• The Cycling News forum is looking to add some volunteer moderators with Red Rick's recent retirement. If you're interested in helping keep our discussions on track, send a direct message to @SHaines here on the forum, or use the Contact Us form to message the Community Team.

    In the meanwhile, please use the Report option if you see a post that doesn't fit within the forum rules.

    Thanks!

Anorexia the new EPO?

Page 2 - Get up to date with the latest news, scores & standings from the Cycling News Community.
Jun 19, 2009
5,220
0
0
Visit site
unsheath said:
How is that possible when Glycogen reserves are used up within 2-3 hours of hard riding?

If I was doing that regime for a month, I'll be losing a hell of a lot more than 6 kilos.

He probably kept that up for a week. The other weeks his 6 hours included some bakeries.
 
Mar 10, 2009
42
0
0
Visit site
kbiker said:
Are these kids making their own choices? Is this coming from coaches? Are teams or national associations pushing this?

Yes, yes and yes. I have seen it first hand in both men and women. It's very sad. I don't know about any weight loss supplements, but I have seen and heard pressure applied by coaches, directors and teammates. The U23 Belgium house is/was known for giving riders eating complexes. The pressure can be very subliminal, or passive aggressive..."Are you really going to eat that?" or "seconds, really?" It doesn't take much to get into somebody's head.
 
Sep 25, 2009
7,527
1
0
Visit site
weight loss and performance vs. health. i love this very interesting and important topic.

i learned a great deal on my own mistakes competing in two classic aerobic sports (cycling and xc skiing) where excessive winter upper body weight always clashed with my cycling goals.

to be honest, i agree with both the op and his critics.

the key issue that seems to be overlooked by all sides - how to properly define what’s excessive weight and where to shed it from.. figuring out that for a specific athlete and staying on the right side seems all that’s required. But it takes several things.

i firmly believe (and actually practiced at one point) - if one competes at elite level achieving proper balance between racing weight and health is both a must and perfectly possible. But one needs help from modern science/coaching.

in a nutshell - one needs regular medical health monitoring and fitness testing.

chemical marker of over training and decreased immunity are well known. mental hurdles to competitiveness and health can assessed too. a good coach (or a team) will plot the markers against an athlete’s weight, % body fat, season ‘s training volume and intensity, calories eaten, protein/carb ratios, supplements etc.. that’s what you have to do if competing at elite, winning and staying healthy.

but that’s for grownups. when things come to starving juniors and adolescents it’s a whole different game as their bodies are not fully formed yet. it adds an ethical dimension.
 
Jul 8, 2009
82
0
0
Visit site
someone wrote this on bikeradar

Unsurprisingly someone wrote in to the paper to question the figure given in the article and here is the response

'The figure of 1500 calories is indeed correct. Wiggins is getting back in shape after an extended period of downtime. To achieve his "fighting weight", he is training hard and controlling his diet in order to lose around 13lb in time for the racing season. It is not a regime we would recommend to any but the most committed and experienced athlete, and even then only for short periods.'
 
Nov 24, 2009
1,602
0
0
Visit site
DarkWing said:
someone wrote this on bikeradar
BikeRadar said:
Unsurprisingly someone wrote in to the paper to question the figure given in the article and here is the response

'The figure of 1500 calories is indeed correct. Wiggins is getting back in shape after an extended period of downtime. To achieve his "fighting weight", he is training hard and controlling his diet in order to lose around 13lb in time for the racing season. It is not a regime we would recommend to any but the most committed and experienced athlete, and even then only for short periods.'

Well, he must be one hungry dude right now!
 
