Archive for January, 2021

PEZ Bookshelf: The Plant-Based Cyclist

01/31/2021 12:09
plant based

Bookshelf: On January 18 history was made as the Michelin Guide awarded its first-ever star to a vegan restaurant in France. And it is not those hoity-toity folks at Michelin who are alone in recognizing new trends. The release of “The Game Changers,” a flashy documentary about athletes switching to primarily non-meat diets, in 2019, aroused considerable interest and some controversy. On the other hand, the Global Cycling Network (GCN)’s “The Plant-Based Cyclist,” a book that also came out in 2019, is striking for its low-key delivery of useful information for those considering changes in nutrition.

plant based

Author Nigel Mitchell, formerly with British Cycling and then Team Sky/INEOS before serving in his current role with World Tour team EF Education First as a sports nutritionist, was trained as a clinical dietitian and worked in different medical environments before managing to find work in that area of high-level sports. In 2009, when he joined Team Sky, he was the only sports nutritionist working with a World Tour team, a situation hard to imagine a dozen years later when every team makes use of this kind of expertise. The book is a result of criticism he received after a 2016 GCN video in which he talked about foods for recovery, speaking only of animal-based proteins, and ignoring plant ones. But he was contacted by athletes who were curious about alternatives and discovered an information gap. “In short, because plant-based, meat-free or lower meat intake diets have become increasingly popular and, for athletes, coaches and parents, there are very few resources on how to combine reduced or zero meat intake with training and competition.”

plant based

Mr. Mitchell was not unfamiliar with plant-based diets as both his mother (who did club time trials) and his wife are vegetarians. As an experiment, he undertook a 12 week personal trial of going vegan to see what the effects would be and besides losing considerable body fat he discovered that he enjoyed higher energy levels. Returning to a diet with meat in it, he has found his craving for meat products considerably reduced. However, he is at pains to tell us that this is just anecdotal and not necessarily indicative of what someone else will achieve. A key point is found on Page 18:

    Although, as already mentioned, there are cyclists and other athletes competing at an elite level while eating a meat-free diet, there’s little or no hard scientific data to be able to state definitively whether its effect on performance is positive, neutral or negative.

Nigel Mitchell makes no claims for a plant-based diet in this book. He does not touch upon any of the reasons outside of performance—ethical, environmental, or economical—that could persuade a person to switch over. Rather, “The Plant-Based Cyclist” provides nutritional information that guides the reader towards a diet that is safe and complete.

There are chapters on the building blocks of food intake: protein, carbohydrates and fats, and the role they each play. Micronutrients and supplements are covered, as are more general matters such as gut health and how your diet impacts your health and how best to monitor it. Practical matters, such as setting up a kitchen focused on plant-based meal preparation, and how to eat the day before an event (whether a big ride or a race) are next presented, and the book concludes with a number of recipe suggestions.

plant based

People identify closely with their food choices. One recalls how surprising it was to see the abusive comments posted below a GCN video on Facebook where Mr. Mitchell prepared something noted as “vegan” in the title. It could have been rice pudding made with soy milk instead of cow’s milk (memory fails) but there seemed to be plenty of anger from those red-blooded posters, who somehow thought it was being forced down their throats. This is about as far as you can get from the intent of “The Plant-Based Cyclist,” whose title could just as well have been “The Plant-Based Athlete” or “What You Might Consider Before Going Without Meat, Average Reader.”

plant based

The book, the first to come under the GCN label, is attractively presented and includes illustrative stories from Mr. Mitchell’s experience with top cyclists but also other clients. It is attractively illustrated and clearly organized and written, although it is not obvious why the recipes are divided into different sections in the book. Anyway, there is a list of them at the front for easy reference.

