What exactly is “biohacking” and how can biohacking cycling performance give you an edge on your riding and racing buddies? That's the question you'll likely be asking yourself even before you got to this sentence. Allow me to offer a definition coined by Dave Asprey, The Bulletproof Executive, a well known and highly influential biohacker and health hacker:
(v) To use systems thinking, science, biology, and self-experimentation to take control of and upgrade your body, your mind, and your life.
(n) The art and science of becoming superhuman.
While that sounds incredibly difficult and involved, it's really pretty simple. Let's think about this for a second: how many times have you asked yourself or someone else “What do you eat during your rides/races/fondos?” Have you ever questioned: “I wonder how I'd do with this gel/drink mix/diet?” Have you ever said: “I should try that recovery/nutrition idea and see if it makes me feel better or ride stronger?” Have you ever wanted to use the same training plans the pros do, just so you can “ride like Fabian” or be one of those “machines” that is spoken of in hushed tones at the coffee shop?
If you try some of those things, you're performing a scientific, biological self-experiment in order to upgrade your body, (and in order to tie in the second definition) in a quest to become superhuman on the bike. Congratulations, you're biohacking cycling performance.
These articles are designed to help you get the most out of biohacking cycling performance. Below you'll find a selection of posts ranging from nutrition to training tips, all with a highly scientific tone and a lot of in-depth information on how you can take your training to the next level.
One of the most efficient ways of kick starting your fat burning metabolism and boosting your cycling fitness is to partake in fasted training. As I've talked about before, your body is designed to utilize the energy substrates that are available to it to meet energy demands. During fasted exercise, there’s a stark limit on the amount of sugar available. There is, however, a huge amount of energy available from fat stores, and you need to train your body to use it effectively.
Similar to how your body will adapt to exercise by getting fitter, your body will adapt to fasted training by increasing the amount of fat it can burn. Fasted training helps to adapt your body to the stresses of hard training and primes you for a “train low, compete high” scenario where you’ll teach your body to be stingy in burning carbs in your typical training but supply it more on race day to ensure it's properly fueled. This will not happen overnight, though. It will take months of work to increase the efficiency of your body’s fat burning machinery, and these fasted training tips will give you a significant edge in that quest.
As you start your fasted training protocols, keep in mind a couple of simple things:
- Always carry some food with you to prevent bonking (and be prepared to eat after an hour of hard riding)
- If you’re not feeling well or having an off day, skip the fasted training and eat something. You can always go back to it later in the week.
- Pay careful attention to your body: if you start to bonk badly or repeatedly, back down and rest a bit, and be sure to eat.
Bearing those “safety” concepts in mind, click through the jump to learn how to add fasted training to your cycling program.
From days gone by when Tour de France cyclists relied on the caffeine as a performance enhancer to the current day “coffee shop ride”, coffee and bikes have been an inseparable pair. Cyclists have long had a love of coffee both for the taste, the performance benefits and the social interaction involved with a cup of joe. Pre-ride, post-ride or mid-ride, so much of the sport revolves around coffee and the caffeine within.
Is it because cycling is traditionally a European sport, and Europeans themselves have a love affair with the coffee bean? Or does it have something to do with the warming feeling of a cup of joe before an early morning slog? Maybe some love the performance enhancing effects of caffeine? Is social interaction a primary motivator?
Maybe it's one of those reasons.
Maybe it's just a little more intangible than any of those.
Click through the jump for some info on the performance enhancing effects of caffeine and why coffee and bikes belong together.
Is it possible that the quintessential coffee shop ride has more to do with performance than it does social togetherness? In some studies, it's been shown that the caffeine in a cup of coffee may be a difference maker in terms of performance while riding a bike. But some difference of opinion remains when discussing how soon after ingestion do the performance effects of caffeine actually take effect. When should you drink that espresso? When should you have that morning cup of coffee when you're going out for a training ride?
In this short Periscope videocast, I'll talk about the performance effects of caffeine on your cycling performance. I'll also touch on what is the optimal timing is for getting your caffeine fix and what the quickest method of getting your caffeine into your blood is. I'll also answer a couple of questions from listeners who were online at the time, giving you a couple of other tidbits on coffee and caffeine.
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It's no secret that cycling requires strength: leg strength, arm and shoulder girdle strength and core strength (and stability) are often overlooked parts of cycling prowess. I've personally seen the benefits of combining moderate strength training with cycling, and I've seen clients, athletes and patients benefit greatly from increased strength.
“But cycling is and aerobic sport” I hear you cry. You're 100% right, cycling (aside from track sprinting) is predicated on aerobic conditioning and capacity. However, no sport can exist in a strength vacuum;, and cycling is no exception; lack of strength (especially functional strength) is a short road to injury and underperformance. Your body needs strength and stability to be able to efficiently utilize its aerobic capacity. The problem with strength and stability is that it's exactly like your aerobic capacity in the idea that if you don't use it you lose it. I've talked about strength training and building strength in weightlifting for cyclists part 1 and part 2, and detailed in my Raw Strength Modular training plan, but an important part of strength training is maintaining the gains made during those winter sessions. That can be tough for a couple reasons, which I'll explore in today's podcast.
Click through for the show notes and learn how to maintain those winter strength gains through the year and set yourself up for even bigger gains next year.
Coaching Q&A – Ways to Boost Your Training Outcomes (Podcast #58)Biohacking and performance hacks, Coaching discussion, Cycling Physiology, injury and cycling medicine, Nutrition discussion, Power training and discussion, Tailwind Coaching Podcast, Training discussion
This time of year, the focus of your questions has turned from how to get strong and fit for upcoming events to wringing the most out of your training time. If you are anything like the 99% of cyclists for whom riding a bike isn't a job, you have limited time to train and need to get the most out of each hour. I'll wager that these questions that I'm getting will apply to many of you out there. It's true that no question is a stupid one, and since there's a lot of valuable information in each of the topics I'll talk about, I've put them together into a podcast intended to help you boost your training outcomes.
In this episode of the Tailwind Coaching Podcast, I'll explain how you can boost your fitness and increase your training outcomes with some simple techniques. After the jump, you'll be able to peruse the show notes and read a synopsis of what's talked about in this episode.
Don't forget to hit the like and share buttons on the left to share this information with your friend, group ride buddies and teammates!
Now, learn how to boost your training outcomes with these simple tips: