Recently on Cyclingnews.com
Photo ©: Bettini
Form & Fitness Q & A
Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject?
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include as much information about yourself as possible, including your
age, sex, and type of racing or riding. Due to the volume of questions we receive,
we regret that we are unable to answer them all.
Fitness questions and answers for March 14, 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.
Chronic upper lateral soleus pain solutions
Hematocrit and VO2
On the bike meals
Training specifics question
Gaining lower body muscle mass
I am a 56 year old and have been cycling now for just a year and am doing my
first tour in a few weeks - I'm looking forward to it. Although I haven't been
active for 15 years I have an endurance athlete's background and am aware of
the nutritional requirements of heavy endurance training - particularly the
need to replenish muscle glycogen in the "golden two hours".
While I am aware of the many studies carried out in this regard, and more recent
work such as the use of highly bio-available protein/carbohydrate's or so-called
"recovery formulas" I have never seen a study which looks at the long term performance
impact of both loading or rapid replenishment - current studies all look at
training performance which while not irrelevant, is definitely secondary to
how effectively one races.
What I am getting at it this; part of the value of long endurance training
is that it provides the body with the demand/stress required to engage the body's
fat burning metabolism, and the longer one trains the more this effect is noticeable
- in short this is the required adaptation. However, my understanding is that
carbo-loading prior to an event actually switches off or at least reduces the
fat burning metabolism by as much as 40% - as does rapid replenishment of glycogen
stores with high glycaemic index Carbohydrates. This implies that the use of
these techniques is of value short term rather than long-term interest.
So while the athlete may perform in training far better day in day out, long
term there may be a compromise in terms of tuning the body's fat-burning capability
off. It also seems that the reason coffee/caffeine is so widely used by cyclists
is that it tends to actually reverse this process. It may be far better not
to load but teach the body to burn more fat instead.
So, while rapid replenishment is valuable in a short cycling tour to ensure
recovery (and certainly it is better for the athlete's state of mind during
heavy training!) I suspect that it's only actually necessary to load Carbohydrates
immediately after training in the few days prior to a long distance race so
that the fat burning mechanism is still able to function effectively. I have
always adopted a minimalist strategy of nutrition when training - i.e. taking
in the minimum necessary to function effectively so that I maximise my fat burning
potential - I then rapidly take on a recovery drink but don't go silly and try
to replace every gram of Carbohydrates burned - has it worked? Well I lost 16Kg
in 9 months and now weigh 74KG at 1.88m in height and it wasn't that painful!
The real emphasis I seek in your reply is - what the effect is of such a regime
on race performance, and what research has been carried out?
North Harbour, Auckland, New Zealand
Pam Hinton Replies
I think what you are asking is, "Does carbo-loading reduce the ability to
use fat for energy during exercise?" The short answer to your question is,
"No, it doesn't." Read on for an explanation of why consuming carbohydrate
during exercise facilitates fat oxidation. During exercise muscles use fat
and carbohydrate for energy. Exercise intensity determines which fuel will
be used. At rest or during low intensity exercise (<50% of VO2max), the fuel
of choice is fat - this fat can come from our diets if we've just eaten or
from our fat stores if we're between meals. As exercise intensity increases,
the proportion of energy that comes from carbohydrate increases and at max
it's exclusively carbohydrate.
There are several reasons why this happens. As exercise intensity increases,
more Type-II-b (white, fast-twitch) muscle fibers are recruited. These fibers
lack the enzymes to do aerobic metabolism and must rely on anaerobic metabolism,
which requires carbohydrate as an energy source. In situations where oxygen
demand is high, carbs have an advantage over fats because less oxygen is required
to burn carbohydrate. Consuming carbohydrate during training increases fat
oxidation because it allows us to maintain higher exercise intensity, thereby
expending more total energy and utilizing more fat. Here are the numbers to
prove my point. While it is true that a greater proportion of the energy comes
from fat when we are exercising at low intensity, the total energy used will
be less (if the duration is constant) and so the absolute amount of fat burned
will also be less than if we exercised at high intensity.
