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need to get back to my fighting weight(39 posts)

need to get back to my fighting weightBosephus
May 31, 2001 12:01 PM
I need some nutritional insight ...

For a couple of weeks I've been trying to reduce my caloric intake in an effort to shed some pounds. In college and Grad school I generally weighed in around 155 - 158 depending on the day. These days since I've settled into the desk job and put on a few years I hover right around 168 - 170 or thereabouts. I'd like to shed about 10 lbs or so, but I'm struggling with the right way to do this.

Here's the problem. Take this week for instance, I reduced my daily caloric intake to somewhere around 2800 Cal/day. from a usual of about 3200 Cal/day. During my evening rides this week I feel like I have about 20 miles in my legs after the first 5. This is pretty much the norm for the weeks that I've tried to reduce my intake levels in the past. I just feel like I don't have enough energy. Two days after I boost my intake back to my usual levels I feel great again, with plenty of energy. Unfortunately, I can't seem to shed any of this unwanted weight with my intake levels high enough to give me the energy I need.

Ideally, I'd like to increase my workouts to a level that could burn some extra calories, however this isn't very practical for a working stiff like me. I generally only find time for a 1 to 1.5 hour ride (20 to 30 miles) after work.

I'm pretty good about maintaining a good balance of foods; 65% Carbs, 20% Protein, and 15% fat.

It's not like I'm fat or anything, I'm just longing for the old svelt me from about 6 or 7 years ago. I mean what's the point of having this superlight bike of mine if I'm lugging around an extra 10 lbs of body weight?

Anyone have any recommendations for me? Specific foods to eat that provide better endurance energy ... that kind of stuff.

What's a good baseline Calorie level anyway? I generally ride about 120 to 140 miles a week (mostly road maybe 20% MTB), I'm 5'8" and 27 years old. Any suggestions?

Sorry for the book ...
thoughts (fwiw)Haiku d'état
May 31, 2001 12:25 PM
i'm 6'2" and 29, and now between 190 and 195, down from 230-235+ last fall. took about six months, watched what i ate, removed all deserts/snacks from my diet. also eliminated all breads accompanying meals, all beer, and anything exceptionally high in calories. i added lots of fruits instead of my routine sugary snacks, and nearly doubled my daily water intake. over the winter, before i bought the trainer, i kept to around 2000 calories or less per day, then hit the gym daily to burn between 500-800 calories via aerobic activity (running, stationary bike, stairstepper), and threw in some leg-specific weight training 3x/week. there are a few places online to check for the suggested amount of daily caloric output for your body size, mass and daily routine. search for BMI calculators and start there; they're not truly accurate for everyone, but they may lead you to that caloric output calculator out there in webland.

currently riding between 80 and 150 miles per week, depending upon my training cycle (no pun intended) and where i am in relation to any upcoming big/event rides; have nearly 1500 in so far this year. i range between 190 and 197 here for the last few months, and can drop 3-6 pounds at will within a week (not water weight). long rides (60-100) seem to kick my metabolism into gear, and i can pretty much eat what i want for 2-4 days without any weight gain. i don't watch calories any longer, but don't go overboard on portions or high-fat/calorie foods. i do eat regularly on the bike and don't concern myself with moderating food intake during long rides (eat what i want on the bike), and i have protein post-ride in the form of 1/2 or a whole powerbar protein bar, metrx bar, or a shake.

this late fall/winter i'll go back to counting calories and working out like a fiend. the only difference will be easy access to a trainer in the garage.

I have another 15-20 to lose over the winter. good luck and enjoy! it can be addictive...
2000 cal?Bosephus
May 31, 2001 12:34 PM
If I only had 2000 cal a day I don't think I'd be able to walk up to the third floor of my office building without feeling sluggish. How in the world did you function?

