Thank You and an Update

First of all, thanks very much to all of you who are following or spending time reading Tuned In To Cycling.  I sincerely hope you are finding useful information here.

The various nutrition posts are by far the most popular posts on Tuned In To Cycling.  With that in mind, I am in the early stages of putting together a book on nutrition for endurance cyclists that will be based on and will expand upon the information that is here.  When the book is ready, I plan to publish it as an e-book through Amazon.

I am absolutely not into a “I have to get paid” model for living your life.  All of the nutrition information that is currently on Tuned In To Cycling and which will end up in the book in one form or another will stay on the blog.  New information developed for the book will eventually find its way onto the blog.  The advantage of the book should be that all of the nutrition information is gathered together in one place that can be easily accessed from any device with a Kindle reading app.  If that would be useful to you or if you would like to contribute to support my efforts to bring helpful information to you, please consider giving the book a try when it appears.

Getting the book together doesn’t mean that all writing for Tuned In To Cycling will stop.  Posts on topics that don’t go into the book will continue to appear here.

Also, an early step in publishing the book is learning about how Amazon’s self-publishing  system works.  I dug into that by publishing a guide on character creation in the recently released massively multiplayer Online game The Elder Scrolls Online.  It’s called Monkey’s Guide to Character Creation in The Elder Scrolls Online, it only costs $0.99, and if you’re interested in games like this or know someone who is, I’d be grateful if you gave it a look.

“Superstarch” and the Endurance Cyclist

cyclist with appleA comment from a reader led me to take a look at a slick website hawking a product called Generation Ucan that is marketed as delivering several “scientifically validated” benefits to people engaged in athletic activity.  From the serious beginner to the most highly-paid professional, athletes are notorious for their susceptibility to being taken in by products that claim to improve performance.  The Generation Ucan website has several of the characteristics that are often associated with nutrition scams that make fabulous claims while trying to sell untested or poorly tested junk to gullible people so I decided to take a closer look.

What is it?

waxy-maize-starch_2 (2)Generation Ucan is hydrothermally modified waxy maize starch.  The starch is processed under conditions of higher than normal moisture (hydro) and heat (thermal) which changes the chemical properties of the starch molecules.   One effect of this treatment that is of interest to endurance athletes is that the carbohydrates in hydrothermally modified starch have a low glycemic index.  Generation Ucan calls HMS “superstarch” which is such an obvious and ridiculous marketing ploy that I’ll avoid it.  What they’re selling is hydrothermally modified starch or HMS.

sciencequizlogoThe Generation Ucan website is filled with phrases like “lab tested”, “scientifically proven”, “our science”, and “proof/validation”.  First of all, reputable research scientists virtually never talk about “proof” like this.  We talk about the extent to which the experimental evidence supports or fails to support the conclusion.  The marketing-hype alarm goes off big-time when “science” and “proof” occur together in product marketing.

What scientific evidence does Generation Ucan actually provide?

The website has links to a couple of white papers that talk about research that supports their claims for their HMS.  White papers are documents produced by a company with the aim of selling a product.  Generation Ucan’s white papers reference “internal studies” as evidence that HMS is wonderful.  As evidence to support their claims about HMS, these internal studies are worthless.  Not enough information is given to determine whether the research was carried out rigorously and properly.  The internal studies may provide good evidence or they may not.  There’s no way to know one way or the other.  However, if the science was good, you would expect it would have been published in a top-rated peer-reviewed journal.  There is no indication on the website that these internal studies were submitted to a reputable journal or survived a rigorous peer-review process.  Basically, the white papers contain a lot of unsubstantiated claims tricked up to look like science.

The Generation Ucan website also provides a prominent link to an article in Men’s Health Magazine that promotes the product.  Men’s Health Magazine?  Lol, really?

Buried in the science section of the website they have a link to downloads.  Follow that link and what you mainly find are sales kits.  Sales kits in the scientific evidence section?  There are seven of these sales kits.  There are also two links to their own white papers, and one link to an article in the journal Nutrition about HMS.  Nutrition is a peer-reviewed journal and this article is the only reliable scientific evidence that I found on the Generation Ucan website.

cyclist in labThe article in Nutrition is the real deal although it should be noted that Generation Ucan funded the research project that is reported in the article.  What does it report?  Nine male cyclists engaged in a 150 minute cycling session at 70% VO2(max) – that’s fairly intense – followed by a 100% VO2 (max) time-trial to exhaustion.  Before the exercise session and immediately afterwards the cyclists were given either HMS or maltodextrin.  Maltodextrin is a sweetener often used in candy, soda and many other products.  HMS and maltodextrin are both sources of carbohydrates.