Feb 21, 2010
1,007
0
0
Visit site
python said:
weight loss and performance vs. health. i love this very interesting and important topic.

i learned a great deal on my own mistakes competing in two classic aerobic sports (cycling and xc skiing) where excessive winter upper body weight always clashed with my cycling goals.

to be honest, i agree with both the op and his critics.

the key issue that seems to be overlooked by all sides - how to properly define what’s excessive weight and where to shed it from.. figuring out that for a specific athlete and staying on the right side seems all that’s required. But it takes several things.

i firmly believe (and actually practiced at one point) - if one competes at elite level achieving proper balance between racing weight and health is both a must and perfectly possible. But one needs help from modern science/coaching.

in a nutshell - one needs regular medical health monitoring and fitness testing.

chemical marker of over training and decreased immunity are well known. mental hurdles to competitiveness and health can assessed too. a good coach (or a team) will plot the markers against an athlete’s weight, % body fat, season ‘s training volume and intensity, calories eaten, protein/carb ratios, supplements etc.. that’s what you have to do if competing at elite, winning and staying healthy.

but that’s for grownups. when things come to starving juniors and adolescents it’s a whole different game as their bodies are not fully formed yet. it adds an ethical dimension.

good post.

One thing missing here is that competitive cycling, especially at a professional level isn't exactly healthy.

A precise parallel is the sport of wrestling and its adherence to weight classes. I've read of high school aged boys cutting weight to compete, often fluctuating as much as 3-6 kilos per week. eating disorders can be serious stuff but they can get by as the sporting competition side is quite short, minutes versus the hours of cycling.

As an "enhancer" I don't know this is an enforceable, or even something that can be moderated. You inherently lose weight, sub-q fat, less vigorously worked muscles atrophy but bodies are generally self-regulating unless there is a disorder.

Obviously, chemical help complicates things as it can set-off other imbalances. But starving oneself would be tough to regulate.

For any non-adult who goes beyond well-planned training and nutrition to manage/lose weight, there does need to be some intervention. Parents, coaches, friends all have a role.

I have seen the ravages of true famine and starvation. It is as cruel of a thing as there can be.
 
Jun 16, 2009
647
0
0
Visit site
During my time in the Euro elites I flirted with an eating disorder.

It starts with:

personal frustration at lack of performance
only eating properly as a reward for hard training / good racing
quest for better power to weight ratio
Going to bed deliberately still hungry
loading up for classics, crashing out early, and feeling revulsed by huge number of unused calories consumed so avoiding eating for rest of day etc.
Hearing things from the pros like Wiggins idiocy, and the Belgian "nuchter training" (endurance training on empty stomach)

Racing mainly on flat terrain with strong winds my lack of weight probably did me more harm than good.

One thing to remember is that many cyclists are strange fellows. Control freaks abound, and the same weirdness that drives someone to train 28hrs a week can easily make someone try to live on a calorie restricted diet devoid of fat.

A girlfriend of mine suffers severe anorexia, and through her I learned that almost all eating disorders are about control.

When my performance was not where I wanted it to be and that I always seemed to be thwarted by things that I could NOT control I sought to grab onto the things I COULD control in order to feel more secure.

One of those is eating less / diet modification but there are plenty of other strange behaviours to be found in the higher categories such as obsessive bike maintenance, avoiding sex, going to bed bizarrely early, overdoing a certain type of training etc.

The strange thing is that more often than not a few days rest, a decent meal and maybe a few beers are way more helpful mentally and physically than these sort of spartan regimes.
 
Jul 30, 2009
1,735
0
0
Visit site
Thanks for that info DarkWing. If he wants to get on a GT podium he needs to learn to suffer more, but he seems to have realised that in the most recent CN interview. 1500 cal a day must really hurt.
 
Jun 18, 2009
281
0
0
Visit site
Colm.Murphy said:
A precise parallel is the sport of wrestling and its adherence to weight classes. I've read of high school aged boys cutting weight to compete, often fluctuating as much as 3-6 kilos per week. eating disorders can be serious stuff but they can get by as the sporting competition side is quite short, minutes versus the hours of cycling.

I'm not sure this equates. First, you are correct, 3-6 Kg per week is more nornal that you might think. I used to lose 2 Kg in a single 2 hr workout. The reason is that the weight gain and reduction are to a large part water. Given that the overall physical exertion last for six or seven minutes, the level of dehydration is a secondary concern. Whereas in cycling, the level of exertion is for hours and dehydration is primary concern.
 
