6 reasons to gain weight to ride better – Bike Magazine Australia

Sprints are your jam. After all, you don’t see too many skinny track cyclists. Sprinters aren’t at the mercy of gravity in their quest for success. They just need watts – lots and lots of watts. That means muscle, which means a few more kilos than their lightweight climbing kin. Even among elite professional racers, the top sprinters can come in more than 10 or 20kg heavier than top climbers of the same height.

Rocks and roots are your thing. Mountain biking is more of a full-body affair than road cycling, as you need strong upper back, biceps, triceps, and chest muscles to push, pull, and otherwise manipulate your bike up, over, and through the obstacles mother nature offers up. A little additional upper-body muscle may tip the scales a few ticks higher, but it’ll help you get down the singletrack smoother and faster.

Your hormones are in havoc. Women, if you’ve stopped getting your period (and are not pregnant), that’s known as amenorrhea and it’s a red flag that you are not nourishing yourself adequately, says physiologist and nutritionist Stacy Sims, author of ROAR. “This is especially common in women who go too low in carbohydrates,” she says.

Amenorrhea can set the stage for long-term health damage, so it’s important to address by feeding yourself enough to match your training. “You need 130 grams of carbohydrate or the equivalent of about 520 calories’ worth (the amount in one cup of pasta, one cup of beans, and a potato) for daily life; if you’re training you need more,” says Sims.

Men, you may not have the same obvious signals of hormonal distress, but endurance training combined with very low fat (in your diet and/or on your frame) can lower your testosterone, leading to fatigue and low libido. Pay attention to how you feel and be sure to fuel yourself adequately – especially when you’re riding lots – to maintain healthy hormone levels.

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