The Never Going Pro Podcast – Episode 5 – Ramp Testing and Optimal Post-Workout Recovery Routines

In this episode, Shayne, Chris, and Ken chat about ramp test results, and why they likely over-inflate your FTP, optimal post-workout nutrition (hint: what you do post workout isn’t as important as you think), and our special guest this week is Chris Schwenker, PT, who speaks about post-workout body maintenance. Enjoy!

Listen: https://soundcloud.com/thenevergoingpropodcast/episode-5-ramp-testing-and-optimal-post-workout-recovery-routines


Available on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and SoundCloud


Show Notes:

Carbohydrates are paramount for performance and training adaptation in endurance sports!

Burke et al. (2001) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11310548
Kanter (2018) –https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5794245/
DAILY CARBOHYDRATE NEEDS – 5-7g/kg day for lower intensity days, 7-10+g/kg  per day for moderate to intense days, and 12+g/kg for the really crazy days

DURING TRAINING – Jeukendrup (2013) – https://www.nestlenutrition-institute.org/docs/default-source/global-dcoument-library/publications/secured/43ed8539970e2102171c848956c1a049.pdf?sfvrsn=9642684f_0

Stellingwerff et. al (2014) – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24951297

In short duration exercise situations (∼1 h), oral receptor exposure to CHO, via either mouthwash or oral consumption (with enough oral contact time), which then stimulates the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, provide a central nervous system-based mechanism for enhanced performance.

The above strategy was also used during Victor Campenaerts, UCI Hour Record, as you can see him sipping and then spitting it out right before the attempt below.

POST TRAINING – Aragon et. al (2013) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577439/
Probably the least important aspect of things IF you get the daily right, especially if the majority of of your training is <90 minutes, which I’d bet most of our listeners is. However, Ingesting 0.3-0.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight with 1.0-1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight improves the absorption of protein 1-3 hours post exercise.

So, in a nutshell, the optimal post-workout recovery routine nutritionally is one that is as minimal as possible. It can be minimal only if you do your job the other 22-23 hours a day though, i.e. you’re not an athlete only when you’re working out, you’re an athlete all day long.

Shayne

D.I.R.T. : Dominance Includes a Ripped Trunk! (6 pgs)

TRUNK

Show Transcript:

Ken: Hey, you guys want to hear a funny joke?

Chris: Yes.

Shayne: Yep.

Ken: I bet my butcher he couldn’t reach the meat on the top shelf and he refused to bet me, he said the steaks were too high.

Shayne: I’m not laughing. I’m not going to laugh at that.

Ken: Come on, man, that was a good one. One of these days I’m going to get a laugh out of you guys.

Chris: That was real bad.

Ken: Man. The steaks were-

Shayne: That was one of the worst one. Yeah, this is Episode Five. That’s part of the worst ones [crosstalk 00:00:29] but it’s okay, it’s a bad joke.

Ken: All right, good, progress the jokes are getting worse. Welcome, everybody to The Never Going Pro podcast by Dads Inside Riding Trainers featuring GC coaching. It’s a podcast about riding bikes, and parenthood, and trying really, really hard at both. I’m your host, Ken, “the Badger” Nowell and with me is Shayne Gaffney, owner of GC coaching.

Shayne: Hey guys.

Ken: And Chris Gorney fellow DIRT teammate, passionate cyclist and outstanding dad.

Chris: Hello.

Ken: So let’s take a few minutes to catch up with everybody. So how’s everybody doing? Let’s start with you, Chris.

Chris: I’m moving to California next Thursday, so my life is a tumultuous at best.

Shayne: Great word.

Chris: I was a little afraid of messing that word up on a podcast.

Ken: Well, I hope you’re excited about it. I mean, certainly you’re in either what Kansas City or Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas?

Chris: Missouri, but I don’t like to talk about the Missouri part.

Ken: Okay, got you. Shayne, how are you doing?

Shayne: I’m good. I’m tired. My six month old is not sleeping through the night consistently, so she’s starting to slowly I think kill us. But otherwise I’m doing great, man.

Ken: That’s good. That’s good. Business is good?

Chris: I think that just gets worse until they’re all 18, they’re just going to slowly and slowly kill you.

Shayne: I think that’s true too. My almost three year old now he sleeps like a champ, he can go down and sleep like 14 hours straight, and he’s been doing that since he was probably three months old. So this is a little bit different for us just being six months, almost seven months and still not really sleeping totally. But yeah, business is great man. Crushing it, so I’m happy.

Ken: Sounds good. You’re crushing it, and helping other people crush it.

Shayne: That’s it, man. Helping it, I love it. Probably you Ken, what’s up with you man?

Ken: So I have been dealing with this ongoing back injury. I injured it and then re-injured it trying to jump off of a high dive. And then I finally-

Chris: What?

Ken: They still have high dives in some areas, right?

Shayne: You can’t just glaze over that, you have to explain that.

Chris: Where were you?

Ken: I was in Greensboro at the country club.

Chris: [crosstalk 00:02:42] islands, what were you doing?

