are:
1. Creeping forward somewhat under pressure on the bike onto the narrower
part of the seat.
2. Seat a little to high causing some pelvic movement laterally.
3. Poor flexibility in musculature that bears on the hips and/or lower back.
4. Knicks that are either of poor quality or that don't fit well.
5. Any combination of the above.
You think that your knicks are the source of the problem, and you are probably
right, but going to a larger size is almost certainly not the way to go as
there will only be more and probably looser material to add to your chafing
problem. Your inseam relative to height is not particularly long at 35". You
are only a 10 - 15 mm longer than average and your waist measurement is normal
for a fit person of your height and weight so I doubt that proportions are
the issue unless you have really skinny thighs.
Get yourself a pair of Assos or Campagnolo bib and brace nicks as they are
the highest quality out there, and make sure that they are as tight a fit
as you can stand. The snugger the fit of the knicks, the more there will be
friction between knicks and seat rather than knicks and your flesh.
Urinating after exercise
What a lovely subject for an email, but here's the question - my night's sleep
after an evening turbo-training session is usually broken by at least four trips
to the bathroom to urinate. My bladder seems pretty much full and the urine
is light in colour. During my session on the trainer I sweat a great deal and
drink around 300-400ml of an electrolyte drink. After the session I probably
only drink about 500ml of water; usually with my evening meal. Could it be that
I actually need to drink? Is there any way round this that doesn't involve some
type of special products?
Rolf Rae Hansen
Pam Hinton Replies
Yes, you definitely need to drink during your trainer session and afterwards
to replace the fluid that you lost as sweat, and comparing how much you sweat
when you ride the trainer indoors versus when you are out on the road is difficult
to do. When you ride outside, more of your sweat evaporates from your skin,
so it seems that you are sweating less than when the perspiration is dripping
onto the floor. Regardless, re-hydration after a training ride is important
because most athletes do not consume enough fluids during their workout to
replenish the fluid lost in sweat and respiration.
In general, you should consume 24 ounces of fluid for every pound of weight
lost during an exercise session. So the amount of water that you are drinking
with dinner is certainly not excessive. It is recommended that you consume
more fluid than was actually lost because of the phenomenon that you are experiencing,
which is called "obligatory urine losses". When you consume a large volume
of water within a short period of time, it can alter the concentration of
sodium and other electrolytes in your blood. Your kidneys are designed to
keep the concentration of the blood constant, so they respond by excreting
the "extra" water. As a result, you have to get up three to four times to
urinate every night. You can reduce the obligatory urine losses by drinking
a beverage that contains sodium and by eating a meal that is high in sodium
after your workout. Some foods high in sodium include pretzels, pickles, pizza,
cheese, tomato sauce, soy sauce and ketchup. I don't know what you typically
eat for dinner following a trainer session, but if your meal does not already
include some of these high sodium foods, try adding a few. That should limit
your nighttime trips to bathroom.
Tightness just above kneecap
I had cycled several hundred km in small distances in and out of work for a
few weeks, and about 4 or 5 80km plus training spins before the problem occurred.
Then one day I got absolutely frozen on a training spin, and the next day I
tried to go out and felt a tightness/weakness across the top of my kneecap,
bottom of the thigh.
How long can it take usually for a problem to occur after getting a new piece
of equipment - ie - new pedals? I was just wondering if this due to my new Dura
Ace pedals or just because of a hard cold training spin.
How do you know what adjustments to make to the cleat to remedy issues? I rested
for two weeks, then went to Gran Canaria training on a hire bike for a week
and didn't feel it and when I got home and trained on my own bike the tightness
I can still cycle, its not painful, its just I am worried about pushing it
racing in the coming weeks. Thank you for any ideas
Steve Hogg Replies
You imply that this problem may have started either with the use of new pedals
or an unusually cold ride. The cold ride I don't know about and in your shoes
I would consult a good structural health professional with a cycling background
or experience and have them examine you.
The pedals though are another matter. The SPD -SL's are a very good pedal
system but they have one shortcoming in that they offer about half the rotational
movement that other pedal systems have. Apparently this is because Mr Armstrong
doesn't like a lot of freeplay. This is fine for most but means that greater
care needs to be taken with positioning the angle of the cleat so as to allow
a range of movement either side of where the foot naturally wants to sit under
load than with most other systems.
