Over this summer I've faced a lot of comments from people that see me day to day but don't really know me off the bike, or indeed that well on it; comments about how thin I look or whether I'm being underfed, comments on how I need a good cake or a decent meal. Most painful of the comments was the suggestion that if I put on some weight I would be stronger and that currently I look like I might have a bit of a problem with food and sport in so much that I was obsessive and possibly starving myself slightly.
I'm 6ft tall and 66kg which admittedly does make me look lean but doesn't mean I'm unhealthy. People seem to think that as a guy I need to have some bulk on my upper body and a bit more muscle overall. I have been told that you can't be strong and slim and that in order to be faster I need to be bigger. It seems almost impossible to people that someone could be thin, healthy and fast.
Generally speaking I brush a lot of comments off and rightly so but occasionally someone will overstep the mark and say something that to someone less confident might actually create a situation whereby they do end up with a problem, because they feel as though they are too thin or too fat. There is an exceptionally fine line between some healthy concern and just being outright flippant and offensive. You never know how someone might take such comments.
You have to consider all of the things you don't necessarily see of a person. Whilst you might see a guy that looks a bit slimmer than the average guy, you don't always get to see behind the scenes. When you ride over 1,700 miles a month as well as being active in other sports and working you burn through a hell of a lot of calories, and I mean a lot! You can't maintain that level of intensity and quantity of activity if you're not eating properly.
I regularly eat well over 3,000 calories a day but burn almost as many for sure. I genuinely think I could eat myself out of a house if I really wanted to. In eating a healthy and balanced diet I make sure that I don't dip below 66kg, a weight I know from experience would lead to power loss and wouldn't be right for me. I make sure if i'm getting too light I eat more to maintain that balance. I also eat a lot of protein and protein shakes to make sure I give myself the best opportunity to recover.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that people need to leave behind the pre-conceived ideas of what a person should look like and put it into context for that person individually. If they're fit healthy and strong regardless of their size then stop judging because you don't know if a flippant comment is going to cause more damage than good. Strike that balance between concern and offence.
I can't be the only guy to have to put up with the eat more cake comments?