Ask the Dietitian

Ask Sheryl a nutrition question! And check out the articles below:

Sheryl Lozicki is a Registered Dietitian and owner of E2 Eating and Exercise for Optimal Fitness where she provides nutrition education for individuals, families, corporate wellness, and community education.  She has taught nutrition to athletic trainers and nursing students at Aquinas College and the University of Detroit for the past 8 years.  Specializing in sports nutrition, Sheryl helps individual athletes and teams improve their athletic performance through proper diet and nutrition.   E2 increases knowledge of the right types, timing and amounts of foods and beverages that help maximize performance, while reducing injury, illness, loss of muscle mass and fatigue.    

Sheryl is a member of the American Dietetic Association and Nutrition Entrepreneurs in addition to her faculty memberships.  She has competed in several 5K, 10K, marathons and triathlons and regularly places in the top quartile for female athletes.  She has been featured in Today’s Dietitian, Michigan Runner and community education events such as the “Got Milk” tour. 

Sheryl is teaming up with Village Bike & Fitness to bring you simple lifestyle tips to help create a healthier, happier you. 

"E2" combining good nutrition with physical fitness to add life to your years and years to your life.

Lozicki, Sheryl

Sheryl Lozicki, RD, MBA

Owner of E2 Eating & Exercise for Optimal Fitness


Fueling Your Ride

Gels, bars, bloks, rocks and reconstituted powders are very portable for long rides, and all are available at Village Bike Shop & Fitness. Which one you select depends on your reason for consuming them, sweat rate, and of course taste and flavor. The higher protein formulas, bars and roks are best saved for pre energy fuel, lengthier events, and post energy replacement.

Carbohydrates are the energy source in sports gels and beverages that keep your brain focused and your muscles fueled. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Dietetic Association (ADA), you require 30-60 grams of carbohydrate per hour to maintain blood sugar levels. This is the average range for athletes. If you really want to dial in your needs, the rule of thumb is 0.7 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight per hour. For example:

180 pound male/ 2.2 pounds per kilogram = 81.8 kilograms
81.8 kilograms x 0.7 grams carbohydrate = 57 grams carbohydrate per hour.

Ideally, this male athlete needs to consume 2 packets of most of the products below for every hour of activity to keep his blood glucose levels at the optimum level. If you need help calculating your specific needs, contact me at and I can quickly get you the answer by phone or email.


Serving Size

Carbohydrate Grams



Carbohydrate Source

Clif Gel

1 packet




(60- Chocolate)


Rice Syrup

Boom Energy Gel

1 packet




Maltodextrine, Fructose

Clif Bloks

3 Bloks






Brown Rice,

Cane Syrup

Accel Gel

1 packet




Maltodextrine, High Fructose Corn Syrup


1 packet




Maltodextrine, Fructose

Gatorade Endurance Formula

2 Tbsp (mix with 16 oz water)




High Fructose Corn Syrup, Surcrose

Which product is right for you? If you are a light sweater you should do fine with the gels and blocks near the top of the list. However, if you tend to drench both yourself and your bike, you might want to choose products with higher electrolytes (sodium and potassium) since these are lost in sweat. If you support organic foods and beverages, buy Clif gels or bloks. Some people complain of "gu belly" (nausea, sloshing, diarrhea) when they switch from sports drinks to gels. If you find yourself in this situation, try a gel made from a different carbohydrate source. The carbohydrate sources (last column) fall into three categories; rice syrup, matodextrine, and high fructose corn syrup. I find that most people who complain of "gu belly" have unknowingly taken it with sports drink instead of water. This creates a solution in your stomach that is so high in carbohydrate it just sits there, moving ever so slowly, making you very nauseous. Always remember to drink water when using gels, gu, bloks and roks.

Check back weekly. Next time we will talk about how much fluid to carry on your ride. In the mean time if you have any sports nutrition questions, please "Ask the Dietitian".

How Much Fluid Do I Need?

The average person's body is two-thirds water, well hydrated muscles hold 75% water, and blood is 93% water. These 3 facts alone tell you that water is critical to your athletic performance. In fact, shorting yourself on fluids may negatively impact performance more quickly than the inadequate energy (carbohydrate) intake we discussed last time. Even a minor level of dehydration significantly reduces your cycling speed and endurance within as little as 15-20 minutes.