Mar 10, 2009
504
0
0
Visit site
I'm not sure if anorexia is the correct word to describe the dietary habits of cyclists, but I will say that cyclists are on par with wrestlers and jockeys who cling to their eating disorders with the same fervor as religious zealots. And that's only a step away from the same mentality of many a teenage girl.

A while back, Julich did a piece for Cyclingnews that only touches on the behavior. Illuminating.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/battle-of-the-bulge
 
Jul 6, 2009
795
0
0
Visit site
when i have eaten too low calories particularly fat calories i get sick quite easily. when i eat a more balanced varied diet mood and immune system are enhanced as well as recovery from hard efforts. i learned this the hard way low caloric intake also wreaks havoc on testosterone and other hormones negatively affects bone mineral density cholesterol can get too low which causes various problems etc...etc... to put it simply just like being overweight being underweight is not healthy.
 
Apr 10, 2009
594
0
0
Visit site
Somebody needs to post the pics of Hamilton and Rasmussen if there is any doubt of eating disorders in professional cycling. It may not be rampant but it is definitely a concern.
 
Apr 1, 2009
7
0
0
Visit site
I've coached at the USA Cycling Junior Regional Development Camp for ten years, and I give an evening lecture every year on this very topic. There are coaches (even within the USAC system) who care about this issue and want to raise awareness of it. I'd say that 10% of the riders I knew from my days as a domestic professional exhibited some signs of anorexia. I talk to the kids about the control issue, how easily it can get into your head that lighter = better, and how everything goes downhill from there.
 
Feb 21, 2010
1,007
0
0
Visit site
I agree that this does tilt more towards the long term implications and changes, and wrestlers generally need short-term changes to make weight.

If you are training and eating decently, the weight will come off, and the unused/unchallenged muscles will get smaller.

taking it to the extreme as seen in the pro images, well, that appears to also have been a byproduct of extra help.

loop it back to a guy like wiggans who made a dramatic change to body composition, it shows that weight is a huge function in the type of racing ability you could showcase. add 5kgs to him and he's not in the discussion.

as a matter of genes and potential, as with anything, some types have it easier in their build, musculature, composition, metabolism, etc. With a regular health check, keeping tabs on the juniors should not be so tough, especially if they have decent parents.
 
Sep 23, 2009
409
0
0
Visit site
BikeCentric said:
Good God Hamilton looks like he was just rescued from Dachau.

I believe Hamilton has other issues in his life that interfere with his ability to rationalise properly.

Ratsmousen on the other hand , can't decide what he is.
 
Jun 19, 2009
5,220
0
0
Visit site
cymbop said:
I've coached at the USA Cycling Junior Regional Development Camp for ten years, and I give an evening lecture every year on this very topic. There are coaches (even within the USAC system) who care about this issue and want to raise awareness of it. I'd say that 10% of the riders I knew from my days as a domestic professional exhibited some signs of anorexia. I talk to the kids about the control issue, how easily it can get into your head that lighter = better, and how everything goes downhill from there.

It is encouraging reading your view as some the USA coaching prior to your tenure didn't appreciate the impressionable teen psycology. Or they did and valued short term results and improper coaching more. I think only Roy Knickman impressed me with his concern over their handling and that was some time ago.
 
Mar 10, 2009
504
0
0
Visit site
BroDeal said:
Isn't the elephant in the room here that as scary as they look, it is necessary to climb competitively at the elite level they were at?

I get what you're saying, Bro. I see it as "elites" hanging on for their dear lives. LOOK at the cost! Not even Hamilton and Rasmussen could see it. Classic eating disordered thinking. Same as teenaged girls who think they're perfect and pretty and would be a little more perfect and pretty if they could lose those last five pounds.

When you're ripped and fit, it's one thing, but emaciation is the body crying out for something more than electrolytes, a massage, and 30k more on the bike.

Paycheck and pro career be damned!
 
