Cycling and Weight Loss Part 2: Metabolic Homeostasis

scale_caloric_balanceThis is the second in a series of posts about losing weight on the bike. Throughout this discussion it’s important to keep in mind that eating has many consequences for health, athletic performance and weight loss.  The “best” diet for losing weight is unlikely to be the “best” diet for maintaining either your health or a high level of athletic performance.

In the first part of this series, Riding the Bike to Lose Weight, I pointed out that there is a modifying factor that affects the basic  relationship between caloric intake and weight loss.  The basic relationship is that if you ingest fewer calories than you burn during the course of a day, you will lose weight, if you ingest more than you burn, you will gain weight, and if caloric intake and caloric burn are about equal, your weight will remain stable.  The modifying factor is metabolic homeostasis.

If you’re not familiar with the jargon, “metabolic homeostasis” is incomprehensible and useless gobbledegook.  In the context of thinking about weight loss, “metabolic” refers to the chemical processes that are involved in the breaking down of food in the digestive system and the ways the results of that breakdown process, such as glucose, are used by the body.

A homeostatic system is one that acts to keep itself at an equilibrium point or within an equilibrium range.  A common example is the climate control system in your house or car.  You set the thermostat for a high and a low temperature and the climate control system keeps the temperature of your house or car within this range.  If it gets too hot, the air conditioning is turned on; if it gets too cold, the heat comes on.

The human body is a brilliant homeostatic system in a number of ways.  If the core temperature of the body gets too hot, you sweat to rid yourself of excess heat; if core temperature gets too cold, you shiver to generate more heat.  If blood glucose drops too low, the system reduces glucose uptake at the muscles to maintain glucose supply to the brain.  Cyclists in the heat of battle sometimes wish it didn’t work this way as they go into a bonk and their legs shut down.

caloric homeostasisMetabolic homeostasis refers to the body’s mechanisms for maintaining a balance between caloric intake and caloric burn.  This homeostatic system is more complicated than previously thought and much about it is currently not well understood.    I’ll try to summarize some of the issues that come into play when considering weight loss, exercise and metabolic homeostasis.

One thing that appears to be soundly supported by the available evidence is that the body adapts to a regular, sustained change in the relationship between caloric intake and caloric burn by reducing the number of calories needed to fuel the same amount of activity.  Here’s an example of how this works.  Suppose your caloric intake and burn are balanced; on a typical day your regular activities burned 2000 kilocalories and you ingested about 2000 kilocalories in food during the day.  Your weight would remain stable.  Then you go on a diet and ingest only 1800 kilocalories a day.  At first you would lose weight because the 1800 kilocalories you ingest is less than the 2000 kilocalories you burn each day.  However, if you stayed on this 1800 kilocalorie per day diet for a period of time, your body would adapt to that reduced caloric intake by enabling you to engage in the same activity you were doing every day before you began the diet while only burning 1800 kilocalories.  Once that happens caloric intake and caloric burn are balanced again and you stop losing weight.

Reduction-in-RMR-GraphA slightly more technical way to express this idea is that the basal metabolic rate will change to maintain metabolic homeostasis.  Roughly speaking, basal metabolic rate is the rate at which kilocalories are burned to support normal daily activity.  When the balance between caloric intake and burn is disrupted through dieting or exercise weight is initially lost because fewer kilocalories are ingested than are burned and the basal metabolic rate has not yet adapted to the change.  However, after a period of sustained dieting or exercise the basal metabolic rate adjusts to the reduction in kilocalories ingested (by dieting) or the increase in kilocalories burned (by exercise), a balance between caloric intake and burn is once again achieved, and weight loss stops.

Maintaining metabolic homeostasis through a reduction in basal metabolic rate means that there’s only so far you can go when trying to lose weight by dieting, exercise or both.  If you want to keep losing weight through dieting, you have to continue reducing the number of kilocalories you ingest every day.  If you want to continue losing weight through exercise such as riding the bike, you have to keep increasing the intensity of the exercise.

This is why it was recommended in Riding the Bike to Lose Weight that you continually try to ride harder, longer, faster, stronger every time out on the bike if you want to lose weight.  If the intensity of the exercise remains the same, basal metabolic rate will adapt to it and weight loss will stop.  If the intensity keeps increasing, basal metabolic rate will lag behind and weight loss can continue.