Physiologically, without adequate fluids, the amount of water in your blood and in and around each cell decreases. As a result, you sweat less which means you are no longer able to effectively cool down your body. Your face may become flushed, your mouth dry, and your body temperature begins to rise. Lack of fluid also throws your electrolyte balance off leading to increased muscle soreness and cramping. This discussion always reminds me of my son getting off the bus, the first day after it's gotten really hot outside. He's played hard during recess and gym, and habitually forgets his water bottle. He consequently never drinks enough fluid, is cranky, his face is beat red, forehead warm, and he immediately flops on the couch once home.

Signs of dehydration include:

Thirst, Dry Mouth






High Body Temperature

Muscle Cramps in the legs



Weak or Rapid Heart Rate

Lack of Coordination

Poor Judgment

Dark urine, small amounts



Your goal when biking is to stay at a level of neutral hydration, not over or under hydrating. How do you get there? Drink at least 2 cups of fluid about 2 hours before your head out. Drink another 8 -16 ounces of fluid 15 minutes before your activity. Why the focus on the beforehand? Your level of hydration at the beginning of your workout determines how fast your stomach empties (gastric emptying time) and impacts performance right from the start. Increasing dehydration and higher body temperature will slow gastric emptying time, which means once you get behind in staying hydrated it's hard to catch back up. You also want all of your body fluids in blood, between and inside cells, muscles, and joints to be topped off.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends athletes drink enough fluid to stay in fluid balance, or 6-12 ounces every 15-20 minutes during exercise. How do you know if you are in fluid balance? Learn how to check your sweat rate.

One cyclist I know weighed 170#s and regularly lost 3 pounds during their 90 minute training ride. That's the equivalent of 6 cups of fluid and almost 2% of their total body weight! Learn how to determine your sweat rate. It's a key calculation for competitive athletes and easily done, despite its rather descriptive name. Always drink on a schedule, not based on thirst because once your brain registers thirst, you've already lost both speed and power. Some people drink every 15-20 minutes, while others use every "x" miles as their trigger.

When you're through with your ride, calculate your sweat rate and drink at least 2 cups of fluid for every pound lost. Make a mental note to drink more during your next ride if you've experienced weight loss. Recovery nutrition is an entire topic in itself, but do include a light snack or use a recovery drink within 30 minutes of your workout. Fluid loss can make you a slug for the rest of the day and make your next ride more difficult.

Q & A

Based on the initial "Ask the Dietitian" column, we've received some really great sports nutrition cycling questions that I'd like to share.

Question: I haven't been able to successfully use the gel nutrition products because I end up spending more time in the rest room than on the cycling course. What am I doing wrong?

Answer: There are 3 possible solutions to abdominal cramping from gels. 1) You need to drink approximately 2 cups of water between each packet of gel. Failure to do so will cause too high of a carbohydrate concentration in your stomach and it will rebel! 2) Make sure you are using the gels with water, not sports drink. Double dosing with both gel and sports drink results in the same scenario listed under the first point. 3) Check the carbohydrate source of the gel you are currently using by referring to the Village Bike & Fitness post Fueling Your Ride. Experiment with a gel that has a different carbohydrate source. It is important that you take time train your stomach to tolerate different forms of energy, just as you train your body to tolerate different levels of intensity. Always train with, what you plan to race with so that you get your nutrition nailed down, well in advance of your event.


Question: I figured out my sweat rate based on the Village Bike & Fitness post How Much Fluid Do I Need but I can't figure out how much fluid I need to be drinking. My sweat rate is 1.5 pounds during a 90 minute workout on my Cyclops. I drink a full 16 ounce water bottle during this ride and weigh approximately 145 pounds (give or take 10 pounds ?).

Answer: A loss of 1.5 pounds is actually 1% of your body weight or the equivalent of 3 cups of fluid (1.5 pounds x 2 cups fluid/pound). You need to add 24 ounces (3 cups) to the 16 ounces you presently drink for a total of 40 ounces. This will keep your blood and muscles well hydrated throughout your training. If you drink 8 ounces every 15 minutes you should be able to maximize your training effort and still end your spin in fluid balance.

Thanks for the good questions!

Water Bottle or Camelbak?

Make sure you head out with enough fluid as the weather heats up, and your body adjusts to the change in temperature and a more active lifestyle. In the last few posts we talked quite a bit about making sure you stay well hydrated to prevent fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration and poor muscle performance. Water systems are a good gift for Easter on April 4, Earth Day April 22, Mother or Father's Day. Check out these options at Village Bike & Fitness.

