Does Diet Help?

CleeRider
CleeRider Posts: 304
edited January 2013 in Road general
I'm not overweight in the slightest or eat lots of fried food etc. But love my chocolate, biscuits and alcohol.
I keep the weight off by cycling 60 miles a week and not overeating at mealtimes.
If I ate more fruit instead of chocolate and biscuits, would I go faster on the bike? Or would I just be punishing myself for no reason? :)

Comments

  • thefd
    thefd Posts: 1,021
    Less weight and more power means you will be faster. Particularly on hills! You can figure out the rest.
    2017 - Caadx
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  • CleeRider
    CleeRider Posts: 304
    I don't think I would want to weigh any less though.
  • CleeRider wrote:
    I don't think I would want to weigh any less though.
    You have to work on your fitness then, how you do that I'm not qualified to say,
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • TakeTurns
    TakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    You're better off just riding more if you want to see improvements. Instead of "suffering", just balance your diet. Eat an apple instead of a biscuit now and then.
  • The simplest answer to the question is 'Yes'. Eat a balanced diet with plenty of quality carbs and you should feel better and more energised on your rides, and maintain a lower weight, than if you predominantly eat junk.

    It won't really make you faster; that you will go faster the more favourable your power:weight ratio is simple physics, but your fitness and power will have a far, far greater effect than your weight, and it only really matters when climbing really steep hills. Starving yourself won't make you a better cyclist, will it? Your hill climbing speeds will increase as your fitness and power do, but if you train really hard you will find it even harder if your diet isn't right, and if your diet is right you should lose weight anyway. If we took three test subjects of identical height but different weights and fitness - one 9st and healthy but not very fit, one 15st, unhealthy and not at all fit, and another 10.5st and an avid cyclist who trains very hard - which would climb the same hill fastest on identical bikes? I can't say for sure, but I have a hunch... And even then, Coppi and Gaul climbed Alpe d'Huez with effortless grace on probably circa 10kg bikes, which makes the fretting of today's weight weenies rather comical. On the flat, given that aerodynamics account for the vast majority of your effort your fat belly won't slow you down because of its weight. :lol:

    But for all that, proper nutrition is a pretty new idea in cycling and sport in general. Our forefathers thought that feasting on steaks and joints of meat was the way forward, would drink [alcohol] and reportedly raid bars during major stage races, were constantly tanked up on amphetamines and other drugs, and were subject to a water limit, so sod the science. :lol:
  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    But for all that, proper nutrition is a pretty new idea in cycling and sport in general. Our forefathers thought that feasting on steaks and joints of meat was the way forward, would drink [alcohol] and reportedly raid bars during major stage races, were constantly tanked up on amphetamines and other drugs, and were subject to a water limit, so sod the science. :lol:

    I watched a film about Eddy Merckx (PBUH) recently and there was a domestique handing out glass bottles of beer. The winner in the TdF still often drinks champagne on the Champs-Élysées - I can't think of any other sport where top level athletes drink during the actual event :D .
  • lotus49 wrote:
    I can't think of any other sport where top level athletes drink during the actual event :D .

    Darts?
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Whilst you may not want to lose weight, most people have around 20% body fat whereas trained athletes have 10% and less and considerable more muscle - replace the body fat with muscles and you'll be able to generate more power.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • lotus49 wrote:
    But for all that, proper nutrition is a pretty new idea in cycling and sport in general. Our forefathers thought that feasting on steaks and joints of meat was the way forward, would drink [alcohol] and reportedly raid bars during major stage races, were constantly tanked up on amphetamines and other drugs, and were subject to a water limit, so sod the science. :lol:

    I watched a film about Eddy Merckx (PBUH) recently and there was a domestique handing out glass bottles of beer. The winner in the TdF still often drinks champagne on the Champs-Élysées - I can't think of any other sport where top level athletes drink during the actual event :D .

    That is because in most events he winner is decided at the end, while the last stage of the tour de France is a farce, at least for the General Classification. I actually advocate for a tough mountain stage or a time trial to end the event, rather than this ludicrous looping around the streets of Paris
    left the forum March 2023
  • Camus
    Camus Posts: 189
    lotus49 wrote:
    But for all that, proper nutrition is a pretty new idea in cycling and sport in general. Our forefathers thought that feasting on steaks and joints of meat was the way forward, would drink [alcohol] and reportedly raid bars during major stage races, were constantly tanked up on amphetamines and other drugs, and were subject to a water limit, so sod the science. :lol:

    I watched a film about Eddy Merckx (PBUH) recently and there was a domestique handing out glass bottles of beer. The winner in the TdF still often drinks champagne on the Champs-Élysées - I can't think of any other sport where top level athletes drink during the actual event :D .

