Bodybuilding / cycling

Hello everyone,

I’ve been soaking up lots of information on the podcast as well as this forum for the last few days. Tons of ressources on here which is great! I have a more personal question.

A little bit about me. For the last 4 years I’ve been pursuing bodybuilding, being fully into the lifestyle. I recently got into cycling (last month) with no intention of putting bodybuilding aside. I’m currently trying to balance both, and determined to keep bodybuilding whilst getting good at my new found passion, cycling. I’m by no means a huge bodybuilder currently weighing 175 lbs at 5’6.

I’ve mostly done 30k to 50k rides and been trying to work on my cadence. The rides have been very hard on my legs, instantly pumping up after any sort of effort. On my first few rides I saw that my average cadence was around 70. My last rides I’ve been intentionally staying over 90 to preserve my legs and I’m happy with the results.

What are the general recommendations to beginners for training? I don’t have a powermeter yet but plan on getting one end of the month. Would you say a powermeter is essential for following the plans on the trainerroad website? I’d love to sign up to start something structured.

Thanks for all the input. I’d love some recommendations!

Cadence is actually of minimal importance in leisure cycling, and in most cycling in general.

A big difference between cycling and lifting is that the vast majority of the time it should feel easy, too easy even.

A powermeter definitely isn’t essential, you can use RPE (Relative Perceived Exertion, basically “how hard does this feel” on a scale of 1-10) to get a pretty effective structured workout, particularly when you’re starting out.

As above, don’t worry too much about cadence, definitely don’t need to keep it over 90 all the time, though 70 is towards the low end of what’s normal unless you’re climbing.

I would say that you need to be realistic about balancing both. They’re pretty opposite ends of the scale in terms of the ideal physique, unless you’re talking about very short, explosive cycling events like track sprinting where they carry a lot of upper body muscle. No reason you can’t be pretty ripped and also decent on a bike, but at some point the training for each is giving conflicting messages to your body and you’re going to hit limits as to how much muscle you can build if you’re out doing 2+ hour bike rides, or how big an aerobic engine you can build if your muscles are shredded from pumping iron every other day.

My advice would be to get yourself a code for a TR free trial and try some structured outdoor workouts using RPE. Start out with a sweetspot plan which basically involves longish intervals at an intensity that is hard but not soul-crushing.


I find that I rely too much on the power in my legs and fatigue very fast, hence why I try to use a lower gear with higher cadence to preserve my legs.

Cycling should feel easy? Definitely not for me! My legs blow up from the start and I average close to 170 bpm for my rides! Definitely not easy for me! Thanks for the reply

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I’m with you there, pretty realistic about my limits in each sport while doing both.

Thanks for the tips, I’ll sign up today!

Im doing a lot of guessing here, but try working up hills as slowly as you can )without losing balance). Stay seated, low cadence will probably suit your higher strength, focus on breathing deep, belly breathing, and you get to the top when you get there - its not a race.

When youre comfortable with that approach, instead of resting at the top just spin easily while youre heart rate is coming down, and coast the downhills.

On the flat just ride easy, no need to work hard, this is where the aerobic engine is built. Take in the scenery in the knowledge that youre building endurance with relatively little effort but greater time :slightly_smiling_face:

I come from a lifting background too (20+ years)…I still lift but decided to give my focus to cycling. As mentioned the two sports are at rather opposite ends of the spectrum.

You may also want to check out Greg Doucette…pro bodybuilder who also cycles (non competitively). I know he’s covered it to some extent. Granted he’s not natural so that certainly enables him to better maintain muscle mass.

Also…I couldn’t resist this pic!


IMO, the best thing a beginner can do is to ride consistently. For starters, you need base miles in your legs. From the above, it sounds like you are pushing too hard. We reap enormous aerobic benefits from long slow rides which is counter intuitive compared to weight training.

Yes I’m familiar with his videos! I’m thinking that with nutrition and recovery I can hold onto/gain muscle. Thanks the reply!

Ok got it! It is counter intuitive, I’m used to getting results from pushing hard! Will definitely take this on board, thanks for the tips!

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I see, I guess I’m doing it wrong then! I am guilty of focusing too much on stats such as average speed etc! Build endurance and the speed will come in time? Thanks!