Weight Loss Nutrition for Cyclists, How to Learn from Races, and More – Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast 418

No, carb “loading” is proven to be very good for performance. However, for those already carrying large training loads and thus also eating plenty of carbohydrate already, loading may not be necessary. Alex Hutchinson recently did an article in Outside Magazine regarding carbohydrate availability where he discussed some studies suggesting that not only was it important to eat a lot of carbohydrate (>10g/kg of bodyweight per day) during heavy training periods and racing, but that more was in fact always better (within reason). The analogy was that fuel in the body works different to fuel in a car. A car will do 0-60 in the same time regardless of how much fuel is in the tank, but humans perform better the more fuel they have on board. It is as if a car would do 0-60 in 3 seconds when the tank is full, but in 5 seconds when the tank is half empty. Glycogen is not distributed evenly among all cells, so when eating less carbohydrate, some cells will be “full” while others will be “empty”. Thus, only some cells can used to their full capacity during training. Interesting article, link below.


Hi, your link doesn’t support your statement, perhaps we need to be clear what carb loading is?

Oh, that was not meant to be the case, either. I just linked to that because it illustrates how important carbohydrate availability is. Whether this is achieved through a generally high carbohydrate diet or carbohydrate loading is up to the individual. All I’m saying is that I don’t believe carb loading has been “debunked”, but there is perhaps a bit more nuance to carbohydrate availability than just “eat 2lbs of pasta the night before” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Haha. You remind me of my second time at Ironman UK. I was eating in an Italian restaurant the night before, Paul Kaye the announcer was nearby and naturally all the tables were taken by triathletes. I was given free dessert because I was the only one ordering normal dishes for a three course meal :slightly_smiling_face:

I looked into carb loading years ago and I just couldn’t see the evidence of benefit when you’re eating all day at Ironman races. Surprised to see it feature in this podcast,

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If the only major climb you had was in the first half of a race would you still carboload or would it be better to not have the extra weight?

So, I think “carb-loading” is perhaps a bit misunderstood. When looking at pro cyclists, runners, swimmers, and other endurance athletes’ diets, during heavy training periods and racing, they all seem to consume at least 10g of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight, per day. There is no “loading” going on, they are simply eating plenty of carbs all the time. Sure, maybe some go lighter on easier days during a tour to really optimise bodyweight, but unless you’re Chris Froome, trying to find that razors edge is likely a waste of time.

In the article I linked before, it is explained how important carbohydrate availability is for performance and recovery. How you get there is up to you. For someone normally training 6hrs per week, 10g/carbs per kg of bw may be overdoing it on a daily basis. Thus, if you have a big event coming up on the weekend, carb-loading may be a practical way to ensure optimal carbohydrate availability for race day. On the other hand, someone carrying a heavy training load of 20hrs per week likely eats at least 10g/kg/bw/day of carbs just to recover and perform on a daily basis. For that individual, there is no “carb-loading”, there is just continued “carb-eating”. In both cases, the individuals will arrive at race day with optimal carbohydrate availability, they just get there in different ways.

Personally, I train 18-20hrs per week, and I eat at least 800-900 grams of carbs per day at 65kg. I don’t need to carb-load - I just carb-eat, all the time. It allows me to perform and recover very well on a daily basis.


She also recommended hiring a dietician if you need help. The selective hearing and reading, and constant blaming of everyone else for not solving everyone’s personal problems is almost incredible. Any response to these questions is met with more argument about “they are doing it wrong.” There are other forums and podcasts that address dieting.

Seems like they responded, and the response is that you should hire a dietician to handle your personal dietary needs if you can’t follow their standard CICO in the offseason recommendation. If you don’t like that answer then maybe you should hire a dietician to handle your personal dietary needs.


So you think it’s reasonable that people should listen to a 2 hour podcast titled “Weight loss for cyclists” with a registered dietitian and have the outcome for 50% of the audience be “if you want to lose weight as a cyclist, go somewhere else and hire a dietitian“? That’s what I find “almost incredible”.


