Winning in the kitchen and resistance training

Hey everyone! This is my second year doing a focused, periodized offseason strength training program, but the first winter purchasing a training plan. One of my goals is to change my body composition to become leaner (not necessarily lighter). I’ve never managed to reduce my body fat percentage substantially, despite working hard, gaining muscle, and #winninginthekitchen. Is there a difference in the approach to optimize diet during a strength program versus the endurance season? Here are some specific questions that I have:

  • Does the availability of carbohydrate fuel during strength sessions impact the adaptations I’m seeking, either positively or negatively? From an endurance perspective you obviously want fuel onboard before hard interval workouts, but I can imagine that if we’re targeting neuromuscular adaptations (strength) vs. anaerobic or aerobic adaptations (on bike intervals) that may not be the case.

  • I’m on the #secrettraining offseason cyclocross plan at the moment and I have two-a-days on my calendar. I’m putting the strength in the morning and bike in the evening. After the strength work are there nutritional recommendations that you have?

  • Nutritional supplements for the strength training?

1 Like

I’m looking forward to the cookbook being worked on and the expansion of the training tips that may follow addressing some of these things. General rules of thumb on matching up complementary nutritional periodizing of calorie levels and macros alongside the off/base/build/peak training plan phases we follow.

I’ve found Eric Helms’ Muscle & Strength Pyramid e-book on nutrition to be excellent for strength & hypertrophy, and building & maintaining muscle while cutting fat. Highly evidence based both from academic research and coaching strength & physique athletes. My own meal plan uses macros guidelines from Eric Helms as the baseline nutrition, then I add fuel for the bike on top of that, and try to stay in either a slight caloric surplus (slowly gaining fat) or intentionally in a large deficit to lose fat promptly and then get back to the slight surplus. It’s really easy to undereat and be in an energy deficient state with reduced performance and unable to lose fat due to hormonal changes, and there might not be any feedback because weight can be steady with mild to moderate undereating. Some people can recomp but for me it works better to periodize my nutrition so I get clear feedback that I’m eating enough to be fully charged.


Hey @steve.d.herman -

So there’s a lot here and I won’t bore you with a big wall of text on a forum post but feel free to email me directly if you have more specific questions, happy to help.

But essentially: you really don’t need to drastically change your diet at different times of the year. I know periodized nutrition is very in vogue right now, but unless you’re really driven towards pure performance or looking for that extra 1-2% change, it’s going to be much more impactful on your body and mind to develop a really solid lifestyle approach to food that is sustainable and rooted in great food choices and habits versus focusing on macronutrient timing and amount.

For example, carbohydrate availability will definitely impact your adaptations and response to your workout, whether on the bike or in the gym. But carbohydrates can mean lentils or lollipops so it’s about eating well throughout the day and focusing on foods over nutrients. If you do want to get nerdy, and you are truly feeling confident and happy with your food choices and overall food lifestyle, then you can certainly play around with altering the intake of protein and carbohydrates throughout the day to slightly alter body comp. But that’s a complex topic. Main thing: you want to be fueled for your workouts because they will suck if you’re not, even in the gym. It’s going to be very difficult to gain muscle and also maintain a certain level of endurance if you’re in a caloric deficit.

For the post strength meal, pre ride meal, you definitely want a solid recovery meal that’s balanced and pretty high in carbs and protein. Fruit and greens smoothie with some quality protein powder comes to mind. Also depends on how much time you have between the sessions.

Focus on the foods and the habits and working super hard in the gym and on the bike and the results will come. I don’t believe cyclists need to worry about supplements for strength training. Perhaps in a big block of training a little extra protein powder in the smoothie is a good insurance policy, but remember that you’re a cyclist, not a bodybuilder. Eat real food and train hard, sleep well, recover like a boss, etc etc.

I wish there was a silver bullet for leaning up, but there really isn’t. I’d be happy to give you some more specific tactics if you do want to go down that path though, as there are some things to help accelerate the process, but I hope this helps!



Thanks for the advice everyone, it’s helpful to remember the big picture, i.e. that I’m a cyclist not a body builder. Last season I worked with a great nutritionist who helped me establish a consistent diet strategy with appropriate portions to fuel my day-to-day bike training. To be honest it was game changing for me; turns out I was a consistent under fueler both in life and on the bike. A quick review of the guidelines to refresh my memory is probably a good idea.

This may fall into the “marginal gainz” (with a z b/c it’s resistance training) category, but I’m wondering if maybe I have been in that slight underfueling situation described by @natekugland, given my previous history. Plus, from a science perspective, I’m very interested in understanding the role that fueling affects the energy systems targeted in our training. Maybe it’s a 1% thing that only the very elite need to / have the time to worry about. But I’ll spend 30-40 minutes dorking around with my tire pressure before a race, so why not?

1 Like

Jackson - fantastic write-up above. Do you have recommendations on nutrition pre-post ride, or has 75% been covered on a previous podcast? I am interested in engaging a Nutritionist to see what improvements I can make in daily/weekly. Thanks.

Hi @stevehamilton100 - nutrition is covered in our coaching which is better value than hiring a nutritionist that doesn’t tie themselves to your training plan, in my opinion:

We have previously written and talked about what to eat before an early morning workout and a big ride here and here:

1 Like

@FRANK is nutrition covered in all levels of coaching? To what level/detail is nutritional analyzed and recommendations made, or is the assessment/questionnaire take care of that?

1 Like

Correct during the coaching consultation you’ll talk to your future potential coach about your nutrition goals and how that fits into your training . How that will work, etc…

To get started fill our our new athlete questionnaire from our ‘Hire a Coach’ page and we can set up a Coaching consultation over the phone

Is there a #winninginthekitchen suggestion for daily protein intake for the endurance athlete? I’ve seen anywhere from 1.2g/kg to upwards of 2g/kg. That’s a pretty big difference that I’m thinking could make an equally big difference on body composition. Doesn’t excess protein just get stored as fat, much like excess carbohydrate?