Are you a Road Cyclist and want to learn more? Ask Me Anything! I'm Menachem Brodie, a USA Cycling Expert Coach and Strength & Conditoning Coach.

Menachem Brodie
Jun 8, 2018

I'm Menachem Brodie & I've been coaching cyclists of all levels & abilities the last 10+ years  www.humanvortextraining.com 

From how to sit on your bike 

youtu.be/DAidrTRskLI

Caring for your body bit.ly/2GYSVcx  And differences between men and women

 bit.ly/2kvtZ3u  youtu.be/DbXmy9yl9ucAMA!

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What is the most challenging coaching environment you’ve ever worked in?
Jun 12, 10:22AM EDT0
What are the most exciting developments in cycling training one can expect to see in 2018?
Jun 12, 4:52AM EDT0

Great question!I think there are two areas:

1. Increase in the use of Virtual Racing/ Training, such as CVR Worldcup.

2. Increase in the use of new technologies like the LEOMO to allow coaches to dial in even further to help their athletes get even more out of their time to ride.

Last edited @ Jun 12, 6:00AM EDT.
Jun 12, 6:00AM EDT0
What’s your number one tip for riders trying to improve?
Jun 11, 4:45PM EDT0
  • It's not the amount of work you can do that drives progress, it's the amount of work you can recover from. 
  • Meaning- It's not going out and crushing yourself 2x a week and not being able to move for 2-3 days in between....it's doing just enough work that you are building up your fitness, while keeping RECOVERY as a priority. 
  • Consistenct is key. If you want to be the best cyclist you can be ride your bike 4-5 days a week, with a plan, but learn how to recover as best as you possibly can.
Jun 12, 5:51AM EDT0
Coaching science develops rapidly. What have you learnt as a coach through your own career? Do you apply it to your own riding?
Jun 11, 11:09AM EDT0
  • I've learned that science FOLLOWS what the best coaches in the world are doing. 
  • Researchers are often looking to figure out WHY what the best caoches are doing is working, and then approach their research with the idea of understanding why it works. This is one of the reasons why I decided very early in my career to make coaching my full time job, and invest so much time, effort, energy, and money to travel around the world to learn from the best coaches themselves, in person. Since day 1 I have been developing my own baseline principles which help determine how to best help an athlete. Much like Ray Dalio talks about in his book "Principles", the question I ask myslef for each athlete, and each answer given to their needs is "How do I know this is right?", and then going out and trying to DISPROVE my thought process. And when making a decision, writing out the criteria used to make that decision, so that next time, the decision process will be even more refined/better for the next time. 
  • Throughout my career I've been constantly seeking to learn from OTHER sports and other disciplines: What works there? What thought process is there? How do they break down difficult tasks? How does one progress and grow? What are the best practices in this sports training? Why do these work? Is there anythign that can help those I coach?  Pretty much, it's CONSTANTLY learning, looking for new things, new ways to look at old things.
  • I 100% apply it to my own training. Fitness in and of itself is NOT a competition. The competition is to challenge oneself to be the best they can be, on that day, at that time, in those circumstances, with what you have available to you.....DAY IN AND DAY OUT. Not some times, ALL THE TIME. 
Jun 12, 5:47AM EDT0
How can cyclists relieve the pain in their shoulders after training?
Jun 10, 8:48PM EDT0

This has been such a common question asked of me, I wrote a blog post for one of the leading Strength & Conditioning Coaches blogs on exactly this. You can read my answer, with exercises, here:

Jun 12, 5:31AM EDT0
If you are strength training, what principles should you follow to suceed?
Jun 9, 4:45PM EDT0

Great question, and this is one that I have gotten so frequently from riders and coaches, that I've actually built the first-ever online course on the Principles of Strength Training for Cycling Success. https://trainingpeaks-university.thinkific.com/courses/strength-training-for-cycling-successFor the broad-reaching principles, here they are:

  1. Stop training "cycling specific movements" and start training the body as a whole.
  2. There is FAR more to the "core" than just planking...and in fact many cyclists and triathletes don't plank correctly!
  3. Lifting heavy things with solid technique will help you immensely
  4. Strength training should be done year round, in balance to your training
  5. Protein. 1.6-2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Yes. you really need that much
  6. You must progress through the phases of strength training properly, in order to see solid, long-lasting results
  7. Assess, and reassess, about every 3-6 months
  8. You do NOT need to test your 1 Repetition MaximumThis is a pretty deep question, and while i've given you the basic blocks, the course has far more about this very thing!
Jun 10, 7:33AM EDT0
If you want to improve your climbing skills while cycling and being more fast, where do you start?
Jun 9, 3:19PM EDT0