Additionally a substantial minority of people change the angle of their footplant
on the pedal under high load or as they tire. This means that the cleat angle
that may have been fine at low load, or when fresh is not correct under high
load, or when tired. Shimano could resolve this easily by making another cleat
with a wider range of freeplay but so far they have not. Next time you are
on your longer ride and you get this feeling coming on, start coasting with
the affected leg forward. Twist the heel inward till you meet resistance.
Was there movement?
If not, stop and adjust your cleat angle. If there was repeat the pedal and
coast and twist outward till you meet resistance. If there was movement both
ways then the angle of the cleat is not causing your problem. If there was
no movement to one side or only very slight movement to one side, then the
angle of the cleat is the likely cause.
What pedals did you change from? If it was Look, for instance, you should
have lowered your seat 6 - 7 mm as the SPD-SLs are a lower profile system
and mild overreaching could also be the source of your problem.
Recently, several friends of mine have 'tuned' their position on the bike using
the spin scan and other features on a shop's 'CompuTrainer.' I am curious to
hear your opinions about doing this. I am reluctant, for the simple reason that
I think unless there is a gross problem with one's placement on the bike, determining
your position with the aid of data would require one to ride any given position
at least a few times to see if you can get used to it. Is this true? One friend
says all you need is 15 minutes for your body to adapt. Hence, if you try four
positions over the course of an hour, record all your data, and repeat, you
can 'fine tune' your position over the course of a week or so. I think you could
end up chasing perfection rather than riding.
Also, the spin scan data, which I would actually consider to be separate from
the watts/speed, etc. data that they are using above, seems particularly prone
to misinterpretation. For example, I can improve my score be lowering the power
I'm putting out at the 3/9 o'clock portions of the stroke. By doing this, my
stroke appears more even, even though actual power is going down. So how useful
is this number - got a beer bet riding on the answer.
Scott Saifer Replies
Spin scan score is an artificial number that has little to do with your efficiency.
As you've noted you can fake out the Spin Scan to get a higher score by doing
something that clearly lowers your effectiveness. I can make the spin scan
graph come out almost perfectly straight by pulling up on the backstroke in
a way that no champion cyclist ever would in real riding. The best research
on pedalling mechanics of superior time trialists says that they just 'unweight'
the back pedal but don't actually pull up. The perfect pedal stroke for sustained
power has a huge force during the downstroke and is pretty quiet otherwise.
I'm not saying there is no way to make use of spin scan and checking a bike
fit, but simply trying to increase the score is not a good goal.
Dario Fredrick Replies
It can take days or weeks to effectively adapt to a new position. Muscular
recruitment is very specific to a given riding position/pedalling style, and
to develop a similar level of power and efficiency in a new position takes
time. Of course adaptation time can vary based upon the magnitude of the position
change. A small change may take only a few rides, while a major position change
can take weeks or more.
The CompuTrainer SpinScan is not a perfect tool, but like many tools, it
is only as effective as its application. SpinScan gives us a snapshot of one's
mechanical efficiency by estimating torque application throughout the pedal
stroke. Efficiency numbers are calculated by taking the average torque and
dividing it by the peak torque of each pedal stroke, multiplied by 100.
Ideally, we want to avoid unnecessarily high peak torque for a given power
output. Rather, if the application of force around the pedal stroke is trained
to be distributed more evenly (also avoiding "dead" spots), the rate of fatigue
for a given workload will be reduced. An efficient pedal stroke will therefore
usually produce a relatively high SpinScan number (>60).
Does this mean that we should "artificially" alter our pedalling style by
only applying torque to specific areas to create a high SpinScan score in
seeking the "perfect" position? Perhaps not. With SpinScan analysis, it is
more informative to examine the natural tendencies in one's pedaling style
and determine if and where improvements can be made and at what levels of
Therefore, an effective application of the CompuTrainer SpinScan to position
analysis is to examine if there are any weak spots of torque in one's pedal
stroke, or whether a significant imbalance appears in the power split between
a cyclist's legs (>10%). In a less than optimal position or if one's pedalling
style needs work, a cyclist will tend to compensate for areas of very low
torque (typically up over the top) in a pedal stroke with excessively high
torque (downward force) to produce a given power output. If we observe the
graphical torque analysis, SpinScan gives us visual feedback as to what improving
weaker areas of the pedal stroke feels like.
Perhaps a more direct use of SpinScan to position analysis would be to optimize
one's aerodynamic position (either road or TT bike) without losing efficiency
at various power outputs. For example, when seeking to minimize aerodynamic
drag, lower is not necessarily better if you lose significant efficiency and/or
cannot sustain the same potential power.