Bottles and cages are the most economical system and can be fitted to your bike for under $20. These are great for kids and casual riders. Most of these bottles average 25 ounces, just over 3 cups, and adequately cover an hour ride. Individuals who ride for longer period of time should consider adding a second mount or a Camelbak. All of the sports bottles at Village Bike & Fitness are BPA free. There are a variety of bottles available including stainless steel, insulated and those that are made with Hydroguard to prevent bacteria growth. Different mounting systems offer you easier access and return, including aero bar options for hands free access.

Village Bike & Fitness also carries a wide selection of Camelbaks, from a 35 ounce designed for kids, to 50, 70 and 100 ounce bags used on long rides or in competitive cycling. I'd recommend the Camelbak cleaning kit if you go this route to improve ease of cleaning. It is also important to make sure that all mouthpieces receive special cleaning attention regardless of the system you choose. A good trick to keep your fluids cool on your ride is to fill the container half way, 3-4 hours before you ride, and place it in the freezer. Fill it the remainder of the way before taking off and you has a nice block of ice that will slowly melt, while maintaining a refreshing drink.

Pre Workout Fueling

What you eat pre work out depends mostly on how long you plan to ride and if you are trying to lose weight. For many adults who average 30-45 minutes of leisurely cycling and are trying to lose weight, no extra snack is needed. This assumes you eat a well balanced diet consisting of 3 meals daily and have no pre existing condition like diabetes, or low blood sugar. Sparks People allows you to quickly calculate the amount of calories burned/cycling minutes adjusted for weight. For a 160 pound person, 45 minutes of leisurely cycling burns 220 calories, so you definitely can out eat your activity by pre workout snacking.
For longer rides, you want to make sure you eat a carbohydrate rich meal that is moderate in protein, lower in fiber and low fat. While normally, your goal should be a fiber rich diet, both fat and fiber will slow down the digestive process leaving you sluggish and nauseated going into an extended spin. Intensive exercise pulls fluid away from the GI tract to fuel activity and leads to cramps if you've eaten too close to your workout. Examples of foods to eat 3-4 hours before cycling include:

• Cereal, banana, low fat milk and 6 oz juice, water
• Scrambled egg sandwich, 1/2 cup strawberries and low fat milk or juice, water
• Peanut butter on an English muffin or bagel, ½ cup mandarin oranges and low fat milk or juice, water
• 2-3 oz meat sandwich with lettuce & tomato, small handful of pretzels, ½ cup sliced peaches, 1 cup low fat milk, water
Clif Bars available at Village Bike & Fitness (can be used 2 hours prior)

If you feel like you went too light on the previous meal and are headed into a longer ride, you can choose from any of the products we discussed in Fueling Your Rides. We keep an assorted mixture of these on hand in our pantry so we don't have to delay a ride if we are motivated to go for an extended period of time. Consume them 15 minutes ahead of time with water. Whether you are heading out for an average ride or a long one, remember to follow the hydration rule: "2 cups water, 2 hours prior and an additional 1 to 2 cups water, 15 minutes prior".

Time to Recover

Taking time to properly recover from an intense or long workout is as important as the training itself. Recovery foods and beverages should be a 4:1 carbohydrate: protein ratio and consumed within 30 minutes of your exercise when enzymes are most active and blood flow is greatest. Failure to refuel your body in this small window of opportunity will leave your muscles aching and their fuel storage sites poorly replenished.

Endurox R4 is a great recovery product available at Village Bike that comes in two tasty flavors, chocolate or orange. Two scoops of Endurox R4 contains: 52 grams of carbohydrate and 13 grams of protein (perfectly 4:1) to replace muscle glycogen; antioxidants vitamins C & E to aide muscle cell repair; bone building minerals, calcium and magnesium; and sodium and potassium electrolytes to replace those lost in sweat. It's a good product to have on hand as your time in training ramps up and throughout the racing season.

What can you find in your cupboards in the absence of recovery drinks? This year, 2 home remedies have been touted in the media. The first study completed by the University of Texas on triathletes and cyclists used breakfast cereal. Muscle biopsies and blood samples showed muscle glycogen and protein synthesis for repair using cereal and milk was equal to that of sports drinks. The second study completed at James Madison University on soccer players used chocolate milk. They found equal or superior muscle recovery when compared to a high-carbohydrate recovery beverage of the same amount of calories. No cereal or chocolate milk? Have a banana and a glass of milk for a carbohydrate and protein equivalent to a Cliff Bar. If you like the convenience and love the flavors like we do, stock up on a variety of Cliff Bars the next time you're in the store.