More power to you I guess ...
basic metabolic rate (bmr) calculatorHaiku d'état
May 31, 2001 12:55 PM
it wasn't this one:

but it was one like it, more customized to your daily level of activity and personal body type/build, waking time, type of job, etc.

without consideration of gym time or saddle time, my BMR/daily caloric output just pumping oxygen around in my blood and staring at computers all day was about 2052 calories (if i recall correctly). since the way to lose weight is expending more calories than one takes in, and burning a pound of fat is something like 3600 calories' deficit (is that right?), i figured i'd try to keep it around 2000 cal/day intake and burn as much as i could stand in the gym.

it's really not difficult to live on 2000 cal/day through the winter, provided your riding is down due to weather. that was only during days with sustained physical activity in the gym or otherwise, though--other days i didn't take in quite 1500+ calories.

now you're making me hungry and i have to go eat some pixy stix.
Your results may differrunstevierun
May 31, 2001 2:36 PM
I guess everyone's metabolism is different.
I'm at my fighting weight but only by cycling
4-5 days per week (150 miles) AND eating less than 2000 cals.
If I ate 3500 calories per day I'd gain 20 pounds in four months
regardless of my cycing regime.
Also, once I passed my mid-30s (seems like an eon ago)
the motor seemed to burn at a slower rate.
No beer?Gadfly
May 31, 2001 1:31 PM
What's the point of riding if you can't have a beer when you're done?
No beer!Haiku d'état
May 31, 2001 1:39 PM
what is this, just kidding. >:-)

no beer. one beer is enough to make me want two, and two is enough to make be want 9, and it's all empty calories. no beer over the winter, mega beer spring-summer, no beer summer-fall, mega beer fall-winter, no beer over winter. i'm confusing myself. must be the pixy stix.
No beer!seth1
May 31, 2001 1:52 PM
Actually all alcohol is useless calories. Quiting alcohol was a major factor in losing weight for me.

Think about it this way, every drink kills about a million brain cells. And chelates vitamins and nutrients from your body.
now i HAVE to stop on the way home for a six-er of PBR nmHaiku d'état
May 31, 2001 2:17 PM
Damn it!!! Get a 12-pack and I'll join ya.seth1
May 31, 2001 2:20 PM
Make it a case o' Bud an' I'm in! nm4bykn
Jun 1, 2001 12:39 AM
Heineken? F___ that s__! PABST BLUE RIBBON!mike mcmahon
May 31, 2001 6:01 PM
First person to name the movie and actor wins the movie fan of the day award.
Dennis Hopper, Blue Velvet. Words to live by!Largo
May 31, 2001 8:00 PM
I love that line.
We have a winner! (nm)mike mcmahon
May 31, 2001 8:32 PM
PBR...pure swill!ColnagoFE
Jun 1, 2001 9:18 AM
not sure why anyone would voluntarily drink it.
Love the line; hate the beermike mcmahon
Jun 1, 2001 10:29 AM
I agree with you. I love the PBR line from Blue Velvet, but the beer itself is bad news. I remember when I was about 17, my friend and I had a real craving for some brew, but we were low on dough. We rounded up a dead car battery and some empty soda bottles and returned them for deposit money. We got about $1.87, which was just enough to buy a six-pack of PBR tall cans. We choked it down, but I never touched PBR again. On the other hand, my relatives from Ft. Dodge, Iowa couldn't get enough of the stuff. Every time, they came out to Cali, they'd run down to the liquor store for some PBR. If the store owner could find a sixer of PBR, it was usually somewhere in the store-room with about three inches of dust on it.
zactly. all about budget. i prefer pete's wicked ale. NMHaiku d'état
Jun 1, 2001 12:02 PM
Beer, brain cells and wildebeest....eoind
Jun 1, 2001 2:38 AM
True, alcohol does kill brain cells, but is that such a bad thing? Think of you brain as a herd of wildebeest on an African plain. This herd moves as a unit and it's speed will be determined by the speed of the slowest and weakest animals. When the herd is attacked by the many predators that like wildebeest meat, it will be the slowest and weakest animals that will be taken out. This action then helps the rest of the herd as they can now move quicker than before and are probably are a little bit safer from attack than they were before. Similarly, when I have a beer and millions of cells are killed, it's probably the weakest and slowest cells that don't survive, and hence my brain is a faster and leaner machine than it was before I grabbed that beer.
Beer, brain cells and wildebeest....Jz
Jun 1, 2001 3:41 AM
Didn't Norm on Cheers say this? I think it might have been a different animal tho...same story. Hard to say though, I was only like 10 years old when Cheers was on :>
Same here.....DINOSAUR
May 31, 2001 1:50 PM
I've done basically the same thing and dropped the same amount of weight. I did not follow any special diet, I found that diets don't work. I cut out all foods high in sugar, I do have desert once and a while, but when my body says I need some carbs, not because I crave the taste. I eat one moderate size portion, no second helpings, rarely eat red meat, although my favortie meal is an all american hamburger. I drink a lot of water, as water flushes your system. I stopped drinking alcohol, I drank enough beer last summer to sink the Titanic. I don't miss it at all, and I use the money saved to buy stuff for my bikes. I'm heavy on the friuts and vegetables, and avoid fast food restaurants. I don't keep track of colories, but I don't think you could maintain a good cycling schedule on 2000 colories a day. You might get sick. Just change what you eat, and if you aren't hungry, don't eat. I cut my portions in half as I was eating twice the food I needed. Americans tend to go oversize on everything. I remember having visitors from England and they were amazed at all the fast food restaurants and the large servings. Eat less and ride more, and if you are hungry eat, if not don't! A good place to start is to get rid of all the junk food you have in your house. If it's not there, you can't eat it.....
Wow! Big question. Some thoughts...seth1
May 31, 2001 12:30 PM
I'm 31. I went from about 167 this past winter to currently 152 and falling. That's all blubber weight. Granted it was begging to come off. However, last summer I couldn't break 160. I have no idea what my calorie intake is, but I don't care in the least.