For example, riding at 10 miles per hour uses 6 kcal per kg per hour and
80% of those kcal come from fat. So if you rode for an hour at that speed,
you would use a total of 600 kcal and 480 of them would be from fat. Contrast
that with riding at 18 mph, which uses 12 kcal per kg per hour, but only 50%
of the energy from fat. At the faster speed, you would burn 1200 kcal total
and 600 kcal would come from fat. You can see that if your objective is to
burn fat, being able to maintain a faster speed - i.e - higher intensity,
would allow you to expend more energy and use more fat.
After eating a meal that is high in carbohydrate, the body goes into energy
storage mode. Glucose is stored as glycogen and fat is synthesized and stored
using excess glucose and amino acids. Insulin, a hormone that is secreted
by the pancreas in response to an increase in blood glucose, is responsible
for these changes in metabolism. During exercise (or fasting), insulin production
is suppressed and the body shifts from fat storage mode into fat burning mode.
The decreased insulin levels also allow for the release and use of stored
fatty acids and for the breakdown of muscle glycogen into glucose. So, carbo-loading
on pasta the night before a long training ride won't impair your ability to
use fat during the ride because your insulin levels will shift your metabolism
from fat storage to fat use.
The key here is giving your body what it needs, when it needs it. During
exercise, carbohydrates provide the fuel to keep you going. After exercise,
you need to replenish the carbohydrate you used. The optimal way to do this
is to consume 1.5 g carbohydrate per kg of body weight within 30 minutes after
exercise and again every two hours for 4-6 hours. Another benefit of consuming
carbohydrate post-exercise is that it reduces the protein degradation that
follows a hard training effort. Studies that show benefits of regular carbohydrate
replenishment during and after exercise assists performance in a controlled
It is true that there are many factors, other than physiological differences,
that affect race performance. However, most studies use exhaustive exercise
protocols (e.g - maximal oxygen consumption, repetitive exercise bouts, sub-maximal
exercise to exhaustion) that simulate the physical aspects of a bike race.
Certainly, you don't need to replace every gram of carbohydrate, but, if you
function effectively on a minimum, you might function optimally on a little
bit more. Take care.
Chronic upper lateral soleus pain solutions
I have chronic right soleus muscle pain and possibly even fibular/peroneal
musculotendenous pain (lots of pain in the leg). The muscle gets tender just
inferior and postero-lateral to the fibular head. After careful consideration
I feel this is upper-lateral soleus and not simply the peroneals. Initially
I also had pain at my lateral distal hamstrings-biceps femuris- and was told
that my seat was raised too high and that every pedal stroke was elongating
(eccentrically) this tendon.
Magically when I lowered my seat the outside distal hamstring pain disappeared
but the upper posterior-LATERAL calf pain has persisted! I am 6'2" with only
a 34 inch inseam. I ride a 58cm Merlin Cyrene with a 115 stem and a CormiaC
layed back reversible seat post with my seat pushed as far back as I can so
that I have most of my weight comfortably on my ischial tuberosities. While
I have found this positioning comfortable, I have began to wonder if I actually
need to ALSO bring my seat forward and possibly also invest in a longer stem?
As a side note, pushing a harder gear is usually more comfortable, presumably
because of the reducing number of rotations and irritation or transferring forces
to larger muscles? (I would love to be able to mash gears or spin gears at my
Other areas I have considered are:
1) My right foot tends to flare out more than my left foot so I would think
that my cleats should match this external rotation but I have sensed during
long rides that it actually feels better to have my cleat in neutral or rotated
2) I have been using a simple over-the-counter orthotic "SuperfeetC" in both
my running shoes and cycling shoes, but have also begun to wonder if these should
be removed, as perhaps the medial posting has caused lateral stretching? In
the past I have tried Speedplay pedals, Dura Ace 7800 pedals and even BMX style
platform pedals (ultimate in float and inability to pull up with muscle!!),
to no avail. Should I move my seat forward or a combo of seat forward and longer
stem, or possibly other considerations, such as inward or outward foot movement,
Steve Hogg Replies
Here is some educated guessing…
Why the right side only?
a) The likely answer is a longer right leg with, commonly, an anterior iliac
crest and restricted right sacro-iliac joint which would possibly explain
why the right footplant is the way it is on the pedal. While the leg may be
measurably longer, often the restricted hip and lower back function that can
accompany this makes it function like a shorter leg. Test: drop the seat another
5 mm. If this improves the pain, then you may be on the right track.
b) The less likely answer is a shorter or noticeably tighter right leg doing
everything it can to reach the bottom of the stroke with force and enlisting
every thing possible to stabilise while doing so. The painful soleus and peroneal
all flex the foot, so it is likely that again you are dropping the foot forcefully
in an effort to reach the bottom of the stroke.
