I used to be a long distance runner and cyclist about a year and a half or so ago (~10-15 mi/day) at 6:30 pace. Weighed 118 lbs 5'6" 18 y/o male. I joined engineering school and lost that running ability, now I'm here looking for some help.

I recently started cycling again and am wanting to become fit, but want to make sure I am eating correctly. I'm currently at about ~150 miles/wk going at about 18.5 mph to 19.4 mph for every workout. I weigh ~134 lbs 5'8" 19 y/o male and am wondering what my daily caloric intake should be. My calorie calculator estimates 5.5k - 6k+ calories burned per week on my current track.

I know barely anything about proper nutrition and want to make sure I am getting enough protein, carbs etc to maximize my efficiency as a rider. Are there any tips anyone can give me? Thanks a lot

  • Is a 18.5 mph to 19.4 mph speed an average speed?
    – alex
    Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 22:39
  • Half my rides seem to be about 18.5 average, other half are 19 to 19.4 average mph. Why? Commented Feb 24, 2014 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


This is a huge and complex question. I can share a few thoughts.

There is lots of data out there on eating healthily, and following most of it will put you on the right track. In general, avoiding processed foods and refined carbs is a good idea. You can - and, in fact, should - consider refined carbs during your workouts if they are fairly long. Also, look up "recovery nutrition", and follow that; how you recover has a huge impact. If you want a book, "food for fitness" by Carmichael, and "Feed zone cookbook" (I think that's the name) are good.

Most calorie calculators aren't very good; there are too many variables and they don't do a very good job. If you have a lot of extra money, you can get a power meter and track things that way, but honestly, that's overkill. Instead, just eat sensibly and weigh yourself every few days. If you are gaining weight, you are eating more than you need; if you are losing weight, you are eating less than you need. If you do want to reduce weight, I'd aim for a pound per week max; if you lose more it will compromise your training.

Finally, I would look to varying your workout so that it is faster on some days, slower on others. If you search for "cycling intervals", you should find some good stuff.

Good luck.


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