Fitness questions and answers for December 15, 2004

Form & Fitness Q & A

Got a question about fitness, training, recovery from injury or a related subject? Drop us a line at Please include as much information about yourself as possible, including your age, sex, and type of racing or riding. Due to the volume of questions we receive, we regret that we are unable to answer them all.

Carrie Cheadle, MA ( is a Sports Psychology consultant who has dedicated her career to helping athletes of all ages and abilities perform to their potential. Carrie specialises in working with cyclists, in disciplines ranging from track racing to mountain biking. She holds a bachelors degree in Psychology from Sonoma State University as well as a masters degree in Sport Psychology from John F. Kennedy University.

Dave Palese ( is a USA Cycling licensed coach and masters' class road racer with 16 years' race experience. He coaches racers and riders of all abilities from his home in southern Maine, USA, where he lives with his wife Sheryl, daughter Molly, and two cats, Miranda and Mu-Mu.

Kelby Bethards, MD received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University (1994) before obtaining an M.D. from the University of Iowa College of Medicine in 2000. Has been a racing cyclist 'on and off' for 20 years, and when time allows, he races Cat 3 and 35+. He is a team physician for two local Ft Collins, CO, teams, and currently works Family Practice in multiple settings: rural, urgent care, inpatient and the like.

Fiona Lockhart ( is a USA Cycling Expert Coach, and holds certifications from USA Weightlifting (Sports Performance Coach), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach), and the National Academy for Sports Nutrition (Primary Sports Nutritionist). She is the Sports Science Editor for Carmichael Training Systems, and has been working in the strength and conditioning and endurance sports fields for over 10 years; she's also a competitive mountain biker.

Eddie Monnier ( is a USA Cycling certified Elite Coach and a Category II racer. He holds undergraduate degrees in anthropology (with departmental honors) and philosophy from Emory University and an MBA from The Wharton School of Business.

Eddie is a proponent of training with power. He coaches cyclists (track, road and mountain bike) of all abilities and with wide ranging goals (with and without power meters). He uses internet tools to coach riders from any geography.

David Fleckenstein, MPT ( is a physical therapist practicing in Boise, ID. His clients have included World and U.S. champions, Olympic athletes and numerous professional athletes. He received his B.S. in Biology/Genetics from Penn State and his Master's degree in Physical Therapy from Emory University. He specializes in manual medicine treatment and specific retraining of spine and joint stabilization musculature. He is a former Cat I road racer and Expert mountain biker.

Since 1986 Steve Hogg ( has owned and operated Pedal Pushers, a cycle shop specialising in rider positioning and custom bicycles. In that time he has positioned riders from all cycling disciplines and of all levels of ability with every concievable cycling problem.They include World and National champions at one end of the performance spectrum to amputees and people with disabilities at the other end.

Current riders that Steve has positioned include Davitamon-Lotto's Nick Gates, Discovery's Hayden Roulston, National Road Series champion, Jessica Ridder and National and State Time Trial champion, Peter Milostic.

Pamela Hinton has a bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology and a doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She did postdoctoral training at Cornell University and is now an assistant professor of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia where she studies the effects of iron deficiency on adaptations to endurance training and the consequences of exercise-associated changes in menstrual function on bone health.

Pam was an All-American in track while at the UW. She started cycling competitively in 2003 and is the defending Missouri State Road Champion. Pam writes a nutrition column for Giana Roberge's Team Speed Queen Newsletter.

Dario Fredrick ( is an exercise physiologist and head coach for Whole Athlete™. He is a former category 1 & semi-pro MTB racer. Dario holds a masters degree in exercise science and a bachelors in sport psychology.

Scott Saifer ( has a Masters Degree in exercise physiology and sports psychology and has personally coached over 300 athletes of all levels in his 10 years of coaching with Wenzel Coaching.

Kendra Wenzel ( is a head coach with Wenzel Coaching with 17 years of racing and coaching experience and is coauthor of the book Bike Racing 101.

Steve Owens ( is a USA Cycling certified coach, exercise physiologist and owner of Colorado Premier Training. Steve has worked with both the United States Olympic Committee and Guatemalan Olympic Committee as an Exercise Physiologist. He holds a B.S. in Exercise & Sports Science and currently works with multiple national champions, professionals and World Cup level cyclists.

Through his highly customized online training format, Steve and his handpicked team of coaches at Colorado Premier Training work with cyclists and multisport athletes around the world.