If this were the whole story about metabolic homeostasis it would be simple.  If you enjoy riding the bike, figure out ways to put more time and energy into riding the bike and forget about worrying about calories and weight loss.  You will be doing something you enjoy, you will be thinking about something you enjoy and you will most likely lose weight.  The hope is that when you get to the point where you are putting all the time and energy you can or want to into the bike, your weight will have dropped to a level you like.

Unfortunately, it’s not this simple.  Riding the bike (or any other form of exercise) makes you hungry, makes you want to eat more. In addition, men and women are affected differently by this increase in the desire to eat after exercise.  More on this in the next post in the series.

Aerodynamics Part 3: Shaving Your Legs

The day after I posted Aerodynamics Part 2 about some small and free or relatively cheap things you can do to reduce air resistance and drag I came across this video.

We’ve all heard that shaving your legs makes you faster.  Does it?  Check this out.

Over the 40 km length of their trial runs, differences in how hard the rider is going over relatively short periods of time may well be sufficient to account for the differences they observed and they don’t address how, or even whether, they controlled for differences in effort over the trials with and without leg hair. From what you can see in the video it seems pretty clear they didn’t use physiological measures to control for effort.  Looking at the set-up in the video I would guess average speed was used as a control but without more information no hard conclusions can be drawn.  However, the magnitude of the differences they observed certainly indicate shaving your legs is something worth exploring further if you want to reduce air resistance and drag.

Aerodynamics Part 2: Small Things That Reduce Air Resistance and Drag

PIC372688193Tony Martin won the UCI World Time Trial Championship in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and is the odds on favorite to win it again this year. He is an incredible bike rider and by all accounts an incredibly nice guy; he once caught and passed David Millar in a time trial and apologized to Millar as he went by. The picture is of Martin time trialing in full aerodynamic mode at the 2013 Criterium du Dauphine which is an eight-day race that Martin won on the basis of the insurmountable lead he built by winning the time trial.

If you want to minimize air resistance and drag as much as possible, you ride like Martin rides in a time trial. Unfortunately, this is beyond the reach of many riders for a number of reasons. First, it’s expensive. Between his bike frame, wheel set, skin suit, helmet, etc., Martin is moving well over $10K worth of gear in the photo. Next, an optimized wind tunnelaerodynamic position is difficult to accomplish. Differences in body mass and shape mean that the position that optimizes both aerodynamics and power output is different for every rider. Finding that position takes hours of iterative testing and refinement in a wind tunnel. In addition, a full aerodynamic tuck is difficult to maintain and usually takes many hours of practice to be able to hold for any length of time. Simply strapping a set of aerobars unto your bike isn’t going to do it. Finally, riding in an optimal aerodynamic position is difficult. The position is uncomfortable and the bike is more difficult to control when you’re stretched out on aerobars.

Although going full aero involves a significant investment of time, effort and money, there are a number of simple things you can do that will reduce air resistance and drag that are relatively easy and are either free or cost the price of a new jersey. Taken individually, none of these things will result in a huge reduction in air resistance but small things add up and they can make a noticeable difference over a long ride.

Get Low

The biggest single thing you can do to reduce air resistance without spending any money is to reduce the surface area on the front of your body that is exposed to the wind as you ride forward. It’s easy to do and you don’t need aerobars to do it. Bend at the waist and lean forward. The lower you get the better off you’ll be but almost any degree of forward lean will reduce the area of your torso that is exposed to the wind.

Tour of the Battenkill 2012This is easiest to do if you have road handlebars on your bike. Moving your hands from a position on the flat upper bar on either side of the stem to the brake hoods will bring you down a little bit. Keeping your hands on the hoods and bending your elbows will bring you down more. You can get fairly low with your hands on the brake hoods by bending your elbows to the point where you’re resting your forearms on the handlebars like the rider in the picture. You can usually get even lower by riding with your hands on the drops.

