The cycling season is coming to an end and the winter weather will soon make an entry. Everyone will be bundled up and tempted by holidays in the sun—and probably cycling much less. It’s still smart though to keep an eye on your weight, muscle and fat mass. Especially since winter training is the foundation for a good summer season.
So, if you can, keep up the occasional biking to lower your fat percentage. Especially at the end of the winter period, when the summer season comes closer and closer.
The most obvious way meet this goal is to train without having eaten beforehand. This is called ‘fasted training’. You aren’t supposed to starve yourself every time before working out, but just be on an empty stomach. The idea is that when you do this regularly your body will get its energy by burning fat, rather than from the carbohydrates you eat before exercising.
By starting the day once or twice a week with just a glass of water or cup of coffee before training, your energy supply will be limited. As a result, the body automatically will use your stored fat layer as an energy source. Caffeine also stimulates fat burning. We recommend that you plan an easy, moderate-distance work-out to take advantage of this method. If you cycle too long, or too hard, without having eaten properly it will mainly have a negative effect on your body. The ideal work-out might be an easy morning ride to the office.
It is important that, as soon as you have completed the training, you supplement your diet sufficiently with, for example, a recovery bar, a shake or a meal. This is crucial for the body to recover well.
Medium-intensive morning training
If you have little time to train in the morning, or if an easy workout doesn’t fit into your schedule, there are alternatives. For example, elite athletes often won’t skip breakfast before they train—but the ratio of nutrients an athlete will consume for a training session will not be like a normal everyday breakfast. Such a sport-specific meal would consist mostly of proteins and be low in carbohydrates. Protein is the building block for muscle tissue, so the body would still be burning fat, but without it promoting muscle breakdown.