Does the type of protein supplement matter?
Nutritionist Monique Ryan answers some more questions about the effects of cycling on bone density.
Do bodies absorb warm or cold water faster?
Getting through cycling's 'transition season.'
It is not unusual during a full season of racing to hear about a pro cyclist or two breaking a clavicle or other bone in a multi-rider pile-up. But is there something inherent to cycling that increases your risk for developing a break when you hit the pavement hard? A growing body of research indicates that being fit through cycling training alone does not guarantee optimal bone density. Cycling only may be bad for your bones.
Excess weight increases risk for a number of diseases, and the current weight epidemic is actually an overeating epidemic.
Some experts believe that poor vitamin D status can often be a problem among athletes, and affect your overall health and ability to train.
This past May the Food and Drug Administration moved to ban the diet product Hydroxycut after receiving 23 reports of health problems
A look at the diet used by some Garmin team pros
Fueling up once the alarm sounds is critical.
Optimal recovery nutrition is essential.
Pre-season strength training carries its own nutritional demands
Monique Ryan reviews a new study on caffeine consumption after exercise
Cycling Nutrition with Monique Ryan: Your best exercise during the holidays is pushing away from the table
At this time of year, many of us will be moving our training indoors to better deal with the elements and engage in some active recovery.
With the final curve of the race season in full view, we cycling fans are focused on the remaining professional calendar, as well as our own regular season end. Whether the last event on your calendar is a road race, cross country race, criterium, or century ride, you can dial in a good nutrition plan to fuel your best efforts. Chances are that your nutrition plan will just need a little tweaking before you head into the off season or prepare for cyclocross training and racing.
The extra 20 pounds Hi Monique, I enjoyed your article in the recent VeloNews (May 22, 2008) about nutrition for cyclists. A lot of what you discussed I was already doing (learned from trial and error over my riding career of 25 years), but have a question I'd like to address to you that a lot of other cyclists might also find interesting.
Your tax refund is in the mail, spring is finally here, and the first quarter of the 2008 racing season is finished. Now is a good time to check on your progress and move your nutritional goals up on the priority list to ensure that they are receiving the proper focus. While you may have completed some early season races, chances are that you are building to more important races that take place in the next few months.
Weigh your body-composition goals
Cardiovascular disease is still the number one killer in this country, a contributor to heart attacks, high blood pressure, and strokes. Of course, regular exercise and training is good for your heart and raises the helpful HDL cholesterol, but you still need to pay attention to the foods that you consume for optimal heart health.
Before your thoughts turn to experimentation with new sports nutrition products and carbo-loading strategies that support your training and racing efforts, let’s take a look at some predicted food and nutrition trends for 2008. In the coming months you can expect to see in a somewhat contradictory fashion both the promotion of simple unprocessed whole foods and nutrient touting functional foods, both valued for their roles in maintaining good health, as well as a few other nutrition twists. Earth friendly and ethical eating
Dear Monique, Thanks for a great article titled “Feed Your Head.” I have one question though concerning the following statement:Research on caffeine consumption during exercise indicates the 1.5 mg/kg of body weight improves performance.Is that per hour or what time frame? I weigh 87 kg, so is that 130 mg/hr?Thanks,MPCharlotte, NCHi MP,Thanks for your question. While many cyclists and other endurance athletes may consume a moderate caffeine dose about one hour before exercise, consuming some caffeine during exercise, especially in the later part of a long training ride or race is not
Cyclists rightfully focus their dietary attention on consuming the properfoods in adequate amounts so that they can sustain energy during long trainingrides, and replenish muscle fuel stores and recover nutritionally duringthe season. But you should also consider how your daily food intakeand on-bike nutrition can affect and feed your brain. Just like your heart,your brain is an organ that benefits from optimal nutritional care. Nutritioncan affect brain chemicals, brain cell structure and function and theability of the brain to transmit electrical messages. Though nutritionalneuroscience is
