🎉 New Video! 🎥🧑‍🔬 Science-Backed Nutrition Plan for Cyclists | Cycling Science Explained

This study was really well done and inspired me to make a video about how to follow a data-driven approach to nutrition for us cyclists. It’s been a big hit so far, so I wanted to drop it here in the forum for conversation as well.

Hope y’all enjoy!


You guys have to drop a calculator because it sounds simple but this is confusing. Question @Jonathan are you saying to take your daily deficit based on your fat free mass in KG’s x 30 (on the low end) and then completely replace your calories you spend working out with the Calories burned - 90 grams suggested intake and the remainder in a ratio of 4:1 Carbs:Protien?
And then to maintain body weight and fuel your improvements move up your daily intake without regards to your calories burned during your workout at a rate of 40 or up to 50x Fat Free Mass in KG’s?


That’s correct!

Important to note how variable different rates are though. For some people, 30 kcal/kg FFM might be insufficient, and for others it may be excessive, and this may change over time for an individual.

Main takeaway is that metabolism is perhaps more flexible than we give it credit for :slight_smile:

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A calculator would be great!

Am I looking at this right?

Fat Free mass is total weight minus weight of fat, correct?

‘Optimal Energy Availability’ is just a better/different version of TDEE?

Today I weighed in at 185.8 lbs(84.2kg). My Withings scale says that is comprised of 160.2lbs(72.7kg) of muscle, 7.6lbs(3.4kg) of bone and 18lbs(8.2kg) of fat.

so 76.1kg of FFM and shoot for 45kcal/kg would mean I’d want to consume 3,425kcal per day, plus replace the calories from training? That 3,425 seems very high to me. I’ve been shooting for ~2300kcal a day plus training calories :astonished:


short discussion on FFM and energy availability from a year ago:

for anyone interested in some additional discussion. There are some other, older threads discussing FFM and energy availability. I remember running the numbers two years ago, and then proceeded to have a great fitness gains over winter while dropping weight.


Just looking at 2,300 for you seems like a low number. Using a different calculator I’d say 185 x 1.3 would put your at 2,400 calories just doing normal non-exercise activities per day, then it goes up from there if your were more active. A base of 3,425 per day would put you at the high end - at 30 x 73 kg you’d be at risk of REDS according to the video, which happens to be 2,190.
Any reason you chose 2,300 kcals? Are you trying to lose weight?

I do remember seeing that last year. I just thought it was a complicated calculator and passed on figuring out the numbers since I use a basic TDEE calculator based on body weight and activity level which I learned years back when getting my degree.
I strongly prefer using that calculator along with 1.0-gram protein/ lb of lean body mass for myself but was interested to crunch the numbers after watching this video.

Correct :slight_smile:

It gets you to a similar goal, but does so differently. It’s intentionally more precise than TDEE calculations because it is based lean mass, which should be regularly measured and accounted for. It’s also less of an estimation and more of a calculation than TDEE calculations that don’t involve a true BMR test. And finally, it also doesn’t include activity like some TDEE calculators.

YMMV definitely applies here. After running the numbers myself about 3 years ago I assumed using OEA calculations would put me into too great of a surplus as well. I recommitted to trying it earlier this year and I’m more easily maintaining a lower body fat percentage for longer time periods.

When I was just doing TDEE, I found myself fluctuating in weight and body fat percentage more often, and I think that’s due to using a static measurement to fuel a body that isn’t static in its composition and caloric needs.

I hope that helps!


I arrived at the 2300, via multiple different TDEE/BMR calculators that seemed to indicate ~2,300 kcal for my stats, not accounting for my riding, then adding my calories burned from workouts into it. My non-riding aspect of the day isn’t terribly active(stay at home dad, house chores mostly). I’d prefer to not put anymore weight on.

Thanks for that! It likely explains how I would commit to tracking my food and keeping to my calories, then after 3 days I would end up over eating. I would always blame myself for a lack of self control rather than even consider that I wasn’t eating enough. It doesn’t help that 10 years ago I was 250 lbs, it’s not like I’ve had a healthy relationship with weight and food historically.

I don’t know why, but this has been a big ‘lightbulb’ moment for me! Thanks for the content!


Same although I’m not as lean as some other f you, so I would say stable weight despite eating more calories than previously thought put me into caloric balance.


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Haven’t watched the video yet, but asking in advance if anyone has done the spreadsheet!?!

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Please produce a calculator!
If I weigh 164 lbs and have 28% fat that would equal45.92lbs of fat. If I multiply that by 30 that equals 1377 calories per day to change my body comp, is this correct?

Wasn’t as complicated as I thought, but I was somewhat surprised by the 30 calorie advice for losing fat - that puts me near enough at the same as my TDEE minus 500 calorie deficit!

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Here is my quick calc and while the range is huge (50% increase) it matches with my experience in the past. If I really track and do 2500 which is right in the middle, plus eat back 50-75% of my rides with in-ride nutrition I can steadily lose weight.

lbs kg 30 45
152.7 69.26 2077.8 3116.7

I am back under 190lbs this morning (85.7kg) and am going to give this a good try and hopefully gain a little motivation to really get back to training after an injury.

I was told there would be no math


I’d love to lose 25 lbs (215 lbs, 70") but also keep my current power. OEA puts me at like 2,700 cal per day at 40 cals per kilo of fat free mass. Eating 2,700 + exercise calories would for sure make me not hungry all the time like a sedentary TDEE of 2,200 does. But I feel like every time I DON’T eat in a deficit I gain weight.

Are we talking fat people nutrition here, or are we talking losing or gaining 5 lbs? I feel like the TR podcast nutrition talk is typically aimed toward riders who are near their ideal weight already.


Yeah, it definitely comes across to me as another “eat more to lose weight” message.

What if your scale is way off measuring your fat?

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