The food struggle is real

January 22, 2016

This is the way people treat me what I talk about being vegan and still training extremely hard. Yes I’m vegan – yes I work out and ride my bike as much as I can. My dietary goals for calories are to be at 40% carbs, and 30% from both protein and fat. This calls for me to eat 200 grams of protein/day for my frame size and activity level. So what’s the issue?

Not eating the protein that’s for sure – I’m always amazed when people ask this question. It just shows how little others know about nutrition – but it’s ok. It gives me a chance to talk about all the sources we use. Veggies!! Yes, crazy huh? Veggies have a lot of protein, vital wheat gluten is one of my favs as well – of course I do supplement with protein powders as well – #vega with greens and #orgain are two of my favorites in this category. I use only water to mix them right now but may be switching soon to fix my biggest issue.

FAT!!! I started tracking all my foods and I was amazed at how little fat I was eating. In fact most days prior to my tracking I was about 1/2 of what I am doing now. This is kind of a fun thing but it is also the place I #struggle. My calorie count calls for about 100g of fat each day. this has been tough for me since I don’t have meat sources to use for all that fat. So what am I doing? This is where it gets super fun!!! I’m eating peanut butter, sunflower seeds and avocados like crazy. I even started adding hemp seeds to oatmeal to help get the fat spread more evenly through the day instead of piling it all on late at night. I’m thinking of adding some cashew milk to my protein shakes when I can as well to add it into other meals and also to get my b12 from it. Lately it’s been easier as I have been learning to add it in earlier in the day but wow, what an eye opener.

Sodium is the next issue to tackle for me I think – too much of it right now in my diet but one thing at a time I guess.



Don’t starve yourself!!

January 8, 2016

What does Skinny feel like? It feels hungry, very hungry most times. I don’t know about you but this is not the type of feeling I enjoy at all. So I made a change – and no it was not at New Year’s.

My change was I was going to eat – and i mean a lot!!

I’ve always been a good eater (LOL yes picture a round guy). Then I started dieting to lose weight so I could climb better. Now I know what you’re thinking – that’s exactly what you should be doing. except for one thing, my energy levels weren’t normally very good on training days. Yes I completed my workouts and yes I progressed a bit, ok a good bit (15% increase in FTP). But I always felt like there was so much more waiting inside my body that I just couldn’t tap into. Thus the change – I started eating more – more protein and fats and some extra carbs but not a lot of extra.

So here I am in week 5 and how’s it going?

This week I’ve had a number of interval sessions already with another scheduled for tomorrow. They have been amazing – I tested myself and am already at 97% of my best 1 minute, 93% of my best 5 minute and 91% of my best 20 minute power numbers. A reminder – it’s January 8th!!

but wait what about you weight – it’s gone up a bit 2lbs. (1kg) in these 5 weeks so far – this is a trade-off I am willing to make. Since I am more of a criterium racer and not a straight climber I need more power!! This is a year where I go seek out the pain cave and crawl inside it. So far my interval sessions have been tough and at times feel brutal, but guess what?? I have more inside me – I’m not sore afterwards but I am dying during. That’s ok though, bcz then the next day comes and I’m able to go right back to doing another solid, strong, hard workout. Eating makes a huge difference. So no more starving for me – I’m going to eat and look for me toward the front of the pack in this year’s crit races. Hopefully I’ll be the guy ripping legs off at the end – we’ll see.

Ride safe my friends


I have no time to train – then get faster with less

January 5, 2016

We’ve all said this or felt this or heard someone else say it. I have no time to train! Sometimes this can be true. Let’s face it, we all have lives outside of just training and working out. There are not many people in the this world who get paid to train and race for a living and even those that do have to many times find other forms of income to survive. Money can’t buy happiness but I sure would allow me more time to train and that would make me happy…. But I digress.

Time to train can be tough to find in today’s go, go, go world. With work and family commitments not to mention some semblance of a social life, food, and OH don’t forget that one little thing called sleep. Some days there just doesn’t feel like there is any time to get a workout in.

I felt this way yesterday – It was cold outside in the morning and I wimped out on getting the workout in early, then my work day started and off I went. Making calls, returning calls, send and receiving emails – you know the typical work day for most I imagine. But then it started to creep in on me. I missed my workout. Oh, the guilt – the worry. Am I going to lose my edge? Haha. Then I started feeling really good and wanted to get something in – I had no time I kept telling myself. I have calls scheduled throughout the day and here is only a one hour break in there…. That’s not enough time for a workout, what with changing, getting set-up and then putting everything away and getting food after.

