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Benefits of cycling

Training Vs Genetics – Can Anyone Be A Sprinter? | Ask GCN Anything


– Hello, and welcome to Ask GCN-ything. – This week we answer your
questions on aero bikes, on sprinting versus climbing,
and on the Dirty Dozen. – A little bit of everything
there. And don’t forget, to be in with a chance of
winning a free three-month subscription to Zwift. All you
have to do is use the hashtag #askgcntraining. – And of course, for any
non-training related questions, you can use the hashtag #torqueback. – First up we have a question
from Christopher Jenkins. – “Hi GCN. One of my
favorite things to do is ride in the hills. I want to
improve and train for this type of riding. But I was wondering
if my genes could hold me back and actually I could
train to be a better sprinter than climber and not know
it. Am I wrong for training this discipline because
I find it more desirable, or can your body adapt to either equally with correct training?” – Well, I think Christopher,
there probably isn’t such a thing as a wrong discipline.
You should really do what you love, that’s
the most important thing. And at the end of the day, if
we train optimally, we’re all ultimately going to be limited
by our bodies and our genes, and yes, there is some kind
of genetic predisposition to be good at certain types
of cycling, and depending on what size you are, your
body composition, how much muscle you usually put
on, and what kind of muscles you do put on, so
if you’re more fast with it, or you’re more slow to
it. Lung capacity as well, but at the end of the day,
those are really quite slight differences to the
effect of training and by that I mean life-long
training, so you know, what you’ve been doing
for the last 20 years, or however old you are and however long you’ve been cycling. So for
example, I can’t sprint at all, but that’s probably because
I’ve spent 25 years doing endurance sport, and never
training at sprinting, ’cause I hate it, ’cause bad at it. And the thing that we often
think, that you’re either one or the other, because
you know, if you watch the World Championships, or
the Olympics, we see the extremes of human performance,
where they’re both genetically predispositioned
to be good at their event, probably at that level, and they’ve spent years and years training
it. I mean, I know that people who call themselves
sprinters can get really, really, really, good at
climbing, whatever their initial body-type, just by training.
And I don’t know how you feel about sprinting? – Yeah, well, actually, when it comes to racing and sprinting, your end
result is detected as much by your positioning as it is by
your actual ability to sprint, so if you’re out with your
mates, or you’re doing a race, then you can pay attention
to that as well as including some training. You know,
you’re gonna improve. – Yep. You’re gonna improve
on what you train at, if you’re training well at
it. And I’m not sure what you think your genetic
limitations are, because you haven’t been more
specific, but I think that I wouldn’t worry too much about that, you should train for what you love. If you are 150 kilos, and
your FDB is fairly low, then it’s going to be tough
to do long climbs, I admit, because power twin really is
important for longer climbs. But that’s trainable,
so keep training at it. – I’m going to give you
some top tips through your climbing anyway. Why
don’t you check that map? – Some hacks, even. – Are you too fond of food
to cut back on calories? Don’t worry, you can lose weight from your bike much quicker. Leave the beat-ons at
home. In fact, take the bottle-cages off, altogether.
Wear your lightest clothing, take off your under-jersey,
take off your gloves, take off your socks, don’t
need sunnies, I mean, you could even take off
the saddle because you’re gonna be standing up sprinting
the whole way anyway, right? And weight is everything. – Next question comes in
from MTB Jr. “#torqueback. What is more important: aerodynamics, or weight, or your power?” – That’s a really good
question. And actually, that depends a little bit. So when
it comes to going uphill, then the steeper hill the
more important your weight’s gonna become. And the
same with aerodynamics. The faster you’re going,
the more important the aero will become. – Exactly, yeah, because
obviously your aero-drag increases with the square of your
speed. So the faster you go, the more important it gets.
