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Form & Fitness Q & A
Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject?
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Fitness questions and answers for June 27, 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.
Post-ride nutrition for training and commuting
Ischeal tuberosity pain
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
Pam Hinton Replies
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)
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
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.
Pam Hinton Replies
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
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.
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.
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