1. Drink half your body weight (in oz) of water every day. That's when you're not riding.
2. Fiber, Fiber, Fiber, Fiber, Fiber, Fiber, FIBER. Scrub those intestines down. Yeee Haaa!!!
3. Avoid any and all processed foods
4. Make sure it's the right kind of fat (ie: animal=bad, vegetable=good). More specifically Omega 3, 6, 9. Udo's Choice is a really good product, eat it DON'T HEAT IT. Also, nuts, seeds, avocado, etc.
5. Vitamin b-complex 3 times daily. Super anti-oxidant formula 3 times daily.

I might chime back in later if I can think of anything else. Back to work
I can sympathize with you.Thioderek
May 31, 2001 1:09 PM
After 8 years of riding a bike for a living I moved into an office 3 years ago. I immediatly shot up in weight by about 10 pounds. At my worst I was 15 pounds over what I was when I was riding every day. As soon as I started riding to and from work and instituted a regime in the gym I started to lose it. I still am 9 pounds over my wrestling weight from High School (but I am 32 now) and have found these last 9 pounds to be the hardest.

I cannot diet. I simply cannot. I go absolutely nuts when I try. The only solution I have found is continuous and comprehensive workouts. Set up a routine for cardio work, weight lifting (to build muscle for higher calorie burning) and mix it up with something else also. Your body reacts to the same workout routine by finding easier ways to do the work. Making your workouts varied and complex means that your body doesnt have a chance to adapt. in this way, you can eat what you usually eat and not have the lifeless workouts you describe.

Training for the CAR that begins on Sunday, I am down to the lowest weight I have been since I gave up being a bike messenger. I am hoping the ride will take the rest of the weight off (575 miles in 7 days) and I can keep it off by changing some of my eating habits.

Hang in there. I know its tough to have that part of the closet that hangs with the clothes that you cant fit into but used to be able to wear on a daily basis.
Don't have a weight problem myself......Len J
May 31, 2001 1:24 PM
But I read somewhere that avoiding those post ride snacks/meals etc. that we all crave in the first 45 min or so after a ride, will force the body to go to its fat stores to get the necessary fuel to repair your system. If this were true ( and it seems to make sense), then avoiding eating for an hour or so after a ride might allow you to "process" off some excess body fat.

