Competitive body fat %

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kenyoncycleist
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by kenyoncycleist

Just wondering what's considered to be a competitive body fat % among the 1s and 2s these days..not looking for anything ridiculous like lance et al..

by Weenie


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Tapeworm
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by Tapeworm

kenyoncycleist wrote:Just wondering what's considered to be a competitive body fat % among the 1s and 2s these days..not looking for anything ridiculous like lance et al..


Anywhere from 8-12% is what I have read. Of course the method used to obtain measurements can lead to huge variations. I believe a dexascan is one of the most accurate out there.

Body fat would also change throughout the racing season.

maquisard
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by maquisard

The most competitive body fat percentage for YOU is the one that allows YOU to have the optimum power/weight ratio at threshold. This will not necessarily be the lowest BF %, just look at the pro peloton, there are many examples of this.

rustychain
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by rustychain

A U.S. crit rider can go for a higher percentage of body fat then a road racer. Not much climbing. Same often is true with TT's. I just went on a ride with a friend from Colorado that dropped his BF to 6% (he claims). He can climb better but his sprint is now poor and his flat land speed is down. IMO 6% is to low for him. Everyone is different but I guess the average is around 9% from the folks I ride with at that level. They all add some in the winter BTW
WW Velocipedist Gargantuan

marko
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by marko

My bud who just got 3rd at Joe Martin cat 1 is around 4%. You can see every sinew in his body. It works well when he goes up hill. Back in the day 4% was the goal.

CoachPotatoBilly
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by CoachPotatoBilly

marko wrote:My bud who just got 3rd at Joe Martin cat 1 is around 4%. You can see every sinew in his body. It works well when he goes up hill. Back in the day 4% was the goal.


****4% is just not doable for the overwhelming majority of riders. As someone else mentioned - optimal power to weight ratio is very individual and there are plenty of very fast guys with bodyfat more in the range of 8-10% that do just fine - guys that are already very lean, but suffer immune system and connective tissue issues and breakdown if they go lower than what works for them.

Successful road cyclists tend to be smaller people in general, but you would be surprised at how many really good riders that have won bigger races aren't even remotely near 4% bodyfat - and they are considered decent climbers by most standards. They have the whole package: they climb, time trial, sprint well, and have excellent powers of recovery, with decent biomechanics needed to tolerate lots of training volume.

Billy

marko
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by marko

Lots of old school thoughts are no longer optimal.

frd
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by frd

Stupid question: why having a too low body fat % would impact your sprinting abilities or power in general? And why with an extremely low BF% you are more exposed to illness?
I never found an explanation but I'm sure there is one.

dawgcatching3
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by dawgcatching3

CoachPotatoBilly wrote:
marko wrote:My bud who just got 3rd at Joe Martin cat 1 is around 4%. You can see every sinew in his body. It works well when he goes up hill. Back in the day 4% was the goal.


****4% is just not doable for the overwhelming majority of riders. As someone else mentioned - optimal power to weight ratio is very individual and there are plenty of very fast guys with bodyfat more in the range of 8-10% that do just fine - guys that are already very lean, but suffer immune system and connective tissue issues and breakdown if they go lower than what works for them.

Successful road cyclists tend to be smaller people in general, but you would be surprised at how many really good riders that have won bigger races aren't even remotely near 4% bodyfat - and they are considered decent climbers by most standards. They have the whole package: they climb, time trial, sprint well, and have excellent powers of recovery, with decent biomechanics needed to tolerate lots of training volume.

Billy


Bettini comes to mind: he was somewhere in that higher range, and seemed to do all right.

rustychain
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by rustychain

frenk wrote:Stupid question: why having a too low body fat % would impact your sprinting abilities or power in general? And why with an extremely low BF% you are more exposed to illness?
I never found an explanation but I'm sure there is one.

It is very difficult to get down to 4% without some loss of muscle. Most folks have a sweet spot for watts to kilos. Going lower or higher results in decreased performance. Lack of proper nutrition can hamper muscle growth and immune responses. When training in a glycogen depleted state your immune system almost shuts down for some time (hours) as your body tries to recover. Over training does the same thing but wuth longer lasting results. Most people have a set point for weight/body fat for optimal health. Not always the same as optimal performance BTW. Staying at a lower percentage of body fat then you personel set point can lead to high stress/ high C-reactive protein levels (indicater for a slew of ailments). One strategy is to add weight in the winter for recovery and to build muscle mass. In the summer your body can most likely deal with the stress a low body fat percentage comes with.
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Koen
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by Koen

I'm no expert on bodyfat but look at this picture of Sastre, taken yesterday at Giro:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/photos/2009/ ... 437_1_full
isn't that something like 10% bf? isn't he the latest tour de france winner? :-)
Personally, I'm around 9 and happy to be and stay there
Why is staying under 4% dangerous? I don't see an explanation in your reply rustychain. If you lower your bf superslow and your body won't get into starvation, where the risk then? And staying at 4% is eating statusquo kcalories, i don't see the harm there actually
Gewoon bluve goan!

addicted
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by addicted

Koen wrote:Why is staying under 4% dangerous?


I think the idea is that for -most- people, to stay at 4% means to be denying your body of a normal amount of food/nutrients (and/or over training), thus increasing the risk of immune system issues, reducing recovery abilities, muscle loss, etc.
Of course, everyone is different. I was measured at 3.5% when I was 18 years old and was perfectly healthy, weighed 148.
I'm 36 now, weight is 175, and fat is likely closer to 15% - 18%.... damn parenthood!! :)

Ypsylon
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by Ypsylon

rustychain wrote: Most people have a set point for weight/body fat for optimal health. Not always the same as optimal performance BTW.


Any hints of how to find that set point without learning the hard way?



I read that Sauser (I think) can't sleep an entire night without waking up in between when his bf is really low. Not something I'd sacrifice, personally.
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasures of a bike ride," said John F. Kennedy, a man who had the pleasure of Marilyn Monroe.

jvanv8
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by jvanv8

I agree, BF does not have a direct relationship with one's level or performance.
I actually think that sprinters or classic-style 1-day events (without significant mountain climbs) can get away with higher body fat than other sports.

But when I raced cat 1, I was 3% and 120lbs at ~ 6ft and could win most things that involved an incline.. Now at 175... ride for fun and enjoyment. Never had a problem like Sauser with sleeping though. But I still thing cycling is very friendly to those with higher BF percentages.

by Weenie


maquisard
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by maquisard

6ft and 120lbs ?!?!?!?! :shock:

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