And um, there’s no point where you can say weight stops
mattering and aerodynamics matters, obviously
they’re both involved in slowing you down, it just
depends on the terrain, which one’s going to be more important. I used to say, rule of thumb,
20K an hour, Chris says 30, but then he always went
faster than me. So if I was doing a time trial, and I
was going uphill, and it was slower than 20K an hour,
I’d sit up to feel more comfortable, but if it was
faster than 20, I would get down on the aero bars,
to stay aero. But that’s very much rule of thumb.
They’re all important, frankly. And power, you’re always
going to need some power to ride your bike, so power
is always important, I think we can safely say that. – Definitely. Work on
the power, and then the rest kind of follows as well. Like, your power to it’ll be better, and aerodynamics is less
of a factor for you. – And if you’re trying to work
out which is more important for a certain course, or a
certain route, or a certain race, that’s quite a
complicated equation, ’cause you have to look at all the
different sections where it’s flat, uphill, downhill, and
work out the optimal power, the optimal weight, the optimal
drag. I mean, it’s possible, and there are tools out
there to do it, but it takes quite a lot of work, and
if I were you I’d just concentrate on riding your bike, training well, being powerful. – Yeah, definitely. ‘Cause
once you get to a 60K an hour, in fact a lot of the energy you’re putting into the pedals isn’t gonna
make you go that much faster. So you’re better off
just being really aero, and saving the energy. – We now have our Zwift
question, which is from Jonathan Zappala. “Hi GCN, I’m
training for the Dirty Dozen, race in Pittsburgh, so I’m focusing on one minute and five minute power. Which is the best way to
increase those powers? Right now I’m doing one
minute intervals at a wattage between my one and five minute bests, with a three minute
recovery twice a week.” Well, yeah. – Well, Jonathan, that is a
unique and fantastic event. For those of you not familiar with the Pittsburgh Dirty Dozen,
it’s a race that consists of the 13 steepest hills in
Pittsburgh. 13 because it’s a baker’s dozen. There’s a bit
of a snag though, because you race up the hills, where
the top ten competitors on each hill receive points,
but between the hills it’s neutralized, so you ride
easy from hill to hill. In fact, it is sounding quite
good to me, until, I found out that the hills are
crazy steep. We’re talking 20 to 37 percent. That’s a steep hill. – Yeah, it sounds absolutely
brutal. And, because the event is so unique, your
training will have to be as well. So you’ll want to focus
on getting some really good, high-quality, maximum
effort out of your body, and then recovering fully
before doing them again. So, if you don’t have loads of
hills in your area, something like eight to ten times 30
seconds of maximum effort before a full recovery and then going
again, you want to do that over gear as well, because
you’re trying to replicate the high torque efforts that you’ll
be doing on these climbs. – Basically, in the event you
are going to run out of gears. So you need to practice that
horrible feeling of running out of gears. So practice
out-of-the-saddle climbing, over-geared, and it’s gonna
feel horrible, but you need to get used to that, and you
also need to get used to the lactate that you’ll produce.
So for longer efforts, you can go for six to eight by two
minute efforts, maximum, but you need to start them
over-geared. So I suggest starting maybe the first 10 seconds
out of the saddle over-geared, and then sit down, and then
carry on over-geared through the rest of the two minutes.
And you’re never gonna feel like you’re on top of
that gear. It’s gonna feel brutal all the way. But that
will prepare you pretty well for what sounds like
really, a very tough event. – It does, it doesn’t sound
like my idea of a day out. It’s almost gonna be like
weight training, basically. – Yeah, exactly, yeah. Do
remember to recover fully between the intervals,
because that’s key, that will happen in the event. You don’t
need to start each interval racing. You should obviously
be going flat out straight from the gun on the interval, so
there’s no rolling into it, but recover really well between the efforts. – Yeah. And good luck,
there’s loads of workouts on Zwift if you want to
check any of those out, to train indoors over the winter. – Yeah, indeed, so your three
months of Zwift membership should really help you with the training. – Yeah. Enjoy, and good luck. Next up, B Con writes in with,
“is there a big difference in comfort on an aero bike
when compared to a lightweight bike. I’ve been thinking of
buying an aero bike for some time now. And what kind of
aero bike do you recommend?” – Well that’s a really good
question, and I think that to be honest, you can be
just as comfortable on an aero bike, as on a lightweight
bike, and so you don’t have to assume it’s going
to be less comfortable. It will feel different
though, potentially, so some people find that
super aero bike feels stiffer, and if you put super aero
deep section wheels on, then it will definitely feel different, especially in a crosswind.