plant based

Ah, the recipes. The goal of the book is to look at nutritional aspects of food for sportspeople and the recipes address that “food as fuel” idea. They are not necessarily a gourmet or aesthetic thrill for the whole family but at least preparation is very simple even for those with limited cooking skills and with no team on hand to whip up the vittles. Rice cakes have become a standard on-bike fare in the pro peloton—high in carbs, easily digestible, simple to make—but following the recipe in the book yielded a grimly bland mess that, in its basic form, needs a bit more development with respect to flavour. On the other hand, the flapjack recipe looks terrific!

plant based

With more food varieties than ever available to us, there is no reason not to take advantage of new items that are effective in addressing our nutritional needs. “The Plant-Based Cyclist” fills that gap that the author identified in providing an accessible and practical guide to understanding how a plant-based diet works.

plant based

“The Plant-Based Cyclist,” by Nigel Mitchell, with a Foreward by GCN presenters Dan Lloyd and Si Richardson
242 pp., illustrated, softbound
The Global Cycling Network, Bath, United Kingdom, 2019
ISBN 978-1-5272-4924-0
Suggested Price: GBP 14.99, and available at:

# Also available from AMAZON.COM HERE. #

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Categories:PezCycling News


01/31/2021 0:04

Historically speaking, when it comes to an infusion of Formula One culture seeping into the world of road cycling, until now it’s been Italian car maker and perennial F1 competitor Ferrari making the only inroad through both Colnago and Bianchi sourcing.

Now, thanks to a licensing deal with British based N+ bikes, the Mercedes AMG Petronas  moniker can be found in the weekend group ride!  You might wonder, why is a German car brand’s bike coming from England? Formula 1 race fans know that like a majority of F1 teams,  Mercedes’ ga-zillion dollar racing effort is actually based in England.

The AMG bike is licensed through N+ and is painted at the Mercedes F1 factory in Brackley, England. Three models are available, each with SRAM drivetrains (Force and Red) from $6000-$12,000 with special Pirelli tires and carbon railed German made saddles using Alcantara leather.  It is especially cool to see the bikes share the same livery as the F1 cars raced by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.

Similar to that first seen on a Parlee tri-bike, the air foil covering the disc brake caliper is a nice touch.


The one-piece carbon handlebar/stem combos are available in three sizes: 40/42/44cm width with 90/100/110/120mm stem lengths.


The signature of the person who painted the frame and saw it through its build is found on the top tube.


Looks just like your garage right? The carbon fiber bike stand is a stand-alone item that fits up to 38mm tires and sells for $650.


In addition to the road bike, the N+ group is also making available two models of an equally sleek looking electric city bike at $3200 and $4500.

For more info: Mercedes AMG Petronas 

The post FIRST LOOK: MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS V11 appeared first on Road Bike Action.

Categories:Road Bike Action

The Latest Tour de France Weapon – The $100 Water Bottle

01/31/2021 0:04

By Dr. Johnathan Edwards

Many sport insiders are not doubting that more than a few of the selected WorldTour teams in this year’s Tour de France and will be using a nutritional supplement called ketones. In previous years, rumors have circulated that ketones would be the next big thing in sports nutrition and this year’s Tour might mark their official coming out party.


Wout Van Aert (BEL – Team Jumbo – Visma)

Jumbo-Visma is the latest team linked to the use of the dietary supplement, which are thought to improve recovery for endurance athletes.  In a report published in De Telegraaf, Jumbo-Visma Team manager Richard Plugge confirmed that his riders use the supplement. He says that ketones are a dietary supplement, like vitamins, that they are not on the prohibited list, and it is known that other teams use ketones.

British scientist Dr. Clarke also says that several teams were using ketones as a dietary supplement during the 2018 Tour de France, but none of them wanted to be named. Reports of the use of ketones in the professional peloton dates to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The confirmation of ketones’ use, matched with the success of several teams this season, has reignited the debate about their use and impact on racing at this year’s Tour.