Dear Monique,I just read your column about fish. I don’t eat fish for many reasons, some of which you mentioned in your article. I didn’t hear you mention flaxseed oil, which surprised me because I am told that it is a great alternative to fish, yet with a much lower or no risk of contamination. I was hoping that you could explain the difference and if it isn’t, what else could I include in my diet. Thanks,Adam Hi Adam,As you are aware, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids may alleviate or prevent a variety of health problems. But getting enough omega-3s can be a unique modern dietary
Dear Monique,In your April 25th column (More prepping for long rides), you mentionweighing before and after a ride. Is the weight differential entirely fluidor food in the stomach? Can you say a bit more about this differential?Should riders shoot for some change, no change, under what circumstances?Thanks,JoelHi Joel,The difference between your weight before and after a training riderepresents the amount of sweat that you did not replace with fluid intakeduring the ride. Even losing 2-percent of your body weight, about 3.5 poundsfor a 165-lb. cyclist can decrease your endurance, particularly
Dear Monique,I just finished reading large sections of your book, which I find fantasticand will highly recommend to friends. With regards to supplements, onethat I take, but did not see mentioned is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).Any thoughts on whether this is needed in a reasonably healthy diet? Iam an 80 kg, 46-year-old competitive road racer.Best regards,ChrisHi Chris,At this point there is no reason to add conjugated linoleic acid toa healthy diet or training diet as based on the current research. CLA hasbeen studied fairly extensively, but mostly in animals. In theseanimal
Dear Monique,I have read your interesting and informative article posted on VeloNews.com on 28th march 2007 about EatingRight for Those Long Rides. I have one question relating to the amount of carbohydrate you should consume per hour during your long ride if you have had a pre-ride meal 3-4 hours, 2 hours, or 1 hour before the start of your ride. Do you consume different amounts of carbohydrate per hour during your ride depending on the size and timing of your pre-ride meal> For example, would you consume more per hour of the ride if you have only had a small pre-ride meal 1 hour before you
Many pros traveled to warmer environs early this in 2007 for early seasonteam training camps and plenty of quality miles on the open road. You mayalso have your own travel plans sometime over the next few weeks, in orderto train and get a jumpstart on your own race preparation. Chances arethat this cycling vacation includes plenty of restaurant eating, includingthe fast food, diners, and a variety of ethnic cuisines. Like the proswho have plenty of roadside eating experience, you too can make good foodchoices and prevent greasy platter predicaments that would normally thwartyour body
Cyclists in many parts of the country are ready to leave behind long rideson the trainer and eagerly await warmer weather and putting in some qualityroad miles. As you continue to train and prepare for the 2007 season, don’tignore a small, but essential component of your training diet. Adequateiron intake and optimal iron stores are essential to putting in full effortson the bike. Low iron stores can impair athletic performance, and correctingiron deficiency that has led to full blown anemia, can take several monthsto correct, potentially bringing an unwelcome halt to your training andracing
Dear Monique:I have read your column in VeloNews for a while and have bothenjoyed and appreciated the knowledge. I have a questions about weightloss and it’s effect on the immune system.For the past few years I have been competing in the sport of triathlon.This year I decided to race bikes for the first six months. I knew thatbecause of the importance of the power to weight ratio, I would need tolose both “after season” weight from last year and some additional bodyfat to be competitive in the climbs.I set out to lose most of the weight (was 180 lb.) during the first12 weeks. I wrote down
In your column about weight loss and body composition monitoring, you mentioned that scales that compute body fat should use a formula appropriate to athletes. Can you comment further about that means? What errors can be induced? I have an electronic scale that I know shows variability with hydration levels,but I was wondering what other errors could be involved.