Ken: And I tried to do something called a preacher seat, which does an even bigger splash and a can opener and it jacked up my back. But I’ve been going to the chiropractor, and the physical therapist, and doing yoga every morning.

Chris: Can you describe what a preacher seat is?

Ken: So basically you lean back just like a can opener and you cover your face but both legs are sticking out, and you stick your bottom into the water first and it makes an epic splash.

Shayne: So is that like a cannonball?

Ken: It’s more like a can opener but with both legs extended, and your hands covering your face. Yeah, it’s awesome when you do it right.

Shayne: Both like extended. Oh, I see what you mean.

Chris: Clearly your doctors and chiropractors think it’s awesome.

Ken: Yeah, it’s keeping them in business, that’s why they love it so much.

Shayne: Hey, didn’t you do a FTP test yesterday?

Ken: I did an FTP test and finally broke the 300 mark that was a lot of [crosstalk 00:03:37]. So we did a group FTP test called last man standing. You can find it on YouTube on Dads Inside Riding Trainers page, and so the way it worked is we all did a countdown, we started the ramp test at the same time and since we’re on a flat road, it kept us all together and just one by one riders started falling off the back.

Shayne: Who won, You or Jason?

Ken: I beat Jason.

Shayne: Yes.

Chris: Nice.

Ken: That’s the most important thing.

Shayne: I can’t stand that guy.

Chris: It’s like two of the main founders of DIRT going head to head. And you’ve got to pick a camp, are you a Jason man or are you the Badger fan?

Ken: Yeah, it’s you can’t like his both. So I beat him by about seven watts, I think he got 295, I got 302 I made it just past the… I just completed the 400 watt interval, and when I hit 420, I fell apart.

Chris: As many do.

Ken: As many do.

Shayne: Let me not be that guy, but I’m going to be that guy. So I would argue you didn’t find your FTP, you found what your max aerobic power was because you did a ramp test.

Chris: He just called your effort trash.

Shayne: I didn’t want to be that guy, but that’s what we… we should talk like I think for sure because a ramp test is a great way to judge what your max aerobic power is or VO2 max things like that. But a true FTP test should be a lot longer like 20 to 30 minutes, ideally. And then if it’s a 20 minute tests, you should ideally do some kind of burn out effort, like I think Zwift uses the three or five minute 115% effort before because you’re trying to decrease your anaerobic contribution to the power produced. That’s why people have a ramp test and they have a super high FTP because it’s being over inflated.

Chris: That sounds like episode three or four repeat right there. Like you’re bringing it back.

Shayne: We talked about that a little bit. Yeah, we briefly talked about it, I think in episode two.

Ken: So I do have a question, as long as I’m being considered… like whenever I set up a new training plan, I’ve been using the same… well, using a ramp test to set my numbers is that good enough or am I at a serious disadvantage for having doing it… being done that way?

Shayne: I mean, personally, I wouldn’t use ramp test, I think you’re doing yourself a disservice because you’re training off of an almost vanity FTP instead of a true FTP. So, yeah, personally, I think you’re doing a disservice. But that’s also why things like sweet spot training, I think have been really successful because sweet spot is 88 to 93% FTP. And I’ve noticed that ramp tests tend to overestimate FTP by like five to 10% sometimes, so by training at sweet spot, you’re actually training closer to thresholds.

Chris: So that gives me a couple of thoughts. One, he just basically demolished your “I finally broke 300 on my FTP”, so that means you’re actually like 285, so that’s-

Ken: If even.

Shayne: I think like 220, 230 though.

Chris: You’re talking kilometers an hour, right? Metric?

Shayne: I mean, possibly even. Yeah.

Ken: Well, man, that sucks.

Shayne: But that’s what it means, so like, I don’t want to be that guy.

Chris: But hey, so seriously, Ken and I were having a text conversation yesterday because I was eating lunch, and he was hating his job. And I was talking about doing an FTP test with them, and I told them I didn’t want to do it because I’m always afraid that I’m not going to be as strong as I want to be or as I feel. And I’ve always kind of felt FTP is kind of like a measuring contest, like it’s never really felt very relevant because I’ve had many a time I’ve done like a ramp test. And then I’ve been on a training plan, and it either felt too easy, or too hard, and I ended up messing with my FTP until it felt appropriately difficult. I’d say I’ve probably never gone through a training plan without messing with my FTP a little bit if it’s been based off of a ramp test.

Shayne: Yeah.

Chris: So that’s interesting to think about. So really, FTP ramp tests are trash.

Shayne: No, they’re not… They’re trash for testing FTP, but they’re not trash for testing what your max aerobic power is, which is important to understand too. So like when I do FTP testing for my athletes, I test them in a one minute and a five minute and then in a 20 minute power last. So I’m getting what their anaerobic capacity is at the one minute, I’m getting close to what their VO2 max is in the five minute, and then I’m getting ideally what their FTP is in the 20 minute, but the key is the FTP test is last when their anaerobic capacity will ideally be diminished. So it won’t be just anaerobic revealed.

Ken: So just to feel… go ahead.