Note that they didn’t call their HMS “superstarch” when they submitted the research for peer review.   If they had, they would have been laughed out of the room.

Ucan insulin dataThe study found that the HMS group had a lower initial insulin spike than the maltodextrin group.  They also found that the HMS group showed a higher level of fat breakdown during the recovery period.  There were no reliable performance differences between the HMS and maltodextrin groups during either the 150 minute exercise period or the time-trial to exhaustion that followed.  There was also no reliable difference between the two groups in the level of fat breakdown during exercise.

The authors of the article note that the increase in fat breakdown during the recovery period after exercise was probably due to the HMS that was given after the exercise period.  Their research doesn’t test this hypothesis but it is plausible given what is known about the effects of HMS and the relationship between insulin and fat burning.   Insulin is prominently involved in the regulation of fat oxidation.  Lower levels of insulin correspond to higher rates of fat burning and vice versa. The study in Nutrition provides good evidence that HMS reduces insulin and reduced insulin typically produces higher levels of fat oxidation.

Keep in mind that this study in Nutrition is the only reliable scientific evidence that is given on a website that heavily stresses the scientific basis for their claims about how wonderful their product is for athletes.  While this isn’t much, it’s more than you often get on websites that sell wonder foods for sports nutrition.  There is some real science here.  The study provided good evidence that HMS reduces insulin levels.  This information could be of interest to people who are looking to lose weight because reduced insulin levels correspond to higher levels of fat burning after exercise.  It’s worth repeating that the study showed no differences in performance between those who exercised after ingesting HMS and those who ingested maltodextrin.

What claims does Generation Ucan make about their product based on this scientific evidence?

snake-oil-salesman-bigThey claim that their HMS produces “optimized performance”, “sustained energy”, “enhanced fat burn”, “speedier recovery” and “no gastric distress”.  The claim about enhanced fat burn is supported by the evidence in the Nutrition article.  The scientific evidence they reference on the website has nothing at all to do with sustained energy, speedier recovery or levels of gastric distress.  As far as “lab tested” or “scientifically proven” these claims are completely unsupported by the scientific evidence the Generation Ucan people provide.  They give you no good reason to believe HMS provides any of these benefits.

The claim about optimized performance is outrageous.  I expect many people looking at the Generation Ucan website uncritically will understand this as meaning that performance is better if you use their HMS than if you use other carb sources during exercise.  The article in Nutrition that is offered as the only reliable scientific evidence given on the website flatly contradicts this interpretation.   There was no difference in performance (or fat burning during exercise) between the HMS group and the maltodextrin group in the study.

lawyerI have no doubt that company lawyers can parse the “optimized performance” statement to mean that Generation Ucan’s HMS produces optimized performance in the sense that it matches the “optimal” performance levels expected after ingesting carbs from candy, soda or energy drinks.  When you have to rely on lawyers to weasel out of charges of false advertising, there’s clearly something wrong.  Anyone with a lick of common sense can see that, at best, the “optimized performance” claim is highly misleading.  At worst, it is pure bullshit designed to sucker you into buying their product.

What’s the take-home message about Generation Ucan’s HMS?  The product is likely to lower insulin levels.  This can be useful to people who want to burn fat.  If this is one of your goals, taking Generation Ucan’s HMS immediately after exercise may be useful.  If you are diabetic, don’t go near this product without consulting your doctor.  As far as supporting performance during exercise, their HMS is unlikely to be any better, or any worse, than many other sources of carbohydrates you can eat or drink on the bike.

What’s the take home message about the Generation Ucan company based on how they present themselves on their website?  Either the people who are trying to convince you to buy their HMS have the scientific training to tell the difference between good science and junk science or they don’t.  If they do, then the science heavy promotion on the Generation Ucan website is purposefully designed to mislead you into buying their product based on unsubstantiated claims that they figure you are either too ignorant or too stupid to recognize for what they are.  If they don’t, what are they doing marketing their product with a website that goes heavy on the science?  In either case, why should you believe anything they have to say?

Cycling and Weight Loss Part 3: Exercise Make You Hungry

hungry empty plateThis is the third 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 post in the series, Riding the Bike to Lose Weight, we pointed out the fundamental and most important fact about weight loss.  If you burn more calories than you ingest during a day, you will lose weight.  We also said that given this basic fact, if you focus your attention on deriving more enjoyment out of riding the bike, you are likely to lose weight without worrying about losing weight all the time.  You’ll be thinking about something you enjoy, the more you enjoy it, the more you’re likely to do it, and the more you do it, the more calories you’ll burn while you’re doing it.  All this goodness without any time spent being anxious about your weight.