So I really struggle, for example, with the deep
section front wheel, ’cause I just can’t hold the bike
up in a crosswind, so there are differences, for sure. – Yeah. And the other thing
you want to take into account is the position on the bike,
as well. Most aero bikes will be slightly more extreme
forward, and lower at the front, as well. Whereas a more
comfortable lightweight bike will be slightly more relaxed,
so you want to take that into consideration. But,
bear in mind, that your body actually makes up most of
the drag, so the bike makes a very small difference.
You will feel it, but your body makes more of a
difference, so. Go with whatever you feel you can get into
a better position on. – And if you can’t cope
with the low front end of an aero bike, then that means
that you’re not flexible enough to get into an aero
position, so it might be a false way of trying to go
faster. And that actually, when it comes to choosing a
bike, I would advise going to your local bike shop
and trying out a few bikes, because they all feel
different, like. I think the aero bikes from different
brands will feel totally different, and there’s a
lot more to how a bike feels than whether it’s aero or
lightweight, the handling, and the geometry, and the position,
and you just, you know, if you love a bike, you love a bike.
So I think you should try them out first, and then you’ll know. – Yeah. Choose the one
that’s gonna make you want to ride it. And if you
want any extra tips, why not check out what the pros choose? – [Emma Voiceover] It’s more
about the right feel than the weight, so it’s more do they
feel more comfortable, maybe. – I like bikes that are, a
bit heavier in the mounts, but I feel better on it, so
that’s what it is. It’s all about the feeling, it’s
not about the weight. – Yeah, at the end of the day you’ve gotta feel good to ride well. – Yeah, absolutely. – Next question comes
in from Barnaby Grant, “#AskGCNTraining, I’d love
some advice about carb loading, specifically repeated loading.
I have a month coming up where I have four races,
spaced about a week apart, each of which is an endurance
event, which would see a significant benefit from
carb-loading. However, I’m worried about the effects, if any, of carb-loading repeatedly. Any thoughts?” – Well, there won’t be any
side effects, other than if you overeat, you’re gonna
put on weight. There’s a big difference between
carb-loading and overeating, something that a lot of
people get quite wrong. – Yeah, me, for example. I’d
always overeat from nervousness the night before a race. The
science shows pretty clearly how much carbs you need, and
you knew the numbers, didn’t y didn’t you? – Yeah, so, you want to weigh
yourself, first off. And then the day before the race, or
the two days before the race, you want to eat around eight
grams of carbohydrate per kilo of body weight, per day.
So if you weigh 75 kilos, that’s around 600 grams just
of carbohydrates, and you probably want to find them
from quite an easily accessible source, so white bread,
pasta, that sort of thing. – You don’t need too much fiber. – No, exactly. Not the day before a race. – And you also don’t need too much fat. ‘Cause that will slow your
digestion down, and it won’t bring you that much help in the race. – And then the day after
the race, you want to reduce that a little bit, down to like five to six grams per kilo.
That’s, what, 400 grams? If you’re that weight. – So obviously you do need some carbs the day after the race, to
help with the recovery, and replenishing your muscles,
and then in the week between race days, you can eat slightly
less carbs, but I should emphasize that you need enough
carbs. In a period like that, where you’ve got so many races
close together, you shouldn’t be doing any faster training
really, because it’s quite fatiguing. And your
focus should really be on being fully recovered for
your event, so make sure you get enough carbohydrates, but
you know, slightly too much is probably okay, but if you
massively overeat on carbs, then yeah, you will put weight on, so– – And you’ll feel sluggish. – Yeah. Well, I don’t know,
I felt really good, but it’s mostly mental. I think if I
overate, I felt so guilty that I raced really hard, but
that’s the only real bad side effect. Obviously if you
change your diet massively, from if you eat normally
loads of vegetables, and then you suddenly eat no vegetables,
then yeah you will see a bit of a change in your digestive
system, and you will feel sluggish, so. I would try
it out, but you need to eat enough carbohydrates. There’s
no benefit to going low-carb in this period. – No, and on the morning
of the race you want to make sure you leave that
good three hour window before the race, after eating.
