Racing weight and resistance training: Perceptions and practices in trained male cyclists
The Physician and Sportsmedicine
Taylor and Francis
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Objectives: This study sought to investigate the perceptions and practices of achieving ‘race weight’ in a population of trained male cyclists. A secondary focus was to investigate the use of gym-based strength training, a possible attenuator of the side effects associated with weight reduction. Methods: A total of n = 97 well-trained cyclists ranging from local club level to international standard completed an online survey capturing data on the aforementioned topics. Results: Forty-nine percent of respondents indicated they were unsatisfied with their current bodyweight, with a similar percentage across club, national and international level riders. Riders who identified as climbers had lower reported bodyweight; however, all categories of riders expressed a desire to reduce bodyweight by a similar percentage (1.9%, ± 3.4%; 90% CL). Seventy-seven percent of respondents indicated that they had recently tried or were currently trying to reduce bodyweight, most commonly by reducing food intake and avoiding sugary foods. Nine percent indicated they were using either supplements or medications to lower bodyweight, and 27% reported having sought advice from a health professional. A higher proportion of international riders engaged in strength training (85%), compared to national (50%) and club (55%) riders (p< 0.05). The most cited reasons for not strength training were time constraints and believing it was not beneficial to their cycling performance. Conclusion: These data suggest that trained male cyclists are a highly weight-conscious population who engage in a variety of practices to reduce weight. Practitioners should be aware of these tendencies, as they may carry significant health implications if poorly implemented.