Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on

Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

Form & Fitness Q & A

Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject? Drop us a line at 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.

The Cyclingnews form & fitness panel

Carrie Cheadle, MA ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 any geography.

David Fleckenstein, MPT ( 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 ( 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 other end.

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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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 a coach.

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.

Fitness questions and answers for June 27, 2005

Pre-training nutrition
Post-ride nutrition for training and commuting
Ischeal tuberosity pain

Pre-training nutrition

I am a 45 year old roadie with a good level of fitness. I have two weeks holiday and am keen to shed a few extra kilos. My question is - should I be eating before I go out on my week day ride (two hours over hilly terrain)? I have read that not eating before the ride will increase the burning of fat. I presume a high carb meal the night before would be even more important if not eating before training.

Paul Freeman

Pam Hinton Replies

Hi Paul,

I referenced the First Law of Thermodynamics in another response for this week's column, but it applies to your question as well. Because energy is neither created nor destroyed, you must put your body into negative energy balance to lose body fat. The size of the energy deficit (energy in vs. energy out) will determine the amount of weight that you lose. At first glance, the answer to your question seems obvious. By not eating before your ride, the "energy in" part of the equation is decreased, energy out remains the same, so the net effect is a greater negative energy balance.

However, this is also the way to go about creating a greater energy deficit. In fact, eating before you ride allows you to expend more energy during the ride. This is where fat-burning comes in to play. It is true that not eating before the ride will increase the use of fat for energy during exercise.

This happens because you start your ride with depleted glycogen stores. Because the body has no alternative, it has to use stored body fat for energy. So far, that sounds like a good thing, right? Here's the catch: if fat is the only fuel available, you are forced to exercise at low intensity. Carbohydrate is what fuels high intensity exercise. You experience this phenomenon when you bonk--the carbs run out and you are forced to back off. "Exercise intensity," means rate of energy expenditure, in other words the number of kcal you are using per minute of exercise.

If you want to lose weight you would be better off eating some carbohydrates before your ride, so that you can burn kcal at a higher rate during the ride. Here's a numerical example. Riding at 10 miles per hour uses 6 kcal per kg per hour and 80% of the 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 lose weight, being able to maintain a faster speed, i.e., higher intensity, would allow you to expend more energy and still come out ahead even if you ate some cereal and toast (~300 kcal) for breakfast.

Another benefit of exercising at very high intensity (>85% of max) is that your metabolic rate stays elevated for several hours after you stop exercising. During this time, your body is using stored body fat for energy. This increase in your metabolic rate by ~10% is equivalent to approximately 200 extra calories expended during the 24 hours after the high-intensity session. Take care.

Post-ride nutrition after training and commuting

I am a 42 years old rider, and I weigh 75kg. I ride 22km twice a day for my work/home commute. It takes me about 45 minutes to ride the 22km. I also go for bike rides on weekends (40 to 50 km rides). Though the distances are not that great, I get very tired at the end of the day. I am not a racer, but want to make sure I replenish my energy appropriately after each ride.

Most of the advice I read on post-ride nutrition (quantities, etc) seems to apply only to those who train to race. Also, I have been losing some weight, which is fine, but I don't want to lose too much. What is your best nutrition advice?


After reading the reponse to this question I have the following question; does this formula apply to exercise over any period of time? For example, if I only trained for one hour would I not need to eat less carbohydrates and proteins following exercise than if I have done 4 hours in the saddle?

Thanks for your advice.

Byron Davy

Pam Hinton Replies

Hi guys,

Your questions allow the opportunity to emphasize an important point, but one that is often lost on the average amateur racer or commuter. With all of the talk about things like the "glycogen window," "carbohydrate to protein ratios" and "glycemic index," it is easy to become fixated on finding the perfect recovery drink or post-ride food. And, as amateur racers, we emulate our heroes. If we see the pros consuming special pre- and post-race concoctions to enhance their performance and recovery, we do the same. We forget that the pros are racing 3-4 times the distances that most of us do in our local and regional events. And, they are racing these distances on consecutive days. For the pros, consuming high glycemic index carbohydrates immediately post race is critical because they repeatedly run their glycogen stores down to near empty.

In general, we have enough glycogen stored in our muscles and liver to last about 1.5 to 2 hours of riding. If we consume some carbohydrate while we are riding, then our glycogen stores will last even longer. So, a one hour bike ride or 45 minutes commute will not leave your glycogen stores depleted. However, you still should eat something after you ride, and a meal that contains complex carbohydrates and some protein is a reasonable choice. The point is that you don't need to be vigilant about cramming in the carbohydrates at regular intervals.

It also is worth noting, that if you are trying to lose weight, following the feeding schedule of the pros is going to be counterproductive. The First Law of Thermodynamics applies here, if you want to lose body weight, you have to put your body in an energy deficit. Again, even if you are trying to lose weight, you should still eat enough carbohydrate to keep your glycogen stores full and to prevent breakdown of muscle protein. In general, you should get 45-65% of your energy from carbohydrate. For an adult male who does about 5 hours of moderate intensity exercise per week, this works out to approximately 400 to 550 g of carbohydrate per day. Take care.


I don't know about others but I seem to get throat infections more. I'm 41 years old, taking up vitamin c, iron and centrum daily, yet I still get these infections. I even got two in a span of 45 days! This leaves me very weak.

Should I continue riding? My research says that I shouldn't have it removed. Is there any way to prevent this? Thanks!


Kelby Bethards Replies


Have you seen your physician about this? If you are truly getting recurrent tonsillitis, there may be some utility in taking your tonsils (and possibly adenoids) out. If you are very weak from the infection, then no, you shouldn't ride until you are getting energy back.

You need to talk to your doctor and possibly get a throat culture when it happens…or to further elucidate the cause and effect relationship of this problem. I have treated a cyclist or two that were getting recurrent sore throats (but not infections) from allergy symptoms, which also may be involved.

Ischeal tuberosity pain

For the past month or so, I've been getting steadily increasing pain in my right butt cheek, specifically on the sit bone. The left one is fine. The pain almost goes away after a few days off the bike, but gets worse again on moderately long rides (50 -100 km). To give you some background - I started riding a road bike this spring ( Giant OCR2) with the stock seat. I then had a bike fit (Wobblenaught) done which recommended that I get a better seat to optimize the position. I got a Specialized Avatar Gel seat which seemed fairly firm, but I figured I would get used to it. Unfortunately, I started off riding with a cheap pair of shorts without much padding and after a few long rides started getting this very intense localized pain right at the sit bone on my right side. I then got a good pair of shorts with 3 densities of padding, but the damage may have already been done. The bike fit seems fine as I feel very efficient and don't have any knee or foot problems. This pain starts almost immediately when I ride and then gets gradually worse until by the end of a 100 km ride, it's very tender and sore. When I try and stretch, I feel a sharp pulling sensation in this area. I have researched this on the net and it sounds like ischeal tuberosity bursitis. Do you agree with this and if so, what can I do about it? Why would this only show up on the right side? I need help with this, because it is starting to cut into my ability to ride and I'm starting to dread sitting on the bike seat.

Dieter Spiller

Steve Hogg Replies

I will just about bet that you are favouring the right side [ as in loading it more heavily] for whatever reason. Go for a ride and while riding on the flat, look down between your legs at the gap between them and your seat post. Is there a larger gap between the inside of one thigh and the other?
Let me know if this is the case and if so, which leg has the larger gap.

Other Cyclingnews Form & Fitness articles