This is when I tell everyone that I am one of the lucky people who gets to work at home a couple of days a week. This allows me more freedom than most people who try to squeeze things in. So during one of my calls I placed myself on mute and went and changed my clothes into my cycling kit, filled my water bottle (this is important to be on mute for or else it sounds like you’re going to the bathroom-not good for clients to hear) and started to prep the bike. Once my call ended (late of course) I had 55 minutes until my next call. I immediately jumped on the bike (rollers) and set off on a hard intervals session. 8 minutes of ramped up warm up and then into the faux meat (I am vegan afterall) – 60 second intervals at 105% of FTP with a 60 second recovery in-between. As I neared the very end of my 30 minute session I did an all-out 60 second interval to see how close I could come to my all-time best. I’m pretty happy to say I was within 10 watts for my best 60 second sustained power output – and it’s only January 4th. This is my best EVER – even after years of training and doing testing on myself and all the heated group rides and races I was only 10 watts away from my best.

How can this be? I haven’t have a ride on the bike longer than 90 minutes in the past 5 months. All I can say is intervals, intervals, intervals. These things make you faster. Short ones, long ones, increasing, decreasing it doesn’t matter they all work as long as you are pushing yourself during them. So when you have time or when you have no time get on the bike and blast away. The short fast work we do now will help us once the days get warmer and we decide to venture outside once again. Don’t just ride along aimlessly – make the time count!!


Ride safe my friends


What do you have there Dad?

December 31, 2015

“What do you have there Dad?”

This is what my 16 year old daughter said to me last night after poking me in the arm. She said “It’s like there’s a muscle in there or something.” LOL

OK not the best compliment but I’LL TAKE IT!!!! – I’ll take it because I’ve been putting in the work. Not only in the gym and on the bike but also in the kitchen. I’ve revamped my eating and it is making a huge difference in so many areas. I’m recovering faster, adding muscle and frankly just blowing away some of my previous best early season numbers. So far I’m already at 95% of my best one minute power output and 95% of my best one hour output as well. These are best ever numbers!! I’m thinking 2016 has the chance to be one of the very best ever.

Yesterday was a gym day – I did deadlifts again (2nd time) and I’m finding my low back to not have a lot of strength when doing this exercise – good to know as I go into 2016 – I’ll be working this area a lot. My squat is terrible – my position is all over the place and I barely have any weight on the bar – another good learning opportunity and one that will get a lot more attention in 2016.

Today was a bike workout – a great one! Here what the protocol was:

  • 10 minute warm-up
  • intervals increasing in time from 1 minute up to 6 then back down 1/2/3/4/5/6/5/4/3/2/1
  • recovery time between intervals of 50% of worked time
  • on the way up stay at 90% of FTP
  • on the way down increase each interval by 5 watts
  • Last minute 110% of FTP

It’s a tough workout (mentally and physically) for sure but totally worth it once it was done! Let’s keep pushing forward into 2016…. I have some very good feeling about what’s coming ahead!

Ride safe my friends!


training smarter

December 28, 2015

In today’s post I try to communicate my progress and how I truly believe I am cycling better because of the changes I am making.

Here is a list of what I’m doing now that I wasn’t previously:

