"His success can be put down to a massive loss in weight, helping to explain his improvement from also-ran to Tour de France winner," William Fotheringham at The Guardian noted.
"The engine was there all along," Jeroen Swart, a sports physician, and exercise physiologist at the University of Cape Town, told Richard Moore for Esquire. "He just lost the fat."
Prior to his string of wins, Chris was relatively unknown until he came second in the 2011 Vuelta a España (Tour of Spain).
In the years before Spain he weighed about 76kgs, he had "[I have] always been aware of the weight issue" but took it for granted.” Starving himself allowed him to drop the weight to come second in Spain. “Basically, I think I lost the weight for that 2011 Vuelta in an unhealthy way; I was starving myself trying to get the weight off and I don't think that's healthy or sustainable.”
Michelle Cound, now Chris’ wife, said at the time, “He starved himself before the Vuelta, and then he came back to South Africa and that's when we started dating. I've always had a bit of an interest in sports nutrition and my view was that he could still train on more protein and cutting back on the carbs at certain times.”
Before his first win in 2013, he had already lost 10kgs, and he has managed to keep it off since then by cutting the carbs and upping the protein.
Michelle also said, “He's got such a sweet tooth. But he's found now that if he does cut back on carbs the weight does come down a lot easier than it did in the past. And cutting out foods like breakfast cereals and a lot of the wheat products and bread but still eating enough food — the right food — that he is able to not feel hungry during the day. If you look at his build from the 2011 Vuelta compared to now, he's still lean but his muscles look a lot more defined. So now he has found a way of doing it.”
Chris added, "In the Vuelta that year (2011), I think my muscles were probably lighter. I was quite gangly. You wouldn't look at me and say, 'That's someone who's strong.' Whereas now, my diet is a lot more protein based. I've cut back on carbs completely but I'm not losing muscle."
Men's Health asked Froome whether it was easy for him to stay lean:
"No. I think hard about the quality of the food I'm eating – organic fruit, vegetables and meat wherever possible. It's a common misconception that because we're training five or six hours a day that we can eat what we want and burn it off. It really is a case of watching every little thing you put in your mouth and how it's going to benefit you. Your body really does respond to tweaks then."
“The 20-pound weight loss has allowed him to thrive on the bike, especially in the mountains. In scientific terms, his power-to-weight ratio — a key measurement used to express an athlete's performance — is about 6.25 w/kg, the envy of just about every cyclist. After the trimming, Froome is thought to have increased his power to weight by 10%.”
Since losing the weight, Chris is now a lean, mean, racing machine!
Chris posted his rest day meal on Twitter, which seems 100% Banting to us, but you make up your own minds:
Congrats Chris, here’s to more future victories!
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