In my approach we attack it from three angles:

  1. Strength training to help your body work even better as a whole
  2. Specific On-bike workouts targeting the needed energy systems
  3. Teaching the techniques of climbing (there are quite a few)There is quite a bit more to this, including building trainings around your abilities (to push hard, and to recover- in a session between intervals, as well as in between sessions themselves), recovery strategies, and even changing the amount or intensities you are riding at throughout your time on the bike.Bottom line: figure out how to help you produce more power, become more energy efficient, and increase the bodies ability to put out power before something in the biomechanical chain breaks down, and to teach you how to better recover in between sessions & efforts (this is where you ACTUALLY get stronger).
Jun 10, 7:38AM EDT0
How do you help athletes in their training needs without making them feel burned out or just plain exhausted?
Jun 9, 2:20PM EDT0

This ties into the answer below about how I differentiate myself: A lot of how I coach is about helping the athelte find the balance in their life, and figuring out how to find that happy life balance with their sport. Perhaps because of this approach, the number of triathletes I coach has decreased the last few years, as I play the long game. I'm NOT the coach for those who simply want to finish a triathlon and knock it off their bucket list. I AM the coach for those who want to embrace the lifestyle and have the sport help them stay healthier, live more active and happy lives. None of the training plans are set in stone when I send them, and in fact, often times adjustments are made as the athlete goes through- this is based off of the level of coaching the athlete has engaged me for.I have had a few athletes who wanted far more regular communication and coaching, which over the last few years has led me to building the "New Me" coaching program, in order to meet their requests.  But it all depends on the athlete, what their needs are, and helping to teach them that simply railing themselves into the ground for the sake of "completing every workotu as written" is NOT how one gets to their goals.

Jun 10, 7:27AM EDT0
How do you keep track of advances and results with your clients?
Jun 8, 11:40PM EDT0

A bit differently than most, actually!Not only do we look at metrics like Power numbers, running paces, heart rate numbers, and distances, but we also do a lot on the soft skills of: handling pressure, managing the race, working WITH life stress as opposed to fighting it, finding a great work-home-sport balance to keep you in a happy/great place.Often times advances dont come simply in improving numbers in sport, but through managing life stress, and situations that come up, thus helping to keep you consistent in your training, and on track towards your long term goals. 

Jun 10, 7:21AM EDT0
How is your coaching style and how do you differentiate yourself from others?
Jun 8, 1:14PM EDT0

My coaching style is a bit different with each client/athlete I work with, based off of what their needs are in general, at that stage of their life/career, and even in that specific session.I think one of the interns I had last year put it best: "You're empathetic when they need it, and yet a bit of a drill sargent other times. It's very Art moreso than science. There is no one single way to say "This is Brodie's coaching style... because it depends!"A bit of a vague answer, but that pretty much IS the answer- Each athlete is a study of 1. What worked for one athlete, may not work for another. So as a coach, having the tools and skills necessary to be able to find what works at that time, for that athlete, and fills their specific needs, is quite important.As far as differentiation from others: Unlike other cycling and triathlon coaches, who have a full time job, and do this on the side, I have been a full-time Endurance+ Strength coach for the last 10+ years, putting in well over 10,000 hours of coaching in that time period. I wanted to be able to give those I coached the absoloute best possible knowledge and hands-on skills possible, so I made the decision that, from day 1, THIS IS my full time job. Yes, I've worked a handfull of other jobs on the side, but every single one has been very carefully and planned out position, allowing me to increase the amount of knowledge and value I can deliver to those I work with.From working as an Exercise Physiologist for a Bariatric Surgery group, working in the Physical Therapy Clinics as the "in between" for those who were discharged from Physical Therapy but needed more to get back to their sport, to working as an EMT running 911 calls, and coaching the Pitt Cycling Team. Every single job I have held for the last 18+ years has had a specific purpose, far beyond "get a paycheck". The clients/athletes I serve recognize this very quickly, and realize that my abilities bring far more to them than simply training programs. This focus also includes how much time and effort that is put in to continuing education, and learning from other fields: From constantly reading books, to flying halfway around the world to learn from another expert, the investment in knowledge, learning from the best coaches in my field and other fields, and cutting-edge techniques/technologies is of super high importance.This leads to the last "big" differentiation between myself and other coachs: I carry a far smaller client list/athlete list than 95% of the other coaches out there. I'm not worried about meeting a certain $ amount each month, I'm completely focused on providing the highest value to each of those I work with, at whatever level they so choose. While that's not for everyone, that's ok. I don't want to work with those who are looking for a "cheap" or "economical" coach. While there is definitely a need for those, that's not who work with me. Those who work with me are those who understand the importance of a coach to help keep things in perspective, talk through challenges, and to allow them to have their sport help them improve other areas of their lives. They are long-term thinkers, as opposed to short term. 