Shayne: I was going to say at least threshold the way I understand it is, it’s the point where exercise intensity when the energy source your body is using to fuel the activity changes significantly. That’s I think, a better way to understand what threshold is, because FTP I mean, it’s been debunked plenty of times now, it’s not 95% of a 20 minute maximal power tests, it’s not your normal power for an hour. It’s not your highest power for an hour, because then you have to figure out what your FTP is, and then secondarily, what’s your time to exhaustion is after your FTP, which we talked about as well in previous episodes. So FTP is very hard to, I guess, nail down to one or two things. It’s a very multifaceted thing.

Ken: Right. And so the new thing is using computers to model all this stuff for you.

Shayne: Yeah, I use WKO to do that modeling for me.

Ken: Very cool.

Shayne: And you can also use excerpts and other stuff like that to do that as well.

Ken: Okay, very cool. One thing that amazes me is when you look at the tools that we have now versus what the pro cyclists were using in 2000, the Pro cyclist in 2000 would be killing to use the tools that any amateur could set themselves up with for about $1,000.

Shayne: Absolutely.

Ken: It’s unbelievable. And I think that one of the reasoning that the trainer road guys use the ramp test is that they want something that is repeatable, every cycle that you’re not going to dread to do, and so I kind of get where they’re coming from there a little bit as well.

Chris: Also so I agree with that, because I hate the 20 minute ramp, I hate the 20 minute FTP test. Everybody hates it, it’s literally the worst thing you do ever because it just feels-

Shayne: Bad.

Chris: Bad. Yeah. And so I mean, I love the idea of something that is shorter and easier just grit your teeth. But even that, I wonder like… I mean, the group of guys I ride with there’s always this discussion about power over strength. And we’ve got a bunch of guys who are a little bit bigger, and we hit these quick descendants, and they’ve got so much power, and they just burst the power to weight ratio going down hills, pretty good for them. And they fly down these short hills and pass the lighter guys but then we get on these longer descents, two three mile descents at like three percent. And they just run out of gas, and I kind of think about that with the FTP ramp test versus the 20 minute tests, you can almost just like grit your teeth and force an FTP, like higher number for the ramp test but then the actual 20 minute test to me is like… that’s like just a deeper pain, a much deeper pain.

Ken: Yeah, yeah, definitely. I dread doing that more. And one thing that I will say is the way that we did it the other day where there was like five or six guys doing it together, it really was a lot of fun. It was just like I’m going to hold on just long enough to drop that guy. And so it was a good time, and I think it was repeatable, so I think that what we can do is just say that everything’s going to have an advantage and disadvantage. And depending on how seriously you’re into training and how accurate you need that number to be, it’s going to make a difference in what type of testing you need to do as an athlete.

Shayne: And then please make your FTP tests longer. Gosh, that’s what I would say.

Ken: Okay, fair enough. Fair enough. So let’s go ahead and move on. This week we had some great crowdsource questions from Dads Inside Ridding Trainers, and the first topic that we… the one that hit the top of the queue with the most votes was a discussion about post workout recovery routines and how to get the best recovery in when you are limited on time. Is that a pretty accurate description of what we’re going to be looking into today, Shayne?

Shayne: Yeah, he kind of said, optimal post workout recovery routines when you’re already pressed to finish the workout. So I think, post workout recovery routine is on a time budget or when time crunched. I think I would look at it that way.

Ken: Got it. Now, did this include nutrition and off the bike training such as stretching?

Shayne: I would think so. Yeah. So I took a deep dive into the nutrition aspect of things, and then we have… I know a special guests who will talk about more of the stretching and mobility type stuff off the bike.

Ken: That sounds good.

Shayne: Who is like… what’s his name? I can’t remember his name. Sorry, but maybe you can fill it in.

Ken: Yeah, his name is Christopher Schwenker, and he is a physical therapist.

Shayne: Schwenker?

Ken: Yep. Schwenker, that’s really his name.

Shayne: Schwenker.

Chris: It’s just a name you have to say again, and again.

Ken: You know what it is, it’s a combination of schwing and wanker.

Shayne: Is he a doctor, Dr. Schwenker?

Chris: [crosstalk 00:14:03].

Shayne: I don’t want to [inaudible 00:14:05] him, but Schwenker.

Ken: No, man, he loves being called the Schwenker, so I don’t think he’s going to be offended by this at all.

Shayne: The Schwenker, that’s hilarious.

Ken: Yeah.

Chris: I mean, all I can think of is Wayne’s World now.

Shayne: Of course. Yeah.

Ken: Schwing.

Chris: That’s part of the podcast right here.

Ken: So, before I get all the nitty gritty, why don’t you talk to me about what your guy’s typical post workout routine is? Like what do you do? Why don’t you start Chris?

Shayne: Okay, so all right, I’ll go ahead and start. So as soon as I’m off the bike, I come into the house and I almost always eat the exact same thing which is two packets of instant grits, two eggs made into an omelet with four ounces a ham and a slice of American cheese and ketchup on it.

Ken: Okay. Remind me what are grits again?

Chris: It’s what rednecks eat from the south.

Shayne: It’s a redneck meal between the American cheese, the ketchup on the eggs, it’s a really good traditional Southern breakfast. Grits are made out of corn on that have been soaked and lied to remove the shell.

