Cyclist Body Type

I’ve been cycling for almost 15 years now and 12 years racing. When I began cycling I was +80kg, can’t recall my exact weight as I didn’t really monitor it much back then. Wouldn’t have described myself as overweight as went to gym pretty frequently.

I recall discussion about cycling/racing weight in my first few years I remember being flabbergasted at adults weighting the equivalent of teenagers.

Fast forward 15 years and now I am 67kg after christmas. I those 15 years I have given up alcohol, junk food, meat and other non healthy activities. I have a fantastic diet, sleep regime and general well being.

I am 48, 5’10 and about 10% body fat. During the summer before Marmotte I was 65.5kg and 295 FTP. I have never restricted food for weight considerations and would say I spend 0% of my day hungry.

I accept I look gaunt and weight less than my 18 year old son.

All the weight loss has been very gradual (most years I do 10-12K on the bike)and I feel great most of the time and bike performance is still pretty food.

So in work and more recently from some cycling mates I am getting comments about how thin I am. Doesn’t really concern me from a aesthetics point of view as I am totally comfortable in skin and accept these are the views of non athlete’s who in some cases are obese.

Anyone else conflicted about body type or get this type of comments?

Any concerns from a health perspective about losing muscle mass into later years?

I am in the gym 2 days a week and can squat BW 3 * 8 but still don’t put up any weight due to all the bike mileage.

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I haven’t lost any bodyweight after I started cycling, but I came from xc skiing and running so maybe not that strange. Some of the muscle mass has shifted from upper body to lower body.

I’ve been hovering around 70kg +/- 2kg for most my adult life except a few years in my early 20s where I did very little cardio compared to my norm, and lots of gym to get huge. I was not that huge at all but was 80+. I am 5’11, and been down to 66kg at the lowest, so pretty similar to you.

I feel 68-72 is my sweet spot. I do get comments from time to time, but common denominator is that they come from people who are overweight. I felt skinny when I was young, and I guess thats why i wanted to “get huge”, but I never think about that anymore. My weight is just natural to what I enjoy doing. My guess is those comments usually comes from cyclists around your age that are slightly on the heavier side? I’m 10 years younger so I haven’t made much thoughts about loss of muscle mass yet, but I wouldn’t have had any health conserns if I were you. You are much better of than being overweight. Since you are doing gym twice a week that should be plenty to maintain muscle mass.

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Yes comments from fellow cyclist are generally from heavier non competitive guys. I live and train close to mountains so definitely feels good being light on the bike.

I’m a little lighter, and people are always amazed at how much I cycle (not a lot compared with peers) but often tell people I’m fit, not healthy. Only cycling can have downsides and I’m working on some issues to be both fit and healthy.

While I was once 78kg through lifting, I’m close to my ‘off the couch’ weight now, so rarely get comments, except from my rugby loving dad. They are of little concern, especially when riding in the Alps. :smiling_imp:

And this is the key part, you are both light but also cross-training and not just cycling. Balance is part of being healthy and while you may have less mass, are still strong.


I don’t think there is a cyclist body type. I’m same age as you, same BF as you, similar training levels (10-15K/year for at least the last decade, lift a couple of times a week), little bit taller at 6’1" and quite a bit heavier at ~80kg. Which seems to be optimal for me - any time I get to 78 or lower my health, energy levels and performance start to drop and I start to get the concerned questions from friends and relatives about being too skinny. I train and race with a lot of high performance riders of similar age and there’s a fairly big range in body type and weights even though everybody is pretty lean. Even at the Worldtour you get quite a range - from a WVA who is quoted at 78kg but can still climb with all but the very best climbers down to Vingegaard who is 60kg.

If you’re healthy and strong which it sounds like you are, then I think it says more about the people making negative comments than it does about you.

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I don’t have the same body type as you. I’ve been riding seriously for many years now. I’ve settled into 75-78kg @ 184cm depending on time of year. I don’t really pay any attention to what I eat at all beyond trying not to lose weight - I ride a lot but then I go out of my way to eat more if I’m losing weight because I have no interest in being super thin. I can deadlift 2xbw for a set of three, can lift my kids up with one arm over my head, and can bench press my wife. Maintaining muscle mass, including upper body, is important to me from a health and function perspective, as it helps prevent injury and lets me do things without difficulty.