Ketones are nothing new, and we have known about them since the mid-19th century and have been used in medicine in the 20th century. Ketones are molecules derived from fat metabolism during low food intakes, such as sleep and fasting. They are used by the brain, muscles, and heart for energy. This energy is derived principally from fat metabolism, specifically fatty acids, and ketones, through beta-oxidation. We have thousands of calories available for fat burning. However, we can only use it if we are in a low-glucose state such as fasting or on a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet. We switch to using ketones each night, to save glycogen. Enter ketone drinks. Ketone drinks can force the body into ketosis without having to fast or eat a low carbohydrate diet. Ketone drinks are usually made from ketone salts or ketone esters. Ketone esters are the primary ketone drink being used by cycling teams.


The first ketone drink was created in the early 2000s to fuel soldiers in the US army. Oxford University Scientists – Dr. Kieran Clarke of Oxford and Dr. Richard Veech of the National Institute of Health/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – were challenged to produce a foodstuff that would provide soldiers with a fuel aimed for success on the battleground. Ketone drinks are used in many sports and are expensive compared to other sports drinks ($99 for three 25g bottles). Ketones were tested by Great Britain rowers and cyclists and used in London’s 2012 Olympics games (a recent topic of debate).

Andrey Amador (CRC – Ineos Grenadiers)

There are various ketone products available, and here we will focus on the ketone ester drinks. HVMN (Health Via Modern Nutrition) ketone ester drink was created alongside the initial Oxford University researchers. The brand has exclusive access to the same organic compound created by scientists. Ketone Aid also produces ketone esters, which are made in the USA. Both products have the GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) labels by the FDA, and both are tested for WADA banned substances.  Both companies have supplied WorldTour Teams with ketone drinks.


Success in cycling is about energy utilization, production, and conservation. To blast up Mount Ventoux in under an hour, riders need to produce a lot of power, and therefore a lot of energy. With stages lasting 4 to 6 hours, energy conservation is the name of the game. Ketones are gaining popularity among endurance athletes for their purported effects on improving recovery and glycogen sparing capabilities.

In Travis Christofferson’s new book, “Ketones, The Fourth Fuel,” he notes that the most unique and dramatic quality of ketones is the ability to boost the antioxidant capacity of the cell–this is critically important for the recovery of endurance athletes who generate massive amounts of free-radicals from prolonged exercise. This is also the possible reason why Tour de France riders can experience an “unprecedented” ability to recover during the grueling race. Ingesting ketones could mitigate the overall damage from free radicals resulting in enhanced recovery.


James Morton, a Ph.D. in nutrition and former consultant for Team SKY, says, “the evidence for using ketone esters seems to be that it reduces the emphasis on carbohydrate metabolism. On the one hand, this could be a good thing as it may spare muscle glycogen use, meaning you have more for later. On the other, if it surpasses muscle ability to use carbohydrates as a fuel, this could be detrimental to performance. So, whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing is too early to say.”

A recent study published by Peter Hespel, a Belgian sports science researcher who works with the Deceunick-Quick Step cycling team, has demonstrated that ketone drinks can improve recovery. The subjects conducted a 3-week Tour de France simulated training camp, half the group used ketone drinks, while the other half did not. They found that ketone drinks blunted the cardiovascular, hormonal, and perceptual effects of overtraining. They also found that training load, energy intake, and performance were increased in the ketone drink group.

A 2016 study published in Cell Metabolism showed that British Cyclists went two to three percent further in a 30-minute time trial.

In 2015, Dr. David Holdsworth showed that ketone ester drinks significantly increased muscle glycogen stores after exercise. He was quoted in Cycling Weekly: “There are professional cycling teams and world-famous professional cyclists in those teams, or in that team, who have used ketones for significant internationally famous events, which they’ve won. It has been used with considerable success.”


As part of a 2015 investigation, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed that ketones were not currently prohibited or monitored. But the investigation has not squashed the ketone drinks critics. AG2R team boss Vincent Lavenu has called for ketones to be stopped because they are expensive and not available to everyone. The ketone esters are currently only sold in the USA, as the EU food safety authority has not permitted their sale.