Ken: Okay, so it’s kind of like oatmeal-ish?

Shayne: Very similar to oatmeal. Yeah.

Chris: I’ve never really liked grits to begin with and now actually hearing the description of it, I want them less.

Shayne: Well, you guys don’t know what you’re missing, because it’s so good. Yeah.

Chris: Soaked then lie, sounds strange.

Shayne: So it’s about a 550 calorie meal, I think it’s about 40% carbohydrate, 30% fat, 30% protein or there abouts. And that’s usually on top of drinking Gatorade while I’m on the bike and usually I have a banana before I ride.

Chris: That’s a good conversation about sugar structure and drinks because I’m very… I’m actually wildly against Gatorade. So let’s make a different podcast.

Ken: Well, Chris, tell us about what you eat.

Chris: Yeah, when I get done ridding, it honestly changes a little bit. It depends on three things. One, How hard did I ride? Two, is my daughter awake yet? And three, what food do we have in the house, because I am the guy who with my wife, if she’s doing the grocery shopping that week. And she’ll go, hey, what do you want from the store? And I’ll go, oh, I don’t care, whatever, and then I’ll actually have opinions later that I forgot to express. So I kind of just deal with what’s in the house. Ideally, if I ride pretty hard, I’ll come in and I’ll usually have a banana, and then I will make a couple of eggs on a piece of toast with some Trader Joe’s everything seasoning and some Irish butter in the pan.

Shayne: That sounds quite good.

Chris: Yeah, and so kind of getting sugars, and then sugars which again, form of carbohydrates, actual carbohydrates and then protein from the eggs. I’ll either mix it up with two egg whites and then one full egg or just two full eggs. Knowing that the protein from the egg whites is not processed as well without actually, yolk as well, I have learned and read. But then if I’ve worked out really, really hard, I’ll actually have like a half a PB&J.

Ken: That sounds good.

Chris: Yeah, so I’m a big proponent of RPE workouts, and just general nutrition like listening to your body. So I kind of really try to listen to my body as silly and granola as that sounds. I feel like I can kind of feel when I need sugar or feel when I need protein. And so it kind of changes a little bit, I make all the jokes about donuts and stuff, but I actually don’t do that. I don’t come in and just eat a short carbohydrate.

Ken: So Shayne what do you usually do for your post workout nutrition chain?

Shayne: I usually do a recovery shake, which is typically a weight gainer shake. So I use Optimum Nutrition pro gainer right now, depending on how hard the workout is, I also just might use an ultra gin which is, I guess, a less calorically, less everything compared to a weight gainer. Because it’s interesting the more I talk to athletes, the more I feel like they’re under feeling. And the under fueling, I think is resulting in a decrease adaptation and just overall performance too. Which I’ll kind of get into with the research I have, to kind of back that up too. But yeah, usually that’s what I’ll do. I’ll get off the bike, I’ll make an actual recovery shake within, typically half an hour afterwards, and then I’ll eat my normal diet otherwise.

Ken: Because I’ll say that’s one of the things in the research you sent out to us in the past few days talking about your diet, and tell me if I’m paraphrasing this wrong, but your diet right off the bike is… less than 90 minutes of working out, typically, your diet off the bike is not as important or right off the bike, your nutrition isn’t as important if you’re actually fueling like an athlete the rest of the day. Is that [crosstalk 00:19:20]

Shayne: Exactly, yeah. So that’s totally right. So that’s kind of in a nutshell and what we can talk about in the next 10 minutes or whatever, because the question was what’s the optimal thing to do after your ride? And my response is it’s what you do after the ride, I think is the least important thing. I think what you do the other 23 hours of the day or 22 hours of the day is more important because if you’re entering a workout in an under fueled situation, you’re going to perform less than you would ideally. And then if you need to really recover after the workout, you’ve done some wrong during the day or over the course of the day. So let me just kind of get into it, I guess I broke it down into carbohydrates are, I think the most important part for any endurance athlete. And I know the keto and all kinds of stuff is becoming really popular and probably going to get some comments on that which is fine, we can talk about that in another episode, but for performance and for high intensity-

Chris: I would love to talk about that in another episode.

Shayne: For sure. But for performance and for high intensity training, you need carbohydrate to actually do what you need to do. So Burke in [inaudible 00:20:34], I’ll link all of his research to the posts… to the show notes as well. So Burke Cantor, they have a daily requirement the most endurance athlete should get, so you’re talking to five to seven grams of carbohydrate per kilo per day for lower intensity or just everyday maintenance days. Seven to 10 grams per kilo for a moderate to more intense days. And then the really crazy days, and we’re talking like World Tour kind of stuff, it’s 12 plus grams per kilo for those days. So I’d say most athletes should be in the five to eight grams per kilo day, if you’re training very intensely.

Ken: So just to put some numbers to that, so you’re 70 kilograms or roughly 150 pound male, it’s 70… it’s seven grams per kilogram a day that’d be seven time seven that’d be 490. Wow, that’s a lot that seems…

Shayne: It’s a lot of carbohydrates.

