ASK RIDE…What is the best type of cross training for cyclists suffering fatigue?

Hi RIDE,

I have been suffering from a fair bit of fatigue lately but not from over training. We are unsure what is causing this but has been suggested that I do some cross training once a week and change my diet. So I am wondering what is the best type of cross training for cyclists and the best types of food to consume.

Thanks Karena

Dear Karena

Athletes invariably experience fatigue related disorders from time to time, usually rectified with simple interventions, or can develop into quite complex conditions if initially ignored.

To effectively treat your symptoms it is important to understand the cause. In my experience consulting with athletes (pro’s and serious amateurs) suffering with “fatigue”, the causes are multifactorial, and initiated by incomplete recovery between sessions and/or overtraining – which ultimately leads to immune system suppression, hormonal and metabolic disturbances. This is often reflective of what you have been doing during previous weeks or months. Alternatively, the causes maybe pathological or indirectly related to training status; including (but not limited to) stress; non specific viruses, anemia, or poor nutrition/hydration choices.

Even when having time off the bike, the food you eat will have an impact on your performance when it comes time to get back into training.

Even when having time off the bike, the food you eat will have an impact on your performance when it comes time to get back into training. PHOTO: Mick Ross

If your current level of training/competition performance is currently unaffected by your condition, I would suggest having a week off training, walk daily at an easy pace for 30min, get plenty of rest, and ensure your diet is well balanced with complex carbohydrates, protein and essential fatty acids. Many athletes skimp on carbohydrates, which will eventually back-fire, as your muscles and liver need to be re-stocked with energy rich glycogen after training. If your performance is suffering, I strongly recommend consulting with an experienced exercise physiologist or sports physician so your history can be examined carefully and thoroughly to diagnose the cause, and recommend guidelines to prevent future episodes.

Best wishes, ride smart!

Simon

Simon Sostaric is an exercise physiologist and Director of Melbourne Sports & Allied Health Clinic. He specialises in cycling performance.

www.msahc.com.au

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