Dutch anti-doping boss, Herman Ram, is uncomfortable using ketones because it is a “grey area.” UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) head of science and medicine Nick Wojek said, “Athletes are advised to assess the risks associated with using any supplements, including those where synthetic ketones are listed as an ingredient.”



Speaking on his podcast about ketones, Lance Armstrong said: “It’s commonly known that usage of ketone esters (chemical compounds) are prevalent in the peloton. It’s totally legal. I’m not trying to expose anybody here. But the use of ketone esters is there.” He went on to say that “Team Sky was the first team that had access to ketones.”  Which raises another topic – whether Chris Froome used ketone supplements. In July 2015, Sporza reported that Belgian coach Paul van den Bosch suggested that Chris Froome use ketone supplements. However, Team Sky team manager Dave Brailsford and Chris Froome denied ever using ketones.

Finally, the MPCC (Movement for Credible Cycling) does not allow ketones in its signatory teams, a factor that Tom Dumoulin cited when withdrawing from the group. The teams bound by their MPCC membership are AG2R La Mondiale, Bora-Hansgrohe, Cofidis, EF Education First, Groupama-FDJ, Israel Start-Up-Nation, and Lotto Soudal.


We will see how the Tour de France turns out and ketones will certainly be a hot topic as many teams are divided over its use. The WorldTour riders that I have interviewed say that the ketone drinks help with recovery. Some riders experience increased performance on the bike, while others do not. It should come as no surprise that WorldTour cycling teams are using them to boost their riders’ performance.

According to reports, nearly half of the teams currently racing the Tour de France will be using ketones. Remember that ketones can be considered a fourth fuel source for exercise along with carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. They are produced in the body during fasting or a ketogenic diet but can also be ingested in a ketone drink.

Research suggests they may be beneficial in endurance exercise through efficient energy production and carbohydrate sparing effect. They aid recovery through boosting the antioxidant capacity in the cells, increasing glycogen, and protein synthesis. Overdosing can make for a very unhappy gut and diarrhea. The studies published to date support their ability to provide a performance benefit to athletes, but there’s still further research needed.




The post The Latest Tour de France Weapon – The $100 Water Bottle appeared first on Road Bike Action.

Categories:Road Bike Action

Readers’ Rigs: Specialized Allez Sprint LTD

01/30/2021 12:05

Today’s reader is Aaron from Australia who has added to his ever growing stable of Specialized bikes a Allez Sprint LTD in bright pink, which certainly doesn’t go unnoticed on the roads down under.

Aaron’s understated blue bike….

Name: Aaron Paul
Location: NSW Australia
Bike: 2018 Allez Sprint LTD
Groupset: 9100 Shimano
Wheels: Roval SLX23 / Roval CLX64 / Reynolds Strike
Pedals: 6800 Ultegra
Saddle: 143mm Power Pro
Other: P2M S-Type on Specialized cranks Zipp Bar and Stem Kedge and Exposure mounts
Weight: 7.6-7.8kg

….and his current offensive pink machine.

When did you buy it and what made you choose this bike?
I bought it in February 2018. At the time I had an SL4 Tarmac, Tarmac Disc and a ViAS, a case of upgradeitis led me to pull the trigger on a stock Allez Sprint to scratch the Aluminati itch. The intention was to swap the 9000 groupset off the SL4 onto it and move the SL4 on (12 months later after I got sick of it collecting dust) to create a cheap fun kickr and crit bike, well that snowballed somewhat… This is the 3rd allez frame I’ve had, the original Monster Green bike with 9000 when I got the itch again to go to 9100 which became a Blue LTD frameset mated with 9100 and now this frame to satisfy my love of offensive pink.