Another thought revolves around how much you ride. When you first begin exercising (after being sedentary for a while)(if you are like most people) the first thing your body does is replace fat with new muscle. Consequently, depending on your initial level of fitness, your weight may not go down until your muscle stabilizes.

Final thought, Are you weighing yourself immediatly after a ride in which you consumed large quantities of a sports drink like gatorade? If so, you are overstating your normal weight. Because Gatorade has salt in it (or something that behaves the same way) if you hydrate properly with gatorade you actually retain fluids, which increases your weight. (ever notice how much you pee in the hours after a long ride?) Weigh yourself in the evening after a morning ride & see how much less you weigh than immediatly after the ride.

Enough ramblin'
Nice thought but ...Bosephus
May 31, 2001 1:44 PM
Not exactly how the body works.

Once you end a workout your body goes into repair mode. This is actually the best time to eat. You have to provide your body with the right level of "fuel" to rebuild what you have damaged during the workout, otherwise it starts taking fuel from places you don't want it to. During a post excercise phase the body will not convert fat. It will actually start breaking down protein during this period if you don't refuel. The easiest source of protein ... muscles. This is one of the main reasons you get cramped muscles or feel fatigued the day after a workout. The key is not to over consume during this 30 to 45 minutes after a workout. If you consume more than your body needs that will get converted to fat or expelled as waste.

This is the basis to whole Recovery theory that dominates sports nutrition these days.

Gotta hit the Glycogen window!
Nice thought but ...Len J
May 31, 2001 2:07 PM
Thanks for the correction. Learn something every day.

Must be an urban (biking) myth!
re: need to get back to my fighting weightBig Lug
May 31, 2001 1:31 PM
An old saying which holds true for me is this:
Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a Prince and dinner like a Pauper.
It works for me. My metabolism goes to sleep around 6pm. If I eat anything fattening in the evening it's all over, goes right to my waistline. Watch out for too many carb's too. A high protein diet will shed pounds faster than a high carbo diet. And be careful with the fresh fruit too. True, fruit is a healthy alternative to twinkies, but too much of a good thing can be bad if you're attempting to shrink the gut. Stay away from nuts also. They are loaded with fat, unbelievably so.
Water is vitally important too, not only for weight loss but for your health in general. If you want to read a fascinating book on the benefits of water intake, go to and order Dr. Batman's book. It cured my back problem that I had been suffering from for years. I highly recommend it. You'll learn things about the human body you never dreamed of.