With the holiday season officially over, cyclists are back to work or school and planning ahead for the coming race season. Perhaps you ate and drank your way through December’s seemingly endless string of parties and events, with both your training volume and frequency in a state of consistent decline. Because of these calorically challenging dilemmas, mid- January often greets many cyclists with an extra and unwanted layer of adipose fat. But no need to panic, there is plenty of time to get your diet and nutrition plan in order for the 2007 season. Weight, fat, and goal settingFirst take
Dear Monique, I am thinking of eliminating sugar from my diet, but can’t find anything to replace my energy drink or gel with, have you come across any products that fit the bill?Soured on Sweets Dear Soured,There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the best types of carbohydrates that should be consumed during exercise with some sports nutrition products promoted as containing “complex carbohydrates” versus the “simple carbohydrates,” often also referred to as sugars. But classifying a carbohydrate as simple or complex really doesn’t provide the complete picture regarding a
Dear Monique,I had heard recently that sports drinks are bad for our teeth and cancause dental erosion. Obviously we need to use sports drinks when we trainand race. Is this a valid concern and what can we do about it?JBDear JB,Thanks very much for your question. Obviously it is best for your dentalhealth to limit sugar in your daily diet. However, when it comes to trainingand racing, easily digested and readily absorbed sports drinks with severalcarbohydrate sources are essential to replace fluid and fuel during longerworkouts.The link between consumption of sports drinks and dental health
In mylast column we discussed proper meal timing around evening training. Many cyclists also train in the early morning hours with little time to eat and drink before heading out on the road. Let’s take a look at some nutritional strategies that address the food and fluid challenges of early morning training. One of the biggest dilemmas confronting morning training is that you wake up in the morning with low liver glycogen stores. A major function of your liver is to maintain a steady level of glucose in the blood. Your liver releases glucose into your bloodstream during exercise and
Dear Monique,I have heard from several people over the years that you should not eat after a certain time before going to sleep, and I am wondering, what if any truth there is to this assertion. In other words, is eating before bed more likely to cause those calories to go “unburned?” Conversely, is exercising after eating more likely to result in calorie burning?Thanks,Steven Dear StevenTo keep it simple, if the calories that you consume at night after dinner are in excess of your energy needs for the day, then yes, those calories are likely to be stored as fat. These are calories that
For many of us, the next few weeks are likely to include many socialoccasions filled with an abundance of foods (many high in fat), an overflowof alcoholic beverages, and hectic schedules that often thwart the bestlaid plans for calorie burning workouts. Keeping the holidays healthyand minimizing any havoc created by too much food and drink, is best approachedby a mindful approach that combines behavior strategies, nutritional awareness,and realistic goals around food and exercise.Goal SettingFirst, start by clearly defining your goals for this holiday season.Perhaps you are currently
Hi Monique,Now that coffee has been recommended as a good source of antioxidants, in moderation, of course, do you have any information regarding how the decaffeinating process may affect the antioxidant effect of coffee?LW Dear LW,As you are aware there was a recent headline grabbing study, which was actually presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society this past summer. This study received widespread attention and Americans were informed that coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet. As is often the case, this study begs that we once again “read the
Hi Monique:I have a question about measuring my Resting Metabolic Rate. I wouldlike to make some adjustments to my nutrition plan this winter. When itcomes to measuring my RMR, can I simply wear a heart rate monitor for a24 hour period to determine more accurately how many calories I burn ina given day? Isn't this method more accurate than using a formula?CD Dear CD,The upcoming winter season is definitely a great time to not only restand have some changes in your training program, but also to lose some bodyweight and body fat, and to incorporate some new foods and recipes intoyour diet.