Ken: It is a lot of carbohydrates.

Shayne: Yep. So it’s 55 to 65% of your daily caloric needs should be from carbohydrate based on the research that I read and that I’ve kind of learned. So high carbohydrate diet for intense training, and for performance is important. For weight loss, it’s a total opposite I think approach, and that’s where things like keto and intermittent fasting, and that kind of stuff comes into play. But for performance carbohydrates are crucial.

Ken: Okay, and so one thing that people seemed to get really dogmatic a number of years ago about, you need to be drinking your shake with so much protein and carbohydrates within minutes of getting off the bike or you’re screwed. And like I said, people were really dogmatic about that, and now it sounding like that’s not so much the case that your glycogen stores are being replenished throughout the day, unless… and you don’t really need to worry about that crucial window minutes after the workout unless you’re going to be doing a double workout that day or something along those lines.

Shayne: Right, exactly. Yeah, I’ll link so Aragon did a nutrient timing revisited article which I’ll link to the show notes too. And he goes into that carbohydrate window, which is what it was coined, so the carbohydrate window was supposed to be 30 to 16 minutes after your workout you want to consume about 0.3 or 0.5 grams of protein per kilo with one to 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilo to aid in absorption. That’s been a little bit… I shouldn’t say it’s been debunked completely, but there is some research that says now as long as you were feeding your body, and you’re doing all the things correct, within 24 hours, your glycogen stores should be right back to where they were before. So what you do, again, to push this point further home, what you do right after the workout, isn’t that important as long as you’re doing stuff right, the other times of the day.

Chris: What I love about this is what we’re really telling people is, and I should be clear, we’re talking about performance and not weight loss because… So we’re talking about the guys who they’re already pretty fit or within five to 10 pounds of their ideal weight, weight is not a concern, those things will be true. If we’re saying hey, cycling is the best sport in the world because you can kind of like… encourage you to have a beer at the end of the ride. It encourages you to enjoy some healthy carbohydrates, especially in a world where everyone’s saying carbs are bad. Keto good, carbs bad. I kind of love it. It’s like, oh, yeah, actually I will have those chips with my meal. Thank you. Not eating healthy but…

Ken: And I agree with what you’re saying when I got out of certain circles that were almost again dogmatic about the Paleo diet or don’t eat any grains, and sort of got away from that universe, and started enjoying a big bowl of rice. And noticed that I got significantly leaner, my performance on the bike got better. So I think that we’re really speaking to two different audiences here. In the ethos of what we wanted to do with this whole podcast being never going pro, which is simplifying things and saying, guys, it’s going to be okay, if you don’t eat X amount of carbs and protein within 30 minutes of getting off your bike. You’ve got a little bit more wiggle room than that. But when we look at our core audience, it’s one, people trying to lose weight and two, people trying to improve or get faster. So what do we do with a guy… So as far as the folks that are trying to lose the weight, where are we at with them?

Shayne: I think we should push that to another episode.

Chris: I agree.

Shayne: Yeah, because that’s going to be more about energy deficit, keto, carb, all that kind of stuff. Fasting, that’ll be more about that stuff, so I think we should push that off.

Ken: So Shayne, we’ve been kind of talking loosely and on our kind of planning you put everything into three categories of daily, during, and post. And I think we really covered the daily of the fact that if you’re not trying to lose weight, you need to fuel like an athlete all day long regarding carbohydrates and then afterwards what you’re eating doesn’t matter as much, but we haven’t really talked about during. So you posted some really cool articles, there’s a 2013 article, and a couple really interesting examples. Can you talk to us about during fueling because I have quite a few stories being in some Iron Man races and some other races where I have quite literally seen people fall off their bikes passing out from under fueling. And so I know it’s not usually that extreme, but I’d love to hear what the research says like even just as a normal Dad, what can I do that doesn’t require a professional degree or coach to help me during my ride?

Shayne: Yeah, so I like to refer to Juke [inaudible 00:26:39]. He had an article chosen 13, which I’ll link to the show notes as well. Essentially, the shorter the workout is, the less important the fueling during is, and then you seem to get the breaking point once you get past two hours, that’s when the fueling becomes more and more important. So he broke it down into 30 to 75 minute workouts, there really isn’t any need for fueling as long as I said before you’re getting your daily carbohydrate intake, and your glycogen stores are full before you get on the bike. After 75 minutes to two hours, they recommend about 30 grams of carbohydrate per hour.

Ken: Can you put that in terms of like… because I think it’s easier to say 30 grams per kilo or 30 grams per hour.

Shayne: Per hour.

Ken: Yeah, per hour. What kind of food would fit in those categories? Like make it stupid for me? That’s like a power bar, that’s a… you know what I mean?

Shayne: So power bar, yeah, but I think better foods… so when you’re eating off the bike, you want to have ideally complex carbohydrate. And when you’re eating on the bike, I think simple is better, or like more refined carbohydrate. So that way your body can absorb it rapidly.

Ken: So give me an example of each one of those.

