Why Consistency Matters, Breakaway Tips, Tight Hips, and More – Ask a Cycling Coach 362

Amber, Ivy, and Nate join Coach Jonathan for a discussion on what coaches mean when they say “consistency”, why it matters, and how to prioritize it, how to break away from a strong field, why cyclists have tight hips and what to do about it and much more. Tune in now for Episode 362 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast!

Tune in Thursday at 8:00am Pacific!

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Topics Covered in This Episode

  • What is training consistency and why is it so important?
  • How to break away in strong fields
  • Why power is key for calorie measurement
  • Mood and training periodization
  • Why training harder isn’t always the answer
  • Why cyclists have tight hips and what they can do to fix it
  • How to maintain fitness through the summer

Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

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I lot of interesting topics, this could be a 3 hour podcast!


Excited to have @IvyAudrain back on the pod this week! Should be fun.


Killer!!! I hadn’t noticed the host list yet. :smiley:

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@Nate_Pearson when you discuss the Calories and PM thing, could you please redo the explanation of the Kj, KCal, Cal, Watts relationship. I was trying to explain to my workmates yesterday by memory and got well muddled up.

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While you wait for more podcast coverage, you might check out their blog post which hits it pretty well:

Thanks Chad! Couldn’t find it on the Google machine yesterday, just a bunch of dieting pages.

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For future reference, my trick is just loading the default TrainerRoad Blog - Cycling Training Resources and Tips site and using the embedded Search at the top right. One or two key words usually can find one or more blog or podcast links worth a look. It cuts out the middleman (G) if you are fairly certain TR had it covered at some point.

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From that TR blog post you’ll note that gross metabolic efficiency is typically (not always) in the range of .2 to .25. Lets look at an example from my ride yesterday:

  • 1607kJ work
  • 1536 low calorie estimate (high efficiency) @ 25% gross efficiency (1607/4.184/.25)
  • 1920 high calorie estimate (low efficiency) @ 20% gross efficiency (1607/4.184/.2)

~400 calorie difference from higher to lower gross efficiency, that’s pretty big swing on a 2.5 hour zone2 ride!

It is another reason why I don’t believe in precisely counting calories. Round numbers, rough estimates, and step on the scale everyday.

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Yeah, I wasn’t talking fine metrics. Just describing how directly Power measurement can relate to energy expenditure. One of my colleagues was talking about the amount of Cal the exercise machine told him he was using.

I can’t remember the number but I think he said it was 100Cal every 10minutes and I was trying to say that seems a bit high considering the amount of Power it takes to burn 400Cal per hour, which I thought I could remember from Nate in the pod many moons back being something like 200W

Yes that is about correct. A rough estimate for jogging is 10 kcal per minute.

That only takes about 116 watts for 400 kcal per hour, maybe you are thinking 600 kcal per hour ~ 166 watts though.


From my spreadsheet, .sheet named… “BMR, W/kg & Calorie Calculator” linked in the “Weight loss accountability buddy or thread discussion” thread

200W average power
600 seconds (10 minutes)

120kJ every 10 minutes at 200W

That’s about 115-143kcals using the 20-25% gross efficiency range.

Solving backwards, 166W average power burns 100kJ every 10 minutes. And using 1:1 approximation (23.9% gross efficiency), that’s about 100 calories (kCals).

A lot of interesting studies on gross efficiency… Here is one comparing cadence on 0% (flat), 4% climb, and 8% climb:

Efficiency decreases with increasing cadence. Efficiency decreases on steep 8% climb.

There are other studies showing changes due to power.

Its a “fun” rabbit hole to go down.

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That is what I was using…


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that’s about 25.1% gross efficiency.


Can’t remember where I got the 0.2389 (thought that was the EF at first look) from but yes looks like 25%, it was tweaked to match me!

Lab data? Because weighing food is going to use estimates of caloric value. And from my previous short trip down the rabbit hole, efficiency has been shown to vary due to power output, cadence, and gradient. Gross efficiency is a range, it’s individual, depends on route and power and cadence, and can change over a season.

Awesome. I am really looking forward to this discussion. As a “train-now” athlete, I’ve been wondering a lot about the TR endorsed definition of consistency.

I agree, no way should they cut the podcast down to one hour


But isn’t it always indicative rather than absolute? Eating to the KJ over time, you’ll either go up or down in weight, and adjust to individual experience if not seeing the expected results?

Yup. The point is, don’t be fooled into a false sense of precision. You don’t precisely know calories burned on bike, you don’t precisely know the calories in your food, and you don’t precisely know your BMR. They are rough estimates to get you close, and you need to adjust food intake based on trends seen on your scale.