Elbows and Knees

PIC298104874While the exact elbow position for optimal aerodynamic riding depends on the rider’s body size and shape, it’s generally the case that tucking the elbows in is better than bending them out. Many riders, however, tend to bend their elbows out in a variety of circumstances. When you bend at the waist and lean forward to get low, make sure to pull your elbows in rather than bend them out. People also tend to bend their elbows out when they are leaning into a climb, working hard to maintain a strong tempo, gripping the bars tightly, or are just tired. Pay attention to where your elbows are and if they are flaring wide, bring them in.

Knee position is an aerodynamic factor that people sometimes miss because it’s usually not obvious in pictures of riders who are time trialing. Take a look at where your knees are relative to your body while you’re pedaling. If your knees are spread open so that they form a V-shape with your body, your legs are funneling air into your body and increasing the air resistance and drag you have to overcome. Ride with your knees pulled in toward the top tube on your bike. Obviously, you don’t want your knees banging into the top tube but closer to the tube is better than further away. When you do this, don’t accomplish the “knock-kneed” position by flaring your ankles out.

Your Jersey

Wear a tight jersey. If your jersey is loose or baggy, it is catching the wind and increasing air resistance by acting like a sail that is pulling you in the opposite direction. Don’t worry about what you look like. How you look in your exercise clothes may be a big deal for gym bunnies but for riders the big deal is how smart and how well you ride. If you’re overweight, you’re overweight; there are things you can do to change that but wearing a loose jersey isn’t one of them. Don’t worry about it. Ride smart.

???????????????Keep your jersey zipped up. Partially unzipping a jersey allows air to circulate around the upper body to the back where it is trapped by the jersey. It’s like strapping a sail facing the wrong direction on your bike. You would think this would be a no-brainer but you see riders all the time from beginners to pros who have expensive aero gear on their bike and who are trying to go fast with their jersey partially unzipped.

 

watts and wind resistence_ key pointsThe graph discussed in Aerodynamics Part 1 illustrates that air resistance is negligible when you are going slow but it quickly ramps up with velocity until it becomes the overwhelming force you have to overcome to move your bike forward. While all of the tips and techniques offered in this post have a small effect in reducing air resistance they are all easy to do. They are also either cost-free or cost, at most, the price of a new jersey. Small benefits add up and their combination can make the difference between a ride that is exhausting and a ride that is exhilarating.

Aerodynamics Part 1: Air Resistance



hard ridingYou’re riding along at a speed that takes some effort. It’s difficult. What makes it hard? What do you have to overcome that is demanding all that effort to maintain your speed? You ramp it up and go faster. Now it’s even harder and it takes even more effort to maintain the faster speed. Why is it harder? What changed?

When you’re riding your bike there are four factors that resist your forward movement. One of them is gravity but gravity only comes into play when you’re going uphill. You have to provide enough power to carry the combined weight of you and your bike upwards against the earth’s gravitational field. You want to fly up the hill but the earth says not so fast.

When you’re not going uphill, gravity is not doing much of anything to hold you back but it still takes effort to move forward and the faster you go, the more effort it takes. You’re fighting against three types of resistance: drive resistance, rolling resistance, and air resistance. They all take effort to overcome but air resistance is, by far, your biggest enemy.

Drivetrain or drive resistance refers to the force you have to apply to overcome the mechanical resistance coming from the moving parts of the bike’s drivetrain. This includes factors like friction from the chain moving through the teeth on your front rings and rear sprockets and the bearings in the bottom bracket of your bike. If you’re pedaling, you’re producing drive resistance. You can reduce drive resistance by keeping your chain clean and well-oiled and by replacing the bearings in your bottom bracket when they wear out.

Another way to eliminate rolling resistance

Another way to eliminate rolling resistance

Rolling resistance refers to the force you have to apply to overcome mechanical resistance coming from the parts on the bike that are not part of the drivetrain that are moving when you’re rolling down the road. This includes things like the friction of your tires on the road and the bearings in your wheel hubs. You can reduce rolling resistance by making sure your tires are not under-inflated and replacing the bearings in your wheel hubs when they wear out.