Test: Same as for the likely answer - drop the seat 5mm and see if there
is a reduction in severity.
c) Another possibility is that the cleat is too far forward on your right
foot, causing soleus and peroneals to fight to flex the foot while it is trying
to extend. Take a look at this
letter and this one
for info about cleat position.
If you try these things and they work to some extent, you then need to establish
exactly what the structural issues are that are causing the problem. And no,
unfortunately I can't recommend anyone in Seattle as I am an Aussie with no
knowledge of the positioning scene in the U.S.
Why are you more comfortable pushing big gears than spinning?
a) As you suggest, the seat may be too far back so try moving it forward
7 or 8mm. This will make a noticeable difference positive or otherwise. At
least it will give you something further to go on.
b) If, as I suspect, you have noticeable asymmetries of function, it is often
easier in the sense of stability and coordination to pedal more slowly.
Lastly, all of the above assumes that you have ticked the usual boxes in
the sense that your cleat angle is such that you have potential freeplay either
side of your natural footplant on the pedal. Additionally, if dropping the
seat solves the problem in the short term and given that you have had no issues
with the other leg, you may wish to consider fitting a packer under that right
cleat and raising the seat back to the original height. If you do this, move
the cleat 1 mm further rearwards on the shoe for every 5mm that you pack it
up to negate the rocking torque effect.
Let me know what happens after you have played a bit.
Hematocrit and VO2
I have read a lot about hematocrit and I still have some questions regarding
this area. I know that the hematorcrit level is not necessarily an indication
of fitness (i.e. high hematocrit = high performance), but suppose a non-athletic
person who has a high natural hematocrit, but actually a low VO2 max…does this
person possess greater potential to reach a high VO2 max with proper training,
more than a person who has a lower natural hematocrit? And if yes, how strong
is this tendency?
I mean, a person who has a high hematocrit (i.e. 42%) will reach a high VO2Max
properly training (i.e. 5 litres/min), for sure. Exists a strong tendency like
Scott Saifer Replies
Maximal aerobic power depends on numerous factors. Among them are peak heart
stroke volume and maximum heart rate, because these two together determine
cardiac output, the amount of blood the heart can move. A higher hematocrit
allows more oxygen to be carried by the same volume of blood.
At the other end, aerobic power also depends on the ability of muscles to
extract oxygen from the blood and deliver it where it is needed, and that
depends on capillary infiltration of the muscle, and mitochondrial mass, among
All other things being equal, a higher hematocrit can support a higher rate
of oxygen delivery to muscle. Any healthy individual who does aerobic, endurance
training will increase capillary density, stroke volume, mitochondrial mass
and a variety of other factors that support aerobic performance. Maximum heart
rate will drop by a few beats. However the extent to which these factors are
changed by training is not the same for all individuals. An individual with
a slightly higher natural hematocrit is likely to be able to achieve a higher
aerobic power than a person with a lower natural hematocrit, but there is
no reason to expect that he or she would necessarily achieve levels of these
other important factors necessary to produce the VO2 max of a champion or
even a much above average athlete.
On the bike meals
I have what is probably a simple question, but being new to competitive cycling
and training I still have much to learn.
My question is - what do you recommend as food during long training rides.
I've done four hour rides where I normally eat two or three PowerBars and stay
plenty hydrated with four bidons of Gatorade. My pre-ride meals normally consist
of a large bowl of whole grain cereal and one or two bananas. I'm just wondering
if there is a more effective alternative to my simple PowerBar meal. I'm normally
pretty well spent at the end of these long rides of low to moderate intensity
averaging 17-18 mph. I read about professionals training for six to eight hours
a day and can't help but wonder what they do to keep their energy levels up.
I've read some pretty insane training days of Eddy Merckx - 270km, and this
in a day where the sports nutrition industry was in its infancy at best. This
leads me to wonder if there is some simple energy food out there that has been
around for some time that I just don't know about. Any guidance you can recommend
is greatly appreciated.
