New Member
Mar 7, 2003
I'm new to this forum, and was hoping to getting feedback in regards to diet it get's very confusing w/so much conflicting advice out their especially for an endurance athlete. I'm a cat 1 rider from new england and competing mainly crit's and 60-80mi road races. What are your thoughts on diets with higher % of calories coming from carbohydrates (i.e. the standard 60%carb, 25%fat, 15%protein) vs. the zone type of approach advocating for 40%carb 30%protein and 30% fat. I'm concerned that if I followed zone type of diet I would not replenish my carbohydrate stores adequately?

Appreciate the feedback -
The Zone Diet is rubbish, especially for an endurance athlete. I *think* some of the information pertaining to this was covered in a thread on protein.

Stick, with a moderately high carbohydrate diet, with moderate amounts of protein, and little fat.

In terms of specific recommendations, the actual absolute amount of food you consume should be based on body mass, and the amount of training that you do.

If yo let mw know how much training you do (in terms of hours etc), I can give you some ballpark recommendations.

Hi Ric,

thanks for the reply. I'm right now about 5' 7.5" 168lbs approx 8-9% b.f. Ideally, i'd like my weight to be low 160's. My training hours have been reduced this year as I'm working 40hr's as well as am attending massage therapy school. Hour's per week 10-15, w/my midweek hours spent either commuting for workouts or on the trainer high intensity sessions, and save long workouts for the weekends. Hope that helps -
With you already having a very low body fat %, it's unlikely or going to be very hard to reduce this lower, unless you become a full time cyclist. Even very elite riders such as Lance (etc) can only manage or maintain 6% body fat, and this is for short periods of time (e.g., < 2 months).

If we use your figures, and assume that you have a bf % of 8.5% the mean of the two figures, then dropping your bf % to 7% will drop your weight to 165 lbs. If you dropped it to 6% (which is highly unlikely -- see above) then you'd weigh 163.5 lbs.

Added to this is, that unless you race up long, sustained climbs (on a regular basis), e.g., Alpine like passes, the weight reduction won't make any difference (and may actually slower as you are constantly trying to eat less to lose weight and also not 'fuelling' your engine correctly). Off the top of my head, a weight reduction such as you're suggesting would equal a < 5-sec decrease in time taken to complete a 25mile/40-km TT.

Keep your diet healthy, avoiding processed and fatty foods. Keep your intake of lean proteins moderate, ensure plenty of fresh fruit and veg, and lots of starchy carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread, etc).

Most importantly, you want to increase your sustainable and peak power output, which you can do through training (this might have an additive effect in vaguely lower your mass/body fat%).

Hi Ric,

Thanks once again. Interesting what you said regarding bodyweight and fat %. I've been measuring by body fat daily on a tanita scale, same time everyday (not sure how exact they are). Perhaps you could respond to this question, when you say increase starch carbohydrates and moderate protein, are you in fact counting the protein contained in the carbohydrates (i.e. the % of protein in a bagel, pasta, or oatmeal) or do you consider those purely carbohydrates and need to add a protein source to that meal, such as cottage cheese, chicken breast, egg whites, etc? It's been to adjust to an "endurance" diet, as prior to racing I had lifted heavy for several years, and was an opposite diet, high protein and low carbohydrates....

thanks again -

You have to include the protein contained in the foods, because otherwise you would be ignoreing a very large % of your intake! Also most foods are 'mixed' (i.e. contain CHO, Protein and Fat) and this must be taken into account.

As for your scales I have not seen any specific data on your scales but these tend to be quite inaccurate (as are almost all measures of body fat). Measuring at the same time of day each day is a good idea as it reduces variance, however you might wish to consider monitoring it once a day as (1) you will go crazy and (2) you are unlikly to detect any meaningful day to day variation in your results. Rather than taking your scales results as absolute use them to detect trends of increases and decreases in your Body Fat.

Given the data that you have given and in agreement with Ric, I feel that focusing on your weight is not the way forward. You are more likly to get greater gains from training, tactics, etc. Perhaps you could sign up with Ric as your coach.