I hear many times from athletes that they can not get too low in weight because they loose power. But if the main factor in cycling is power to weight ratio – and that ratio increases if you lost weight then how can you also loose power?
I think that there is a point of minimum bodyfat where someone would loose strength or reserves. However, if that is the case, then what about all the Pro racers that come out of stage races with less than 5% bodyfat.
My hypothesis is that when people are dieting and do not eat as much for meals ‘reducing calories’ then when they go out for a long or hard training then they do not have enough nutrients in their body and they do not ingest enough calories too keep them going. Once the body runs out of nutrient supplies then it doesn’t function optimally – they loose energy (power).
Now take the same ‘reduced calories’ and factor in the high intensity of training and/or racing and the body is in a depleted state WHEN beginning an event – and since it is difficult for most people to ingest enough nutrition during an event, they eventually ‘loose power’.
Something I tell my clients is to ‘feed your training’. In other words you must eat according to what you are planning to do. If you are going to hang out on the couch then you can/should consume less food. But especially consume less food that the body would use immediately for energy. This is a good time to consume foods that the body would use as building blocks or repair.
When you have a long training day or race day, now is the time to ingest more foods that the body can and will use for energy.
This past weekend I was leading a group ride – I got up 30 minutes earlier just so that I could prepare some Belgium waffles with maple syrup. Less than 2 hours later we were all on the bikes and riding a few miles over to a 3 mile climb – I had a great day, which started out with a meal that was going to fuel my activity.
This morning I was in a meeting for a couple hours and have been working on some research and getting some ideas on paper. For breakfast this AM I had an omellete with chicken, salsa and guacamole. Foods that I wouldn’t get a burst of energy from, but food that will keep a steady stream of nutrients with out an insulin spike.
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Remember: Feed your training.