How to Be Your Own Coach

Who Do the World's Top Cyclists Follow for Fitness Advice?

We reached out to a few experts to see who they rely on via Twitter for trusted endurance tips

Friel, based in Boulder, Colorado, literally wrote the book on cyclists training methods. (Courtesy Joe Friel)

Joe Friel (@jfriel) is an elite endurance sports coach and author of The Cyclist’s Training Bible. His Twitter account is one that we at Outside trust the most when it comes to all things cycling and sports science. And because we’ve come to depend on Friel’s insightful tweets, we decided to ask him who he follows for sound advice. Then we reached out to those people to see who they follow, and so on. We created an email chain in an attempt to find the definitive sources—the sharpest and most innovative thinkers—in the cycling and endurance sports worlds.

Joe Friel: Who Do You Follow?

Friel gave us an impressive list of fitness experts, including Stephen Seiler (@StephenSeiler), a professor of sport science at the University of Agder, in Norway, and Alan Couzens (@Alan_Couzens), a Colorado-based exercise physiologist, coach, and self-described “mad scientist.” But Friel had particularly high praise for Ryan Bolton (@CoachRyanBolton), a former Olympic triathlete coached by Friel in the early 2000s. After his competitive career, Bolton founded Bolton Endurance Sports Training, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He now trains elite runners, including 2015 Boston Marathon winner Caroline Rotich. “He’s very good at understanding how to balance training stress with rest and recovery. That’s the key ingredient of technical coaching,” Friel says. “He’s also good at communication with his athletes—knowing when to talk and, especially, when to listen.”

Ryan Bolton: Who Do You Follow?

Unsurprisingly, when we reached out to Bolton, he said he follows his old coach, Joe Friel. But Bolton also relies on Ross Tucker (@Scienceofsport) for trusted fitness advice. Tucker, who runs a site called the Science of Sport, holds a PhD in exercise physiology, is a research consultant for World Rugby, and is a scientific adviser for Virgin Active and Adidas. “Tucker looks at endurance sport physiology, technology, trends, and controversies at an in-depth and sometimes controversial level,” Bolton says. “He’s very candid with his thoughts and doesn’t mind stirring the pot, and I appreciate his fresh perspective on many topics.”

Ross Tucker: Who Do You Follow?

One of Tucker’s top follows is David Epstein (@DavidEpstein), an award-winning journalist and author of The Sports Gene who primarily writes about sports science and medicine. “David has a knack for finding the quirky but really substantial stuff on sports science, and especially genetics of performance,” Tucker says. Tucker also follows Steve Magness (@stevemagness), sports scientist and head cross-country coach at the University of Houston, as well as Stuart Armstrong (@stu_arm), who runs a blog and podcast called the Talent Equation in the UK.

Honorable Mentions

As we undertook this project, we noticed a few recurring names popping up among our sources. While we didn’t go down those proverbial rabbit holes, they seem worth mentioning here. When we reached out to Alan Couzens, he said he follows John Kiely (@simplysportssci), a professor of elite performance at the University of Central Lancashire, in England, and a former coach who worked with Olympic athletes. Nick Winkelman (@NickWinkelman), head of athletic performance and science for Irish Rugby, was also mentioned several times. When we reached out to Winkelman, however, he said that most of his inspiration comes from reading books and peer-reviewed studies and that he tries not to spend too much time on social platforms. The trail ended there.

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