What modifications/additions have you done?
Bought as a frameset and built to be reliable and fun, little things like filing the seat post clamping area to stop it pinching the post, aluminum 1mm spacer on top of the headset cap to keep things silent and swapping out the crank tension ring for shims and a wave washer are the only modifications.

What components are you running?
The groupset is all 9100 gear with a P2M spider/Q rings on a Specialized carbon 172.5mm crankset. Simple and easy to source if the worst happens.

How many miles/kilometers do you do a year?
Aim for 10000km + ergo. Reality doesn’t always match though…

What do you love about this bike?
It’s a bag of fun to ride while still being relatively cheap and quite durable, it was built as a crit/Kickr option to not have to always ride my ViAS but has become my favorite way to get out and hurt my legs without that price tag flashing in the back of my head when things get sketchy…

Favorite riding area?
The Victorian High country in Australia is hard to beat but failing that anywhere I can chop off laps and have FUN hurting the legs.

Favorite riding experience on your bike?
Riding with a good mate as he finished an everesting (a crazy ride requiring you to climb the same hill over and over again until your reach 8,848m elevation gain), I’d had 1h sleep in about 36h after working then going straight to pick him up and get things underway, slept on the side of the road in a swag before lighting a fire and getting preparation going to keep him alive for the day.

Future upgrades?
The endless search for the perfect wheelset…

Last words?
Thanks to the family at Drift bikes for always having my back and always remember, Find what makes you happy and do it, we all get lost in the cycle that is life but try to remember to stop and take some time out to make yourself smile.

Thanks to Aaron for sharing his ride with us. Got a bike that you’re proud of? Well how about sharing it with fellow PEZ fans and getting it featured in Readers’ Rigs so we can all stare at it! Send a Readers’ Rigs submission direct to and your bike could be featured in all its glory here on the pages of PEZ.

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Categories:PezCycling News

Web Design Trends That Could Boost Your Business

01/30/2021 12:04

It’s safe to say that we live in the age of the internet. Pretty much everything is online now, including business. The online world is one of the best ways to put your business out there and reach new people, but capturing people’s attention isn’t as easy as it seems. Effectively reaching an audience of interested buyers is a combo of different marketing efforts, one of which includes a business website. Having a well-designed business website can be a crucial part of attracting new customers, so if you’re on the prowl for new ideas, here are some design trends that might boost your visibility.

Photo Collection

While it might not seem like a good idea to most, using pictures as design elements for a website can be incredibly effective. Sure, going for something more refined and unique is often the better choice, but a design that showcases pictures related to the website content is often exactly what people want to see. A great example of this is travel blogs and travel booking websites. People like to be inspired by the destinations they plan on visiting, and when better to inspire them than when they’re buying a ticket? If you do not have a lot of your own images, sites like pixabay have a huge selection of great images.

Minimalistic Luxury

The minimalistic design trend has recently become a pretty big hit on the web. Sporting sharp lines, simple colors, and understated design elements, it’s easy to see why so many people like its less abrasive nature. Surprisingly enough, the minimalistic design has been adapted and given a bit of a touch up by online casino websites.

As you might have guessed, online casinos like Casimba are prime hubs for excellent entertainment. From classic table games like Poker and Baccarat to modern themed slots in all shapes and sizes, they have everything you need for a good time.

Since casinos are often seen as a symbol of luxury, the world of online gambling doesn’t stray far from that sentiment. These websites usually sport a minimalistic monochrome design that adds in elements of either gold or silver to elevate the luxurious look. The result is pretty incredible, as the design doesn’t take attention from the games but still looks nice and elegant.

Interactive Design

Video games are currently one of the most popular trends worldwide, so it’s not surprising to see designers draw inspiration from them. One of the many excellent trends that video games have inspired is the interactive design trend. As you might have already guessed, this trend is a big hit with gaming blogs, some online game shops, and branded video game sites. The interactive design differs from most other design styles as it doesn’t put too much importance on colors, artistic style, or shapes.