At Whole Athlete, we use the CompuTrainer SpinScan to examine a cyclist's
pedal stroke by taking the power data from his or her performance test and
having the rider pedal for a number of minutes in each of his/her power zones.
A cyclist might be very efficient at a lower power zone, but lose efficiency
as power increases or vice versa. These data give us additional information
to help shape a cyclist's training at specific levels of intensity. Enjoy
Seated vs Non-seated climbing
Hi. I'm 40 year old male weighing about 150 lbs and an about 5'6". I ride about
twice weekly (full-time work and two kids prevent more riding). I ride a Giant
TCR Alloy with Dura-Ace 10 speed, weighing about 16.5 lbs. During the week I
usually ride about 1-2 hours, including some sort of interval set. Weekend group
rides last 4-6 hours for about 50-70 miles. I have worked on my climbing in
the last few years and have improved, no longer getting dropped; but I want
to start being at the front or even be more explosive. I stay seated on most
of my climbs, but have started to ride out of my saddle some. I want to know
the advantages of this style, and whether body type dictates style? Is there
a way for me to be more explosive using both or one style? What is good training
to improve this style? I'm open to any type of feedback and/or suggestions.
Thanks for you time.
Michael Smartt Replies
Steady state/tempo climbing (let's assume efforts of more than 10 minutes)
is all about power to weight ratio. Simply put, to improve your climbing ability,
you either have to increase the amount of power you are producing or decrease
the amount of weight you are carrying up the hill. The latter usually has
the most profound effect on climbing ability (unless you are untrained to
begin with), and of course both can only be altered to a certain degree.
To increase the amount of power you are producing, focus your mid-week intervals
on increasing your Maximal Aerobic Power/VO2max (MAP) and your long TT power
(Maximal Steady State). These are the physiological cornerstones of sustained
climbing ability and the more fit you are in these areas, the more you will
be able to "explode" and recover during and over the top of a climb. You can
add short, explosive jumps within longer TT efforts to simulate the kind of
ability you are looking for, but keep the overall focus on TT power and/or
Seated climbing is certainly a more efficient (lower oxygen cost; higher
fat utilization; lower peak torque) means of producing power in any situation,
but getting out of the saddle allows you to produce greater amounts of power
for a shorter period of time (bridging gaps, catching the group over the top
of a climb, etc). The decrease in efficiency experienced while climbing out
of the saddle is less for lightweight cyclists however, as more of their mass
is going towards producing power (ie: inherent explosiveness) and not just
hanging on for the ride. As such, climbing out of the saddle is a technique
used more often by the lightweight climbers who lack the ability to produce
large amounts of power while seated. So yes, body type can and usually does
influence climbing style to some degree, although other factors play into
it as well. If you watch the pros, you'll see the likes of Pantani 'dancing'
out of the saddle, surging, attacking and gaining separation from the group,
while someone like Ullrich slowly picks up the pace, typically staying seated
the whole time.
In the end, you have to maximize your climbing fitness and then factor in
your inherent abilities, using them to your advantage as much as possible
while not allowing others to dictate how you expend your energy.
I am a 32-year-old road cyclist. I am 5'11" and weigh 160 lbs. I would consider
myself to be in good physical condition. My question requires some initial explanation.
I've noticed that immediately following a rigorous ride or training session,
I detect a distinct smell from within my nose/lungs. I would best describe the
smell as being ammonia like in nature. It lasts only about 20 minutes after
my workout is complete. I do not notice it at all during my rides. Nor does
it typically occur after less strenuous workouts. Also, it seems to occur regardless
of whether I ride outdoors or indoors on a trainer. Am I alone in this experience?
Can this be explained in any way, and should I be concerned?
Eddie Monnier Replies
The ammonia-like smell you describe can be present when the body burns more
protein than usual, which can happen when glycogen stores are depleted. In
short, you may be "undercarbed." I'm not a registered dietician, so I cannot
make specific recommendations to you, but I can say that, in general, an endurance
athlete should try to take in about 3 grams of carbohydrate (CHO) per kilogram
of body weight three hours before a long workout. Some fat and a protein are
also appropriate. You'll need to figure out what works for you, but one of
my favorites is oatmeal with a bit of almond butter and all natural preserves,
along with some egg whites for protein.