I’m now training 14-16hrs SBR and I’m not fuelling additionally at all this season, I’m 65+20kg excess weight, ie 85kg.

You’d think I’m eating fast food all day and sweets, but I’m not.

Moving the discussion on to Ironman - @Jonathan :muscle::facepunch::+1:

The technique may look “garbage” particularly on sea swims but that’s just comparing to pool technique. It’s actually great open water technique, certainly for the people you’re likely to be watching.

A higher stroke per minute, wider entry, shorter stroke which is all the antithesis of pool coaching is perfect for open water racing. Check out the Tokyo Olympics they had great closeups of the marathon swim or national 5k OW races.


That is my new favourite wording of anything, ever. “I’m 65+20kg” hahaah😂


About an hour in, isn’t that workout levels v2 with unstructured ride analysis that’s not it public yet?


This is purely out of personal interest - but does anyone else find that the hosts must have the worst appetite of any athletes, ever? In this episode, they went on and on about how hard carb-loading is, and Nate felt that fitting 850 grams of carbohydrate in a day was a big achievement. Maybe it’s just me, and that’s why I’m asking y’all, but eating 850 grams of carbs in a day is easy work. Am I an outlier here? I mean, I weigh between 63-65kg, and I eat more than 1,000 grams of carbs almost every day, even rest days and during rest weeks. Most days, I get about 700-800 grams of carbs just from white rice, so when the hosts talk about carb-loading being hard, I really can’t relate at all. So, do all of you feel the same? Would you struggle to consume 10-12 grams of carbs per kilogram of bodyweight in a day to “load” for a race?

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That’s 17 cups of white rice according to my calorie counter. Are you maybe thinking calories, not grams carbs?


Not just you. My ride yesterday I did a bagel, granola bar and banana before I left, 400g of carbs plus 3L of Gatorade plus two rice krispy treats on the bike. Walked in the door at home and started stuffing my face. Scoop of Protein Powder, Two Bagels, Mini Bluberry Pie, Chips and Salsa, 2-3 apples, and oh yeah, then there was dinner.

All these people talking like it’s hard to get enough calories and carbs - it’s like you’re speaking a foreign language.

Granted - that was a big day for me: 6.5 hours and almost 5000 kCal on the bike… I’m 80Kg ish, 315W FTP, pretty lean with a decent amount of muscle so I burn a good amount.


As a 60kg rider with a 20h weekly training volume, i can eaaaaasily do 800g of carbs daily. I bet I could easily do double that. It’s not like I can’t eat a whole loaf of white bread with honey at any time.


I randomly listened to episode 309 today - “raising power with nutrition” seems to have what a lot of people on here are looking for… somewhat specific actionable things to do for nutrition. The person wrote in asking about how to gain weight (ideally from muscle) and get stronger for a net gain in power/performance instead of just chasing being smaller. The highlights (keep in mind this was for gaining weight but is easily adaptable to losing weight too I think): 2g/kg protein, 6g/kg CHO (for 2 hours of training per day was what was said so I guess titrate that up or down), 1g/kg fat as base calories. Also suggested was to lift weights to give your body the stimulus to increase muscle mass. The specific suggestion was to do legs later in the day after a harder AM bike workout and also do upper lifting as well. For weight gain he suggested adding “treats”. So for weight loss, skip the treats :slight_smile: Jonathon also talked a lot about eating really nutrient dense food (so nice to hear instead of about the cherry pies :slight_smile: ). Anyway, just passing it along for people looking for more of a plan.


No, I eat a lot of rice. About 1kg dry weight per day, which equals about 780 grams of carbs and 3,500 calories.

Thank you, I thought I was losing my mind. On my big days, with fuelling on the bike at 90g/hr + regular meals, I can hit 1,500 grams of carbs in a day quite comfortably. Happy to know I’m not a freak lmao