Dear Monique,I have a very distended stomach after cycling for more than an hour. I used to think that it only happens on very long rides like the Leadville 100, but have noticed that it occurs on much shorter rides too. It doesn’t seem to matter if I only drink water or any combo of energy drinks and gel or bars. I am a bit concerned that the nutrition I take in isn’t getting past my stomach until I am done riding. I have experienced severe cramping in my legs about three-fourths of the way through a race and have wondered if the bloating is related and what to do about it. Thanks for your
Your race day nutritional preparation should be specific and well thought out so that when you arrive to the start line you are both optimally fueled and confident that your food and fluid choices are tolerated through the intensity of racing. Depending on the distance of your race, what you eat in the 24 to 48 hours before race day can allow you to maximize the muscle glycogen content of your trained muscles- an important fuel source at any racing intensity. Often referred to as “carbo-loading” this strategy is simply tapering or resting for the race as your training programs dictates and
Carbohydrate supplements Hi, Monique,Thanks for the info you pass along in your articles, they really help in trying to sort through the tons of info that’s out there on sports nutrition. One quick question for you, though: You refer to a "high-carbohydrate supplement" in your article; can you give me one or two examples of a supplement and what amount of carb/kg you would recommend for consumption one hour before training? Thanks.Peter Hi, Peter,Many of these high-carbohydrate supplements can be consumed in the hour before exercise for a handy source of pre-training fuel. They can
During the build phase of training, higher intensity and longer workoutsrequire more glycogen for fuel and what you eat the in the few hours beforetraining is essential so that you have adequate fuel to train. This isespecially important when you have two daily training sessions. A perfectlytimed and portioned pre-training meal or snack can replenish fuel depletedfrom a previous training session, provide early morning fuel, and superchargeyou for training later in the day.Metabolically speaking, there are two distinct time periods for pre-trainingmeal timing: 2-4 hours before and 30-60
As your training program progresses to a build phase and your trainingrides increase in time and especially intensity for development of speedand strength, your nutritional requirements also move up a notch. Hardertraining burns more fuel, and the amount of carbohydrate you consume hasa direct impact on your muscle glycogen levels and recovery. Hard trainingdays and heavy training weeks, also require a step-up in your protein intaketo build and repair muscle tissue. Putting it all together nutritionallyduring a build week in your training cycle, means not only consuming adequatecalories,
Depending on your current training cycle, resistance training or weighttraining is often part of the program, while the goals and emphasis ofthe resistance session may progress from an endurance to a power emphasisduring your season. Following specific nutrition guidelines for weighttraining can make the most of these muscle and power building sessions.Hormones in your body, specifically growth hormone, testosterone, insulin,and insulin like growth factor, largely control muscle growth. Nutritioncan very effectively support your efforts to increase lean body mass byaffecting these hormone
Dear Monique,Many thanks for all of the nutrition advice recently posted in yourweb column. I had a couple of follow-up questions that I hoped you couldhelp me with. What should my basic caloric intake be on the days that Ido not train or ride, and what should comprise the majority of these calories?I am currently at 145 lb. and want to maintain this weight.Jed H.Dear Jed,Your questions bring up the important consideration of nutritionalrecovery on rest or very light training days. On rest days most enduranceathletes are concerned about not overeating, and adjusting to a drop incalorie
As you continue your basic training and prepare for the coming raceseason, you appreciate the importance of matching training with the properamounts of energy, carbohydrate, protein and fats (See "TheFeed Zone: February 16th"). During this training cycle, you canalso focus on types of food choices you consume to provide quality nutritionand variety to your daily and training diet.Daily DietThis is one of the best times of the year to experiment with new foodsand recipes. While you can still keep convenience and time in mind (what’sgood, quick, and easy?), don’t keep falling into the same old
Many cyclists are currently building their aerobic endurance, muscularstrength, and flexibility in anticipation of more specific training inthe coming weeks and months. Just as this training cycle requires you followa specific mix of volume and intensity, your nutritional intake must matchup so that you have the required energy and fluids at the most optimaltimes for your training and recovery.As you continue to build your volume, your energy and carbohydrate requirementsincrease. During this base cycle, you may also be interested in losingweight. This is a good time of year to adopt
