Macronutrients For Cyclists With Dara Richman

If you’ve ever wondered how much protein, carbs, and fats you should be eating as an endurance athlete, this podcast episode is for you. In it, I sit down with Dara Richman to talk about macronutrients.

Dara is a physical therapist, a coach and personal trainer. We’ve had her on the podcast before to talk about strength training and she’s fantastic.

If you’ve ever struggled with your nutrition, you don’t want to miss out on this episode.

Listen To (or Watch) The Interview

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Key Takeaways From This Episode

Don’t have time to listen to the full episode? Here are the key takeaways.

Everybody’s Nutritional Needs Are Different

“We’re all different. What works for me may not work for you. There’s a million different diets and ways of eating and things that work for one person that may not work for the other. And there is very few that are just straight up bad.

“There is the term ‘bioindividuality’, and it really means that we’re all built differently. I’m a mostly plant based athlete myself, but that doesn’t work for a lot of the people that I work with. And I’m not going to try to force it down their throats.

“Also, as an athlete, you need carbohydrates for fuel as a primary source. And that’s something that you’re gonna have people say differently, a lot of people are on low carb diets, but ultimately, as endurance athletes, don’t be scared of carbs, you need them.”

Count Protein, Not Calories

“Look at your protein, just start with that first and look at how much protein you’re getting in per day. The more protein you take in the more full you end up getting. And it actually ends up working and solving multiple problems.

“If they get more protein, they just tend to eat other less junk on and they tend to feel more full. Also, protein has more of a thermogenic effect, meaning you burn more calories by having to break down protein. So protein itself takes more energy to break it down.

“And you need it more for building muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body is just burning at rest.

Your weight in pounds is a good place to start with how many grams of protein you should be eating every day. Most people are not getting that. So if they increase the protein to what that number really should be, they end up just getting more full.

“They feel better, they feel more recovered, because they’re actually feeding their muscles with like things that your body needs. And it doesn’t mean don’t eat carbs at all, it just means get more protein.

“And what most people end up doing is they end up eating less crap. You know, because they’re full. They’re not snacking on something that’s like, adding absolutely nothing.

“So if I had to give my like, Quick Tip of the Day it would probably be start with protein.”

Think Of Carbohydrates As Workout Fuel

“‘I’m going to have my clients get in a lot of carbohydrates kind of close to when they’re doing their workouts, because then they’ll use it. You need carbs, otherwise, you feel horrible.

“People think like they can go low carb, and you totally can. But your top end power is going to suffer right away. So don’t not eat carbs when you’re working out. Like that’s makes zero sense. You’re never going to be as powerful as somebody who’s eating more carbs. There’s just no way around it. Like look at the research. That’s what it is.

“But then there’s other times where people are just going to carb heavy meals and if you’re not using those carbohydrates, they are just empty calories. And that is going to turn into body fat. You don’t need to eat a ton of carbs sitting at a desk all day. That’s a bunch of calories that you’re actually not using for energy source.”

Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

“Some people just aren’t eating enough. And the problem is, if you aren’t eating enough, not only are you losing muscle mass, but you’re killing your metabolism.

“So especially females, if you don’t eat enough, your body creates a new resting metabolic rate that’s really low. So it now thinks that you only need 1000 calories to survive. And then the problem is, if you eat above that, it, it’s just going to turn into fat. So you screwed yourself over by not eating.

“Unfortunately, that happens, especially with the peri menopausal women and pre and post because they’re so wigged out, like, ‘Oh my God, my body is just going crazy.’ So they just start eating less. And I’m like, yo, you’re killing your metabolism.”

Fats Are Critical

“If you really look at it, from a physiological perspective, your body can survive with proteins and fats, and you don’t need carbs, you really don’t need carbs at all. You absolutely need fats, you need fats and proteins, for your brain, your hormones, your organs, your everything. You want your eyes and your heart and your brain and your everything to be functional.

“Also, you can use fat as fuel. Fat will break down and be used as an energy source, it just takes longer. But some people as an endurance athlete is going to need that. Because you’re gonna run out of the ability to just use carbs at some point.”

dara richman

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A podcast for women who love bicycles! We we celebrate all forms of riding and all forms of women, so whether you’re a road cyclist, mountain biker, or bike commuter, you’ll find your community here. Each week we’ll week bring you interviews from inspiring women, and offer tips and tricks to help you thrive on the bike.

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About The Host

kristen bonkoski

Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.

An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.

Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life.  Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son.  If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.

Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.

IG: @femme_cyclist

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