It's not always practical to eat three hours in advance of a workout. One
gram of CHO per kilogram of body weight would be more appropriate for a meal
about an hour before a workout and some people are better off to consume this
in liquid form than solid food.
You'll also need to fuel during your very long and/or hard workouts lasting
more than 2 hours. During these, 30 - 75 grams of CHO per hour can be consumed
to keep up with energy needs. I know that's an awfully broad range, but it
depends on so many factors. Best of luck.
Is there any value to glucosamine supplements in order to maintain joints such
as the knee?
I am a 29-year-old high recreational rider/beginning racer with about 7-9 hours
a week training during a week with good weather. When I first got my road bike,
I struggled for a time with mild knee tendonitis, which I believe I have corrected
through trial and error fit. I have occasional twinges in the same area (front
of the right knee).
I've never been an adult competitive athlete before cycling, but I injured
my right knee (a sprain) in a fall several years ago. I needed no treatment
for it at the time, but ever since I have been more consciously cautious with
my right leg, and in fact it does "click" where the left knee does not. I had
never experienced pain with my right knee until taking up cycling in clipless
pedals (Shimano SPD).
I write with ice on said knee after a ride - I do think my shop may have slipped
my seatpost down a little after my last tuneup, but I am thinking more long
I would like to keep myself injury-free and make fitness gains this year, increase
endurance and possibly be competitive in a race or two. Thanks.
Scott Saifer Replies
My last look at the research on these substances is a couple of year ago
already. At that time there was evidence in favour of glucosamine for joint
maintenance and health, but not for chondroitin. Maybe one of the other panellists
has more recent information.
Getting the bike adjusted to an appropriate fit is a better bet than any nutritional
strategy for keeping your knees in good shape. When you get it set up in a
way that does not hurt, mark the position of the seat-post with tape or paint,
and write down the measurements as well so that you can duplicate them should
anything happen to your bike. Personally, I would never return to a shop that
changed my seat height as part of working on the bike. I need my seat at the
correct height within a few mm or I get knee and or hamstring pain on the
next ride. Shops that work with racers usually (but not always) understand
the importance of the fit of the bike and of not messing with it.
I am a 53-year-old cyclist, 5'10" and 155 pounds, who started riding four years
ago. After the first year I decided I wanted to try centuries involving a lot
of climbing (between 8,500 and 11,000 feet). To accomplish this I began using
a structured training program for the past three years, and I have seen improvements
in my climbing, overall average speed and endurance.
As I prepare for this upcoming season I added a weight routine two times a
week. I am in week 6 of a 12-week base period. Currently I do at least one high
intensity bike/trainer workout a week, consisting of big gears using a couple
of the Spinerval DVD's. The remainder of the bike time is spent on endurance
work in HR zone below LT.
I hope to see continued progress in my climbing, endurance and average speed.
However, I am getting older and suspect that at some point the work will be
more for maintaining vrs improving. Is there any research regarding age and
improvement of performance? Should my training program be different from what
is generally recommended based on my age?
By the way - prior to taking up cycling I was a periodic runner and completed
two marathons when I was in my mid 40's.
Pam Hinton Replies
Once an athlete has achieved their genetic potential through training, the
goal is to maintain peak fitness, regardless of age. You are right in your
assertion that maximal performance declines with age. Starting about age 35,
lean body mass, muscle protein synthesis, resting metabolic rate and maximal
oxygen consumption decrease at a rate of about 3-5% per decade. This age-related
decline is due, in part, to the fact that people tend to decrease their training
volume and intensity as they get older.
However, you can attenuate the age-associated decline in maximal heart rate,
oxygen consumption, and lean body mass by maintaining your training program.
Master athletes, especially those who strength train, often have more muscle
mass and greater strength than younger sedentary individuals. In fact, one
study of untrained men and women (19-37 years) found that age had no effect
on improvements in exercise performance after four months of bicycle training
(45 minutes at 80% of maximum heart rate, 3-4 times per week).
The older subjects exhibited improvements in maximal oxygen consumption, lean
body mass and rate of muscle protein synthesis that were no different from
those observed in the younger subjects. So, as long as you persist with your
current training program, incorporating high intensity intervals once per
week, you should be able to maintain your aerobic fitness. Since you are relatively
new to cycling, you are likely to continue to see improvements as you improve
your pedalling efficiency, develop cycling-specific muscles, and basically
just learning how to make a bike go fast. Old dogs may not be able to learn
new tricks, but mature 'new' cyclists are a different breed!
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