Jun 10, 7:18AM EDT0
How do you know you are breathing correctly while cycling? What's considered correct breathing?
Jun 8, 7:25AM EDT0

Another fnatastic question!I have two videos on this and related to this, which are great starts:

  1. Ride your bike faster: sitting properly for cycling
  2. Pro Cycling Tips- Strength Training for Cyclists: Crocodile Breathing

Believe it or not, I actualy got started down the path of Postpartum fitness because of this very question!I wanted to learn how to better breathe on the bike, in order to decrease wasted energy, maintain solid positioning on the bike (for max power production), and to help light up the nervous system when needed.While this is a complex question, there are a few basics you can immediately use:

  1. RELAX when you're crusing. This is where a professional bike fit helps immensely for road cyclists, time trialists, and recreational cyclsits. While we all may thing that we can simply get on the bike and go, we really want to have the body supported via the 5 points of contact (foot, foot, butt, hand, hand) with good weight distribution. 
  2. Aim for roughly 70% weight on your butt, and 30% on the hands. This helps with weight distribution on the bike, and can take stress off of the shoulders/neck
  3. Practice breahing in through your nose, filling your belly, and out through your mouth, keeping a smooth, even rhythm
  4. Relax your shoulders
  5. When you're climbing or working at effort, it's ok for your shoulders to come up a little towards your ears (not so much you look like a turtle though!), and for your stress levels to come up a little. This means you'll be using some of your accessory breathing muscles, which actually turns on our "Fight or flight" mode, thus allowing us to tap into a bit more power that our bodies have. Check out the videos above, and see if you can learn+ use the crocodile breathing technique on the bike... it's harder than it looks, but as you master it, can have a very positive impact on your riding abilities!
Jun 8, 10:29AM EDT0
What do you need to get your hydration on point if you are a woman?
Jun 8, 6:20AM EDT0
  • This is a great question, and there is a LOT out we'd need to cover.... but thankfully, I've actually made a few videos on exactly this topic.
  1. Women Specific Hydration Needs for Running, Cycling & Triathlon
  2. Cycling Tips: The science of electrolytes and hydration- Not all sports drinks are created equal
  3. Womens Training: Training based on your monthly cycleThe bottom lines are:

In days 1-14, you can train and hydrate similar to males.In days 15-28 you'll want to:-Pre-load with a sodium-potassium mix, aimed to bring your blood plasma levels up.-Use Branched Chain Amino Acids (9g in the hour before endurance exercise) to help create a more "fitness building" environment in your bodyThere is a lot more to this, but the videos should explain a good bit. One more thing of note: If you are Post-partum and feel that everytime you get on the bike you have to pee, it does NOT mean that you are over-hydrated...While there may be a number of reasons for this, I've seen quite a few cases where there were some pelvic floor and postural issues that were leading to more pressure being placed on the bladder.  With a few specific exercises, some consistency in the exercises, and adjustments to positioning on the bike, we were able to get each feeling better on and off the bike, and even stronger than before!Great question!

Last edited @ Jun 8, 10:20AM EDT.
Jun 8, 10:15AM EDT0
Where can people contact you if they want to know how can you help them with their cycling training needs?
Jun 8, 1:47AM EDT0

The best way is through my website www.humanvortextraining.com , or email Brodie@HumanVortexTraining.com

Jun 8, 10:10AM EDT0
What safety measures are recommended for cyclists to avoid road accidents?
May 30, 1:46PM EDT0

1. It's really important to practice predictable riding. 2. Abide by the rules of the road, including signaling. These are probably the biggest things that cyclists can do to avoid road accidents. While practicing the skills of Cornering, Braking, and Bumping (With other riders) are really important, many riders pay these no attention, or don't know how or where to work on these skills. Riding predictably on the road, not making any sudden stops or turns, and being smooth and consistent are huge factors. Always be sure to be looking 30-75 feet ahead on the road, if not farther, unless you are going through/around another obstacle, in which case you can bring your attention closer in order to get around/through it safely. The distance you are looking ahead will depend on the terrain you are going through, as well as your speed.Never ride through puddles, as you nver can tell what has caused the puddle to form, and this can cause a gnarly crash. Lastly, keep your bike in great working order by having it regularly cared for by a professional mechanic. HAving workign brakes, and clean braking surfaces are really important, as is having working gears, and tires + tubes that are capable of handling the demands you will be facing out on the road.Finally, Tires need to be pumped up regularly, and chains cleaned+ lubricated regularly. Learning how to properly do these can help you ride safely, and for many years to come!