In the second post in the series, Metabolic Homeostasis, we pointed out that the human body is an exquisitely functioning homeostatic system.  The system will adapt to changing conditions such as an increase in calories burned through exercise or a decrease in calories ingested through dieting in order to maintain a balance between caloric intake and caloric burn.  For this reason we recommended that you should always strive to increase the level or intensity of your riding.  Go harder, faster, longer, stronger and you will increase the caloric burn.  It is hard for the system to reach a balance point if the caloric burn is always increasing.

balansiraneThe recommendations from the previous two posts in the series work hand-in-hand.  If you continue to find new ways to get more enjoyment from the bike, you’re likely to continue to increase the time and energy you spend on the bike, and thereby increase the calories burned by cycling which makes it difficult for the system to adapt to a new and sustained level of caloric burn.

In the post on Metabolic Homeostasis we also talked about how reducing caloric intake by dieting leads to an adjustment in the basal metabolic rate in such a way that the same amount of work can be done to accomplish routine daily activities while burning fewer calories.  When caloric intake is reduced, the system seeks balance by reducing the calories it needs.

When we look at the other side of the weight loss equation, caloric burn, how does the system respond when balance is disrupted by burning more calories through exercise?  One way the system adapts is by increasing the demand for food.  Exercise makes you hungry.

The mechanisms that regulate metabolic homeostasis are complex and not fully understood.  One of the factors involved is a hormone called ghrelin.  One variant of this hormone, called acyl ghrelin or acylated ghrelin, plays an important role in regulating hunger.  When levels of acylated ghrelin in the bloodstream are high you feel the sensation of hunger and want to eat.  After eating, levels of acylated ghrelin in the bloodstream drop.

Burning calories through exercise disrupts the balance between caloric intake and caloric burn by increasing caloric burn.  One way in which the body responds is by increasing the level of acylated ghrelin in the bloodstream.  This makes you feel hungry and want to eat.  The system attempts to return to a balance between caloric intake and burn after exercise by increasing caloric intake.

woman frigThe release of acylated ghrelin after exercise leading to feelings of hunger and the desire to eat does not affect everyone equally.  Most women experience this effect but many men do not.  In some cases a prolonged session (e.g., 90 minutes) of fairly intense exercise can reduce the level of acylated ghrelin in the bloodstream for some men.  Anecdotally, we have observed this difference in our family.  After a fairly long and intense ride my wife is often hungry and wants to eat while I have no interest in food for several hours after the ride is finished.

The emerging understanding about how exercise is related to weight loss has led some “experts” to make statements like “exercise is practically useless for losing weight”.  Statements like this are usually designed to draw attention by grabbing headlines or serving as a sound bite.  When you dig a little deeper you find that the reasoning behind the statement is that after exercise people often feel hungry and they ingest enough calories to offset the calories they just burned during exercise.

Well, duh.

pizza eatingIf you pork out on pizza and beer after your ride, you’re probably going to ingest more calories than you burned and you’re not going to lose weight.  This doesn’t mean exercise is useless, it means you have to use some common sense after exercise and not replace all the calories you just burned.

It seems to me that a sensible way to think about the relationship between losing weight and cycling or any other form of exercise is to always keep the basic tenet in mind that you lose weight when you ingest fewer calories than you burn.  Gain knowledge about factors that affect this simple relationship such as metabolic homeostasis, and the mechanisms the body uses to maintain the homeostatic balance between caloric intake and caloric burn such as increasing the levels of acylated ghrelin in the bloodstream and decreasing basal metabolic rate.  Make use of this knowledge when making decisions about when and how to ride and when and what to eat.  Eat to fully support your ride so you will burn as many calories as you can while you’re on the bike.  Enjoy your ride – this is the most important part – enjoy your ride.  Discipline yourself after the ride so you don’t replace all of the calories you just burned.  If the net outcome is that you burn more calories than you ingest, you’ll lose weight.

Cycling and Weight Loss Part 2: Metabolic Homeostasis

This 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.

scale_caloric_balanceIn 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 those processes, 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 burn 2000 calories and you ingest about 2000 calories in food during the day.  Your weight would remain stable.  Then you go on a diet and ingest only 1800 calories a day.  At first you would lose weight because the 1800 calories you ingest is less than the 2000 calories you burn each day.  However, if you stayed on this 1800 calorie 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 calories.  Once that happens caloric intake and caloric burn are balanced again and you stop losing weight.

