Question: I’m overweight (6-foot, 230 pounds) and I’m slow. How can I lose weight and get fast enough to hold my own on fast group rides? — Davis K.
Coach Fred Mantheny Replies: You would see a big improvement in your speed, especially on climbs, if you were lighter. This is assuming that your extra weight is fat rather than muscle.
If you are 230 and 10 percent body fat, you don’t have much extra to lose. Doing so might mean you’ll get weak and lose power. But if you’re toting 20 percent body fat, you’ll benefit from losing weight in a sensible and moderate way.
Check with your doctor, a sports medicine professional, or qualified health club trainer to get a body fat assessment and arrive at an appropriate weight goal.
The other part of the equation is training. In order to go fast with groups you have to go fast in training while still allowing for sufficient recovery. I recommend an interval workout once or twice a week. Intervals develop your ability to go hard and then go slow, over and over again, as happens on a group ride.
Don’t forget enough long and steady rides to build aerobic fitness. These will help you lose weight, too.