Earth Day

Earth Day, it's not some hippie, tree hugging event. There's nothing radical about wanting clean air and water or a desire to protect the environment.

Take a look inside your grocery cart or kitchen this Thursday and see what you can do to become more eco friendly.

1. Buy local. Consider that the average meal travels 1500 miles to make it from field-to-plate, that's a lot of carbon you can eliminate by buying locally. Look for the "Grown in Michigan" sign in your grocery store, join a coop, or buy from the local produce stands and farmer's markets over the next several months. Support the Grand Action Committee efforts to bring a year round Farmer's Market to Grand Rapids and the local community.

2. Plant a vegetable and herb farm in your yard or join a community garden. Tomatoes, peas, beans, onions, sweet corn, and green leafy vegetables have a pretty good success rate in Michigan. This is a great project for kids. Get starter seed packets at the grocery store, a good patch of soil from outside and reuse a cardboard egg carton as your starter pots.

3. Waste less. Reduce, reuse, recycle and compost. Plan out your weekly grocery list so you aren't burning gas on additional midweek trips. A meal plan will also help you stick to a budget and eliminates the end of week toss on foods that have gone bad. Look in your grocery cart, what can you do to reduce excessive packaging by manufacturers. Don't buy products that come in single service containers, this includes everything from water and sports products to after school snacks and deodorant. Make it a practice to carry your own coffee cup, water bottle and grocery bags to stores.

4. Last but not least, cycle wherever possible.


Are Cyclists Smarter?

Ha, I got your attention and yes of course we are! Research linking optimal brain function to exercise continues to mount. More importantly, exercise that is aerobic in nature like biking, running, hiking, aerobics classes, and swimming shows greater improvement in stimulating brain activity than stretching, toning and weight lifting. According to Henriette van Praag, PHD, a lead investigator at the Laboratory of Neurosciences at the National Institute of Aging, activities such as strength training don't activate the brain in the same way and may be more restricted to the muscle itself. However, don't underestimate the importance of strength training, Pilates or yoga. Strong muscles and flexibility are critical requirements for independence and mobility as we age.

Aerobic activity has been shown to improve cognitive function in the areas of learning, memory and multitasking. While this research is still in its early stages, the results have been consistent throughout the life span, regardless of age. Furthermore, the type of activity does matter! Positive growth in cognitive function occurs only when the blood gets pumping. Children who have higher fitness levels score higher on standardized achievement tests, particularly math and reading. Older adults show a 39% reduction in developing cognitive impairment such as dementia and Alzheimer's. Some research even suggests that women have a greater cognitive response to exercise then men, who am I to dispute science?

Apple or Pear?

When it comes to the whole piece of fruit, pears are slightly higher in fiber, while apples have the edge on Vitamin C. Both are excellent choices for your summer fruit bowl because they tend not to attract fruit flies and can hold up against the warmer days.

However, when it comes to body shape and health, pears are superior. People who primarily store fat in their hips, upper arms and thighs are said to have a pear shape, while those who tend to store greater amounts of fat in the abdomen are apple shape. The fat stored around the abdomen is called visceral fat and is associated with greater risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. While all of us gain visceral fat as we age, a healthy diet and regular exercise can reduce the visceral fat as long as you keep doing it. Research led by Slentz, in 2005 studied sedentary over weight men and women who followed a 30 minute walk program, 6 times/week for 8 months. Subjects lost 7% of their abdominal fat. However, those who stopped participating in a regular exercise program, increased their visceral fat stores by 9%. Slentz's research suggested that apples benefit greatly from regular exercise, and that people who yo-yo exercise do a lot of damage to their long term health.

How does this apply to the cycling enthusiast? Is your normal routine, one in which you ramp up your activity each spring, peaking in the late summer, early fall, and then allow your healthy efforts to fall victim to the cold Michigan winter? Make yourself a commitment this time to maintain the gain in muscle, and reduction in unhealthy visceral fat. Start an exercise journal this summer and draw a line in the sand that you won't fall below. You should also consider an indoor trainer or taking advantage of some great closeout deals on fitness equipment.

Too Much of a Good Thing?

Now that Spring is in full swing, training is ramping up for many athletes. Some of you may have already participated in your first race of the season and are showing promising signs of improvement over last year. Motivation is high and burnout is low at this time of the year so why should you take a day off to rest? While others complain about finding the time and desire to workout, your body craves the endorphin rush that comes with a good sweat and your mind is programmed to "Don't stop, push through". Below are several warning signs that your training is becoming too much of a good thing.