A 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 calories 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 calories 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 calories ingested (by dieting) or the increase in calories burned (by exercise), a balance between caloric intake and burn is once again achieved, and weight loss stops.

Reduction-in-RMR-GraphMaintaining 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 calories 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, the basal metabolic rate will adapt to it and weight loss will stop.  If the intensity keeps increasing, the 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 where you would like it to be.

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.

A Lesson Learned: The Alpe d’Huez and the Col de Sarenne

Kevin-at-Alpe-d'Huez-1_crop_20pct

Me at Alpe d’Huez

One of the stages in this year’s (2013) Tour de France did several things that had never been done before.  First,  riders climbed the classic Alpe d’Huez twice in one day.  They accomplished this by doing something else that had not been tried in the Tour de France.  After the first climb of Alpe d’Huez they descended the Col de Sarenne, looped back around on the D1091 and rode to the finish at the top of Alpe d’Huez the second time.  The Col de Sarenne had never been ridden in the Tour before because it was thought the road was too narrow and too dangerous.

Descent-from-Col-de-Sarenne-1_800px

The descent on the Col de Sarenne

Several years ago my wife and I had the chance to ride for five days in the French Alps.  Our plan was to ride as many of the climbs that are often used in the Tour de France as possible.  With that in mind we climbed and descended Les Deux Alpes, the Col du Lautaret, the Col du Galibier and, of course, the Alpe d’Huez on our first two days.

Like many cyclists, we had been dreaming of these climbs for a long time and were thrilled to have the opportunity to actually do them ourselves.  But after two days we discovered something unexpected.  We were a little bit bored and a little bit disappointed.  The climbs were difficult, but they were not all that difficult.  The roads, for the most part, were wide, well maintained, and filled with cyclists along with cars and trucks that respected cyclists.  The scenery on the climbs was a bit on the bland side.  Often the road getting to the climb (the D1091 in most of these cases) was gorgeous but the climbs themselves presented more or less generic alpine scenery.

View on Col de Sarenne

View on Col de Sarenne

We passed many other roads winding off into the mountains and began talking about alternative routes with people who lived in the area and with cyclists who were familiar with the local road network .  Almost every one of them recommended the Col de Sarenne.

We took their advice, abandoned our original plan, and rode the Col de Sarenne the first thing the next day.  It turned out to be exactly the right thing to do.  The Col de Sarenne is a spectacular climb and descent.  We found it to be markedly more difficult and immensely more interesting than Alpe d’Huez.  The climb was tough, the scenery was breathtaking, the descent was heart stopping.  We loved it.

For the rest of the trip we rode routes that were recommended to us by people who knew the area.  Every single route we took provided us with special cycling experiences ranging from wild and extraordinary scenery, to difficult and enjoyable climbs and descents, to a small, beautiful village at the end of a road deep into a gorge.

Laura at the beginning of the climb up the Col de Sarenne

Laura at the beginning of the climb up the Col de Sarenne

We learned an important lesson on this trip.  If you’re going to be doing some riding in an area with great cycling opportunities, talk to the people who live there and ask for their recommendations about where to ride.  They will certainly tell you about the famous or well-known rides but if you’re lucky they will also tell you about rides you’ve never heard of that may well end up providing your most cherished memories from the trip.

Cycling and Weight Loss Part 1: Riding the Bike to Lose Weight

A champion

A champion

This is the first of a series of posts about riding the bike to lose weight.  Throughout this discussion of losing weight it’s important to keep in mind that eating has many consequences for health, athletic performance and weight gain or loss. We’ll start by focusing purely on weight loss but it is very important to keep in mind that the “best” diet for losing weight is unlikely to be the “best” diet for maintaining your health or a high level of athletic performance.

A lot of people aren’t going to like these posts.  I noted in a recent post that Americans spend about $50,000 on diet industry products and services every 80 seconds, 24/7/365. If you make $50K a year, Americans spend more than you will make in your entire life every month on diet stuff.  The people who are spending that money and the people who are raking in the cash from all that stuff are going to be especially unhappy with these posts.  Why?  Because if you’re riding your bike to lose weight, most of that stuff is a waste of time and money.

Many people get into riding the bike as a way to lose weight and others who are interested in the health benefits of riding have weight loss as a secondary goal.  This is a good idea because riding the bike can be a great way to lose weight.

Shoes on scaleThere are a couple of ways to go about this.  One approach is to focus your attention on losing weight.  You buy diet books and scour the internet for info about losing weight.  You pay careful attention to things like how many calories there are per serving size.  You count calories for each meal and snack. You weigh yourself obsessively.  You may fork out money for the advice of a licensed nutritionist.  If you are especially gullible you buy a magic bracelet.