I hit a PR of 4.4 for my FTP this past season. Low absolute weight is irrelevant to me from a performance perspective because there are no hills here. The fastest riders all weigh north of 200lb here because absolute watts matter more unless you are doing long steep climbs. If I lose weight I have less energy to train harder, needing to cut back on intensity. And I don’t care enough about a 2-4% improvement in speed the once every 5 years I climb the Tourmalet that being lighter has any benefit.

I don’t think the “light” cyclist body type is inevitable, nor even ideal for many serious riders.


I started to get that when I dropped from 210 to 190 lbs…I’m still in the high teens body fat. so when people saw how you were before vs now it’s just something people say. i’d not worry about what anyone says.

also I think for a man 20-25% body fat is “normal” in America. so when someone sees someone at 10% they think that’s too skinny…when really probably 10-15% is “normal”

re your question about losing muscle mass as you age: I am actually concerned about that. (we are ~ the same age). biking is my #1 hobby but I am not going to let my upper body wither away to get more aero. I really can’t understand this in cycling culture (outside of a professional I guess). I eat enough protein and lift weights to try to keep what I have. I use strength as a gauge more than muscle size. I like to work in the 3-6 rep range (sometimes 2, sometimes 8-12) and work full body.

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Yes, this is a concern. You are trading w/kg for
Muscle mass. You just have to live with the consequences. At least try to keep or improve strength, which seems to be a better predictor of health than muscle mass.

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I think we are on the same page here. Currently in the gym 2 twice a week for 1 hour doing core, stretching and full body including bench-press.

It feels great riding with the young riders in my club across mountains and competing in rolling road races at a decent level. But the current trade off is spaghetti arms and small upper body, can’t have it all I guess :slight_smile:

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68kg at 5’10” is pretty small but you lift twice a week amd based on your profile photo you aren’t scary skinny. You’re probably fine but if you feel like you want to gain a little then maybe just tip the scale in the other direction for a part of the year. So lift 3x per week during the winter or something.

But again, you’re probably fine. The norm in the US (and much western world) is to be inactive and overweight. So don’t put too much weight on what the average person says.

FWIW I get the same comments about being skinny and I’m 6’ and 175-180lb (~80kg).

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I’m 6’ 2” and fall between 78-79kg. I don’t like being below 78. I just feel like I am too skinny below 78kg.

Weight is overhyped. Give me the ability to do another set of 1 min x 10 anaerobic repeats and I’ll smoke someone 20 lbs lighter on every course except those with long climbs which are really pretty rare in amateur racing

I’ll take “things people who aren’t overweight say” for $100 Alex.


I started life as a distance runner, and I was pretty good. I could line up at a race, glance around and tell, by body type, who was going to factor in the race. There were a few outliers, stocky guys who were still fast, but for the most part, I was pretty accurate. Then came triathlons, and it got harder to tell. Got dropped by heavy dudes with (gasp!!!) unshaven legs. Now I mainly race gravel, and I don’t know what the hell is going on. The pic is from a rolling (~2500 ft elev gain) 50 miler this past weekend. I’m the little dude that got second. We were all within a minute of each other. I’m thinking size doesn’t matter so much.


Great picture


Whatever helps you sleep at night, but cycling’s weird fetish with weight is obvious and goes back decades. Personally i think a lot of it is vanity - people want to see veins and striations in their legs. It’s a flex. Fortunately its not a prerequisite for speed and wins


There is of course an obvious advantage to having less weight when climbing but I always say we should be comparing our FTPs amongst ourselves by height (height^2 actually because body mass scales with h^2 not h) to see how we rank up comparatively

Well said

I mean, it’s also physics.

WTF, 4.5 w/kg AND repping 3xBW 8 times on squats? On just 2 days a week?? That’s world-class level, why are you in cycling? Go to a PL meet for fun and blow everyone out of the water :laughing: .

As far as body image is concerned, especially among cyclists, everyone’s got an opinion so just ignore them all. Yes sarcopenia is an issue later in life but I don’t think you have any problem with that if you’re squatting those numbers.