I get asked all kinds of questions from those that I coach and those that follow me on twitter and facebook. From time to time I like to take some of the more interesting questions and answer them. So its that time of the year and I have some great questions so let’s get started.
Q. I am just getting started as cyclists/runner. Do I need a coach or a training plan?
A. If you are just getting started as a cyclist you do not need a coach or a training plan. You just need to get out and ride. Learn how to interact with traffic, shift your gears and learn how to get comfortable on a bike for the distances you want to ride. However, if you want to complete a challenging cycling event or are thinking you might want to race, a coach can practically remove the learning curve! If you feel like you are not ready or find the cost of a coach to be out of reach then do not hesitate to purchase a training plan. If you are not sure what kind of training plan you might need let us know what you are trying to do and if we don’t have a training plan that fits your needs we can build one that will.
The same can almost be said about running. New runners can benefit greatly from having a coach especially when it comes to working on running form and planning for injury prevention. If you find the cost of running coaches to high then I do strongly recommend that you start with many of the Couch to 5k programs that are meant to get new runners out on the road and running trails! However, if you are trying to increase distance or get faster as runner definitely make the investment in yourself and hire a running coach!
Q. What is the best way to measure cycling and running performance?
A. I just answered a more specific version of this question here however it was related to cycling. When it comes to cycling right now the gold standard for measuring performance is power/wattage. As a coach, I set training zones against power and heart rate data. I will say that working with Power reduces many of the subjective aspects of HR training. When it comes to running take your pick. Running coaches like to build plans against V02 max, Lactate Threshold, pace and speed zones. When I work with runners and multisport athletes I focus on HR and Pace. I also like to incorporate cadence into running.
Q. How do I loose belly fat?
A. I am actually surprised its taken as long as it has to get this question. I coach all adult age groups but recently I have had an increase in masters athletes. So its surprising that I have not been asked this question before. The answer is simple but tough. You can not spot loose weight without a medical procedure like liposuction. Belly fat, spare tires or muffin tops in masters racers are attributed to diet, exercise and the increased presence of the stress hormone cortisol. So if you are not new to endurance sports and train consistently but still are dealing with a bit of a spare tire its now down to diet. I was once told that developing a tight set of abs doesn’t come about because of certain exercises but are actually created in the kitchen! Things that you can do to increase the loss of any unwanted body fat is to reduce stress, eat clean, remove processed foods and know how much you should be eating and when. This answer of course is not going to unravel the mysteries of how much and what YOU the reader should be eating but is meant more as a guide to help you formulate some more questions for a sports nutritionist like Coach Kelli!
Q. How can I improve my breathing when doing X?
A. This question comes up almost monthly with runners and cyclists that I work with. The question usually comes up as how do I control my breathing when riding up hills or running faster than normal. The answers depend on what is actually going on with your breathing, when it happens and what you are doing when it happens. Is breathing actually the problem or are you working harder than you should be or are capable of when the ragged or labored breathing occurred? I will hazard to guess that in most cases the athlete is working harder than he or she should be for the given interval. However, I have a few tips for both runners and cyclists that may help alleviate the ragged or labored breathing. You may also like to read the article series on Breathing for Cycling Performance Part 1.
Q. How do I get a cyclists body?
A. This question was entered into a search engine that somehow landed the person on my website. I remember years ago when I was focused on rock climbing the same question came up in a magazine interview of a famous sports climber. “How do I get the body of a rock climber?” The same answer given by the sport climber applies to cycling, “Go climb some rocks!” So Go ride a bike and you will get the body of a cyclist! In all seriousness there are things we do in rock climbing and cycling that are sport specific that make specific physical adaptions that can not be recreated in other sports or by simply following a certain weight lifting regimen or diet. Even with this being said even with making the physical adaptions over years of participating in cycling we are still dealing with 3 specific body types. To learn more about these body types read:Weight loss strategies for cyclists Part 2
Q. What supplements do endurance athletes take?
A. This is another question I see show up from search engines. Probably due to the articles I have written on supplementing for performance. I am no longer writing about supplementation but do discuss the subject at clinics, training camps and one-on-one with athletes I coach. When I am asked I share what has worked for me and what has not worked for me. I also tell athletes that supplements are not short cuts to performance but rather ways to supplement your diet due to training stress or because your body isn’t getting enough of what it needs. The most common supplements that endurance athletes take are: Multi Vitamins, Healthy Fats, Added Protein, Various Amino Acids, and Minerals. Most everything out side of the scope of what is mentioned, with some exceptions of course, maybe considered a performance enhancing drug and most likely banned by WADA and USADA for good reasons.
Q. How do I loose body fat without loosing strength?
A. This is a great question and one that all endurance athletes struggle with. The optimal time to try and loose unnecessary body fat is in the off season of your sport. However, the off-season for most athletes is the winter months and this is when our bodies are trying to store fat. This makes it extra tough for most to loose weight effectively. Loosing weight in the warmer months is the easiest but is also usually when we are training and or racing. Loosing more that 1.5 lbs of weight a week during the race season can have disastrous effects on performance. Loosing more than 1-1.5 lbs per week will make recovery that much harder. Younger athletes may recover faster but masters aged athletes should try to maintain weight during the race season. Check out more weight loss tips and information here: Weight loss strategies for cyclists Part 1