Is it just me or has the pendulum swung too far when it comes to talking about eating enough food and not over training?
I’ve been following the advice to fuel the workouts and not worry about diet for three years. This year, I’ve signed up for a very climby event. I’ve started paying attention to what I eat and I’ve shifted 7kgs in around 6 weeks. I’ve also gained 10 watts in FTP.
I get that there are people with food issues, but anecdotally, I’m sure most of us could do with eating a bit more carefully.
One of the few things definitively shown to increase longevity is calorie restriction. Hard to reconcile that with Always Be Eating. Exercise is very obviously a net Good but some of the ideas on the podcast sound more like broader advocacy than sound advice
Not so sure - even with 120g of carbs per hour (assuming sugar), even me as a middling cyclist comes out with a deficit with something like pettit*. “Don’t diet on the bike” seems an appropriate message to me. At the same time, I’m happy to ignore all the post ride recovery shake stuff, and prefer to rely on the rest of my diet to replenish!
*not saying I fuel pettit, just as an example.
I still think not dieting on the bike is great advice, but TR seems to lean heavily towards don’t diet in general.
I think in practice, the podcast members are careful eaters. Jonathan mentions measuring food at the start of training blocks. The advice that gets passed along seems to sway away from dieting/calorie restriction.
I think this is in response to the horror stories of people with eating disorders and how this is particularly prevalent in cycling, so I get it, but I think the vast majority of us could do with more attention to diet.
Yeah. I am definitely on this side of the spectrum. I hear people say “it’s hard to eat that much” and my mind thinks “it’s super easy! What are you talking about?!?”. I can’t relate AT ALL. I NEVER struggle to eat. I have to make a conscious decision not to eat. I know it is their reality, but I just do not connect.
That being said I’ve really started losing weight via eating habits and my watts are still going up. My wife talked me into doing Noom with her, I was a skeptic but it’s working and feels like it will stick.
Ha! You described me perfectly!
I don’t think I’ve ever seen TR not caveat that you should pay attention to what you’re eating and to eat healthy foods during any diet specific discussions (yes, I’m sure they’ve said “don’t diet on the bike” without adding those the caveats during workout fueling specific discussions). They have had the nutritionist on the podcast a few times, and healthy diet is always a part of that discussion.
It’s pretty clear to me that, rather than try to be an athlete diet focused company, they choose to focus on fueling, and what to add to, or how to adjust that otherwise healthy diet to fuel the training they prescribe, while letting the subscribers be responsible for their own healthy diet.
Ditto, the summaries above (and seen in similar topics like this over the years) are rather shallow and poorly characterize the TR efforts over the years, IMO. They seem to hit on making generally “good food choices” along with training goals in mind which is all I would expect for their position.
The offerings from many of the podcast team over the years seem like quality examples as a rule with the main exceptions being Nate’s cheat meals or carb loading for events, none of which were shared with the purpose of “do what Nate does” but rather “what he did”, which is a real difference despite potential ambiguity that some people see. Regardless, those Nate examples are offset by his own discussions of stuff like his sweet potato and other recipes along with his air fryer phase as much better personal examples.
As someone who has food as my personal weak spot in the training spectrum, I find TR as a solid example that I could benefit from following more often than not. They seem to eschew “diets” as trendy which I also agree with since too many are short term efforts that do little to benefit a person in the longer term. I’d say there are likely far worse examples of people pushing questionable choices and directions in this area.
The general tone and sometimes specific advice is “train hard, don’t worry about diet and body composition will take care of itself”. I agree with @mcneese.chad’s point that there are worse examples of people pushing questionable choices, but as a podcast/platform with the goal of “making you faster”, surely weight is low hanging fruit that should be emphasized in the process.
It was really refreshing seeing a GCN clip on specifically how to lose weight.
It seems like every time this comes up on the podcast at least one person mentions a history of disordered eating ranging from self diagnosed to still seeking treatment. While we can all get annoyed that they seem to not dig deep enough into it sometimes, the reality is that this is a very sensitive topic. I think they want to not only respect the person in the (virtual) room with them at the time but understand that what they say could cause damage to someone down the road.
The workout part is their business, and to make sure you get the best workout you need to fuel it. That is a pretty safe topic to cover. Once it comes to off the bike and problems can occur, it is in their best interest to not get out of their lane.
You can be overfed and undertrained and still have terrible performance and recovery, stay fat, have terrible biomarkers, awful sleep, depression, etc if your diet sucks. You can also have a diet that supports massive volume and performance on and off the bike, be lean and extremely happy and productive. Unfortunately there’s a lot of bad “science” and even worse interpretations that keep people on a path that simply doesn’t work.
I think there’s a lot to this… but yes I agree that the “eat lots + don’t overtrain” mentality has been more pervasive as of late. If you’re someone who has struggled with burnout or disordered eating, it’s probably better for you to follow that mentality. However if you’re someone who hasn’t, and if you’re looking for adaptations (in the physiological/mental sense, not necessarily bike-specific adaptations), I think it’s good to place restriction/stress upon the body in an uncomfortable yet safe way.
Nate gave a good example of this on the podcast re: losing weight, and that was “go to bed a little hungry”. When I want to drop 1-2kilos, this is the most effective way for me to do so. And I don’t have to compromise my daily meals to do so! Just stop eating dinner a bit before I’m completely satisfied. Diets are great to cycle in and out of for specific gains, but I think a perpetual diet can get unhealthy.
If you didn’t get uncomfortable and if you didn’t overtrain/undereat a bit here and there, I think you would not be as strong in the long run… if you never place this stress on your body, what would happen when you need your body to perform in an overtrained or underfed state
I used to think that I can just eat what I like, because I exercise so much, but I got fed up with creeping weight gain over a few years. So I decided to count/restrict calories to lose a few kg, but I was very nervous about how it would impact my training. That has turned out ok, because I’m very careful to eat enough carbs and protein when I need them. But calorie counting has been very revealing for me. I can very easily hit 3000 kcal on a day and not even feel like I’ve over-eaten, because some snacks and also alcohol can really add up. But on days when I don’t exercise that much is just not necessary. It’s been really useful for me to see when I need to fuel and when I actually don’t. There has to be a middle way between disordered eating and “eat as much as you like and your body will sort itself out”.
This sounds exactly the same as the situation I found myself in. Thanks for sharing
You should never feel like you’re restricting the food. Clearly your body is saying it doesn’t have the energy it needs, or it thinks you are trying to starve it. It doesn’t sense calories, only the ability to produce ATP. As soon as it struggles to make energy it’s going to start a cascade of hormonal changes that signal hunger and stress, that when done often enough will downregulate hormones that produce energy, as a survival mechanism. Again, you can feed it a ton of vegetable oil and your body is still going to think it has low energy availability. It’s not the calories that determine energy availability as understood by your brain and body, it’s the nutrients that are in the food you eat.
3000kJ is not a lot of food, even on a rest day. If your body is gaining weight on 3000 kJ, or you are failing to lose weight on significantly less, that is not good.
This is a flat out false statement for many people, and just as dangerous as the overly restricted and disordered eating
Those numbers are not realistic. I’m 70kg, and if I ate 3000kcal/day for a week with no training I’d gain 1kg of fat.
You’re giving me way too much credit. I just like to non stop eat, doesn’t matter if I’m hungry or not. Counting my calories helps me cut back on unnecessary snacking. It also helps me make better decisions, like prioritizing healthy foods over junk.
I’m confused by your post. Did you mean to write kJ? I was referring to kcal. Recommendations for active adult women are 2200 kcal/ day, so 3000 kcal on a day when I don’t exercise is more than my body needs.