Jump to content
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Improve your Speed & Endurance by Dropping Some Body Fat

Coach Robb



One of the most frequent questions I get asked is how to improve speed and endurance on the bike and my answer is always "drop some body fat". When you carry around unwanted body fat, your muscles have to work harder to complete the same amount of work. Fat insulates your body which makes you over-heat, another energy robbing component to your riding and racing. When you decrease your body fat, you immediately improve your VO2 Max number (a sports science number that dictates your ability to utilize oxygen, the higher the number, the better). Here are four simple steps to decreasing your body fat.

Four Ways to Decrease Body Fat

1. Weight training is the key to weight loss. Building a foundation of lean muscle will provide you fat burning centers found in the muscle spindle cells that is created and enhanced with loadbearing exercises like strength training.

2. Feed your gains with protein. People often skip protein intake immediately after they exercise, thinking that they will save 200 to 300 calories. However, a high-quality shot of protein – specifically amino acids, will accelerate lean muscle growth and muscle repair post exercise. The more lean muscle you build the more efficient you are at burning body fat.

3. Determine your physical and mental limiters by completing a strength and cardiovascular assessments (sport specific). Establish specific goals and objectives for the next three, six, and 12 months that will help you eliminate your physical limiters. Research indicates that eight workouts per month is the minimum required to stick to a fitness plan. The more frequently you exercise, the better the odds are that you that your initial effort will turn into a habit. Being mentally focused will help you maintain your motivation levels.

4. If you have been away from training (i.e. off season, illness or injury), ease back into strength training and cardiovascular fitness slowly. Many people try to resume or pick up where they left off when they exercised in the past. This only results in excessively sore muscles, stressed joints, and a negative mental outlook on working out. When you begin your strength exercises, choose a load level that's extremely easy to lift for 8 to 10 reps for two sets. Complete that same amount of weight and reps for three weeks to allow your body adequate time to adjust and adapt (I refer to this as the Anatomical Adaptation Stage). For your cardiovascular exercise, keep your duration less than 30 minutes and keep your intensity low – you should be able to pass the talk test, which is where you could talk to someone else or sing to yourself while exercising without becoming winded.

If you have any questions or need anything clarified, please don't hesitate to post a comment below. Until next time, Train Smart, Not Hard!

-Coach Robb


If you'd like to follow my blog, click the "follow this blog" button in the upper right.

  • Like 1


Recommended Comments

sounds like less is more to begin with ? injuries ,family ,weather ,etc etc !! exscuses i spose to some i really need this info thanks..... The limiters thing would be cool is there info on how to achieve this ? and the amino acids how much should you take does it vary for the w/out that you do or is it based on weight ?plus i always ache after a w/out normally 24 hours after then the next day i am right again

Share this comment

Link to comment

Twigster-I have a series of assessments that I implement with all of our riders to test three components:

1. Muscle Strength

2. Muscular Endurance

3. Lactate Tolerance


If you would like an overview of these protocols, please feel free to email me directly. 


Regarding the amount of aminos, I honestly don't believe in a specific calculation because there are too many variables to factor in: true intensity levels, duration levels, load levels, etc. 


I evaluate food intake to performance and recovery (i.e. your muscle soreness).  By documenting food intake, workloads and recovery feedback, I create customized eating plans accordingly.


Your soreness is expected due to the tearing down of muscle tissue (NOT the residual effects of lactic acid).  If your soreness resides after 48 hours you didn't handle the post exercise protocols sufficiently: food, fluid, sleep, foam rolling and exercise.  


If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to post here so everyone can benefit from your questions.

-Coach Robb

  • Like 1

Share this comment

Link to comment

Why do you suggest keeping cardio low intensity? I always understood that you should go as hard as you can for the amount of time you have to workout. That is, if you're not new to training.

Share this comment

Link to comment

Aaron-thank you for your question!  There is a concept that I refer to as the Energy Matrix.  The higher the intensity, the more stored carbohydrates you burn.  The lower the intensity, the more stored body fat you burn for fuel.  I work with some Red Bull sponsored athletes and they did a complete performance assessment and were provided a very detailed assessment report.  In the report it illustrates the how the body converts to using progressively more and more sugar as the intensity goes up.  It is for this reason that we want the athletes to keep the intensity (as a percentage of maximum heart rate - specific to the form of exercise) predominately aerobic.  


Please let me know if you have any questions or need anything clarified.

-Coach Robb

Share this comment

Link to comment

Help with range of motion.

I'm 53 sheared left humerus above the shaft, but below the cartilage area. Bone above the break was jammed back down into lower section, and slightly out of alignment/offset (9.3mm on CT scan). No surgery yet. Tomorrow is 7 weeks, and next week I return for analysis for rotator cuff our other damage. Bone has retained above offset and appears to have fused well. However, my arm (extended to side) will not raise above 90 degrees before the rest of shoulder bone group begins shifting, and even then only goes another 5-10 degrees. Same, but less range with arm extended forward. How do I get more range of motion after doctor confirms there is no rotator cuff or similar joint damage. Fear not I will listen to doctor, but he is not "sport specific".

Thanks, Clint

Share this comment

Link to comment


Thank you for your question - I am bummed to hear that you got hurt though!  The first place that I would start with would be a sport specific massage therapist that can go into that joint and determine if you have scar tissue that is causing the limitation, is a joint issue or a muscular imbalance issue.  Depending on what you hear, we can develop some specific exercises and other modalities to get you back on the bike ASAP.


If you can get a report and email it directly to me (Robb@CoachRobb.com), I will look at it and respond with some other follow up protocols.  


Yours in sport and health,

-Coach Robb

Share this comment

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now