Jun 19, 2009
5,220
0
0
Visit site
BroDeal said:
Isn't the elephant in the room here that as scary as they look, it is necessary to climb competitively at the elite level they were at?

Not at all. Both of those guys got their best results as an opportunity when someone else was favored. Racing on that fragile condition as a GC favorite would mean you would need to handle the resulting strategies applied by opponents on the flats, gradual hills and crosswinds. There aren't many twig-thin GC guys that end up on the podium unless they had a lucky stage.
 
BroDeal said:
Isn't the elephant in the room here that as scary as they look, it is necessary to climb competitively at the elite level they were at?

I think we'd all agree that if Eric Cartman were to take a look at those two skeletal people he'd say "dude, that's some fucced up shi! right there" and he'd be right.

I also think that those two are a bit of an extreme case. They both had natural talent, certainly, everyone in the pro peloton does. But neither of them was a natural GC contender. They pumped themselves full of every PED known to man just to get 5th in the Giro and wear the Yellow jersey in the TDF for a few days before getting thrown out. Did you ever see Hamilton's Puerto docs? They were on the net a while ago, don't know if they still are. That dude was on ten times more drugs than all your neighborhood methheads combined.

My point in this rambiling diatribe is that those two are outliers even in the f'ed up population of the pro peloton. They pushed themselves over the edge. It's an f'ed up culture that they are the product of, yes, but I'm not entirely sure that it's necessary to go as extreme as they did to be a GT GC contender.

Also we have the biopassport now with Paddy Mac on the case and that era is gone never to return. :D
 
Nov 2, 2009
1,112
0
0
Visit site
Mongol_Waaijer said:
During my time in the Euro elites I flirted with an eating disorder.

It starts with:

personal frustration at lack of performance
only eating properly as a reward for hard training / good racing
quest for better power to weight ratio
Going to bed deliberately still hungry
loading up for classics, crashing out early, and feeling revulsed by huge number of unused calories consumed so avoiding eating for rest of day etc.
Hearing things from the pros like Wiggins idiocy, and the Belgian "nuchter training" (endurance training on empty stomach)

Racing mainly on flat terrain with strong winds my lack of weight probably did me more harm than good.

One thing to remember is that many cyclists are strange fellows. Control freaks abound, and the same weirdness that drives someone to train 28hrs a week can easily make someone try to live on a calorie restricted diet devoid of fat.

A girlfriend of mine suffers severe anorexia, and through her I learned that almost all eating disorders are about control.

When my performance was not where I wanted it to be and that I always seemed to be thwarted by things that I could NOT control I sought to grab onto the things I COULD control in order to feel more secure.

One of those is eating less / diet modification but there are plenty of other strange behaviours to be found in the higher categories such as obsessive bike maintenance, avoiding sex, going to bed bizarrely early, overdoing a certain type of training etc.

The strange thing is that more often than not a few days rest, a decent meal and maybe a few beers are way more helpful mentally and physically than these sort of spartan regimes.

I had anorexia as a teenager and relate very much to this post, particularly the bits bolded. At the time I was a (non-elite) competitive swimmer. I stopped menstruating during this time, which in hindsight was a significant indicator of damage being done. Fortunately for me it only lasted about 6 months before I returned to previous eating patterns.
 
Mar 9, 2010
7
0
0
Visit site
Here are some comments Wiggins made about his 2009 weight loss in The Guardian (July 19, 2009):

"I was climbing fairly well in the 2007 Tour, but I've lost seven kilos since then: 78 to 71. It's taken nine months, in little increments, without any sort of crash diet. I've had regular check‑ups with Nigel Mitchell, the nutritionist at the Olympic team, to make sure I'm only burning fat, not any muscle. The last one was the day before the national championship, 28 June. He said I didn't have an ounce of fat left on my body. I was at 4% body fat, which is just at the point where you begin to burn muscle because there's nothing else left. It's not a very healthy level to be at, but it's only for these four weeks. It's been perfectly timed. As soon as the Tour is finished, my wife Cath is going to tie me up and force‑feed me cake."

Is he racing the pursuit at Worlds this year?