Health

Body-fat levels and body weight

Low body-fat levels are as much part of modern cycling as carbon fiber is of bikes! Cyclists specializing in hill climbing or preparing for a hilly race also want to reduce body mass, often at the expense of their muscle mass. (Note the relatively skinny upper bodies and arms of top cyclists.) Cycling culture is replete with tales of the sacrifices made by elite cyclists to become lighter and leaner—and the rewards they’ve reaped by doing so. Lance Armstrong is a notable example.

In his book It’s Not About the Bike, he explained that weight loss was an unexpected benefit of the chemotherapy he received for testicular cancer: ‘There was one unforeseen benefit of cancer: it had completely reshaped my body . . . now I was almost gaunt . . . Eddy Merck had been telling me to slim down for years, and now I understood why . . . I had lost 15 pounds. It was all I needed.

You had to become a slave to data, to performance indicators like pedal cadence, and power output measured in watts. You had to measure literally every heartbeat, and every morsel you ate, down to each spoonful of cereal.

You had to be willing to look like a vampire, your body-fat hovering around three to four per cent, if it made you faster. If you weighed too little, you wouldn’t have the physical resources to generate enough speed. If you weighed too much, your body was a burden. It was a matter of power to weight.

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Many individual stories and some studies describe methods used by cyclists to reduce or maintain a low body weight and body-fat levels. They include deliberately under eating during high-volume training periods— which even includes stage races that the cyclist aims just to complete rather than perform well in. Cyclists may also restrict their fuel intake before or during training sessions to promote ‘fat burning. Visit here Fmovies to download the latest and old movies for free.

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