Shayne: Like on the bike, it would be a gel or a shot block or a date or something like that, a very easy to digest food. Typically, most of the carbohydrate is in 25 gram increments. So like if you look in like a goo, or a shot block or whatever most serving size is around 25 grams, and the same thing with like a scratch bottle mix, it’s about 25 grams of carbohydrate. So most of the time it’s easy to break it down into one bottle or one gel or one shot block or whatever, it’s about 25 grams of carbohydrate, so you can break it down easily. If you’re aiming for 30 grams an hour, it should be one bottle of mix or one bottle and mix plus one gel, which is 50 grams an hour or one bottle of mix plus two gels which is 75 per hour. You can kind of break it up that way.

Ken: Can I ask have you ever seen someone on a bike pull out a packet of dates and start eating them?

Shayne: I do all the time. For sure.

Ken: Seriously? You pull out some nice Turkish dates?

Shayne: Turkish dates, yeah. Really, really ripe dates that are almost like gelatinous, so there’s really little to no…

Ken: You’re very classy, very classy cyclist.

Chris: Well, I never would have thought about that, I would [crosstalk 00:29:12] with my grits and American cheese.

Shayne: Yeah, it’s because you’re stuck on your daily routine.

Chris: So usually what I do when I’m on the bike is I drink about… once I hit about a half an hour, I’ll start drinking Gatorade and for an hour to 90 minute workout, I’ll drink about a half a bottle to a bottle of Gatorade, which is I think somewhere in line with that, those guidelines that you were talking about.

Shayne: And yeah, so for our audience, it’s mostly going to be working parents busy, busy, so 90 minutes or less is typically going to be the workout window. So really, during the training itself, you don’t really have to worry much about anything in terms of fueling, aside from just keeping yourself hydrated. And then what you do before and afterwards is what matters. So once you get over two hours, two to three hours then you want to ideally consume about 60 grams per hour. Now you start to get into the tricky area of where you have to train your gut to absorb, so you don’t get GI distress, and you can also use different forms of carbohydrate, like fructose and glucose, so different pathways of absorption in your gut. So 60 grams an hour, typically you can get away with just a one source just with glucose.

Shayne: But once you get to two and a half hours plus that’s when you ideally want to aim for about 90 grams per hour, and that’s when you want to have multiple carbohydrate sources. So fructose and glucose being the two most popular ones. So a fruit and then a gel or whatever.

Ken: Perfect. That’s exactly what I was going to say is give us examples of all those, both of those I can buy at the store.

Shayne: Yeah, so you can get like a fruit gel, or you can get baby food in the containers that you can fit in your jersey pocket to do those things, plus a gel or whatever.

Chris: Just like get… not the glass ones [crosstalk 00:31:05].

Shayne: No, not the glass ones.

Ken: Hey, so I think that’s interesting. Even just looking at this graph, it’s like… and I feel this too, it’s if you’re going to go out and punch an hour and a half ride in the morning with some friends, no big deal, wake up, eat a banana, and go. And then eat well when you get home, but it’s the longer you ride, the more you need per consecutive hour. So if I know we’re riding three hours, I need to be fueling more hour one, hour two, and hour three to finish strong. Whereas if I know I’m only riding an hour and a half, there’s much less maintenance that needs to happen. Is that kind of summary, simplified summary?

Shayne: Yeah, I think so. And that’s why you see people kind of bonking at the end of an Iron Man because they may have only consumed 30 to 45 grams per hour. But if you extrapolate that out into 10 on plus hours, you can have enough glycogen on board to fuel the effort and you’re going to bonk and crash.

Ken: Well, and I always like the comparison of like your body is… like in endurance sports, your body is an engine, and if you keep it fueled properly and running right, you can go all day. And this is just kind of putting some numbers to that for me. So I think this is really helpful.

Shayne: Yep. And then I think more just kind of an offshoot and very interesting thing was the… which I didn’t really understand quite why this works. But I’m going to link a video to Victor [inaudible 00:32:24] and it’s our record, and you can see him consuming a liquid, and then spitting it out. So the theory is that the oral receptors and their exposure to carbohydrate via mouthwash or an oral consumption where it stays in contact with the taste buds long enough, it stimulates the pleasure and reward center of the brain. And that provides an actual performance enhancements. So I think if you really into like, [crosstalk 00:32:52]-

Chris: [crosstalk 00:32:52] and stuff.

Shayne: Or whatever, you can kind of take like a swig of something, hold it in your mouth a little bit, and then swallow it or spit it out afterwards, but you don’t have to worry too much about wait, where it was Victor was worried about his watt per kilo the whole time he was over there. So I think that’s why he spit it out, so he wouldn’t have to take on any more liquids. But yeah, it’s kind of cool.

Chris: That seems crazy.

Ken: Yeah, it does seem crazy. But hey, if it works… Any hack will work when you’re trying to break a world record.

Shayne: I think that’s down to just the dopamine response in the brain as a great painkiller. So I think if you have dopamine in your brain at a high level, you can push into that pain threshold a little bit more. But I can’t prove that by science and nobody can at this point, but that’s something that they’re working on right now, which is kind of cool. And yeah, that kind of brings us back to the posts, that kind of the running of the conversation where as long as you do stuff right, I think pre and during, posts shouldn’t really matter that much at all. But to give you some ideas, ideally ingesting 0.3 or 0.5 grams of protein per kilo, with one to 1.5 grams of carbohydrate per kilo will improve the absorption and the recovery.

