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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.

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 January 17, 2003

Losing weight without losing strength

Losing weight without losing strength

I am a B Grade rider and need to drop a few more kilos. I currently ride between two to three hours 2-3 times a week, and on the days that I don't do the long rides, I do short "sprints" of 15 kilometres to and from work to try to improve my cardio fitness (which needs a lot of work). I also do some gym and pool work 4-5 times a week.

My problem is I can't loose the weight I want to - I'm 5ft 10' tall and my weigh 77 kilograms. I feel that I should be around 70-72 kg, but don't want to lose any strength in my legs.

I have cut a lot of fat and rubbish out of my diet and eat at regular intervals, only eating what I think is enough to keep up my energy. My weight sessions are about 1-1.5 hours long, doing light weight upper body work (mainly shoulders, arms, abdominals and back).

However, I'm not sure whether they are the correct exercises. My pool work is some deep water running for some non-impact, non-exhaustive endurance work. I also do 6-10 slow laps for some all round strength and breath training.

My question is with my limited training time, what exercises should I be doing in order to lose the weight I want without loosing the power /strength that I now have. Any help would be grateful.


Dave Palese replies:

Luke, weight loss, in general, is a pretty simple equation: take in fewer calories than you burn and you'll lose weight. You might be better looking at your diet rather than the type of exercise you do.

With riders I have worked with, I have found that many of us overeat for a couple of reasons. The first is a culture thing. Over the centuries, western culture has embedded a theory that more is better. This concept has been applied to food and the portion sizes we eat. The other reason is that, as endurance athletes, we sometimes think that we have an excuse to eat more or that we need to eat large amount of food to stay topped up. I am not saying that you as an athlete don't have unique needs - you do. You just need to figure out what your individual needs are.

The first step is to figure out what your caloric requirements per day are. How much do you need to eat. There are two parts to this component:

1. Calories burned through life function (breathing, pumping blood, thinking), or the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR); and,
2. Calories burned through exercise and activity.

To figure your BMR, take you weight in kilograms (77), multiply that by 10.2 and add 880. For you, that works out at around 1700 calories. [For women, multiply by 7.18 and add 795]

Now you need to figure your caloric needs for the exercise you do each day; you'll burn about 500 calories during an hour of endurance riding. So let's say you go out for a two hour endurance ride. That would burn about 1,000 calories. Add that to you BMR and you get 2,700 - that's how many calories you would need to break even with calories in, calories out.

As I mentioned above, to lose weight, you need to take in fewer calories than you burn - this is called creating a caloric deficit. How much fewer calories you ask? A caloric deficit of 300-500 calories per day is considered healthy. Maintaining such a deficit can yield a weight loss of up to a pound or about half a kilogram a week.

The best place to get started is to track your diet for several days. Write down everything you eat and also track you training and activity for each day. Learn to read nutrition labels to figure out how many calories were in the serving sizes you had.

Most people who go through this process are very surprised at the actual amount of food they are eating on a daily basis. But going through this process makes it very clear where you can cut or add calories from your diet. When it comes to cutting calories, I think the best place to start is with serving sizes. You may also find one of those small diet scales helpful during this process.

It sounds to me from you description that your calorie burn is pretty consistent. So with a few tweaks to your diet, I think you'll be seeing the kilos come off pretty soon.

Good luck and have fun!

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