    That is because in most events he winner is decided at the end, while the last stage of the tour de France is a farce, at least for the General Classification. I actually advocate for a tough mountain stage or a time trial to end the event, rather than this ludicrous looping around the streets of Paris

    Do time honoured tradition and ritual count for nothing!?

    As far as diet goes, I believe you will lose more weight by having a healthy balanced diet and doing little excercise than you will keeping up with a bad diet and doing lots of exercise. That's not to say you'll develop any new muscle and drop any fat. You also wouldn't improve any in the sport in which you want to develop your abilities. So for me diet is the starting point whenever I'm looking to improve my fitness.

    Exercise, whether it's cycling or gym time falls in after and compliments that. Ideally it's a balance of both a healthy diet and eating sensibly, going to one extreme of dieting or the other of trying to be super-human in your training, isn't sensible.
  • navrig
    navrig Posts: 1,352
    Cycling aside, if you eat a more balanced diet then it is very likely you will feel better and live longer.

    Will it make you faster, without weight loss, probably not but it may make you more inclined to go out more often as a result of feeling better and motivated.

    Then again there is always someone who performs well on fry ups, beer and tabs. I know it's not me though.
  • Careca
    Careca Posts: 95
    British people, on the whole, eat an absolutely awful diet. Sweeping statement I know, but we eat a lot of processed crap, and convenience ready meals! It's a shame we don't have more respect and time for food.
  • Camus
    Camus Posts: 189
    Careca wrote:
    British people, on the whole, eat an absolutely awful diet. Sweeping statement I know, but we eat a lot of processed crap, and convenience ready meals! It's a shame we don't have more respect and time for food.

    Yes, it's a cultural thing, if you compare the UK with continental Europe we don't seem to appreciate eating/living well or even consider that as a factor in our daily lives. I think it's improving though, very slowly. The comedian Simon Amstell does a joke about how we have to label 'normal/natural' food as 'organic' now, as if it's this alien, special and rare thing because we're so used to ready meals and processed crap.

    It's in line with our terrible approach/attitude to evenings' out. I was in Valencia recently and a typical night for the locals was some nice tapas/pinxtos, a glass or two of wine / beer, have a stroll and conversation, sit in the square, get coffee etc. None of the binge drinking and yobbish behaviour we get in cities over here that often make them unpleasant at night. You could walk around until the small hours, feel perfectly safe and never see any trouble and most of all not one guy relieving himself down a side street!

    I'm convinced the climate doesn't help us here, the wet weather and grey gets depressing and forces people to congregate indoors or makes them inclined to reach for junk food for comfort, or go out on a bender.
  • Careca
    Careca Posts: 95
    But when we do have warm weather it's usually the green light for all day drinking, followed by severe sunburn. Or perhaps that is just Plymouth :)
  • wod1
    wod1 Posts: 61
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20898379

    Fish and vegetables the way forward!
  • Careca
    Careca Posts: 95
    Just home from holiday and it always upsets me when I get back to our supermarkets and see the complete lack of fresh fish and seafood. We have so much of it in the seas around us and just don't value it.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,490
    Camus wrote:
    Careca wrote:
    British people, on the whole, eat an absolutely awful diet. Sweeping statement I know, but we eat a lot of processed crap, and convenience ready meals! It's a shame we don't have more respect and time for food.

    Yes, it's a cultural thing, if you compare the UK with continental Europe we don't seem to appreciate eating/living well or even consider that as a factor in our daily lives. I think it's improving though, very slowly. The comedian Simon Amstell does a joke about how we have to label 'normal/natural' food as 'organic' now, as if it's this alien, special and rare thing because we're so used to ready meals and processed crap.

    Whilst I appreciate the sentiment (and I'm pretty bad with what I eat :oops: ) that doesn't really follow as a non-organic carrot is still 100% natural in itself, it is the growing process that determines if it is organic or not.
  • Scotty-Gee wrote:
    lotus49 wrote:
    I can't think of any other sport where top level athletes drink during the actual event :D .

    Darts?