Otherwise, you’ll get to the starter line, and you’ll
just struggle with breathing. – Yeah. Feeling pretty sick. – So, we then have a question
from Leo Franceschini, “Hi guys, I’m incorporating
some mobility and stretching sessions into my training
program, and I’m wondering how often and when I should do these
sessions. Before or after a workout, on a rest day?” – Generally, people recommend
these days to stretch after a workout, because you don’t
need to make your muscles stretch before you start
training. It’s quite a personal choice when you do it, really.
Up to three times a week, probably. And however you do
it. If it makes you feel good, then as often as you
have time for, really. – Yeah. I used to do it
every day after training. – Really? – Yeah. Unless I got home wet and cold. – Wow. – In which case, yeah. No chance. – I stretched about once a year, normally. Next up, David Alexander, “I
recently changed work locations in the last year, and
am now working across a very large river. There
are no options for me to ride across the river,” I’m
not surprised because riding across water: tricky,
but. Anyway, sorry, that wasn’t the question, “there
are no options for me to ride across the river, I have to use
a ferry. This hasn’t been an issue until the weather started
getting cold. I find myself standing around more or
less outdoors for 20 to 30 minutes for the ferry, and by the time I get back on my bike, I’m
quite cold again. Is there anything I can do in the
cramped confines of the ferry to keep some of the warmth I got on my way to the boat, thanks.” – Star jumps? Star jumps or,
just pack some extra clothing, especially a hat or waterproof
jacket that will really keep the warmth in. Or, you
could also try and not build up a sweat before you
get on the ferry, because if you warm up before you get
there, you’re really gonna notice the effects as you’re
cooling down, and especially with moisture on you as well. – Yeah, but a hat’s tiny, you
can not have much space. Pack it down, put it in a plastic
bag so you don’t sweat on it, and put it on. Take your
helmet off, put the hat on, and that keeps most of your body heat in. But star jumps, I think. – Or– – You could also pack tea, in a thermos. – Yeah, exactly. Hot drink. – Oh, lovely. Next up, Vimeo
Yt asks, “please can you tell me why I can train easier
with the team than at home, and could you guys do a
video of stretching to do after training.” – Well, the second part’s really
easy. We’ve definitely got some videos on the channel
of stretching, If you just type that in the search bar.
The reason you find it easier to train with others is
probably like, your perceived exertion. Some people are
really motivated when they’re around others, but yet when
they train by themselves, they really suffer, and find it
really difficult to push as hard as they did. Personally, I love
training alone, when no one can see me suffering. But, that’s not always the case for everyone. – You know it’s funny,
’cause I find it much easier to train hard with other
people, ’cause I find that it helps me push myself. I enjoy
it more, it feels mentally easier, and physically
harder. So that’s why I really love training with other
people. But it’s a very personal thing. I mean, I assume
you’re asking like comparing watts for watts, not comparing
speed because obviously if you’re training with
a group, and your team then you’re going to go
faster for the same effort. – That’s aerodynamics. Martin Cheatle, “Which
of the GCN crew can do bike maintenance from a
basic puncture to a complex replace loose bearings?” – Well, that’s pretty easy,
really. John Cunnings can do everything. – John is the master. – I think most GCN presenters
are pretty good, apart from myself. And I’ll freely
admit that I am rubbish, so I can definitely change a puncture. – Maybe we should all build a bike. – No. – Get timed, see who
can do it the quickest. – We literally do not have
time in a working week. It would take me all year.
