Is Cycling Nutrition Too Complicated? – Ask a Cycling Coach 398

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0:00 Welcome!
1:48 Quick cramp fixes
10:32 Energy Balance vs. Energy Availability: What is the best way to track food intake?
22:31 Should you be ingesting mid-ride protein?
34:35 Cyclists, carbs, insulin, and fat metabolism
51:15 What makes the beginning of an interval so hard?
1:02:20 How to manage your relationship with food when it gets extra complicated


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Is it too complicated? No.

Do we make it too complicated? Yes.

Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

:sunglasses: :sunglasses:


Cycling in a nutshell!


:grin: To go with that, I just finished listening to the Andy Coggan interview from last fall (Episode 19 of the Empirical Cycling Podcast) and he said essentially the same thing when it comes to training as well, in that people make things more complicated than they have to be.


100%…we all do it, too. We obsess over which plan / structure is “the best” when in reality, almost any plan will get your results…and even if one is “best” or even “better”, we’d likely never realize the differences.

It is one of the reasons why I feel the Deep Dives on the podcast are unnecessary and arguably a distraction. The majority of us don’t need that level of detail but continuing to do the DD’s imparts the idea that we “need” that level of detail / understanding.


A bit confused about the “as you get more fit you get more efficient and don’t sweat as much” message

I was always under the impression very fit people can sweat a lot. This is because their bodies have adapted to regular exertion and become more efficient at regulating their body temperature to keep them cool.

(Sex differences in the effects of physical training on sweat gland responses during a graded exercise - PubMed) this study published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) showed that trained athletes sweated more than untrained men and women when they did the same level of exercise, suggesting that increased fitness improves the sweating response.

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it was also odd to see nutrition pointed to as the most likely cause of cramping rather than as coach chad suggested, it was generally fitness(lack of) based on lots of research out there

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I feel I’m getting better at it. I just trust Chad, Jonathon, “The Machine” rather than get too tied in knots. It’s a large part of what I’m paying TrainerRoad for. Reduce my cognitive load, and let chad worry about it being right!

I enjoy listening to the deep dives. Even if I really don’t go down into the weeds afterwards.


Before dismissing out of hand the Fireball handups as a cure for cramps, there’s actually research showing that eating things that are spicy and/or cinnamon flavored can reduce the intensity and duration of muscle cramps.
See Ingestion of TRP channel agonists attenuates exercise-induced muscle cramps - PMC


We need Nate racing again! I loved the years of breaking down Nate’s race tactics, training, food, etc on the pod. That was great. I also don’t care much for the deep dives as I lose focus after 5 minutes, but I want to respect Chad’s due diligence, research, and explaining to us as it’s great work even if I don’t go that deep in the weeds. It’s great information and really breaks down the question(s) on the topic.


I did hear Chad say cramps usually happened to him by going too hard during races/ group rides etc…

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Yes that is what chad said, but the expert pointed to nutrition/hydration as the primary cause

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I took it that it the panel was pretty settled that the main cause is lack of preparation. And (I think) what you are referring do followed this question from Jonathon (7 min in, I just relistened to it) “you can be trained to the nines, but if you deprive yourself of the fuel to do it you’re gonna cramp, right?” So, in context, yeah she probably was but it was a fairly narrow question that was asked.

I love that y’all had an actual RD on the pod! Alex was great. All of you were, as usual. Love the @IvyAudrain humor too - keepin’ things real as always! <3


This podcast to me just showed how broken the cycling nutrition industry is as a result of insane aesthetic goals and ludicrous claims. Just fuel the damn workout! :smiley:

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If you cramp on a regular basis, that’s what she said.

First off, let me say that I love the TrainerRoad assortment of products; the training platform, the Podcast, etc. I’m faster than ever before and the structure and knowledge have helped me immensely.

At (around) minute 34:00 of this podcast, Jonathan made a comment that I’m choosing to believe was unintended. The comment was made re: an “Instagram Nutritionist”, and what I took from the following short banter was that Dieticians are superior to Nutritionists. Here’s the counterpoint - you can find hacks and poor practitioners regardless of what certification/ training they have received, and a broad generalization like this is not only very out of character for Jonathan, but potentially misleading and detrimental to every listener of yesterday’s show.

That’s it! Thank you!! Keep up to good work!

“The word dietitians typically refers to registered dietitians (RDs). Compared with nutritionists, the main difference is that RDs tend to have more education and credentials. Depending on the state in which you practice, you can call yourself a nutritionist without any formal nutrition education, training, licensing or certification, but it’s illegal to call yourself a dietitian without proper credentialing.”


In terms of Registered Dietitian vs nutritionist, there is a difference. I know there are probably some very good nutritionists out there and probably some not so good dietitians. But simply stating the facts, RDs have much more formal education to require their title (ie most have post grad degrees). They are also governed by a medical licensing body and there are requirements that must be met for them to obtain and maintain their status.

Totally agree with you. I love Chad’s deep dives. I find them very interesting, I continue to want to learn more. Just because “it doesn’t seem relevant to you” shouldn’t prevent a person from taking an interest ,and always keeping an open mind when it comes to learning.