This approach to losing weight is often accompanied by the view that riding the bike is a type of exercise that is going to be used as a weight loss procedure.  Exercise is onerous but you have to do it.  People with this attitude will often want to maximize their weight loss for every minute they have to spend on the bike.  They’ll want to know things like what’s the smallest amount of time they’ll have to spend on the bike to burn X number of calories, what’s the absolute minimum they have to eat on the bike to get through a longer ride and exactly when they should eat in order to survive the ride on this absolute minimum.  They’re always worrying about numbers.  They’re not having much fun.

Happy cyclist_cropHere’s a second approach losing weight on the bike.  Forget about losing weight.  Forget about measuring this and calculating that, about eating so much of this kind of food and so much of that kind of food, about magic bracelets and paying for the advice of licensed nutritionists.   Forget about all of it.  Instead, enjoy riding your bike, ride frequently and consistently, and keep trying to get better at it.  That’s really all you need to do.  You will almost certainly lose weight.

The basic story is very simple.  Your body needs energy to function.  That energy is measured in calories.  The type of calorie that is used when talking about weight loss and nutrition is sometimes called a large calorie or a kilocalorie. One kilocalorie is the amount of energy that is needed to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water by 1 degree Celsius.

If you are alive, you are burning calories. Calories are burned when you sleep, when you think, when you go through your normal daily activities and when you ride.  The fuel that provides these calories is glucose.  The glucose is derived either from carbohydrates, proteins or fats that are being broken down in the digestive system from food you have recently eaten or from reserves stored in the body.   If there is not enough glucose in the blood stream to fuel ongoing activity, the system starts breaking down stored reserves to get the glucose it needs.  When stored fat is broken down, people start losing the kind of weight they want to lose.

calorie-balanceLosing or gaining weight depends on the balance between the calories you burn and the calories you ingest during the day.  If the calories you ingest are less than the calories you burn, you will lose weight because the system will turn to its stored energy reserves (which include stored fat) to get the energy it needs.  If the input calories are more than the output calories, you will gain weight because the excess calories will usually be stored as fat.  If input and output are about the same, your weight will be stable.  Thinking only in terms of weight loss (and not health or performance), it doesn’t matter if the calories being burned are coming from carbs, proteins, or fats.  A calorie is a calorie. That’s almost all you really need to know.

Almost but not quite.  There’s one important modifying factor to consider that we’ll look at in more detail in the next two posts in this series.  In order to take this modifying factor into account when you’re riding your bike, you need to try to get better every time you ride.  Every time out try to get a little stronger, go a little faster, ride a little longer.  That’s really all you need to do.

Riding like this will result in weight loss for the simple reason that in most cases when you add the calories you burn during the ride to the calories you burn during the rest of the day the total calories burned is greater than the calories you take in by eating.  If you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight.  Simple. And you don’t need to support the diet industry with your hard-earned cash to do it.

People who take the first approach try maximize weight loss by obsessing over how many calories, what kind of calories, when you eat those calories, and all the rest of it.  People who take the second approach try to maximize the enjoyment they get from riding the bike.  They work on spending more time on the bike doing the things they enjoy about riding the bike. When you engage in exercise or athletic activity you’ll burn the calories whether you enjoy what you’re doing or hate it, whether you’re thinking about losing weight or thinking about whatever you think about when you’re having fun.  So, why not give your attention to enjoying yourself and having fun rather than on how much you’ll weigh the next time you get on the scale?

food-nutriiton-bannerWhen you focus on riding the bike because you enjoy it rather than riding the bike as a weight loss procedure all of the questions about calories and weight loss turn into questions about how to be a better rider.  Getting better on the bike usually means increasing your strength and endurance so you can ride harder, longer or faster.  Eating isn’t about minimizing calories anymore, it’s about supporting performance.  As your performance increases and you ride harder, longer or faster, you burn more calories whether you’re trying to lose weight or trying to be a better cyclist.  If you ride hard enough and often enough, you can eat whatever you want because no matter how many calories there are in what you eat, you’ll burn more on the bike and lose weight.

If you don’t really enjoy riding the bike, find another type of exercise that you do enjoy.  If you enjoy something, you’ll want to do it; if you want to do it, you’ll find a way to do it; if you do it, you’ll burn the calories and lose the weight.  Find something energetic that you enjoy, do it frequently and consistently and always try to get better at it and the weight will come off.  It won’t happen overnight, it won’t happen fast, you’ll hit plateaus, but if you keep striving to ride harder, faster, stronger, longer, you will lose weight.