Brett Aitken ( is a Sydney Olympic gold medalist. Born in Adelaide, Australia in 1971, Brett got into cycling through the cult sport of cycle speedway before crossing over into road and track racing. Since winning Olympic gold in the Madison with Scott McGrory, Brett has been working on his coaching business and his website.

Richard Stern ( is Head Coach of Richard Stern Training, a Level 3 Coach with the Association of British Cycling Coaches, a Sports Scientist, and a writer. He has been professionally coaching cyclists and triathletes since 1998 at all levels from professional to recreational. He is a leading expert in coaching with power output and all power meters. Richard has been a competitive cyclist for 20 years

Andy Bloomer ( is an Associate Coach and sport scientist with Richard Stern Training. He is a member of the Association of British Cycling Coaches (ABCC) and a member of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). In his role as Exercise Physiologist at Staffordshire University Sports Performance Centre, he has conducted physiological testing and offered training and coaching advice to athletes from all sports for the past 4 years. Andy has been a competitive cyclist for many years.

Michael Smartt ( is an Associate Coach with Richard Stern Training. He holds a Masters degree in exercise physiology and is USA Cycling Expert Coach. Michael has been a competitive cyclist for over 10 years and has experience coaching road and off-road cyclists, triathletes and Paralympians.

Kim Morrow ( has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion, and a Fitness Professional.

Her coaching group, eliteFITcoach, is based out of the Southeastern United States, although they coach athletes across North America. Kim also owns, a resource for cyclists, multisport athletes & endurance coaches around the globe, specializing in helping cycling and multisport athletes find a coach.

Advice presented in Cyclingnews' fitness pages is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice for individual athletes. If you follow the educational information found on Cyclingnews, you do so at your own risk. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

Cross-training interval overload?
Stationary trainer fitness
Omega 3 fats
In between bike sizes
Saddle angle and orthotic inserts
Sports drinks and dental health

Cross-training interval overload?

For a couple decades, I've always considered high-intensity interval workouts to be something a cyclist would do a couple times a week - maybe three if they were in better shape than I am.

But having recently broadened my athletic horizons I'm wondering how multi-sport athletes should be monitoring high-intensity overload.

Examples: Join the local masters swim club and you will find that intervals are all these folks do for just under an hour six or seven days a week. For speed skaters, ice time is harder to come by than pool time is for swimmers, so intense interval workouts are the preferred approach to maximizing the investment in structured training.

So (and I haven't even mentioned running!), say you want to give some kind of nod to the fact that cycling is your favourite sport: Now you are looking at high-heart-rate intervals almost every day.

Is this a bad thing, or does the principle of specificity allow distinctions between the maximal efforts of different sports?

Steve Bonisteel

Dave Palese replies:

My experience with some of the sports you mention is zero, but I'll give you my opinion and thoughts.

Stationary trainer fitness

I have recently switched to full on 8-5pm office hours. I live in Salt Lake City and day light here in the winter is non existent after 5pm. I am a 6-3 200lb male. I do a little racing and a lot of mtn biking both downhill and cross country. I just want to be doing the most effective fitness workouts possible. I have a Blackburn magnetic trainer. how does a brother stay fit riding this thing in his garage in the winter?

Daniel O'Connor
Utah, USA

Jon Heidemann replies:

Generally speaking, the key to riding that trainer in your garage (multiple times per week throughout the winter) for fitness is your ability to keep yourself entertained while looking at the backside of your garage door. While this answer seems a little humorous (at least to me as I write this), there is a distinct level of seriousness to it.

Omega 3 fats

I've been told that there is some new research into omega-3 fats increasing athletic performance by adjusting cell metabolism. I did a search but can't find information other than this website.

So what's the good oil on omega-3? Or is it just another performance snake oil?

James Hall
Melbourne, Australia

Pam Hinton replies:

Omega-3 fatty acids are "good oil" when it comes to lowering cardiovascular disease risk, but may be snake oil with regard to athletic performance. The term "omega-3" (also referred to as n3) has to do with the chemical structure of the fatty acids. Because omega-3 fatty acids cannot be synthesized in the body, they are called "essential fatty acids." Dietary sources of omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseed, and canola oil. Eicosapentenoic acid (EPA) and docohexenoic acid (DHA) are the most common omega-3 fatty acids in the diet; purified EPA and DHA are also sold as dietary supplements. Regular consumption of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease by lowering serum cholesterol and triglycerides and by reducing inflammation in the lining of the blood vessels.

