How did you 5w/kg+ riders make it there?




There’s still a big difference between reasonably lean and your description of what I would call very lean. most cyclists don’t have a large percentage of muscle mass, so ripped abs is well below 10% (caliper) and for some people may be below their setpoint. a setpoint is something that some experts in the field of dieting/body composition have suggested as why we see some people able to hold low percentages of body fat while others cant.


Well WTF then? I do have well defined abs, defined pronounced veins in my legs and according to my Tanita scale (athlete setting) I’m at about 7.8 - 8% body fat. I’m 6’1" and 172 lbs and that still only puts me at 3.7 w/kg (ramp test next Tuesday though). I am actually trying to get down to 165 lbs and at present I would not consider myself very lean (wife would think otherwise though). So at 165 lbs would I be “super lean” or too lean?

If I’m considered “very lean” then where is all my BS body weight coming from? Damn, maybe I am carrying too much upper body mass, but that has to be somewhat useful racing MTB.


How lean each person can get is highly individual is what I was trying to emphasize. But if your tanita matches up with caliper readings, if you were to only lose fat you’re proposing getting down to 4% bodyfat by caliper, which is extremely lean. As a point of reference, I am just above 10% (tanita and recent caliper) trying lose something like .25 lb a week and I am hungry about half the day, eating roughly 2500 calories outside of during workout nutrition. 2-3 lbs for me will only come off through consistent good habits.


I’d encourage you to get a Dexa to validate the number you are getting from your Tanita. 6’1+172 probably isn’t a true 8% unless you are significantly above the average in terms of muscle mass.

If you are carrying lots of upper body mass and you aren’t willing to shed it (nor would I encourage you to), then you won’t get the headline number w/kg, but that means you can justify the weight weenie bikes :slight_smile:


According to the TR crew, Tanita matches caliper and Dexa is roughly twice that amount, so I’d be 16+/- % Dexa.


Just judging by your description of your physique and your power, I would think more power is your immediate opportunity. Weight loss would be secondary.


If you are 16% on the Dexa, you have plenty of fat you can shed if you so desire


Whether or not the Dexa matches up is almost irrelevant. Athletes have been using calipers for decades, so all of the numbers we use to judge visually that someone is X percent is based off of those percents, not Dexa values. The percentage values that are typically reported to cause negative effects on your hormones are based on calipers. The old standard of sub 10% for abs is based on calipers, but so is the standard of if you go below 4-5% your body might shut certain functions down. Calipers measure only subcutaneous, but estimate that you have 50% of your bodyfat as subq.

Dexa is still relatively new, although better and more accurate. I think that the “healthy” percentages all need to be rebalanced/normalized upwards.

Also… I think you said last year was only your first year racing, and now you’re knocking on the door of 4 W/kg… that’s pretty good, you should be pretty competitive in sport/cat 2 with those gains. You will be dropping minutes off of lap times and/or segments when you get back out on the trials.


Certainly I’m not encouraging anyone to be unhealthy. However, this is the “5w/kg” thread so no one should be surprised that it takes more than “normal” steps to reach a level that substantially less than 1% of riders on TR get to.

The general guideline for elite athletes on the Dexa to remain healthy is the 8-10% range, but obviously folks should listen to their own bodies when making that decision.


As far as body composition/strength goes… My barometer is if I’m having trouble opening a jar of mayonnaise for the wifey, I’ve lost too much in the upper body and it’s time to hit some weights for a little bit!


Yeah, if using a different measuring apparatus, it should be a different scale of what you can expect to get down to. Although there were some crazy lean numbers by dexa in the video that Nate posted when the forum just started up.


I am 45 and at 4.72, I hope to hit 5 this year although it is a grind


@MI-XC - fortunately you only need to maintain about 2.2 W/kg for 11:59 hours to get your Marji buckle. The power profile on Jerimah Bishop’s Strava file from the race is very informative.


Edit: I suppose the other way to phrase it is: what is it about Chris Froome that meant losing a load of weight turned him into a GC monster, whereas it might have made another rider weak and ill?

It’s been relatively well documented that Sky’s doping program is specifically tailored to take riders with naturally large engines and trim them down to ‘GC weight’ without sacrificing any power. Obviously at this point we don’t know the details of how they’re doing it (edit: triamcinolone is one part of the picture but IMO not the whole picture), but it’s a fairly obvious pattern with people like Wiggo, Froome and now Thomas all fitting that basic formula. Suffice to say whatever products are allowing these transformations aren’t likely available to the average joe.


Please don’t turn TR into Cyclingnews or weightweenies forums…this is the best cycling forum on the www please keep it that way


My own personal experience is that it is not beyond the average joe to change their lifestyle and achieve significant and profound changes in body compostion.
I went from 71Kg (156lb) to 61.2Kg (135lb) with aproximately zero loss of power at FTP (FTP went up during weightloss).
I am 178cm (5’10"), Pescatarian and eating between 8 to 10 portions of fruit and veg a day for reference.

I dont believe that I am unique and certainly dont believe that professional athletes working with dieticians etc cant achieve similar or better results.


When someone asks specifically ‘how does Froome maintain such a high power at such a low weight’, do we just ignore their question and move on to other topics? This has been discussed in the English Parliament and reported on in major newspapers, it’s not some fringe conspiracy theory.


I think as long as we keep the discussion focused on strategies that are actionable and don’t encourage people to be unhealthy, we can reasonably talk about pro cyclists who may have other help.

We should prob steer clear of discussing strategies that include:

  1. Rough sculpting (purposeful muscle catabolic strategies)
  2. Doping (obviously)
  3. Pharma aided hunger suppression
  4. Etc

Healthy eating, training optimization, body composition analysis should be fair game though since they are a critical part of hitting elite levels of w/kg


Agree 100%… I’d be much more comfortable using someone like Phil Gaimon, or Ted King as examples of athletes who have optimized these things, than Froome who clearly has other stuff going on that’s not applicable to us as amateurs.