  • Decreased performance
  • Loss of appetite
  • Regular headaches
  • Muscle soreness
  • Recurrent illness
  • Restless sleep
  • Your exercise takes away from friend, family and school time

While putting the brakes on training for a day is hard to do this time of year, the positive benefits gained from giving your body a break are well worth it. Recovery days give your body time to top off all fluids, reload glycogen storage sites in your muscle and repair damaged tissues. It's a good idea to keep an exercise journal if you tend to get lost with enthusiasm in your workouts each spring. Put together a rough schedule for the week that includes cross training and at least one day of complete rest. Track activity, duration, intensity and how you feel you performed. If you notice a drop in performance, attitude or experience any of the overtraining symptoms above, take a day off, cross train or swap in low intensity activities for a day.

Cycling the Farmer's Market

Vitamins and minerals play an important role in a cyclist's diet. They help create the increase in energy needed to fuel our workouts (B Vitamins), improve the body's ability to carry and use oxygen from the blood (Iron & magnesium), maintain bone health (Calcium & Vitamin D), support healthy immune systems (Zinc), and repair and create new muscle tissue (Vitamin A, C & Selenium) following recovery from exercise. According to the American Dietetic Association and the American College of Sports Medicine's March 2009 Position Paper on Nutrition and Athletic Performance, the most common vitamins and minerals found to be of concern in the athlete's diet are calcium and Vitamin D, the B vitamins, iron, zinc, magnesium as well as some antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, beta carotene and selenium. I always add the mineral potassium to these lists since it's important in blood pressure regulation, many people under consume it, it is critical for muscle contraction and most importantly because potassium is an electrolyte lost in sweat. A weekly trip to the Farmer's Market is a great way to meet your increased nutritional needs. Listed below is the percentage of daily value each fruit or vegetable contributes based on a one cup portion size.

Visit for a listing of farmer's markets in your area. Supporting your local farmer means that you receive fresher, higher quality foods and keeping money in our community. It's also a great way to get children turned on to trying new produce and an easy way to break any bad winter eating habits that took root. Bring your recyclable bag to keep it really green!

Race Day Prep

I had a great Ask the Dietitian question last week by a cyclist last week before heading into their weekend ultra competition. They wanted to know what they should be doing the week before competition besides tapering their miles. There are three key elements of the taper:

Stay Well Hydrated
100% fruit juice that focus on potassium (muscle contraction/electrolytes) and vitamin C (antioxidants) are optimal. Examples of these include grape juice, cran grape, V8 juice blends, and orange juice. Low fat milk and water are also great choices. Limit the caffeine and alcohol since these are dehydrating. I also recommend a sports drink with lunch and dinner on the Friday before a race.

Research shows that athletes who are able to up their sleep time to 10 hours for the week going into a big event have better concentration, improved mood, higher energy, improved accuracy and ultimately, a better performance. Muscles also repair at sleep. Thursday and Friday should be 100% rest days. You want your glycogen stores (muscle, liver) to load only these 2 days. This may cause you to feel somewhat sluggish, bloated and achy but that is a good sign that your storage sites are fully loaded. Don't be surprised if you gain a few pounds during your taper. This occurs because glycogen holds water and you're not burning it off through exercise and sweat.

No meal skipping and carbohydrate rich. Carbohydrates are found in grains (bread, pasta, rice and cereal), dairy and fruits. If you have a larger meal the day before the race, make it breakfast with extra cereal, yogurt, bagels, waffles or pancakes and fresh fruit. Dinner should be light-normal sized and not too late.


Fuel or Famish?

Researchers at the University of Birmingham published a recent study in April that suggests that
you skip your pre workout snack or meal and run on empty in order to rid your body of more fat.
They found that cyclists who trained without eating burned significantly greater amounts of fat than
their peers who ate. The premise behind the study was that muscles prefer to use carbohydrates
as energy. Carbohydrates breakdown into readily available glucose in the blood or are stored as
glycogen in the muscle and liver. If the body does not have a lot of carbohydrate in reserve, it is
forced to breakdown fat instead.

I've been asked, "What's the real story"? A closer look at the research shows that it was conducted
on a very small sample size of 14 people. Both groups were young, healthy adults which is safe
in exercise research yet atypical of the US population with 68% adults classified as overweight or
obese, 25% hypertensive and 10% diabetic. The study divided participants into 2 groups, 7 people
each, cycling 3 times per week with a 1 hour rest break, followed by an additional intense cycling
session. One group was allowed to refuel between sessions and the other was directed to fast.
The results did demonstrate that the group who fasted burned a higher percentage of fat than
carbohydrates, however they performed worse.

