P/kg. Know what that stands for? Basically, power to weight. Maybe one of the most important issues for cyclists. The lighter (leaner) you are with the most muscle tissue on you, the faster you will be. There are two parts to this though. And the cyclists that only read the first part are missing a lot of potential. Being light is good. Being light but weak is no good. Combine it.
Being as light as possible but as powerful as possible is a delicate balance. There is a shift going on. Focusing on being a skinny little wiesel may start to be a thing of the past. Especially as a lot of cyclists age. Masters level cycling is growing. For this group, it is important to maintain muscle mass. If you don't hit the gym and do some power work, then you may suffer the "I used to be fast 10 years ago" syndrome.
Power has to be trained for with structure. You just can't go out and pedal for 3 hours. That's what most cyclists do thinking they will race better or ride faster by riding more. Doesn't happen that way. Specific work is what it takes. Doing hill intervals (those 30-90s that I like), one minute full-on efforts, extended threshold intervals (5 min., 5 min. off) and even Tabata work pays off big time.
But don'r forget the gym. That little extra top end can be achieved through mixing the right amount of high intensity metabolic conditioning and heavy Olympic-style lifting. As I have mentioned, dead lifts, cleans, squats and overhead presses pay off. They make your midline stronger and will help you resist fatigue in longer events. No more back aching. Less cramping. More snap.
Getting lean is simple. Eat smart. Less sugar, less simple carbs. To accelerate this, top off with enough protein and work on teaching your body to adapt to fat for fuel instead of pounding a lot of breads, grains, rice and pasta. Stay hydrated. And if you have to, you can always get a little leaner! I often find cyclists have a false sense of food volume. If you ride for an hour or two, it doesn't mean you can eat 4000 calories. When in doubt, eat a little less. Then combine that with some quality (intense) intervals and lift some (heavy) weight. The mirror will like what it sees!
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