Good luck
Nuts are loaded with essential fatty acidsseth1
May 31, 2001 2:09 PM
But it's the kind of fat that is necessary for proper body and brain function. Actually you can't live with out EFAs. They even help regulate good and bad cholesterol. Not all fat is bad.
The title of that post is funny. Heh-heh! (nm)mike mcmahon
May 31, 2001 9:34 PM
This may not be popular but,....Tom C
May 31, 2001 2:00 PM
you could probably stand to raise your protein level. A few years ago before he coached Lance, Chris Carmichael was asked, in an interview I read about his riders diets, specifically what they ate for breakfast before races. His somewhat surprising answer was that he didn't go for pancake, waffle type affairs because halfway through, they're burned up. He preferred his riders take in more protein because protein is "time released energy." Myself I'm 50 and at 5'9" and now 134lbs. with weekly mileage of 220-250 per week for the last 20 years(I retired early) had the opposite problem i.e. keeping from looking like I had Aids by the time August rolled around. Typically I would get down to 125 and really feel it,especially in terms of energy and recovery. I started eating more protein and not all necessarily meat either but complementary vegetable proteins, which is to say protein combinations when eaten together make up the, what is it, 16 or 17 amino acids which make up meat protein. Such examples as beans and brown rice, milk and peanuts(I know milk is not veg.) etc. but as I don't take b12 shots I certainly didn't give up meat either.The point of this is I eat more but I am hungry less and I think there must be a co-relation between a slightly larger protein consumption and hunger in which one usually will start eating junky, empty calorie foods. Now If I'm hungry I'll grab a slice of honey roasted turkey as opposed to a half bag of corn chips. I think the National Daily Requirement nonsense put out was done for sedentary people and did not take into account athletes. Good luck.
re: need to get back to my fighting weightjp2
May 31, 2001 2:11 PM
you sure you are counting "all"of your calories? i am pretty much like you. though currently 164. ride about 20-30 miles per day on weekdays 50 or so on weekends/races. on weekdays i average about 3700-3800 calories per day, more like 4000-4200 on weekends. these numbers basically are maintaining my weight. i need to cut back again myself to lose the last 4-6 lbs i wish to lose. over the winter i was doing about 2700 cal per day, dropped 15 lbs. some people forget to count certain calories, like vending machine calories, which run rampant in the office. also, if you eat out at lunch, there really is no way to accurately determine how many calories you consume.
Question on beer/alcoholtri
May 31, 2001 5:58 PM
I know that a can of beer has between 90 (miller-lite) and 150 (guiness) usually, but what about shots of alcohol? I've always heard that a shot (tequila, rum, vodka, jd, etc.) is usually between 30-40 calories. In beer, is it the alcohol that's giving most of the calories or the carbs that create the taste? (Just some questions of a collegiate cyclist/triathlete and frat-boy)
answer on beer/alcoholHaiku d'état
Jun 1, 2001 7:02 AM
Beer, regular, 12 fl. oz. 150
Beer, light, 12 fl. oz. 95
Gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, 80 proof, 1.5 fl. oz. 95
Gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, 86 proof, 1.5 fl. oz. 105
Gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, 90 proof, 1.5 fl. oz. 110
Wine, dessert, 3.5 fl. oz. 140
Wine, table, red, 3.5 fl. oz. 75
Wine, table, white, 3.5 fl. oz. 80

Use this websiteBosephus
Jun 1, 2001 5:50 AM
I found this tool excellent for determining caloric intake. Even when I do go out to lunch.

I ignore all the pyramid crap and recommendations and simply use it to determine total calorie intake and ratio of Carbs to Protein to fat.

USDA website

Just enter all the food you eat over the course of the day and it calculates everything for you.

BTW ... I'm pretty good about counting everything. I don't eat candy, soda, or potato chip products, and avoid processed foods and High Fructose corn syrup to the greatest extent possible.
Use this websitejp2
Jun 1, 2001 7:03 AM
i use sport trac. not sure if it is still available. nice little program to estimate your caloric expenditure. has some variables for hills/wind/drafting vs solo. estimate bmr based on your general level of activity, ie sedentary, light office, construction then you add you workouts, walking, riding, running,lifting etc. worked great for me in '96. tracks your food too, including the basic percentages and vitamins if you desire.

