How to get lean muscle through cycling

Cycling is a funny thing really when you think about it. We all want to be strong and have lots of power. But we also want to be stick thin at the same time so we can climb quicker and have a higher power to weight ratio. Power to weight ratio is something that as cyclists we are quite obsessed with atm. The higher your power to weight ratio means we can climb faster for less power. Whilst this is quite important for a climber we have to consider not all of us are built to climb fast we may have to accept we are all built differently to some degree. Some of us may be outstanding time trial riders whilst others are mountain goats, but either way getting your body in the right shape is key to getting your best performance out on the road, trail or track.


Power To weight

To work out your power to weight simply divide your threshold power by your weight. So for instance if you can hold an average of 260 watts for 20 minutes, divided by your weight (68kg) that means your power to weight ratio is 3.82 watts per kilo. To put this into context three times Tour De France Champion Chris Froome’s power to weight is approx 5.6 watts per kilo.



The question is how do you improve your power to weight. Yes you guessed it, lose weight… Or be more powerful! Ok, but how do you do this? You want to lose weight perhaps,  but that can be dangerous if you go on crash, fad diets or eat too little food that your power decreases and lose energy. This is going to have a negative effect on your power and essentially have the opposite effect.

There are some really useful apps available now like MyTrainingPal, you input your food and your daily exercise, combined with the goal weight you want to be and it calculates how many calories you need to consume everyday. Although is is not 100% accurate it is a good place to start to give you some guide.

Eating the right foods at the right time.

The aim is to lose weight sensibly whilst remaining strong. So the key is to lose a bit at a time. Specific training sessions and eating the right foods can help in losing the weight the right way. We have some tasty low fat meals that are easy to prepare just for cyclists.


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Early morning sessions before breakfast can be a useful place to start. Specific turbo sessions can burn fat especially quickly. Interval sessions are a fantastic way to beat the bulge. See here for fun ways to train indoors.


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If you have time and you are really keen,  double sessions a few times a week can be very beneficial. By doing sessions morning and evening you can encourage your metabolism to speed up and carry on working.


Mix it up

Now if you don’t fancy the idea of getting on the bike twice a day then you could mix things up a bit. Try running in a morning and cycling at night or vise versa. Running is also a fantastic fat burner. Again using the same approach as cycling intervals. Try to hold a high intensity for 40 mins. This will help to burn more fat quicker.


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Turbo is s a great way to lose fat simply because you can be dripping in sweat in less than 30 mins, used up a lot of energy and completely tailored your training whilst making you very strong at the same time. Turbo is renowned for making your legs strong. Granted your endurance side of things are going to suffer but we cant have it all?!

You may be wondering why we are not suggesting long rides at low intensity? Don’t get us wrong, this does work, and there is nothing quite like spending hours in the saddle. The numbers speak for themselves, Spending 4hours in the saddle at 16mph is going to lose the calories, but the point is you can actually burn more fat by using Interval sessions.


What discipline you do makes a difference

The next question is what do you want to get strong for? Time Trail? Road racing? Hill climbing, Mountain biking, Track racing, or endurance events? Depending on what you want to get fit and strong for will reflect your in your training in in your diet.

What do you mean you ask?

Well there would be no sense in eating 6000 calories a day if your training to do three minute hill climb effort and vise versa, if you are training for events like Iron Mans or long distance events you are not going to get very far on 2500 calories a day either.

So if this has interested you and you want to learn more, In our next blog learn what to eat for the discipline you do.










If you have any questions or want more advice on this topic please feel free to ask us @probikekit or use the #YourRide

Writer and expert