    Banned since 1989. Worked too, nowadays darts players are the very apex of human athleticism.
  • smoggysteve
    smoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    Depends not so much what you eat but when you eat it. Complex carbs like brown rice, Brown bread, Pasta before exercise. Protein and simple carbs - not sugars after exercise.

    You need energy before you exercise in the shape of the carbs and protein for muscle repair after exercise.
  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    Scotty-Gee wrote:
    lotus49 wrote:
    I can't think of any other sport where top level athletes drink during the actual event :D .

    Darts?

    Banned since 1989. Worked too, nowadays darts players are the very apex of human athleticism.

    I genuinely laughed out loud at that.
  • nolight
    nolight Posts: 261
    Of course it does. Each kg reduction cuts down cycling time over 10km by 1 minute, for the same power. Or you can spend a fortune lightening your bike by 1 kg.
  • CleeRider
    CleeRider Posts: 304
    nolight wrote:
    Of course it does. Each kg reduction cuts down cycling time over 10km by 1 minute, for the same power. Or you can spend a fortune lightening your bike by 1 kg.

    That would mean I'll go 5mph faster when I buy my new road bike, compared to my current mtn bike.
    I just can't see me suddenly doing over 20mph average over 15-20 miles :)
  • I love how the OP said he doesn't want to lose weight, but lots of talk about weight reductions.

    You are a human, and you like food. Enjoy the stuff you love, just do not go overboard. You will be fine. I probably wouldn't notice much of a difference if I cut out sweets other than the last bits of weight I have to drop. Otherwise not much.
  • colsoop
    colsoop Posts: 217
    You want to ride faster ? You have to ride more often and faster / harder, 60 miles a week isn't a massive amount of riding really.

    I don't think depriving yourself of the things you enjoy in life will make a blind bit of difference at the level most of us ride at. As someone else mentioned where and when you get your food will make a difference though.
  • CleeRider
    CleeRider Posts: 304
    wilo13 wrote:
    Double your 60 miles a week and I bet you will be riding quicker in a few months due to better conditioning and you will lose weight anyway due to the increased time on the bike. I am a Cat 3 racer and most guys I ride and race with do anything from 150-250miles a week.

    Thanks for the tips everyone. I can't really ride more than 3 x 15-30 miles per week as I have a young family so that will have to wait a few years. And I'll continue enjoying myself if it makes no difference - but try to replace some junk with fruit for a longer life.
  • nolight
    nolight Posts: 261
    CleeRider wrote:
    nolight wrote:
    Of course it does. Each kg reduction cuts down cycling time over 10km by 1 minute, for the same power. Or you can spend a fortune lightening your bike by 1 kg.

    That would mean I'll go 5mph faster when I buy my new road bike, compared to my current mtn bike.
    I just can't see me suddenly doing over 20mph average over 15-20 miles :)

    It's based on what I recall Lance Armstrong said on youtube. Maybe it applies to people who are pros and already near underweight :P .
  • CleeRider wrote:
    nolight wrote:
    Of course it does. Each kg reduction cuts down cycling time over 10km by 1 minute, for the same power. Or you can spend a fortune lightening your bike by 1 kg.

    That would mean I'll go 5mph faster when I buy my new road bike, compared to my current mtn bike.
    I just can't see me suddenly doing over 20mph average over 15-20 miles :)

    Quite. The vast majority of your effort when cycling goes on pushing air out of the way. If weight made such a huge difference (and a lot of people think it does, hence the obsession with light bikes), you would think that the riders of today on 6.8-7.5kg bikes would be substantially faster than those of yesteryear on 9-10kg bikes, and they aren't.
  • ShutUpLegs
    ShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    Careca wrote:
    Just home from holiday and it always upsets me when I get back to our supermarkets and see the complete lack of fresh fish and seafood. We have so much of it in the seas around us and just don't value it.

    Do you get upset easily? Might be a sign of something.
  • lotus49
    lotus49 Posts: 763
    Quite. The vast majority of your effort when cycling goes on pushing air out of the way. If weight management made such a huge difference (and a lot of people think it does, hence the obsession with light bikes), you would think that the riders of today on 6.8-7.5kg bikes would be substantially faster than those of yesteryear on 9-10kg bikes, and they aren't.

    This does rather depend on the terrain. When riding up a steep hill, the amount of energy used to push the air out of the way is proportionally very small compared to that used to push the weight uphill. Uphill, weight matters, but on the flat , it makes very little difference.