Fat and the Cyclist

Though cholesterol levels are not normally a problem with racing cyclist, a high fat diet can affect performance, especially for short racers like Criterium or track riders.

Fat is rarely high in vitamins or minerals and is extra baggage to cart around while you are racing. Fat in the diet, as I’ve said before, slow down digestion and impede the absorption of protein and carbohydrate into the blood stream.

If you work on a power to weight ratio, you will understand that if you lose weight and maintain your power, you will go faster. Better still though, train to increase your power, watch your fat intake and see the results!!

There are two types of fats: Good – unsaturated, Bad – saturated

Unsaturated fats play an important role in hormone production, joint lubrication, low in cholesterol, and vital part of your diet. We obtain these fats from vegetable and nut oils.

Saturated fats can lead to heart disease as they have a habit of “furring up” the arteries We obtain these fats from animal fat, butter milk, fatty pieces of meat, egg yolks etc.

Monosaturated fats – such as olive oil and fish oil – are considered to be the healthiest fats as they help keep cholesterol levels down and provide nutrients for hormone production etc.

All types of fat are equally likely to end up on your backside so instead of swapping butter for olive oil spread better still to cut it out completely.

Fat is a highly efficient means of storing energy – there are twice as many calories in a gram of fat as a gram of protein or carbohydrate. However, once stored, fat is difficult to release under the stresses of exercise and is not a good fuel for anything but the longest, steadiest rides. Even then, it will be dietary fat rather than stored fat that will be used as fuel. The good news is that after a hard training session or race, the rate at which the body breaks down its fat deposits is increased.

Posted by Padraig Marrey

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