Air resistance refers to the force you have to apply to displace the air around you as you move forward. When you move forward your body and your bike are moving into a space that was occupied by air. It would be nice if the air saw you coming and got out of your way but it doesn’t work like that. The air resists and has to be pushed out of the way. As we will see, unless you are climbing a steep hill most of the effort you are putting into pedaling your bike is being used to overcome air resistance.

watts and wind resistence_ basicThe graph on the left contains a lot of useful information about where your effort is going when you’re pedaling a bike. The graph shows how much power (measured in watts on the ordinate or y-axis) it takes to move a standard racing or road bike forward at different speeds (measured in kilometers per hour on the abscissa or x-axis). The graph assumes an average sized rider, on an average bike moving forward on a perfectly flat surface – which doesn’t describe any of us with perfect accuracy when we’re out riding our bikes. For this reason, the exact numbers shown in the graph aren’t what is important. When applied to you or me at any moment in time on a specific ride the numbers are likely to be a wee bit off. However the general relationships shown in the graph will hold for all of us all of the time.

Three of the functions on the graph show the amount of power needed to overcome rolling resistance, drive resistance (labeled Drivetrain in the graph) and air resistance (labeled Wind). The fourth function (labeled Total) shows how much power is needed to overcome all three types of resistance combined. Read the graph by taking a velocity or speed shown on the x-axis and then seeing how much power must be applied to overcome rolling, drive, air or the total resistance at that velocity by the corresponding point on the y-axis. For example, at 12 kph (kilometers per hour which is about 7.5 miles per hour or mph) drive resistance is so small it barely registers and it takes about 10 watts of power to overcome rolling resistance and another 10 watts of power to overcome air resistance.

Looking at power in terms of watts may not seem very useful if you do not have a power meter on your bike that tells you how many watts you are producing as you pedal. Another way to look at power is to think of it in terms of effort. What the graph shows as an increase in power measured in watts, can be understood as an increase in the effort it takes to ride at a faster speed. In other words, the higher the power requirement, the more effort you have to expend.

What useful information can we get from the graph?

watts and wind resistence_ function typeFirst, note that the functions for rolling, drive and air resistance all increase with velocity. The faster you go, the more effort it takes to overcome each type of resistance. This isn’t very surprising. Everybody knows it’s harder to go faster and the graph just lets us know that it’s harder for three reasons: rolling, drive and air resistance all increase with speed.

Next, consider the shape of the functions. The rolling and drive functions are linear which means they are very close to straight lines. This tells us something useful. The increase in the effort you need to expend to overcome rolling and drive resistance as you go faster remains roughly constant as your speed increases. For example, it takes the same increase in effort to overcome rolling resistance when you go from 8 to 9 mph as it does when you go from 18 to 19 mph. In other words, no matter what your current speed is, the same increase in effort will be enough to overcome the increase in rolling resistance when you go 1 mph faster.

Now take a look at the shape of the function for air resistance. It curves sharply up; it’s not a straight line. This is not good news for the cyclist. It means that equal increases in speed (for example, an increase of 1 mph) demand an ever-larger amount of effort the faster you go. For example, it takes more effort to overcome air resistance when you go from 8 to 9 mph than it does to overcome air resistance when you go from 7 to 8 mph and it takes a lot more effort to go from 18 to 19 mph than it does to go from 8 to 9 mph. In other words, overcoming air resistance gets harder and harder the faster you go. When you get to the speed where the pros ride overcoming air resistance takes enormous increases in effort to produce tiny increases in speed.

Overcoming air resistance gets harder and harder the faster you go. How quickly does the increase in effort needed to overcome air resistance ramp up?

watts and wind resistence_ key pointsLooking at the effort needed to overcome air resistance as a proportion of the total effort expended can answer this question. At approximately 12 kph (7.5 mph) overcoming air resistance is taking about half of your effort with rolling and drive resistance accounting for the other half. As you go faster, overcoming air resistance demands a larger and larger proportion of your total effort. By the time you get to 25 kph (15.5 mph) approximately 70% of the effort you are putting out is being used to overcome air resistance. When you get to 20 mph (about 32 kph) roughly 85% of your effort is devoted to overcoming air resistance. And it just gets harder after that. According to the UCI (the governing body for professional cycling) the typical average speed for a flat stage in the Tour de France is about 47 kph (29.2 mph). The power demands for overcoming air and total resistance are off the chart for our graph but from the information on the graph we can calculate that over 90% of the effort needed to maintain this speed is used to overcome air resistance.