What does make the Interactive design style is in the name – the interactive elements! No matter what color they sport or how they’re shaped, a touch of animation prompted by user interaction is key here. The design is immersive and brings a user experience much different than what we’re usually used to.

Old-School Design

It might sound a bit strange to some, but nostalgia can be very powerful. Luckily, designers have caught onto this and created a design that attracts those who love a good look at the past. The old-school design can often be colorful, silly, even abrasive. The trick with perfecting the old school design is giving the elements a weathered look, a yellowish undertone, and adding more than few iconic pop-culture references while you’re at it. Sure, it might be more niche than other designs, but it never fails to intrigue.

Photo Credits

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Guest Author Bio
Alex Larsen

Alex Larsen is a freelance content writer and marketing manager with more than 10 years of experience. His expertise is writing about technology, news, finance and crypto related articles.



Categories:LIFE AS A HUMAN

Dutch Cyclist Suspended for Four Years for Inhaler Use

01/30/2021 0:04

Opinion: A Dutch amateur cyclist has been suspended for four years by the KNWU (the Dutch cycling Federation) disciplinary committee for a doping violation. The rider tested positive for the asthma drug Salbutamol in an in-competition doping control on June 2, 2019.

According to Dutch cycling website, WielerFlits; at the beginning of this month, the Institute of Sports Justice (ISR) confirmed the four-year suspension after a long procedure. The original requirement of a two-year suspension by the Dutch Doping Authority was increased to four years because deliberate (over) use of the asthma drug was deemed proven.

Chorges- France - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - control antidopage diping control Christopher Froome (Great Britain / Team Sky) pictured during the 100th Tour de France 2013 stage-17 from Embrun to Chorges - photo Marketa Navratilova/Wessel van Keuk/Cor Vos © 2013
Chris Froome proved his ‘innocence’

Prove Innocence
In conversation with NPO Radio 1 program Pointer, the cyclist told his story together with his lawyer Lars Westhoff and doping expert Douwe de Boer, who have assisted him in the past eighteen months to prove his innocence. The rider is not mentioned by name in both the ISR pronunciation and in the radio broadcast. WielerFlits has confirmed that it concerns 26 year-old amateur cyclist Sjors Dekker.

“It was a very hot day,” said Dekker about the race in which he was found positive. “Temperatures reached 34 degrees Celsius. That day I ended up in a leading group of four that was allowed to sprint for the victory, but due to the intense heat I was unable to sprint anymore. I almost lost consciousness. Rarely have I made such an effort under this temperature.” In the end, he finished the race in third place.

“I then suffered from cystic fibrosis and chest tightness in the lungs. I could barely breathe with my lungs. It was like a spider web that you have to get out. And then you long for your medicine. After the finish, my situation was so worrying that I took two more puffs (of his Ventolin inhaler). At the doping control I then indicated that I am an asthmatic.”

Medication or doping?

Almost three months later, at the end of September, Dekker received mail from the Doping Authority. “Then all alarm bells rang. I then got very emotional. That is incomprehensible. The world is then just too small. I appealed, but then got back a folder of files. You don’t know how to act accordingly. I then engaged Westhoff and De Boer.”

In the A-sample from Dekker, 1.9 μg / ml (= 1900 ng/ml) salbutamol was found. The Doping rule stipulates that the presence of salbutamol in a concentration greater than 1.0 μg/ml (= 1000 ng/ml) does not (any longer) indicate a therapeutic use of the substance and is therefore regarded as a violation of Article 3 of the Doping Regulations.