Jun 8, 10:08AM EDT0
How many cycling coaching programs do you offer? Do you customize your coaching training according to the need of your clients?
May 30, 8:45AM EDT0

I have a number actually, which have been developed over the years, based off of athletes and current clients wants and needs. The basic cycling and triathlon coaching programs are based off of the amount of one to one contact the individual would like, and range from us communicating via email on a weekly basis, all the way up to the "New you" program, which involves nearly daily communication, and utilizes a number of the skills and tools I have to offer as a coach.       www.humanvortextraining.com/shop/          The individual training programs are 100% personalized, tailored to each individuals level of abilities, as well as their goal, and realistic time avialable to train and recover.         Beyond the personalized trianing programs, I have put out a number of proven training programs, based on the programs I've written for athletes over the last decade or so, which brough well above average results, and would do so for the vast majority of users, as long as they follow the instructions, and take care of themselves outside of their sport.   www.trainingpeaks.com/coach/brodie#trainingplans   While there are a number of options, the bottom line remains: There may be a number of differnt ways for me to help you. It's up to us to talk, and work as a team in order to figure out which option will have the biggest impact for you at this time, and reassess every 3-12 months to determine if that still best suits your needs. Or, if you already know exactly what you want, for us to work together to maximize the positive impact on your abilities.

May 30, 11:14AM EDT0
What are some goals you are proud to have achieved during your career as a cycling expert coach?
May 30, 8:43AM EDT0
  • This is probably the toughest question of them all, as there are so many goals set, and accomplishments made over my career thus far..... DEFINITELY first and formost is the positive impact made on those I've worked with and taught, helping them build confidence in themselves and their abilities to tackle and accomplish goals, do things they had only dreamed about, as well as seeing the massive positive influence thy've had on others in accomplishing THEIR goals.      I think after that, its hard to choose! Perhaps helping to really push women's cycling ahead into the forefront, getting more women into the sport, and experiencing how awesome and challenging it can be...... And Postpartum womens fitness is definitely up there! Helping someone get back to doing something they love and thought they never would be able to do again is definitely huge...... Helping so many people get out of pain and back to living an active lifestyle or to be highly competitive in their sport again is up there as well...... I could go on quite a bit, as there is so much, but after some thought, I think I can sum it up on one sentence:
  • The sharing of knowledge and expertise to help people discover that they CAN do it, and that by being smart, working intelligently, and learning that the path to success is covered in failures which stop others from getting to that success. 
May 30, 11:24AM EDT0
How many people have you coached so far? When and how do you evaluate progress?
May 30, 7:25AM EDT0

So far, I'm nearing 6,500 people coached over the last 16 years. This includes individuals, the teams and camps that I've worked, as well as classes/ group fitness. If we take the number of those who have attended seminars/webinars, etc. with just theory, or just practicing short skills/esxercsies, the number jumps significantly.             But the number is for those athletes whom I've worked with on a more personal level, not just having someone in a seat and practicing a skill for 5 minutes.        Progress for me as a coach, is all relative to the ability to convey the needed skill, skillset, or message which that individual, team, or group needs to hear, and my ability to have them understand and process that infromation for use and immediate implication. 

       Progress for the athlete I coach really depends on where they are and what they really need to accomplish for that day or week. While many cycling and endurance coaches will determine progress by numbers, it's my personal and professional opinion that is such a small part of the equation, and it misses the point for the individual.       Usually we'll measure the progress based on small habits done over the course of 1-4 weeks, as well as making the things that have the biggest impact on that individuals progress ingrained habits.       Nir Eyal just did an #AMAfeed and he had some solid info on creating habits. Success in anything comes from daily, consistent actions taht build up to your goal over time. marketingama.amafeed.com/ama-with-nir-eyal-on-how-to-build-habit-forming-products-and-fight-502417   

May 30, 11:03AM EDT0
How do you define your coaching relationship with your clients?
May 29, 10:31PM EDT0

