Nutrition for all things indoor cycling, zwift, the endurance lab and #zwiftwomen

Nutrition for all things indoor cycling, zwift, the endurance lab and #zwiftwomen

We have been using indoor cycling in our house from the moment Zwift was available to the general public, when Tacx started building virtual courses, and as soon as we could get out of the dark, wet, unsafe, Irish winter training roads and take training into indoors, safety and all things power and specificity; we haven’t looked back.

Both of us have progressed in our cycling and both of us continue to grow and expand how we use indoor training to complement our triathlon training and racing.

I have participated in one of the Zwift women’s academys (2017) and would have completed subsequent years if they had not fallen into the back end of my racing season (it was just not smart). I have come to know some fantastic coaches through the academy, Zwift and its online community: of note Theia Friestedt of [360Velo] and Ian, Mitch and Jason of the Endurance lab; the latter of which I have been involved with on the coaches corner podcast; check it out and check them out!

Online cycle coaching and indoor cycling has transformed how cyclists at home can train more specifically to meet their training needs and racing goals. I have been using structured indoor training since 2017 and I would not go back to training predominantly outdoors ever again, or without power or properly structured indoor cycling training sessions.

Over the years of watching group forums, answering questions via the forums or the endurance lab or via the coaches corner, and from being involved in the Zwift academy’s and Zwift women’s forums it has become very apparent to me that despite the wealth of nutrition advice out there in the ‘blogosphere’ and ‘google-kingdom’ cyclists and women in particular are very confused and often being misled by poorly written articles, fad diets and extreme claims. It is hard to watch sometimes and I do my best without interfering to provide accurate advice and informed recommendations. Women specific nutrition and health advice is lacking and sometimes one sided.

I have been working in sports nutrition and with top level athletes since 2004. I feel that many cyclists and women especially would benefit massively from even one nutrition trouble shooting session to improve their knowledge of nutrition and practical application of diet to gain the most from their training.

My experience of working with so many athletes over the years means that I have a lot of knowledge, experience and practical insights to share with you.

Furthermore my training as a pharmacist and in nutrition (3 year diploma; not a short online course), and functional medicine places me in a good position to support women with female specific symptoms or health challenges. I approach women’s health using a blend of my training; which means that I am educated to look at problems through the lens of medicine and conventional drug therapy, functional medicine and the supplement, herbs and diet approach, and also from a more holistic mind-body-spirit approach.

Us women are more prone to health challenges as a result of our physiology, anatomy, and hormones; and dare I say it our nature as carers and givers can make us more prone to physical burnout and emotional overwhelm. Add to this complex cellular memory and our ancestral experiences and it sometimes gets a little complex.


I am fortunate in that I already have insights into the type of training that you are doing because I am doing it also and/ or we may have crossed paths on the various forums where I may have given tidbits of advice. However, to truly individualise recommendations and advice, and fully tailor a plan to your needs in health and in terms of racing goals then I do recommend working together one-on-one.

As part of the one-on-one consultation process, which can be in person or via skype I will be asking you to send me information via questionnaire, food and training diaries. I spend time analysing and reviewing this information before we speak.

I aim to cover most of the following in our time / on the call together. Depending on what is priority we may not get to everything listed here because we will focus attention on what matters most. Nailing several important key areas and creating specific actions is far more productive than breezing through everything.

  • Functional health assessment (tailored questionnaire).
  • Nutrition assessment (food diary).
  • Training plan overview (including multi-sports when appropriate so that I have a little more insight if you are doing more than just indoor cycling).
  • Your goals and plan for the coming weeks and months.
  • How to eat specifically to fuel, perform and recover from your training sessions, and how this looks across the week when you take the weeks training as a whole (nutrition periodisation).
  • How to eat to support health and body composition.
  • Eating to manage stress and emotional hunger (comes up often on forums).
  • Chronic dieting and chronic under-eating (comes up often on forums).
  • The facts and myths on low carb eating or no carb eating or keto for cyclists, endurance athletes and women (comes up often on forums; such a lot of confusion).
  • Managing fatigue and over-reaching and what to watch out for to prevent over-training syndrome or relative energy deficiency in sport.
  • How to sync your eating with your menstrual cycle (females).
  • Troubleshooting for life stress.
  • Eating on days off, fuelling for double training days.
  • Supportive recovery strategies when helpful.
  • Hydration and electrolyte guidelines; when should you drink water and when must you add electrolytes to the bottle.
  • Illness prevention or protocols for things as they crop up like coughs and colds.
  • How to deal with body niggles from a nutritional perspective.
  • Race day fuelling practice.
  • Race day hydration and electrolytes practice (I recommend precision hydration sweat testing if this is available in your area).
  • Blood test interpretation should you have access to this (I always recommend at least a yearly full blood test).
  • Supplement, sports fuel and specific food products for training: assessment and review.
  • Herb prescription for immune and training support.
  • Specific training nutrition advice for longer training sessions (e.g. run, bike).

My experience working in the field of health and functional medicine puts me in the very best position to support you holistically. This means that not only are you learning to “fuel for the work required” but also to keep your body healthy in terms of immune function, musculoskeletal system, female or male health, stress resilience and so much more. A healthy body is crucial to facilitate consistent training and it is consistent training that reaps the greatest rewards.

Our individual time on the call or in person will be tailored to your individual needs, goals, current training cycle, questions and concerns and well, you and how you operate as an individual and as an athlete.

One topic that fascinates me is the mind-body connection. If you have challenges in terms of positive self-talk and body image I do hope that you will feel comfortable to discuss this with me. Without ranting on here; trust that I do understand.

The consultation duration is 90 minutes, which seems a lot and isn’t; so please be realistic in your expectations for how much I can give you and also how much that you can assimilate and implement. Change takes time, my goal is to identify where we can make the most significant changes that will be doable in your busy life and hectic schedule and where is the best place to start. This is a two way process so what we plan together must be in sync with what you are ready for. That said there is such a lot that we can achieve with goal specific focus. Sometimes follow-up calls or further time together is recommended (perhaps consider the athlete mentoring package if you feel you will benefit from weekly support); it is important to see the journey through. My aim is to educate and empower you as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Please complete and return the questionnaire and food diary to me 48 hours before your appointment. Please also return any other information that you feel may be of benefit, for example, links to preferred brands of sports supplements or health supplements should you be an international client. Or even articles or science documents that you have specific questions about.

If you wish to work specifically on race fuelling and race recovery, consider booking the Nailing your racing and recovery plan; you will receive a free ebook after your consultation.

If our appointment is via skype I believe there is an option to record the call for future reference which can be helpful!

I look forward to chatting with you.


yep, that’s me (old bike, of course!!)

PS. I always recommend that you work with a coach if recovering from complex or chronic health problems. Whereas I understand a lot about training; it is always best to approach things with the support of a team. If you don’t have a coach, find one that resonates with your personality and understands your needs. In fact I am a big fan of having a coach regardless; it just keeps us in check, being real and not doing daft things all the while progressing in our chosen sport.

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