What would riding a bike be like if you didn’t have to overcome air resistance? Reading from the graph, it takes about 100 watts of power to overcome the combination of rolling, drive and air resistance when you’re going 25 kph (15.5 mph). If you take air resistance out of the equation and imagine the linear functions for rolling and drive resistance extending beyond the 50 kph boundary on the right side of the graph and continuing to increase at roughly the same rate, that same 100 watts of power would be sufficient to move you forward (on a very rough estimate) at a speed of about 125 kph (77.7 mph).

Okay, air resistance is the problem. What’s the solution? There are many ways to reduce air resistance such as riding in a full aero position on the bike which is both difficult and uncomfortable, spending tens of thousands of dollars on a high tech aerodynamic bike and a sleek aerodynamic kit, and some simple and much less demanding riding techniques that can provide small but significant benefits. We’ll examine some of these simple techniques in Aerodynamics Part 2.

Eyeing the Line

corneringWhen you hear cyclists talking about their line they’re often talking about cornering. The line they’re talking about is the best path to ride when going through the corner at speed. While this is a good skill to practice and learn, there are many other situations where paying attention to your line is important. This is especially true for cyclists who are not experienced racers, who may not have given much thought to their line, or who may not be aware of how keeping your eye on the line can make some dangerous situations much safer.

First of all, what are we talking about when we say “eyeing the line’? Your line is simply the path you intend your bike to follow on the road ahead. Eyeing the line means keeping your eyes on this path.

Wait . . what? This is a post telling riders to look where they’re going? Duh! I know it sounds obvious but, if you’re like me, you’re going to be surprised how often you don’t really do it very well once you start paying attention to it.

If you’re eyeing your line the right way, how far ahead of your bike should you be looking? That’s going to depend on how fast you’re going. You should be eyeing your line far enough ahead that you see and have ample time to react to any obstacles that might lie in the road. Usually somewhere between 2 to 5 bike lengths ahead is about right. If you find yourself surprised by road debris that you come upon too fast or you hit potholes that you see too late to avoid, you’ve been staring at a point on the road that is too close to the front of your bike.

So far, all of this is pretty straightforward and is mostly a matter of common sense. Eyeing the line can really make a big difference, however, when you have to negotiate obstacles in your path. This is where keeping your eye on the line can make your ride much safer.

potholesRoad debris like sticks, stones, gravel, and glass and road conditions like potholes, narrow or absent shoulders, drop offs at the edge of the road, and narrow lanes between vehicles or between vehicles and the curb are all potentially dangerous obstacles on a ride. Eyeing the line is the most effective technique cyclists have for getting past these obstacles safely.

The technique is simple enough. See the problem, plan your line past the problem, and keep your eye on the line ahead as you ride past the problem.

Sounds simple but to carry it you have to overcome a natural tendency that can get you into trouble. When approaching an obstacle, people tend to either keep their eyes fixed on the obstacle or keep alternating between looking at their path and looking at the obstacle. You see a pothole and you keep looking at the pothole until you’ve gone past it successfully. You have to ride a narrow lane between vehicles or between vehicles and the curb (see the picture below), one of the vehicles is a van or truck with a rear-view mirror that’s at the same height as your head or shoulder, and you keep looking at the mirror until you get past it.

Space between carsThis is a problem because people normally move in the direction their eyes are looking. When you are on the bike, you will naturally steer in the direction you are looking. This is the reason why many riders tend to drift to the left or right when they look over their left or right shoulder to see what’s behind them.

When you’re on the bike and you approach an obstacle and keep looking at it, you have a tendency to steer your bike right at the obstacle rather than around it. If you look back and forth between your line and the obstacle, you tend to waver back and forth on your bike between riding your line and riding at the obstacle. Sometimes you steer toward the obstacle when you look at it and then overcompensate by turning too far in the opposite direction when you realize you’re heading right at the obstacle.

