10 Weight-Loss Tips From Pro Cyclists

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The Racer: Devora Peterson
The Body: 5-foot-1, 118 lb.
The Team: Tokyo Joe's/Golite
The Secret: "Seek professional help."

Peterson says that paying a dietitian to analyze her intake and recommend changes was worth the money because there's less for her to think about. After you submit a detailed, multiday food record to your dietitian, you will receive a meal plan customized to your needs, specifying how many servings of foods you should eat from each food group. Some plans chart out each meal, and explain basic information such as what size a serving is. Says Peterson, "It keeps me honest."

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The Racer: Brooke O'Connor
The Body: 5-foot-8, 142 lb.
The Team: Hub Racing
The Secret: "Drink water."

O'Connor lost weight when, she says, "I started drinking water, not caloric beverages." Now pregnant (and starting to show), she's less focused on being lean.
The Racer: Mike Jones
The Body: 6-foot-2, 175 lb.
The Team: jelly belly
The Secret: "Ride base miles to blast fat."

Jones says that when he was at his heaviest, he used his bike mainly as "transportation to and from pizza shops, burger joints and bars." One winter in Upstate New York, he began logging lots of slow, steady miles on his bike (out of boredom) and noticed the pounds burning off. "The more base miles you can put in, the better," he says. "Not only does it prepare your aerobic engine for higher-intensity work, but also the sheer volume of exercise means you burn tons of calories." Once he had some momentum, Jones increased the rate of weight loss by downsizing his portions and cutting "empty" liquid calories such as beer and soda.

Hard Core Strength Workout

The Racer: Tom Danielson
The Body: 5-foot-10, 130 lb.
The Team: Garmin
The Secret: "Burn more than you eat."

Danielson was never overweight, but to compete at the highest level of the sport, he needed to dramatically increase his power-to-weight ratio, a feat he could achieve only by losing pounds. Danielson monitors how many calories he burns while riding (with an SRM power meter), then adjusts his caloric intake to make sure he eats 200 to 300 fewer calories per day than he burns. "The weight loss is slow and gradual, no more than two pounds per week," he says. One important point: "Don't diet on the bike." Restricting calories during a ride can make you feel weak--and destroy motivation.
The Racer: Tomarra C. Muhlfeld
The Body: 5-foot-3, 116 lb.
The Team: Trek/VW
The Secret: "Eat at home."

Studies have shown that people who eat out the most also weigh more than normal--a stat Muhlfeld proved to herself. When she stopped eating out most nights, she began losing weight. "When you eat at home you're in control," she says. "You know exactly what you're eating, the portions and how it's prepared. When you eat out, there are so many hidden calories, even when you try to order healthy choices."

The Racer: Christine Vardaros
The Body: 5-foot-8, 122 lb.
The Team: pruneaux d'Agen
The Secret: "All veggie, all the time."

When Vardaros decided to do something good for the environment, she didn't expect her philanthropy to pay off so personally. "I switched from being a vegetarian to being a vegan, and the weight just dropped off," she says. You don't have to follow a strict regimen to see some improvement, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University who say that going meatless just one day per week can result in weight loss--a plan they call Meatless Monday (meatlessmonday.com). One other surprisingly simple and effective tip from Vardaros: Keep bread in the freezer so you have to think about, and sometimes pass on, preparing that PB&J sandwich.

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