Ken: Got it. Well, Shayne, this has been very informative. I appreciate you doing all the research and giving us some guidelines to focus on for making sure that we get the best out of whatever experience that we’re looking for as far as our performance. Yeah, our interview this week is with Chris Schwenker physical therapist. He recently wrote a core workout for our team titled DIRT Dominance Includes a Ripped Trunk. Chris and I got to chatting about a month ago on discord when I was talking about a back injury and was remarking how I’ve only become fit at one thing which is cycling. And I really enjoyed my conversation with Chris and I hope you will as well. So here we go. Chris Schwenker.

Ken: Chris, thanks for joining us today. How are you doing?

Chris Schwenker: My pleasure. It’s an honor.

Ken: Yeah, well, so tell us where you’re joining us from.

Chris Schwenker: I’m speaking to you from the East End of Long Island.

Ken: East end of Long Island. Fantastic. How’s the weather up there today?

Chris Schwenker: The weather is beautiful. It’s a little bit humid, but nice here on the beach, a little bit isolated for a climber in this flatland area.

Ken: So that’s your dominant aspect as a cyclist, is a climber?

Chris Schwenker: Yeah, and it’s a little bit tough to train on sand dunes and bridge overpasses.

Ken: Yeah, I feel you, so all the better for having Zwift in our arsenal of tools to get faster.

Chris Schwenker: Absolutely.

Ken: And I think you and I have very similar attributes as far as cyclists. I see us both hanging out in similar places when we race together. So for our audience, Chris is a physical therapist. He was actually a valedictorian of his high school and went on to Brandeis. And so tell us a little bit how you got interested in physical therapy.

Chris Schwenker: Well, I was always into sports, and I was blessed with the ability to do fairly well in school, so I went to Brandeis was able to get a full scholarship, which was very fortunate because I came from very meager upbringing and I wouldn’t have been able to go to college if I hadn’t worked to achieve that. So I just figured that the next logical step for me would be to go to medical school, so I got into medical school. I was one 10th of the one percent of the applicants to get into the school that I went to. And when I got there, I realized that it really wasn’t for me. So I took a leave of absence, which I’m basically still on which I doubt that they’ll take me back, but then I looked into other ways to get in the health field while also remaining active in sports way of things. And that’s what drew me to physical therapy. And I’m so happy that I did, and I love every minute of every day that I work.

Ken: That’s fantastic because I know a lot of us can’t say that, I definitely have a job that pays the bills, but it was never anything I’m passionate about. So kudos for you for getting in and you have your own practice now, right?

Chris Schwenker: I absolutely do. I own a practice, we have about 20 employees now, it’s not a huge practice, but my wife is a registered nurse. And when my children were born, she stopped practicing as a nurse. She was able to stay home, which we all know that’s the whole genesis of DIRT, I started training really early in the morning, and that’s where I found you guys because I didn’t want to train in the evenings when the kids were home doing things. So she and I built up the practice together and now it’s basically on a cruise control, so I have the opportunity to sit back and watch my staff do things, and get the opportunity to work with my wife, which is also really special.

Ken: That’s fantastic. So in your practice, you work with a lot of athletes and specifically you are a bike racer, and you work with competitive cyclist. And so I think that gives you a really great insight both being somebody that does a lot of riding yourself, but what are the types of injuries, and shortcomings that you see with cyclist?

Chris Schwenker: Well, there’s a myriad of injuries that cyclists get, and the majority of them are overuse injuries, which are based largely in improper positioning. And I’m not talking about like acute injuries from crashes or running your mountain bike into a tree. I’m talking about overuse injuries, because in the course of a 50 mile ride, you might turn the pedals 100,000 times. So if you’re not properly positioned, then that wears on you. So, as cyclists we’re in prolonged periods in one static position, and that’s basically in a flex position, so your hip flexors get really tight, the musculature around your lower back becomes overly stretched. The hip rotators, such as the Piriformis get overworked, there are structures around your knee that if your saddle isn’t correct, become an issue.

Chris Schwenker: So there are a myriad of issues and it’s a matter of identifying them, and then recommending the proper fit and going from there.

Ken: Got you. And that’s really something that I noticed this recent injury was a lower back injury and then it sort of gravitated around into my right hip crease. And when I’ve gone to a physical therapist and a chiropractor, they were really digging into my Solaris, and my obliques, and some of those muscles. So what’s happening to those muscles that makes them so painful?

Chris Schwenker: When you’re maintaining a static position, and when I mean a static position when we’re riding, we’re hunched over, we’re flexed, so those muscles are shortening over time. And when you activate a muscle it actually causes it to shorten at a more rapid rate. So what we are doing in effect by our positioning on the bike is basically training that muscle to be shorter and shorter and shorter. So if you don’t actively stretch it when you get off the bike, if you don’t actively do things to break up any adhesion, anything that’s in there such as… through rolling or otherwise, then those muscles are just going to get shorter and shorter and shorter. Whilst the reciprocal muscles, the muscles on the other side, the lumbar paraspinal, the hip flexors, and the hip rotators those will get longer and longer, and will create imbalances, and that’s where injuries occur.