Great question, and an important one!     In my practice each and every client-coach relationship is different, and is constantly evolving based on the athlete, where they are in their training cycle, and what's going on in their lives.     It's really important to me to work with each athlete to make sure they are recieving the attention they want and need, as well as truly personalizing each training program for where they are.            Over the years working with different athletes from around the world, my coaching offerings have developed based on what the athletes I'm coaching ask for and want, which as far as I know is very different than what any other coach out there is doing at this time.          I think a large part of this difference is that the relationships with the athletes I coach tends to be a bit deeper than other coaches in my field, as I carry far fewer athletes than most coaches. Why? Because I want Quality of coaching for each athlete, as opposed to coaching more athletes just to meet a monthly Dollar amount/ yearly income.         I think this is important for 2 reasons: 1. It puts the client/athlete as the main focus, allowing more connection and energy for each person I work with, as opposed to being spread across many.   2. There is time and energy for me to read/learn things that are interesting or clients need. I've been known to randomly send a book (or 3) to an athlete because I read it and thought they could gain from it. I don't look to be the only source of information for those I coach. I want to encourage them to learn and grow, to engage in a conversation with me about what we are doing and why, as well as they have ownership and input over their training as well.                    

        Over the last 10+ years of running my business this way, being "Athlete centric" has really led to some fantastic results for the athletes I work with, as well as has seen my offerings change and evolve significantly, and VERY differently than other coaches in my fields. This includes having added the "New Me Coaching package" www.humanvortextraining.com/shop/new-you     this past year (2017) after being requested numerous times by athletes I coach over the last 3-4 years.              Do I think this type of coaching relationship works for everyone? Absoloutely not. Some want to have a cheap training plan to follow, and to see average/ slightly above average results. That is ok, and very much necessary, as there are many people out there seeking some guidance for a specific pricepoint. I'm not for those folks, and that's totally ok.     I'm here for those who are looking for a deeper coaching relationship, far more depth of knowledge, and who are looking for someone who is knowledgeable across the health & fitness spectrum, and who can offer them expert guidance and help through their cycling, and how their body, life, and fitness change over the years. 

Last edited @ May 30, 4:37AM EDT.
May 30, 4:36AM EDT0
What services do you offer through your company Human Vortex Training?
May 29, 10:02PM EDT0
  • Quite a few, actually, as over the last 20+ years in the Health, Wellness, and Fitness industry I've been constantly growing and learning, which has led to my learning more about helping the athletes I work with. Services offered include:
  • 1 on 1  Coaching  (Online & in-person)
  • Personal Training Programs for Cycling, Running, and Triathlon via Heart Rate and Power based training (Online & in-person)
  • LEOMO Type-R based Training Programs for Cyclists (Online)
  • Personal Strength Training Programs (Online & in-person)
  • Bike Fitting (In-person only)
  • Postpartum Training programs (Online & in-person)
  • Strength Training for return from injury, post Physical therapy discharge (Online & in-person)
  • Nutritional Coaching (Online & in-person)
  • Basketball Strength & Conditioning (Online and in-person)

The last 10 years or so I've been asked to help with a number of Fitness & wellness companies, which has led me to do a lot more Business Consulting, including:

  • Kickstarter campaigns
  • Health & Fitness Technology
  • Physical Assessment Technology
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Sports Equipment & Active wear
May 30, 3:53AM EDT0
Should a cyclist implement a special nutrition plan when training? Why?
May 29, 1:24PM EDT0

Absoloutely, although it may not be what you think it should be.     Outside Magazine did a great piece back in 2017 about the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes in Endurance Athletes (www.outsideonline.com/2201466/are-endurance-athletes-more-susceptible-getting-diabetes), which did not come as a surprise to me. Endurance athletes, as a whole, eat a TON of carbohydrates, and often struggle to get in enough proteins and fats needed to help the body recover and perform better.          But to keep this answer short, let's jump to the main points. The special nutrition plan a cyclist should follow when training should match their needs based off of their training demands, and life demands..... That second part is where most amateur cyclists go wrong- they don't take into account their daily activities or lifestress, and contnually are in a caloric deficit which over time kills performances and fitness gains.            There are a lot of different approaches to help an athlete to get their nutrition plan right for training, and the best answer is: It's personal!        For example, for a few of the athlets I coach, we follow Bob Seebohar's Nutrition Periodization, and it works really, really well for them......but I have 3 other athletes who are doing Intermittent fasting, and seeing great results...... and yet I have two more who want low intensity training, and are doing Ketogenic and seeing fantastic results there (*NOTE* I do NOT recommend Ketogenic diet for long periods of time, and definitely not if you are a performance cyclist!).  The key is to find what works best for you, to work with a professional (RD/LD,  or if you need accoutnability and general guidance, a Precision Nutrition Coach, depending on your personal situation and needs), and to make sure you are eating enough fresh produce within your diet to ensure proper digestive tract and overall health.               Lastly, When you're out riding, aim to separate hydration and nutrition, and look for WHOLE FOODS you can eat on the bike, as opposed to sports supplements, which have their place but should be limited. 

May 30, 3:42AM EDT0
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