Cold and flu season are still lingering and with your training programswitching into higher gear for the 2005 racing season, nutrition strategiesfor staying healthy remain a top priority. You don’t want a viral infectionto slow down your workouts and hamper your fitness, so that you can berace ready for this season. This column focuses on some nutritionalstrategies that you can practice in both your daily diet and nutrient supplementation,and specifically around training sessions in order to give your immunesystem a good boost.From a nutritional perspective, it is key to prevent deficiencies
Dear Monique,In your recent article regarding daily fluid consumption (June 10, 2004) you briefly mentioned alcohol. I was wondering if studies have been made that confirm whether alcohol is beneficial or detrimental to athletic performance. I drink beer and wine regularly and am more concerned with the caloric aspect of the beverage rather than the chemical aspect. What are the effects on muscular recovery when consuming alcoholic beverages? Does consuming alcoholic beverages affect the body’s physiology during performance? What are the diuretic effects of alcohol
As mentioned in the nutrition column for June10th, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Academy of Sciencesrecently made recommendations for sodium intake that are targeted primarilyfor sedentary Americans. In this column we will take a look at a few keypoints regarding sodium and sodium sweat losses as it relates to enduranceathletes.The IOM has recommended that sodium intake be at 1500 milligrams daily.This recommendation is based on the fact that research supports that reducedintake of sodium coupled with increased potassium intake can help preventthe increase in blood pressure
In early 2004 the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Food and Nutrition Boardreleased Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) for water and sodium (potassium,chloride, and sulfate recommendations were also included in this report).You may have heard about these dietary guidelines for Americans and Canadians,which are designed for the average adult who may be sedentary or mildlyactive, not for triathletes and cyclist who training regularly, often formore than two hours per session. In establishing the guidelines, the expertpanel reviewed the scientific literature for quality of the research andthe
Hi, Monique:What is the best strategy for pre-training fueling in regards to timing and low and higher glycemic index foods? Thanks.DV DV,Often pre-training timing is a product of your work or school and training schedule. Depending on the timing of your workouts, you may decide to eat something two to four hours beforehand, or your schedule may even require that you ingest some fuel in the hour before training. Depending on the timing, you can adjust your food choices and portions. You can also decide if the glycemic index of foods is something that you also want to consider when making
Dear Monique,Since the beginning of the year, I've been exercising regularly to lose weight. As a former competitive cyclist, my preferred method, up to this point, has been to take part in "spinning" sessions, or riding my indoor trainer, four to five days per week. I've also recently started to mix in some moderate weight/resistance training two to three times per week. Here's my problem. Since the beginning of January, when I started my routine on a more regular basis, I have not been able to lose a single pound. According to my heart rate monitor, I've burned enough calories in four
One January 1, 2004, caffeine was removed from the World Anti-DopingAgency prohibited list, after being a “controlled to restricted drug” inthe world of athletic performance for years, and moved to the “monitoringlist.” Prior to this change caffeine urine levels of greater than 12 microgramsper millimeter were considered illegal. The reason for this change, notesWADA, is really very practical. This old limit has always given caffeinea unique position as a “potentially” performance-enhancing drug, implyingthat higher doses of caffeine are required to improve performance. However,this is
Dear Monique,Great stuff recently on earlymorning training sessions. What about the opposite end of the spectrumfor those who jump on the trainer and crank out a few intervals just beforebed? If doing one to two hours with some tempo or threshold work andthen heading to bed for the night, what is good post ride nutrition? Typically,if training during the day, I would have a good recovery shake after training,but drinking down a several hundred calorie shake just before bed doesnot seem like the best idea.Thanks!SR Dear SR,While training in the evening may not be ideal, it is of course
Dear Monique,In a previous article you discussed hypoglycemia symptoms follow apre-exercise meal of carbohydrates. I have experienced this on random periods-usually after my morning coffee and bagel, and then setting out on a run.Generally this happens a mile out, and may last for the next two milesbefore passing. During the reaction period I slow down and just try tomaintain activity. What should one really do when this happens?Thanks,K.Dear Monique,I train before work and get up, get dressed, and am immediately onthe bike, usually for 1-1.5 hours. So, should I slam down an orange juiceand
Dear Monique,This time of season many of us are including resistance training inour current training programs. What can I do nutritionally to maximizemy strength-building efforts? I am specifically interested in what I caneat before and after weight training. How do my nutritional strategiesdiffer after a long bike ride or run?ThanksBK Dear BK,For the cyclists and triathletes who opt to include resistance trainingin their program, nutritional considerations should include both one'sdaily training diet (especially when combined with your regular endurancetraining), and before and