When any of these problems occur you may also have a tendency to slow down. Now you can find yourself in a situation where you’re veering toward the obstacle, veering away from it, your line is lost, and you’re riding so slowly it’s hard keep the bike balanced. Your bike wavers, the obstacle looms, your heart rate goes up, and you either wobble around the obstacle or have to set your foot on the ground and push past the problem. No fun.

cornerFortunately, it’s easy to solve this problem. You have a lifetime of experience moving through the world around you and this experience has made you an expert at seeing the line that will enable you to safely negotiate obstacles in your path. If you are eyeing the line at the right distance in front of your bike, you will automatically pick out a line that allows you to ride around an obstacle in your path. Trust yourself. See the line, evaluate it, trust in your ability to see a good line, and ride toward the obstacle with your eyes on the line ahead. Give a quick flick of your eyes to the obstacle as you are about to draw even with it to make sure it’s where you think it is and then snap your eyes back to your line ahead. Don’t let your eyes stray back to the obstacle for any length of time.

The first couple of times you do this you’re likely to have an overwhelming desire to look at the obstacle as you approach it in order to make sure you’re not going to hit it. However, after doing it successfully a few times you will develop trust in yourself to ride past obstacles while eyeing the line and not the obstacle. It’s fairly easy to do, it doesn’t take long to master, and it is a very useful skill to pick up. Once this approach to obstacles has become a habit, you can begin to work on the more difficult skill of looking at something without steering toward it.

Here’s another situation where the same problem occurs. Think about the difficulty new drivers have trying to keep the car moving in a smooth, straight line down the road. They tend to veer back and forth threatening to crash into whatever happens to be on either side of the road.

Eye-tracking studies with new drivers show a fairly consistent pattern. Naïve drivers tend to focus their eyes at a point on the road that is too close to the front of the car and when they notice an obstacle like a vehicle parked on the side of the road, they spend too long looking at it. The result is that they don’t see obstacles until they are close to them, they steer toward the obstacle, overcompensate when turning back toward the center of the road, see the other side of the road as a new obstacle, steer toward it, and weave back and forth down the street. The movement pattern is very similar for cyclists who are not eyeing the line.

Cell Phone BanFinally, another situation where failing to eye the line can have a large impact on cyclists. Eye tracking studies using high-fidelity driving simulators have also been done with experienced drivers talking on cell phones. In almost every case the drivers reported that their driving performance had not been negatively affected while they were talking on the phone. The eye-tracking data said otherwise. When experienced drivers talk on cell phones they revert to driving like naïve drivers. They tend to focus their eyes too close to the front of the car and tend to spend too long looking at obstacles when they see them. In other words, they stop eyeing the line properly. They also take longer to notice obstacles, are slower to react to them, and are more likely to hit them.

Be aware when you’re on the bike. If you see some clown talking on a cell phone while driving, be hyper-aware. They’re a lot less competent and a lot more dangerous than they think they are and you’re the obstacle.

Thank You and a Request

Thanks very much to all of you who bought a copy of Nutrition for Cyclists on Amazon.com. Although it doesn’t look like I’m going to start out as the Stephen King of the exercise and nutrition publishing world, the book is doing well for a writer trying out self-publishing for the first time.  I expect I owe almost all of that success to the readers of this blog because Tuned In To Cycling is the only place the book has been announced. So, thanks again to everyone who has purchased the book.  I sincerely hope you found useful information that has helped with your rides.

Now comes the request. It is very difficult for first-time authors to get noticed among the hundreds of thousands of self-published ebooks on Amazon. One of the most effective ways, maybe the most effective way, to draw readers attention to a book is a set of positive reviews.  If you’re Stephen King, the quality and number of reviews doesn’t matter very much but for an unknown author positive reviews are often the difference between success and sinking without a trace.

As I’m writing this post, Nutrition for Cyclists has only garnered one review and, unfortunately, it appears to have been written by a person who spent very little time with the book and either didn’t read or didn’t understand what they found there. A lot of work went into Nutrition for Cyclists and I’m hoping it doesn’t get lost in the clutter because of a solitary review written by a reader who missed the point.  If you bought Nutrition for Cyclists, and if you found it to be useful and valuable as a resource for making good decisions about what to eat and drink before, during and after a ride, you would be doing me a great favor if you would write a review on Amazon with some info about why you found the book to be worthwhile.  Thanks.