Pam Hinton Replies
At first glance, what I'm about to tell you may seem to have nothing to do
with your question, but bear with me. I've been competing in endurance sports
for about 20 years, but I am relatively new to cycling. I only have been racing
two years, so I remember how steep the learning curve seems at first. The
most difficult lesson to learn about bike racing is one that will help you
become a more tenacious and aggressive competitor: when you are suffering,
so is everyone else. Certainly, I don't mean to minimize the importance of
years of training and racing experience, and you will learn and improve with
time. My point is that you are not the only one who is "well spent" at the
end of a four hour ride. You should expect to feel tired and there is no "energy
food", new or old, that will eliminate the fatigue.
Having said that, there is no reason that you have to be stuck eating energy
bars ad nauseam. Alternatives can be more effective if they taste better and
are easier to eat. When eating on the bike, the main objective is to consume
easily digested carbohydrate at regular intervals. You need 30-60 g of carbohydrate
per hour. Drinking 500 ml (16 ounces) of a sports beverage will provide about
30 g of carbohydrate and most energy bars have 35-45 g of carbohydrate. Consuming
carbohydrate at this rate will maintain your blood glucose and keep you from
"bonking" when your glycogen stores are depleted.
Of course, since you will be trying to eat and ride at the same time, you
want to choose foods that are easy to open, unwrap, bite, chew, and swallow.
You also want to avoid foods that become unmanageable in either extreme heat
or cold. So, read the Nutrition Facts labels of your favorite snack foods
to determine the carbohydrate content. Fig Newtons, pretzels, apple slices,
dried fruit, raisings, dates, and MoonPies, are all good options. Plus, you'll
find that these "regular" foods cost a lot less than "energy bars". What you
eat off the bike is just as important as what you eat on the bike. Endurance
athletes need to consume 6-10 g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight per
day to keep their glycogen stores full. The night before a long training ride
or race, eat a meal that is high in complex carbohydrates, e.g., whole wheat
pasta or brown rice, to ensure that your glycogen tank is topped up.
After your rides, consume rapidly digested (high glycemic index) carbohydrates,
to start refueling for the next day. Sports beverages, fruit juice, crackers,
and pretzels are good post-ride choices. And remember that Eddy Merckx wasn't
called the cannibal because he ate magic food - it was because he devoured
I am going to be doing a twelve kilometer time trial soon and would like to
know the best way to warm up for the start. For my training rides I generally
do fifteen to thirty minutes of easy riding before elevating my heart rate.
I never do any stretching. For previous races I have kept the same routine-about
thirty to forty minutes of easy riding before the start. However, if I go from
the gun the way other riders can, I blow quickly. But if I sit in the group
for a while I get stronger as the race progresses. By the way, the time trial
course is quite rolling, with a couple of steep sections. Thank you for any
advice you can offer.
Steve Hogg Replies
I am no coach but am known to do regular TT's.
The warm up routine I'm about to describe was given to me by a TT national
champ who can ride low 49's for a 4Okm TT. You will need an indoor trainer
of some kind and to know your exact start time.
0-10:00 minutes - Warm up to high E1 for 5 mins and continue till 10mins
10:00-15:00 minutes - Up heart rate gradually to high E2 @ 100rpm
15:00-20:00 minutes - Up heart rate gradually to high E3 @ 100rpm
20:00-25:00 minutes - Back to E2 @ 100rpm
25:00-30:00 minutes - Back up to high E3 at whatever cadence seems appropriate
30:00 - 40:00 minutes - Get off bike, take it out of the trainer and walk
bike over to start line and do as little as possible. What I have found following
this is that I can go hard out of the blocks without problems. The above assumes
E1 to be 65-75% of Max HR; E2 to be 75-85% of Max HR and E3 to be 85-92% of
Max HR. I'm sure that the coaches on the panel will have thoughts on this
Training specifics question
Can you help me, and maybe others? I'm confused about setting training goals
based on anaerobic vs. lactate threshold zones. For the sake of the discussion,
let's imagine a road racer with max heart rate of 170; what will his lactate
threshold training zone be and his anaerobic threshold training goals? My head
is spinning, and I'd rather it be my legs on the pedals. Thanks,
Dario Frederick Replies
Take a look at this recent
posting and it should answer your question.
Let us know if you have further questions.
Gaining lower body muscle mass
First off, I'd like to thank you for your prompt and helpful advice in the
past. I have a question on a subject that is a little difficult for me.