In between bike sizes

A simple question relating to frame size. When choosing a frame, is it better to buy the smaller of the two bikes you can fit and use longer controls (stem, post) or get the largest size that fits without being too big? Case in point: I'm 6'1" with a 33" inseam, a relatively long torso, 189lbs and a cat 3 road racer. I prescribe to the "long as possible" on the bike concept of fit. I'm currently on a compact 58cm Klein that has a 58.5cm TT, and using a 120/-6 stem. I feel great on the bike in all riding conditions, but I'm upgrading to a Trek 5.9 frame and want to maintain the same overall feel on the bike. The 60cm Trek (that Trek measures center to top of the seat collar) has the top tube length I want, but obviously is much taller than my current ride. Is it smarter to go with the shorter and smaller 58cm Trek frame and use a longer stem (130) since it's what I'm "used" to? or do I go with the bike that technically fits me?

Mike Faello

Steve Hogg replies:

The basic picture is this: Klein on their non-compact frames measure the seat tube from centre of bottom bracket to a line running horizontally across the seat tube from the top of the top tube if the diagram on their website is accurate. On your compact Klein, I assume that your size 58 cm [effective] has a hypothetical level top tube seat tube length measured in the same fashion.

Mike Faello responded:

First and foremost, thank you for your reply! I can't tell you how impressed I am with Cycling news and the speed of your response! Regarding your comments, I have to go with a new post since the Trek uses a different size (27.2 vs. 31.6). I was using the FSA K-Force Lite post on the Klein which has a fairly extensive setback, and on the Trek will be using a XXX Lite post, which is a zero offset post. I know this has the effect of shortening my riding compartment by eliminating the setback, but hopefully will help with the more relaxed Trek seat angle. The bottom line is I feel comfortable in my decision on the size frame I ordered (which should be arriving today!). Thanks again for your help Steve! Any other comments you have would be appreciated.

Steve Hogg replies:

The simple solution is to stick with an FSA K -Force post in 27.2mm with the new bike. That way all you have to do is as described yesterday. The K - Force has potential for 22mm more rearward offset than a Campag or Shimano post and so effectively slackens the seat tube angle. With the zero offset post you plan to use, the positional change is going to be a LOT more than the half a degree difference in seat tube angles. I have assumed that you want to maintain the same body position based on what you said in your previous mail. If not, go for it; if so, stick with a 27.2 mm K - Force.

Saddle angle and orthotic inserts

I recently had orthotics put into my shoes to deal with supernated joints (problems with ankle function) and to balance out a leg length differential. Prior to this I kept my saddle dead level, using a spirit level when changing fore/aft. Now, when level it feels like I am falling forwards and so I have had to raise the nose up. Presumably this is all down to some change in balance / leg function related to the orthotics. I raised my saddle slightly (2-3mm) as the orthotics raise both heels by at least that to cover the sideways adjustments.

I'd appreciate any comments you have - having spent about a year getting my position perfect I no longer feel as comfortable on the bike.

Are there any other considerations I need to make?

Ian Jackson

Steve Hogg replies:

From what you have said, it sounds very like your orthoses were prescribed for walking/running shoes rather than specifically for cycling. Is this correct?

Sports drinks and dental health

I am 41 year old female cyclist who rides around 250km a week. Just had my recent dental check up and I told my dentist I drank Gatorade during cycling. He quickly advised me that it wasn't a good thing to do as the drink is full of sugar and would effect the health of my teeth. He advised me to drink mineral water or just plain water. What I want to know is what is a "good for you' sports drink that doesn't have too much of an adverse effect on ones teeth due to sugar levels? (I drink Gatorade for the rehydration and energy benefits.)

Jodie Newell
Sydney Australia

Scott Saifer replies:

Given the significant amount of riding that you are doing, you should definitely be consuming some carbohydrate and electrolytes while you ride, as well as water. My dentist told me that the sort of bacteria that eat sucrose (the sugar in Gatorade) and attack your teeth work much faster than the sort that eat more complex carbohydrates and attack your teeth. If you are really worried about your teeth, you might consider eating whole grain bread or fruit with water instead of taking Gatorade. On the other hand, even the sucrose-eating bacteria don't work instantly. Ask you dentist if it would be okay to drink Gatorade and then brush as soon as you get home.

Pam Hinton adds:

In addition to the suggestion offered by Scott, you might chew sugarless gum after taking a swig of Gatorade. Chewing sugarless gum stimulates saliva flow, which helps neutralize acid produced by oral bacteria. It's the acid that dissolves the tooth enamel and causes cavities.

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