Huy - Belgium - wielrennen - cycling - radsport - cyclisme - Nibali Vincenzo (Team Astana) -Yates Simon (Team Orica Greenedge)- Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Team Movistar) - Valverde Alejandro (Team Movistar) pictured during le Tour de France 2015 - stage 3 - from Antwerpen to Huy -159.5 KM - on monday 06-07-2015 - photo Dion Kerckhoffs//Davy Rietbergen/Cor Vos © 2015
Simon Yates failed a doping control in the 2016 Paris-Nice due to terbutaline

“I really can’t think of it. That they think about one and not the other,” he continued. The suspended Dutchman is referring to four-time Tour winner Chris Froome, who was acquitted for the same offence. “Maybe they think I’m an easy victim. I’m now being put down like a piece of garbage. As someone who has done a full EPO program. But I only used my medication. I am facing four tough years.”


Institute of Sports Justice
The ISR does not agree with the story of the suspended Dutch rider: “(1) It has not become apparent that the person concerned was in possession of a valid dispensation for the use of salbutamol at the time of the check. It has also not been found that the person concerned has applied for a dispensation for the use of salbutamol after the doping control.”

“(2) The circumstance put forward by the person concerned that the tropical conditions prior to and during the competition, in combination with the maximum permitted amount of used salbutamol, led to the (much) too high concentration of salbutamol found, is not proven by the disciplinary committee.”

Extra attention for Chris Froome at the Giro

Chris Froome
Froome was acquitted in 2018 with approximately the same levels of Salbutamol in the body (2,000 nanograms per millimetre to 1,900 nanograms per millimetre). However, Froome has always denied taking too much Salbutamol and successfully demonstrated this. Dekker acknowledges, according to the ruling, that he ‘puffed’ more that day than is permitted.

De Boer thinks it is unfair: “Froome had a lot more money. This allowed him to build up a better defence. If you have no money and you are an amateur it will be difficult.” He concluded: “It is clear that he is 5-0 behind. The rules are very strict.”

# Thanks to WielerFlits for the information. #

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Categories:PezCycling News

FASTED Riding: How Eating Less Might Make Your Faster

01/30/2021 0:04
coffee van aert

Having spent my time as an undergraduate studying biochemistry and human metabolism, I found the idea of fasted training for cyclists and athletes an interesting topic and it remains one of my favorite training tactics nearly 4 years later. What is it and is it right for you?

lotto coffee
Coffee, no food for breakfast

In this article, I’ll review basic exercise metabolism, the concept behind doing a fasted ride, how/why they work, when they do not work, and how to do your own fasted ride! Let’s get started.

Exercise Metabolism

During exercise, our bodies rely heavily on carbohydrates and fats to pedal our bikes. Carbohydrates can be found in relatively limited amounts as free glucose in our blood sugar or stored in larger chains within our muscle cells & liver. However, fat is stored across the body – even the thinnest of athletes have a massive amount of energy available stored throughout the body as fat.

At sufficiently low intensities (below approximately 65% of VO2peak), the body can break down the larger fat molecules and produce vast amounts of energy via aerobic respiration. However, as exercise intensity increases, the aerobic breakdown of fats is too slow to meet the energy demands. Although the body continues to  utilize fats, the body becomes increasingly reliant on carbs.  Carbohydrates become the body’s preferred fuel source at higher intensities since they are smaller, easier to access, and faster to break down.

Through training and nutrition, we have the capacity to manipulate the contribution of fats. This is very important since one of the key aspects of becoming a better endurance athlete is to increase our body’s ability to continue metabolizing fats at higher intensities. The thought is to burn higher quantities of fats at lower intensities and save your precious, limited carb stores for key attacks, climbs, or finishing sprints. Further, relying more heavily on fats can also help athletes avoid the dreaded bonk, which happens when our bodies run completely out of carbs.

What is fasted riding?

To put it simply, fasted training is performing exercise without eating beforehand. It means performing your morning Zwift ride without eating breakfast beforehand (which also means no cream or sugar in your morning coffee) or waiting until after your post-work turbo session to sit down for dinner.

For after the fasted ride

Does it work?