Nutrition for Cyclists

N4C_AmazonFirst of all, an enormous vote of appreciation and thanks to all of the readers of Tuned In To Cycling over the years who have provided helpful comments, support and motivation for me to write a book about cycling nutrition. It’s finally happened. Nutrition for Cyclists: Eating and Drinking Before, During and After the Ride is now available for purchase at Amazon.com.

The book grew out of the nutrition posts here on Tuned In To Cycling and, like those posts, combines suggestions and recommendations for what to eat and drink before, during and after a ride with information about how the body responds to endurance athletics.  To help you decide whether or not you’d like to purchase the book, I’m posting the book’s Introduction here which will give you a good idea about what’s in the book and how it relates to the posts that have appeared on Tuned In To Cycling.

If you decide to buy the book and you think it is useful for other cyclists and worth a 4 or 5 star review, I would greatly appreciate it if you would leave a review on Amazon.  Positive reviews are a huge factor in helping a self-published book find an audience among the millions of ebooks published on Amazon.

Here’s the Introduction to  Nutrition for Cyclists: Eating and Drinking Before, During and After the Ride.

Chapter 1. Introduction

Here’s a quote from former U.S. President John F. Kennedy that many cyclists know well.

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.

Anyone who has spent any time on a bike knows that it’s true . . . . until it isn’t.
Here’s another saying cyclists know well.

Eat before you’re hungry, drink before you’re thirsty.

Short of a catastrophic accident, nothing can turn a pleasant, joyful or exhilarating bike ride into a nightmare faster than failing to provide your body with the nutritional support it needs to carry out the ride. Nutrition for Cyclists is designed to give riders of all experience levels useful information about meeting the nutritional demands imposed on the body by endurance athletics. Good nutrition can help you get the most out of your ride no matter what kind of ride you like to do.

Finally, one more saying that everybody knows.

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Nutrition for Cyclists contains recommendations about what to eat and drink before, during and after a ride. That’s the “give-a-man-a-fish” part. However, no book can give you a recipe for what to do in every possible nutrition-related situation that might arise when you’re riding the bike. Even if a book like this were possible, would you want to memorize it so you would be prepared for anything?

Nutrition for Cyclists also contains a good deal of information about how your body works when you’re engaged in athletic activity. That’s the “teach-a-man-to-fish” part. The more you know about how your body processes food and drink, and about what can happen when there is not enough food or drink for your body to process, the better prepared you’ll be to understand what’s happening to you on the bike.

The short-term goal of Nutrition for Cyclists is to get you started with recommendations about eating and drinking before, during and after a ride. The long-term goal is to give you information about nutrition and endurance athletics so that you will be able to make informed decisions about what’s happening to you on the bike and what you can do to make it better.

The information presented in Nutrition for Cyclists is based on research findings reported in peer-reviewed journals in the fields of human physiology, and nutrition and sport science. The internet is awash with assertions, recommendations, and unsubstantiated claims about exercise nutrition. Some of this advice is supported by sound research. Much of it, including a number of widely cited and uncritically accepted ideas, is not. As will be discussed in the next chapter, focusing on information that is well supported by sound research does not mean that everything in Nutrition for Cyclists is “right” or “true”. It means that this information is the best we have given the current state of scientific research on exercise nutrition.

Nutrition for Cyclists grew out of a series of posts on Tuned In To Cycling, a blog I started in the spring of 2008. While Tuned In To Cycling has posts on many cycling-related topics, the posts on nutrition have proven to be the most popular with cyclists from all over the world. Some of the content of this book has been copied verbatim from the posts on Tuned In To Cycling, some of it is a revised or rewritten version of what’s on the blog, and some of it is new. Everything in Nutrition for Cyclists was checked against the current research literature. If a section of the book has been lifted verbatim from the blog, it means that research published between the time the original post was written and the book was published did not demand changes in the information that had appeared in the blog.

For both new readers and followers of Tuned In To Cycling Nutrition for Cyclists provides the convenience of a self-contained source for nutritional information that is organized into sections devoted to what to eat and drink before, during and after a ride. Also, publication as an ebook means Nutrition for Cyclists is conveniently available anywhere you have a Kindle or any other device with a Kindle app.