Ken: Got you. So one of the things that we see with a lot of our riders is they feel so much pressure to spend every minute on the bike that they can because they are time crunched parents. And so they may have seven hours a week, and they don’t want to spend an hour of their seven hour exercise window stretching and strengthening. What would you have to say to them or what are some exercises that you would have them do, that don’t take a lot of time, but they could help with some of those propensities to repetitive use injuries?

Chris Schwenker: Well, I’m certainly from the same mind frame is that when I first started cycling, I just figured that the longer and harder I rode, the better I would get. And I eventually plateaued, I burned out. I was extremely upset about it, and the best advice I got was to speak to a coach. And the coach basically has taught me how important recovery is, that recovery is as equally as important as your workouts. And I joke that my coach basically protects me from myself. He’s there to make sure that I don’t do anything stupid, right? So, prevention and recovery are the-

Ken: Sure, yeah, that makes sense.

Chris Schwenker: Yeah, so prevention and recovery are essential, so when you say you don’t have time if you don’t have 15 minutes a day to maintain through core training, through stretching, through rolling, and that causes you to spend one day, two day, three day, four day, five days, a week, or two weeks, or a month off the bike, then are you really saving any time? So what I recommend to people is you set up a core training program, you set up a daily stretching program, and when you streamline it, you can do that in 10 or 15 minutes. And that’s what I do every day. It’s not like you have to do an hour of it after you train, it’s just a matter of being consistent because consistency is where you’re going to get your gains. And they’re going to be minimal gains, which for a lot of us is basically all that we can ask for.

Ken: Right. Now you wrote a workout program for us DIRT Dominance Includes a Ripped Trunk. And so I’ve looked over this thing, and done some exercise on it, and it’s good stuff. And it doesn’t take a lot of time. Now, one thing I do notice with these types of routines is, the more you get into them, the faster you can get through them, without having to take long rest from moving from one exercise to the other. And you don’t have to look down at your piece of paper for every single bit of nuance that’s been put into the workout, you just sort of flow through it faster over time.

Chris Schwenker: I agree. And I’ve been doing it forever, because I’ve… eventually, through my profession and having a whole host of injuries, which as a physical therapist, I’m almost embarrassed to say, but I never stop. I work through everything. That’s just my mentality. So I will work through the pain and I will figure out what is the best formula for me. And that’s what I have figured out, that I need to do at least 15 minutes of stretching and core strengthening after each training session in order to maintain the level of fitness and ability to keep pushing the pedals every day.

Ken: Got you. So what are your thoughts about like sort of general yoga workout and maybe… the internet is full of 10 minute yoga videos versus something more specific for cyclist?

Chris Schwenker: I don’t know too much about yoga because that was never something that I got into, I’m a science based empirical thinker, so yoga wasn’t something that I was ever attracted to, I was more inclined to just set up a stretching routine, and to streamline it, and to just do it every day. And when I first started doing it, I was as tight as… to use a Long Island phrase as a clam’s ass. But I’ve since then become very flexible, and I’m extremely flexible now it’s just a matter of making minimal gains, and over time they become maximal gains. And that’s some of the best advice that I could give.

Ken: Got you. Well, Chris, I really appreciate you writing that workout for our team. And also, being somebody to bounce some questions off of as I’ve been going through this recovery from my back injury, I had dry needling this morning. And so that’s a fun and painful experience. But I think that your advice here really will resonate with a lot of our athletes. So yeah, thanks for joining us today.

Chris Schwenker: I hope it does. And I want to tell everybody on the team if they ever have any specific questions that, we have a number of different ways that we can reach each other and I’m more than happy to help out.

Ken: All right, that sounds great. Well, thank you for joining us, and we will see you… I will see you online here in a couple of days I’m sure.

Chris Schwenker: My pleasure Ken, I really enjoyed it.

Ken: I hope you enjoyed the interview and thanks again to Chris Schwenker for taking the time to be on NGP. Chris and Shayne thanks and great catching up with you as well. Thank you everyone for listening to Never going pro, ride on, and I will see you in Watopia.

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Shayne Gaffney

About the Author Shayne Gaffney

Shayne holds a bachelors degree in Health Science in Professional Development and Advanced Patient Care, is a licensed physical therapy assistant in Massachusetts, a USA Cycling Level 1 (expert level) certified Coach, a USA Cycling Power Based Training certified Coach, Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified Coach, a US Military Endurance Sports (USMES) affiliated Coach, and USA Olympic Committee Safe Sport certified. He is the owner and head Coach of GC Coaching, Workout Content Editor at Zwift, the creator of P2 Coached Computraining, and the creator of Zwift’s “Build Me Up” Flexible Training Plan. He has been published in Bicycling Magazine, the TrainingPeaks blog, and Zwift Insider. He can be contacted directly via info@gaffneycyclingcoaching.com

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