I mean, I can probably strip a bike down, I can take
stuff of the bike, I just don’t know how to put it
back on in the right way. – It’s easy you just put the
stuff on where it came off. Trial and error, that’s
the way everyone learns. Right then, C Mad, “I love the
show. Please can you compare the advantages and disadvantages of the common fitness tests? In
other words, 20-minutes versus two-times-eight minute tests,
versus a ramp test, or versus the new 4DP test. My results
seem quite varied depending on which one I do, so. Thank you.” – Yeah, well, that’s a good
point. Not a lot of people say oh, I did an FTP test, and I
got to X power, or to X level. And the thing is that all the
tests are different, so it’s not that any of them are
unreliable, unless they’re run badly, but the point
is that they’re all slightly different.
They’ll give you a gauge of your fitness, but they’re
not really comparable. So, if you want to measure
your fitness, you just need to make sure you pick one of
the tests, and do that one. Although not too often,
’cause you’ll get bored and you’ll get stale, and– – Yeah, exactly. And also,
kinda train to do the test, if you’re keep on doing it
repeatedly, and you’ll just get good at doing the test,
which isn’t always a fair representation of your fitness. – Definitely, yeah. So back in
my day, we did like a boring old school ramp test, but
the length of the ramp was different. So my pro team
would test us with a certain length ramp, and British
Cycling would test with a different one, and I got to
totally different powers, ’cause in one of them I got tired
’cause it went on for 35 minutes. The other one was only 15,
so it was much easier. Anyway Pick one, stick to it
– Pick one, stick to it – Once every six weeks
is probably the most you need to do it then. Things
rarely change that often. – Twice a year is maximum, I think. – Yeah, exactly, and twice
a year is probably fine, to be really honest. – I find it immensely,
very, very draining doing those tests, so keep them spaced out. – Right. Hoyt Anders, “I’ve
been really enjoying all of the indoor training videos on the
channel. Could you recommend a weekly routine of training
videos to follow to improve general cycling fitness? I can
rarely get outside during the cold months, but I’d like to
keep fit if possible. Right now I’m alternating between doing
one that focuses on strength one day, and one HIIT session
the next day. I usually do one 30 to 45-minute video a day for
three or four days in a row, and then I take a rest day. Does that sound like a good plan?” – Well that sounds like quite
a lot of intensive training in a week to me, and I think
that if you’re going to do that much intense indoor
riding, you want to maybe structure it a bit better.
It’s fine to two to four really hard intensive sessions indoor
in a week, but you probably wouldn’t want to do more, because
you won’t get any benefit. You’ll just be getting
tired, and you won’t be able to actually do the
intensity you need to get a benefit from it. So maybe
start with two to four, depending on how you feel,
and split them up, so you’ve got two blocks, of two days. – Then you come back for
the second block, fresher. Which means you can push harder. – You need to have a complete
rest day probably, once a week and recovery between the sessions
is key. And you also don’t want to forget your endurance.
So if you do get time on the weekend, maybe do a longer endurance ride. – Yeah, even if it’s
just two hours, y’know. It’s gonna help you. – Hope this video has been
interesting and informative. If you do have any more
questions, please use the hashtag #torqueback, or #askGCNtraining,
and that of course gives you a chance to win
three months of subscription to Zwift, which is very
useful now that it’s getting cold and dark in the Northern
Hemisphere, and going outside to train is, well. – It’s grim. – It’s grim, it’s grim. I’ve
been on Zwift five times this week, already, I reckon. – It’s only Wednesday? Make
sure you leave any comments you have in the box below, even
without the hashtag, we’ll still get back to them. – And give us a thumbs up,
share it with your friends, and if you haven’t seen it
yet, please, please, go and watch, James’ red hook Milan… – It’s properly epic, the
red hook crit in Milan. – Oh, it’s. Yeah. I was on the
edge of my seat, literally, and nearly cried at the end, it was. – Worth a watch. – Emotional, yeah. I think
Grant, cried as well.

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