Interview with Johannes Berndl

7. February 2017

Johannes Berndl started his cycling career as a junior and always delivered a convincing performance as an excellent mountain cyclist. When he was 18, he instantly won his first Tour Transalp, the most spectacular racing bike stage race for amateurs in Europe. Since then he has gone from victory to victory in recreational cycle races.

You were already very successful as a young racing cyclist and won recognition among the older, experienced cyclists at major recreational cycle races. In your opinion, what are the 3 most important factors that led you to these successes?

Out of the innumerable aspects I believe interlock in each competitive sport, I hold the following three factors accountable for my successes:

  • Keeping my goals in sight and working for them.
  • Consistency: when I have a goal in sight, then I train consistently and work through my “plan” to achieve success.
  • Attaining the right balance between the three pillars of sport, career, and private life. Only when these three pillars are in balance can I be satisfied with my achievements. Thus, I don’t just put the sport first, but make time for everything.

No pain, no gain. Can you tell us which forms of training you use and what you pay particular attention to? For example, what does a “normal” training week look like for you?

I’m not actually a “kilometre-eater" and don’t train excessively. For me, focussing more on the critical units at the right time is the key to success. However, I do a lot of basic training right up to the first race and make sure I adhere to a strict, almost carbohydrate-free, healthy diet over two four-week periods during my preparation. I only start eating carbohydrates again when I undertake more intensive units or take part in races. Otherwise, I try to set different training priorities on a four-weekly basis and repeat this twice a year, so that the body is constantly subjected to new stimuli and is not only trained in what it can already do well.

In summer, my week normally involves a rest day on Monday followed by two days of basic training with targeted short stimuli, on Thursday I do a somewhat more intensive unit, and on Friday I take a break and spend the day before the race doing one to two hours of preparatory training.





Many hobby cyclists participate in recreational races. What are your most important tips for successful preparation on the one hand, and a successful race on the other?

I think for most hobby cyclists it is not necessarily always important to cycle countless kilometres. For many, it would be more profitable to do targeted training in different units in particular (this brings variation and sets new stimuli). These need not necessarily be very long, but should ideally contain an alternative program to stabilise the body.

Another crucial factor, whose full potential I feel many don’t tap, is a balanced and healthy diet. Especially in the case of less training, this is an extremely critical factor when it comes to optimising your basic fat burning capability and further raising its base threshold so it is much higher in spring.

 I believe a certain degree of inner peace and composure is very important for a successful race. Particularly in the morning, when participants are donning their starting numbers, I always see a lot of frantic faces. Simply try to not let the nervousness of others affect you. Precisely here and in the race is when I feel it is important to have confidence in your strengths and avoid playing through all possible scenarios as well as dwelling on any training you may have missed. Now is the wrong time to do this.

It is worthwhile approaching your big goals with a long-term training program. What tips can you give hobby cyclists for structuring their season?

In my opinion, the following points are crucial to structuring a successful season and apply to everyone:

  • A healthy, low-carbohydrate diet combined with basic training (best done on the roller) over winter
  • Add variety to your training
  • Do strength training, body stability exercises, yoga, etc.
  • Do complementary sports such as running, cross-country skiing, or tours, etc.
  • Find a healthy balance between training and recovery. Many people who do a lot of overtime in the office cannot always offset this by training for hours. In this case, less is often more, such as doing targeted or intensive units instead of lengthy basic training units.




Foto: ZVG