By restricting the supply of carbohydrates – either through caloric restriction or through prior exercise – it is possible to artificially limit the body’s ability to access and burn carbs. The idea behind this is to force the muscles to continue burning fats at higher intensities.

Carl Hulstron and colleagues showed that this was the case in a 2010 study. In short, cyclists completed 3 weeks of training with either high or low muscle glycogen levels. In the HIGH group, cyclists completed alternating days of aerobic rides (90 min of endurance/tempo paced riding) with HIIT sessions (8 x 5-min efforts, 1-min recovery). Conversely, the LOW group trained twice every second day, first completing 90 min of aerobic training, a 1-hour recovery and then HIIT session. They found that the power output was lower in the LOW group in the HIIT sessions – no surprise there, since they did the HIIT session after 90 min of endurance riding and being low on carbs that are essential for higher power efforts. However, they also showed that fat oxidation during steady state cycling increased a whopping 31%.

Secondly, “training low” as it is often referred to, can also stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis, which simply means that your body creates more mitochondria, “the powerhouses of the cell”. A paper by Jonathan Bartlett & colleagues confirmed this by showing that key genes in the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis were significantly higher 3-hours after performing a bout of high intensity running when the exercise was performed from a low-carb state, compared to a high-carb state.

van aert
Coffee for breakfast – No cream or sugar

How to do your own fasted ride?

As mentioned previously, most high-intensity sessions will require accessible carbs. This means that you will likely struggle to complete any all-out, full-throttle HIIT session or Zwift race. Or, even if you can complete the session, you are likely unable to achieve intensities that would maximize the benefits from those harder workouts. So, it is best to save your fasted rides for your easier endurance rides.

Most average athletes training between 5-7 hours a week can see considerable benefits to their aerobic system by adding in 1-2 sessions per week of fasted aerobic riding. It’s important not to over-do it, as you don’t want to miss out on the benefits of high-intensity sessions performed when you’re adequately fueled. Furthermore, doing too many fasted sessions can potentially down-regulate important enzymes that play a role in glucose metabolism. In other words, riding only fasted at low intensities might compromise your ability to generate short-term anaerobic power (think of your 30-sec to 6-min power range).

Remember that the primary focus of these sessions should be on low intensity, aerobic riding. When doing these sessions, try to keep the ride to no more than 2 hours before supplementing with carbs. Alternatively, you can go for a shorter ride & throw in some intervals towards the end.

I typically perform my fasted sessions first thing in the morning. I start with my morning coffee – either regular coffee black, or double-shot of espresso, along with some water. If I am heading outdoors for a fasted ride, I always pack some extra gels for myself as a “just in case”.

jumbo visma
Get that endurance ride in

How to recover from a fasted training session

Performing the endurance training fasted is only half the equation – it’s important to focus on the recovery from these sessions as well. Eating a high-carbohydrate food immediately after the ride may decrease the benefits gained from this sort of session. Instead, try a recovery drink that delivers a small serving of carbs alongside some protein will be beneficial. Then, try to get a more substantial meal high in protein and carbs approximately 90 minutes after the training session.

Lastly, another important factor to keep in mind is that fasted sessions may increase the recovery time, compared to a similar session performed when well-fueled. The following 24 hours or so in terms of timing, this makes fasted endurance rides a solid choice before taking a day off the bike.


Bartlett, J. D., Louhelainen, J., Iqbal, Z., Cochran, A. J., Gibala, M. J., Gregson, W., … & Morton, J. P. (2013). Reduced carbohydrate availability enhances exercise-induced p53 signalling in human skeletal muscle: implications for mitochondrial biogenesis. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 304(6), R450-R458.

Hulston, C. J., Venables, M. C., Mann, C. H., Martin, C., Philp, A., Baar, K., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2010). Training with low muscle glycogen enhances fat metabolism in well-trained cyclists. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42(11), 2046-2055.

The post FASTED Riding: How Eating Less Might Make Your Faster appeared first on PezCycling News.

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