Special Guest: Amber Pierce – Ask a Cycling Coach 193



I might be putting words into Amber’s mouth here, but I think the answer is: fuel your workouts properly with carbs, matching calories with food consumed before and during. Have recovery afterwards, especially for harder sessions.

So that makes your cycling “calorie neutral”. To lose weight, you then create a calorie deficit between the rest of the food you eat vs the calories you burn outside of the cycling.

So your day might be big breakfast, energy bars + drink with morning workout, recovery shake, but then a light lunch and light dinner.


Good point!

So for example, todays plan is to do Broken Finger -2 (1hr of VO2 intervals - 787kcal) but I can’t do it until this evening around 1930.

For breakfast I had 1 cup (50g) of porridge oats made with 75% semi-skimmed milk and 25% water which I mixed with honey and peanut butter.
I plan on having chicken or tuna with cous cous for lunch and then a mid afternoon snack where I was going to follow the advice given here by @ambermalika to start the fueling for the session (probably some toast with nut butter or similar).
During the session I planned on having 2 x OTE gels and a bottle of OTE energy drink followed by a recovery drink and then dinner about 45mins later.

I guess I’m just concerned about over eating and therefore not shifting the 10lbs I need to.


My experience (though FWIW I’m already a low BMI and not trying to lose weight, just keep it low) is that if my workouts are fuelled properly, I feel less hungry the rest of the day (and the day after), so I can keep meal portions under control and feel much less temptation to snack.

If you’re not working out until the evening, maybe you can manage without the oats / honey / peanut butter for breakfast? On days like that I’ll often have strained zero-fat yoghurt (Fage or Arla Skyr) with sultanas, seeds, some halved grapes, a few mixed nuts. The yoghurt is so thick that you don’t need much to make you feel full.


Great suggestion…I had thought about the porridge being a but much (comes in at approx 470kcal). I’ll try that though.


I agree with @martinheadon here. The point I aimed to make was that you don’t want your ride to be where you create a calorie deficit. On the next episode, I quoted my friend Dotsie, who advises “Don’t diet on the bike.” If you need to create a calorie deficit, you want to do that elsewhere in your day. If your schedule means you have to train in the evenings, then maybe go with a lighter breakfast, make sure you get some good carbohydrate with your lunch (a few hours before you ride), then fuel the ride with adequate carbohydrate (e.g. pre-workout meal + on-the-bike nutrition = kcal burned on the ride), and have a good recovery drink (~200ish kcal 4:1 carbohydrate:protein). Since it’s late in the day, maybe avoid fuel with caffeine (some blocks/gels include this), and if your post-workout recovery drink is satiating enough, maybe you don’t need a full meal for dinner following. Some protein before sleep can help mitigate the typical cortisol spike that happens for most of us in the wee morning hours, so maybe instead of a square meal with multiple food groups, focus on a small portion of protein to help you feel satiated and to help you get quality sleep through the night. That said, try eating as you usually would, except fuel the workout appropriately/adequately if you haven’t been doing so. Try testing that one factor first. You might find that doing so decreases your appetite/need for a full dinner meal after the workout, or that you aren’t as hungry in the morning. Listen to your body. As you start fueling your training appropriately, you’ll probably find your appetite will adjust accordingly for other meals. I also think if you fuel well to chase the performance, your engine will start burning more efficiently, and as some of my athlete friends say, when the furnace burns hot enough, anything will burn! Which is to say, as your body adapts to the training load (which it can do better and faster with proper fueling), your physiology will adapt in ways conducive to more optimized body composition. Most fitness apps track calories consumed versus calories burned in a day, which is convenient. But the truth is, if you overeat slightly a couple of times while you test different fueling strategies for your workouts, it’s not the end of the world. You need to give your body a little time to adapt to the new patterns - it might take a few tries before you feel comfortable fueling this way, and it might take a few more days for your appetite to adjust to the new patterns. The insight you gain will be so worth the time you take to sort out what works for you - be patient with yourself and listen to your body. Hope this helps!


I’ve been using Amber’s advice on recovery drinks and it’s awesome!

I use mio water enhancer thingy (lemonade flavored) and plain water + whey and it’s cheap and excellent