While I'd like to see more research done in this area for individuals struggling with weight loss, I can't
advocate it for competitive athletes. Nor can I recommend it for young people, pregnant women, or
individuals with preexisting health conditions (Type 1 diabetes or hypoglycemia). Athletes who train
for extended periods of time (distance runners), in sports that require concentration to be safe (road
cycling) or are at risk of drowning (swimming) are also advised to fuel appropriately. Symptoms
of low blood sugar include headache, difficulty thinking clearly, confusion, hunger, irritability and
rapid heartbeats to name a few. Studies show that people who skip meals also have a greater
tendency to binge eat at the next opportunity, reaching for convenience foods that are nutrient poor.

Without adequately fueling, individuals will not get the intensity they require to see performance
improvements. Serious athletes want to maximize each training session and typically have higher
lean body mass than their sedentary counterparts. Their bodies have also already adapted, learning
to burn a greater percentage of fuel from fat. Many wouldn't consider running on empty. According
to Andrew Greenberg, the director of Obesity and metabolism Laboratory at Tufts University "You
may enhance how you burn the fat in muscles, but it doesn't affect your overall body fat". Ron
Maughan, a professor of sport, exercise and health sciences at Loughborough University in Britain
cautions against too much exercise on an empty stomach as well stating "It might help you get
very good at burning fat, but you won't be very good at whatever exercise it is you're doing".

Pregame Meal: Practice Makes Perfect

People always ask me how long they should eat before their run, bike or swim. The answer
is typically 3-4 hours depending on what and how much you have eaten. You want the
meal to leave you not hungry or with undigested food in your stomach. The why behind the
recommendation is based on food science.

  • Solids take 1-4 hours to pass through the stomach, whereas most liquids empty in 20 minutes.
  • All food is made up of carbohydrate, protein and fat. Fat takes longer to digest than protein, and carbohydrates digest the fastest. Fiber a type of carbohydrate, slows everything down in the stomach by absorbing water and delaying the rate at which food leaves the stomach. Excessive fiber may also cause cramping in the intestinal tract.

When you exercise blood is channeled away from the stomach to working muscles and organs.
Anything remaining in the stomach when exercise intensity rises becomes very uncomfortable.
The ideal pregame meal should be rich in carbohydrate, moderate in protein with relatively little
fat and fiber. Good choices include at least 2 cups of fluid along with a bagel, pancakes, fruited
low fat muffins, cereal (not bran), sandwich, medium sized pasta or rice based meal. A poor
selection would be a fast food hamburger and fries, or wedge of meat lover's pizza due to the
high fat content, not to mention the poor nutritional density. An athlete's individual tolerance
needs to be taken into consideration too. While some might enjoy scrambled eggs, pancakes
and juice 3-4 hours prior to competition, others may do better with a sports bar or a liquid meal 2
hours prior. Experimenting with new foods and beverages during practice perfects the pregame
meal for competition.

Lose Drag, Gain Muscle

Many cyclists believe that a leaner physique will increase their speed. It's a reasonable conclusion that a body comprised of a higher percentage of muscle will cycle faster if it is has less body fat to tow. This rings true in most sports when comparing players whose positions require faster response times. For example, football lineman traditionally have more body fat than the linebackers, middle distance swimmers average greater than sprinter swimmers, and track and field distance disc and shot put are higher than distance runners. However some athlete's pursue body fat levels that are too low for their sport puts them at risk for increased frequency of illness, injury, slower times, increased recovery needs and potentially an eating disorder. If you are interested in losing weight as you train for this season's summer and fall events, be wary of overly restricting calories. You must strike a delicate balance when attempting to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously. A diet that is too limited in calories, results in the body breaking down muscle to use for fuel. A slow, gradual weight loss of ½-1 pound/week will minimize the muscle loss associated with fast and dramatic results. Minimize your muscle loss by consuming protein at each meal (beef, chicken, turkey, fish, nuts, legumes, eggs, low fat diary) and don't skip meals. Instead you want to eat frequently to offer your muscles a constant supply of protein and fuel in the form of carbohydrates. In addition to your regular cardiovascular workout make sure you are strength training at least twice a week, all 3 major muscle groups (legs & buttocks, arms & shoulders, abdomen & back). Muscles break down when used, but grow during rest, so don't skimp on your sleep or day's off.