At 6'1'' and 135 lbs, (currently age 18, male) I feel I could benefit from
gaining leg strength. Last year I received help for an eating disorder and successfully
gained approximately 10 lbs. Now that I've conquered my fear of gaining weight,
I'd like a build some lean muscle mass, especially on my lower body. There is
not much I can do to build upper body strength as my left arm was severely broken
in a crash last summer and I will be unable to put it under extreme stress for
at least a year to ensure the surgery has corrected all the damage.
I also tend to shy away from resistance training, not only because cyclocross
extends so long into the winter, and racing starts up in late February, but
mainly because every winter I've spent in the gym has left me with tendonitis
in the spring; this year I seem to have avoided any such injuries. I have a
pending cat 2 upgrade in the near future, and train about 2.5+ hours a day with
five days a week on the trainer - longer if the weather is nice - and dedicate
two days to recovery and core strength.
I have been doing low cadence drills all winter, and recently began more intense
intervals to prep for racing. I figure I generally consume about 3300 calories
per day, split fairly evenly between breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. There
is a surplus of info out there on how to lose weight, but unless you're looking
to be a bulky body builder, it's hard to find credible info on how to build
strength for endurance events (in case you couldn't guess, I'm not a trackie.
I do mainly XC mtb races and a mix of crits and RR). What are your suggestions
for gaining strength (as related to diet, and intervals)? Thank you.
Pam Hinton Replies
First of all, you should be commended for your progress towards full recovery
from the eating disorder. Your accomplishment is more impressive and worth
far more than any athletic achievement. You would benefit from gaining lower
body muscle mass; The increased leg strength and power would help your cycling
performance, especially in crits and sprints.
But more importantly, the increased muscle mass would improve your bone health.
Given your history - low body weight, spending significant amounts of time
in a non-weight-bearing activity, and less than optimal dietary intake, you
are at risk for low bone density (osteoporosis) now and later in life. You
are at an age when you should be continuing to add bone mass to your skeleton,
so that when you start to lose bone mineral later in life (after age 70, in
men) you won't develop osteoporosis and be a likely candidate for fractures.
Body weight is the strongest determinant of bone mass, so your low body weight
isn't in your favor. Eating disorders decrease the sex hormones in men (testosterone)
and women (estrogen and progesterone). Males who have eating disorders have
low testosterone levels which cause a loss of bone mass. People with eating
disorders typically have other hormonal changes that negatively affect bone
density - decreased growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-I and increased
cortisol. So, on to your question on how to gain muscle mass. First of all,
you need to consume enough calories to be in a positive energy balance of
about 500 kcal per day. There are formulas to approximate energy requirements
based on gender, age, height, and weight, but they are just approximations.
You will have more luck gaining muscle at the appropriate rate if you adjust
your energy intake as you go. So, if you are not gaining muscle on 3300 kcal,
then increase your energy intake by about 500 kcal for one week and check
your weight gain. Individuals who have severely restricted their food intake
because of an eating disorder often have trouble initially gaining weight.
When they increase their energy consumption, their metabolic rates increase
dramatically. Over time, the metabolic rate returns to normal and body weight
stabilizes. Since you want to add lean body mass, you need to consume more
protein than the typical endurance athlete. You need 1.6-1.7g of protein per
kg of your target body weight.
For example, if your target weight is 150 lbs (68.2 kg), you need 110-115
g of protein per day. To translate this into foods, 3 ounces of meat has 25
g, one cup of milk or yogurt has 10 g, 1 ounce of cheese has 7 g and one egg
has 3 grams of protein. It is also important that you eat enough carbohydrate.
If you don't meet your minimum carbohydrate requirement, your body will breakdown
muscle protein to make glucose. You need 6-10g carbohydrate per kg or body
weight to maintain your liver and muscle glycogen stores. So for you, that
would be about 500-600g of carbohydrate daily. Whole grain bread, pasta, cereal,
and brown rice are the best sources because they haven't had the vitamins,
minerals, and fiber removed in the refining process.
So there you have the mathematical formulas. They are a lot like strategies
to win a bike race, as in they look perfect on paper, but the trick comes
with the application and all the variables. In this case, all those variables
pretty much boil down to one-you. And, so far, you've done well. Keep it up,
and take care.
Other Cyclingnews Form & Fitness articles