Dear Monique,What is the scoop on ZMA? I have been trying to find out about thisrelatively new supplement. Is it safe? Is it effective? Isn't ZMA essentiallya mixture of vitamin B6, zinc, and magnesium?DRDear Monique,In papers worldwide, there has been concern over THG and its relationshipto the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO). ZMA, a product relatedto BALCO and SNAC Systems is on the market. Is ZMA fuel safe and untaintedby illegal substances and anabolic precursors? Can you provide a breakdownof the product? Are there any benefits to taking the product? Thanks,KGDear DR and KG,ZMA
Dear Monique:Working at a bike shop, I see customers every day spending hundreds of dollars on high-tech hydration and recovery mixes. I however, do not use them, and I’ve never felt like my performance is sub-par compared to my buddies and teammates. I hydrate only with water and Gatorade, and I recover with chocolate milk and a PB & J sandwich. I’m curious as to whether there has ever been any independent testing of these products, and whether they actually do provide an edge over my “over-the-counter,” homemade diet - either in terms of a week of racing or training, or during a weeklong
Hey Monique;As a nutritionist you will probably shriek in anguish, but I’m a fast (in my dreams) recreational cyclist who for the past two months has been following the Atkins nutritional method. The positive news is that I have dropped 17 pounds. However, as spring approaches and I start doing longer rides, I am concerned whether I will be visiting bonk-land more often with my reduced-carb approach. Currently, I am consuming about 40 to 50 grams of carbs a day and ride 3 to 4 times a week (50 to 200 miles a week depending on the time of year). Is there a general rule of thumb of how many
Dear Monique;I had a question about Recommended Dietary Allowances. For instanceis there an RDA for the number of saturated fat grams? However, nutritionistsalways seem to preach a low fat diet, low in saturated fat. So is therea maximum amount of fat which I should always strive to stay under?RB Dear RB;The recommendations for prevention of heart disease is to keep totalfat under 35% (15 to 30% is recommended) of total calories, but most importantlyto keep saturated fat and trans fat (hydrogenated oils) low. Persons atrisk for heart disease should keep these fats at less than 7-percent
Dear Monique;Just recently I've been told (tested) that I have high cholesterol (279), HDL's are good, LDL's and triglycerides are bad and all liver and kidney functions are normal. I am 30 years old and weigh 154 at 5'6". In the last year I've changed my diet significantly (cut out the probably around 90 percent of my meat intake, except for fish which has increased) increased the fibers and veggies and have also upped the miles and training. Physically I am feeling the best I've felt this early in a season in years. My cholesterol since my last test (267) has gone up given the above
Since we started the Feed Zone Q&A, there have been several questions regarding the management of Type-2 diabetes as it relates to cycling. Nutrition advice to a person with diabetes must always be personalized based on that individual’s body composition, weight goals, medication regimen, and blood glucose control. Therefore, the answers to the questions below can only be interpreted as educational and not specific prescriptive advice. It may also be very beneficial for anyone with Type-2 diabetes to work with their own sports nutritionist/dietitian to determine their own optimal strategies
Monique Ryan is the nutrition columnist for VeloNews and InsideTriathlon magazines and is founder of Personal Nutrition Designs, a consulting company based in the Chicago area. Ryan will try to answer selected questions each week in her regular on-line question-and-answer column.Readers are welcome to send questions to Ryan at WebLetters@7dogs.com.How often can I raise a glass?Dear Monique:In terms of athletic performance, how does alcohol affect the body? I like one or two glasses of beer or wine a night. I am concerned it may inhibit the liver from clearing toxins. -- AFDear AF:Alcohol can
This is the first in what will become a regular question-and-answer column by sports nutritionist Monique Ryan, MS, RD. Ryan is a regular columnist for VeloNews and Inside Triathlon magazines andis founder of Personal Nutrition Designs, a nutrition consulting companybased in the Chicago area. Readers are welcome to send questions to Ryan at WebLetters@7dogs.com.Question - I am concerned that I may develop sodiumdepletion during my longer rides and runs, and also during competition.It seems that it is a more common problem for cyclists and triathletes.What can I do to prevent this from
Cyclists are rightly concerned with eating foods that maximize energy and optimize recovery. But eating the right foods can also give your immune system a supportive boost. Unlike your heart and lungs, which are strengthened by training, your immune system may be a bit fragile. Combining training with work and a personal life can often overtax your resources, stress your body, and compromise your ability to fight off infection. A healthy immune system consists of a defending army, always prepared to protect your body against attacks from viruses, bacteria and other foreign invaders. Your