Optimal Body Composition, Breakaway Teamwork, Heartburn and much more – Ask a Cycling Coach 231

Reaching optimal body composition, how to make a breakaway successful, dealing with heartburn while training and much more will be discussed on Episode 231 of The Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast. Check it out, live now on YouTube!

Youtube Live Video:

Topics covered in this episode:

Subscribe to the Podcast

Listen to previous episodes on SoundCloud

Episode Notes:


Great episode this week!

On the topic of choosing your own lines, especially picking the right ones depending on the conditions, Max Verstappen gave a masterclass in Brazil in 2016:

Highlights: Max Verstappen's Masterclass | 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix - YouTube

Explanations: Max Verstappen explains his magic in Brasil 2016 - YouTube


Just listened to the podcast and was excited to hear that Steven is actually still alive! You wouldn’t know this if you were subscribed to the MTB podcast! :wink: @Jonathan


Loved this podcast. I’m so glad you guys went in depth on food and body composition. Way too many of us (endurance athletes) are weight-obsessed, trying our hardest to be surgical about what we eat, how many calories we take in on rest days vs workout days, etc. We are losing sight of the big picture here.

There is a PROBLEM in this community with weight obsession. Why has w/KG become the primary goal of so many cyclists, when increasing raw power, muscle endurance, and being a well rounded rider should be the goal. Your skill as a bike rider does not come down to your power-to-weight ratio.

Thanks guys for being open and honest about expectations around eating and what’s optimal versus what could backfire.

1 Like

I’d say it’s down to the world tour being the most popular and prominent form of cycling. Most people see that as the pinnacle of cycling. And in those races W/kg really is one of the major deciding factors in who is successful and who isn’t. But a huge minority of bike racers are riding races with profiles that require that one metric to be successful.

Totally agree. I’m calling out the people that say things like “should I starve myself or under eat on rest days” and do things that will no-doube sabotage their progress in lieu of simply hitting a w/kg number. There’s a way to artfully lose weight and find an ideal body composition and do it while still properly fueling and not being afraid to consume that one extra gram of carbohydrate.

The vitamin D comment from @Nate_Pearson interested me (riding outside people still being deficient), how widespread is that? Seems not the medical advice norm (bear in mind I’m not an expert, just going on the usual spiel of guidelines).

I don’t remember the exact comment that Nate made, but I spent a lot of time outside in SoCal, but was towards the very bottom of the normal range for Vitamin D in my last blood test, to the point where the doctor recommended a small Vitamin D supplement daily just in case.

IIRC a lot of endurance athletes run low on Vitamind D due to consistently elevated cortisol levels(?) from consistent training. I forget the exact physiological process for why though.

1 Like

Also nate mentioned possible to overdose on vit D…which is true (as it is with anything including water!)…but REALLY hard to overdose in vit D - certainly one of the ‘safer’ things to take with regards worrying about overdosing. As nate said - he takes 5000 IU and recommended daily amount is about 500IU. But to put into context a lot of people can get 10000 IU from sitting in the sun for a few hours!

1 Like

Yes, vit D is pretty safe. Jury is out on actual effectiveness and absorbtion.

FWIW I was recommended an extra 1000IU on top of my regular diet, which I get a decent amount from.

The efficacy of the absorption had read before, but what is the current state? What determines which supplement is more efficient? (Aside from being a fake lol)


1 Like

Regarding the antacid H2 blockers that @chad mentioned you would be advised to stay away from Zantac / Ranitidine. This drug has been found to be unstable and it appears it is converting to NDMA in peoples bodies which is a very carcinogenic(cancer causing) compound. Use Tagamet or one of the other H2 blockers.

1 Like

I use huel for an easy lunch/ recovery.
I get the unflavoured powder as the flavours have sucralose in. I need a teaspoon of honey in it though!
I am planning to order bars. Not tried those yet.
I don’t feel I need supplements because I use this.

How long have you been using Huel? Notice anything after starting?

I’ve considered something like this because I’m a super picky eater and have a tough time eating healthy stuff consistently.

Off and on for about a year; consistently 6 months. After about 3 days of daily use my digestion had improved, with much reduced GI distress.
If you’re a picky eater, you might want to try the bars. The texture of the pwder is something to get used to and might not suit everyone. They do ready made drinks. Not sure of the texture of those.
Good luck!

with respect to @Jonathan deep dive on smaller brake rotors;
don’t dispute the overall findings, but one of the things folks miss with rotor sizing is that is isn’t really about absolute brake force, its about how heavy you can brake before you break traction (and skid).
Having a high amount of force is fine and dandy but if you don’t have the traction its useless. Road bike tires aren’t great traction wise, so unless you are heavy with multiple bouts of heavy braking which is going to cause brakes to heat and fade, smaller is better.