30 things learned in 30 years of cycling – No. 5


How to lose weight

I often hear people say that they cycle because they like to eat and cycling is a good way to burn off excess calories so they can pretty much eat what they like as long as they train enough. This poses one slight problem. Consider what happens if you put diesel into a petrol car. It won’t get you very far. Junk food is like diesel in your petrol body. You get out of your body what you put into it.


Some very basic tips for eating healthy are ;
  • Eat everything in moderation – If you deprive yourself completely there is the tendency to binge every now and then.
  • Drink enough water to keep your pee close to clear in colour
  • Eat breakfast like a King, Lunch like a Nobleman and Dinner like a Pauper. ie : Eat a big breakfast that will sustain you throughout the day but decrease the volume of what you eat as the day goes on. This way your body will not be trying to digest food while you try to sleep.
  • Don’t eat after 7pm
  • The closer you get to muck the better. Organic vegtables that you have to wash the mud off of are a good place to start. The more processed and refined a food becomes the less nutrients it will have, and the more sugars and preservatives it will contain.
  • Learn how to cook. Not in the Jamie Oliver 15 minute meal that costs you €80 for the ingredients kind of way but in a simple, healthy and tasty way. Check out Roz Purcells Natural Born Feeder site and also Flahavans.ie or else just ask your Mammy to show you how.


Now for the part that you have been waiting for. How to loose weight.
  • Give up sugar – 1 spoon contains 15 calories. 2 spoons of sugar in 6 cups of tea or coffee per day is 1260 Calories in a week. 3500 Calories = 500 grams of Fat, so no sugar for 1 month will loose you almost 1kg.
  • Give up white and processed bread – 1 thick slice of white toasting bread has 95 calories. 2 per day is 1330 Calories in a week. Again in 1 month you will loose another kilo.
  • Give up coke – One can has 150 calories. That’s 1050 in a week at one per day.

These are just a few examples to show what is possible without doing anything too dramatic.


Next up comes the on bike way to loose weight.
  • Long steady low heart rate spins are also known as fat burners for a reason. No heroics here, just keep on turning the pedals around for anything up to 5 hours at a time. Burning 800 to 1000 calories per hour and replacing only 250 to 300 per hour after the second hour will get you home in reasonable shape and will also shed  600 grams of fat. You will probably put 100 back on after the spin but should have a net gain of 500 grams of fat. 2 of these per week and you will see big benefits.
  • Short fast ones. – If you only have an hour to train and can manage to maintain an average speed of 32k plus you can burn anything up to 1500 calories. You won’t need to replace these as it isn’t long enough to really fatigue you so two of these per week will knock it off too.
  • Drink plain water or zero calorie electrolyte drinks. If you are trying to loose weight carbo drinks, gels and bars will not help your cause so keep it simple and plain. Water and bananas, just like Alberto Contador.
Finally here is the mental requirement to loose weight.
  • Loose weight or Don’t loose weight. Do not say that you will try. Trying is just glamourised failure.
  • Set a target weight and write it down. Work out how much you will loose per week and keep a detailed log of how you are progressing.
  • If you are up for it keep a food diary or use an app on your phone to track how many calories you consume per day and also how many that you burn off. Myfitnesspal is pretty good for this.
  • Reward yourself. Write down your final target weight and also write down what you will treat yourself to once you reach that target. It can be a new set of wheels, a new Garmin or maybe even a new bike. Print off a picture of it and stick it on the wall over your bed. Maybe even make it your screensaver on your laptop or phone. Make it something worth the effort.


At the end of the day it is also important to recognise that everyone is naturally a different shape and size. The aim of loosing weight should be focused upon the health benefits and not just on becoming as thin as a professional mountain goat.




2 thoughts on “30 things learned in 30 years of cycling – No. 5

  • June 16, 2017 at 12:40 am

    That notion about not eating before sleeping has been exploded.

  • July 1, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I very much enjoyed your post. One note; I believe you intend “lose” where you’ve written “loose.”


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