  • Planning
  • Tracking
  • Eating
  • Logging
  • Supporting myself
  1. Planning – I am now spending time planning out a week in advance what my workouts will look like. How much time I will spend on the bike and in the gym. There is still a lot of room for improvement here but I am getting the basics planned ahead of time. I know when and why my rest days are where they are (as tough as they are to take some days). I know what the next workout is each day so I can start looking forward to them.
  2. Tracking – I am tracking my food again. I’ve done this before but am being very serious about it this time – everything goes into myfitnesspal.com now. This can sound daunting but in truth doesn’t end up being too bad at all since I make it log it and then eat it – easy as pie – (no pie, sorry)
  3. Eating – I am eating more than I have in years. But not crappy foods bogged down with terrible ingredient lists. I eat a vegan diet and have increased my protein and fat goals while also bringing my carb number down a bit (quite a bit). I was usually around 100 grams of protein and under 50 grams of fat daily now I am up to 175 for protein and 100g for fats. It’s a whole new world of eating – It’s not been long (3 weeeks) but I can already see differences in my reflection. I’ve not gained a pound yet but I am stronger both during my bike workouts and my gym workouts. It’s kind of fun seeing these things happen although to be totally honest some days I have to do some math to make sure I’m eating the right combinations at the right times. I’m still learning.
  4. Logging – different than tracking in that I am logging every workout in my training peaks account – both bike and gym time – I am watching my training loads and starting to see my fitness coming back up albeit gradually so far – improvement is a positive thing and I will stay with that!
  5. Supporting myself – this has been the tough part at times. It’s hard to keep pushing along when you don’t get much in the way of support in these areas. Instead there is a lot of “you’re going to get fat”, “why are you wasting time on this?” etc. this is where what we want needs to be important to us and be made time for – be strong everyone. You can be great but it’s not easy – it takes work. I’m doing all I can to be great and strong this year. If you every want help – let me know I’ll be support for you.

These are a few major points I’ve learned and am doing. I hope they help you in some way as you working to be a better cyclist.

Ride safe my friends


Fasted Cardio – sounded like a good idea

December 24, 2015

This morning I put a hurt on myself – It was a good hurt, the kind that allows you to learn something about yourself and about your training. Not unlike a really long endurance ride that cracks you and teaches you about your fitness levels and if you are fueling correctly. My ride today though was short, it was indoors and it was hard. Let me back up just a bit – yesterday my nutrition plan called for a lower carb intake than normal – unfortunately I didn’t eat most of the carbs just before going to bed as I should’ve. Then I was doing an early morning workout today and no real time to eat before getting on the bike. Just a few sips of water.

Fasted and depleted cardio at it’s finest. I got hungry, not like a normal “I should eat something” hungry but a full on Hangry moment waiting to happen. Luckily for me, nobody was up when I finished and rushed into the house from the garage to find something to immediately shove in my mouth. This is where having food prepared would come in handy, but I grabbed a protein shake and slammed it down – whew! crisis averted for sure. Now time to make a proper after-workout meal

I’m totally going be honest here and say this morning taught me how weak I am. I was mentally weak today. I gave into too many excuses to stop and catch my breath. Normally I would push right through these points without issue but today I couldn’t get me head right. I had little to no power for most of my ride as well. I didn’t have the energy to push hard and my averages showed this at the end when I went back to review my effort. Some might call it a waste – but not me. No way. this was a teaching moment if there ever was one.

So what did I learn? If we want to be great for a workout, a race or just a focused day of training we must have energy. Not only for our muscles to perform but also for our mind to perform. Fasted cardio has it’s place for sure – longer steady rides where the goal is only to ride fasted and burn extra fat in a workout. Fasted cardio does not belong on a hard training day like I had planned today 2 x 20 at 80% of FTP and 2 x 10 at 85% FTP. Let me tell you that plan was out the window today! I’m really glad I had the day I had this morning – plus I get to share it with you. That’s all for today – live, ride and learn – we’re all just looking for ways to cycle better.

Ride safe my friends.



The most overlooked part of improvement

December 23, 2015

You’ve heard this statement from every single training guru or coaching program out there. Rest days are extremely important! So why are we still not taking them correctly? This is a question I get quite a bit from people as I talk training. Why do I need to schedule a rest day? or I feel so good I want to just keep training, is that ok? The answers vary –

I believe we should schedule rest days into our training plans so we have something to look forward to – it helps me dig a little deeper on the day before a rest day knowing I have a full day to recover after that training day. it also makes me take stock of where I am in my training. Have I been working hard enough? Am I ready to amp up an area? Or, am I training with a blind spot? (you’re not sprinting in training ya big Oaf)

But can you keep going and not rest? Of course but be cautious, very cautious. As your ability to do more training grows you will want to challenge yourself and do more work – my suggestion though is to not miss a rest day. These are the days your body needs to be ready for the next set of training days. These are also the days that your mind needs. Instead, increase the workload on training days and allow the rest/recovery to happen. We all know the feeling of power that comes from a day off or even two days sometimes. Hold onto that imagine and feeling in your head when your mind is trying to convince your body to skip the rest day. You’ll be glad you did

Ride safe my friends