i just use the caloric output portion now and again to get an estimate of my basal rate as i get lighter. every frickin pound you lose equals less you can take in. damn. there goes another snack ;)
re: need to get back to my fighting weightpalestra5
May 31, 2001 9:35 PM
The first thing that i would try to do is set long-term goals of losing weight instead of trying something quickly. I have a master's degree in physical education so i can tell you what science says about losing weight and what you can do to boost your energy level when riding. If i were you, i would try to cut my calories to around 2300 in order to lose weight if you want to get back to around 150-155 pounds. I would set a long-term goal of losing weight (around 2-3 months or longer) instead of expecting overnight success. You need your diet to consist of 60% carbohydrates, 25% fat (yes fat), and 15% protein. The body's number one need at all times is energy which is primarily received from carbohydrates. Fat is an energy source too at lower intensity levels. Try to eat foods that are low in saturated fat. Protein is used primarily for rebuilding of the muscle but it can be used for energy if carbs or fat calories are not there. You may want to try eating more complex carbohydrates in your diet like fruits, vegetables, pasta, and breads while cutting out a lot of simple carbs like cakes, candy, sodas, etc. Our metabolism slows down when we get older (late 20's-30's) and beyond. If you are riding 120-140 miles per week then you are getting plenty of exercise. I would concentrate on cutting my calories and replacing simple carbs with complex carbs. This will give you more energy. i like bananas whenever i go riding for an energy boost. Some of those power type bars can be too sweet. High sugar content can raise your blood sugar levels very quickly but in turn your body increases the level of insulin to lower this quick sugar boost to even lower levels than before you ate the bar. Most fruits will not boost your sugar levels as rapidly as a power type bar. You will feel more energy by just adding more fruits, vegetables, pasta, and breads into your diet. Just remember that total calories is the magic formula for losing weight. Simple fact is that if you burn more calories than you take in then you will lose weight. If you burn less calories than you consume then you will gain weight. Set a goal and just stick with it. Sorry for the long post. Hope this helps.
Wrong question! (Long post)pfw
May 31, 2001 11:03 PM
Forget your weight! The 1st question should be:"What is my bodyfat %?"
The next question should be:"how can I reduce my bodyfat?"(low teens % is a good maintainable goal). Losing "weight" is easy, but if you lose muscle too you'll be just as fat only weaker.
That is why the 1lb per week loss is most sensible, beyond that and you'll be losing lean body mass too. A "Tanita" brand or similar bodyfat scale can be a very useful tool. Use it regularly at the same time each day and while it can fluctuate from day to day you will see downward or upward trends over a week or two. They make a great motivational tool too, when the dieting is getting you down you can see your progress. Get one with the "athlete" setting (about $100).

I'm a personal trainer, I have two female clients that illustrate the folly of focusing on weight. Client A is on a Doctor (but not trainer) approved 600calorie a day diet. She's happy that she's lost 23lbs. I ran the numbers:Only 1-2% fat reduction, 10lbs of fat loss, 13 lbs of muscle. Does that sound good? Client B is bummed because she's only lost 15lbs and is getting married soon. But she's lost about 15% bodyfat, that translates to roughly 25-30lbs fatloss (did these in my head at the gym tonight) and 10-15lbs of muscle gained. That's really cool.

I did read a quote in a Triathalon training book once that said "it's rarely the guy with the biggest biceps that wins". But those guys are getting paid to be walking skeletons (ok the tri guys probably aren't as extremely emaciated as the pro cyclists, the swimming builds the upper body I'm sure). I would rather not have to ask for help carrying my groceries out of the store thank you.

Footnote: did anyone see the Cat's Hill Crit(Los Gatos, CA) about 3 weeks ago? There was a guy in one of the masters races (I think) that looked like a pro bodybuilder. He must've weighed close to 250. You know what? He in the front of the pack for the whole race. Every time he went up the hill on Nicholson I could hear people saying " What the heck was that?". He was hauling A$$. His calves were almost as big as my thighs. Very inspirational to a bigger guy like myself (5ft7in, 190lbs,15%fat, 17in arms etc).

Here's a great article on intervals for fatloss, VO2 Max, and anaerobic capacity:

Insert cool tagline here:
Wrong question! (Long post)Jz
Jun 1, 2001 1:13 AM
Wow, someone with the same mindset as me. I have been doing weightlifting for much longer than I have been cycling, and I have not given up my protein. Actually, I must admit I have done much less weights since I started cycling, but I will never have the pro cyclist look no matter what. I know how you feel with being larger ... I am 5'10 225 18.5" arms, etc...ppl often question what the hell I am doing on a roadbike. My answer is: have you ever seen those ex-pro football players? They were huge in their day, but they stopped working out and they are still big, but not cut up and scary looking. You have to get your cardio from somewhere, and I choose to get mine from road/mtb.
Wrong question! (Long post)Bosephus
Jun 1, 2001 6:00 AM
Well, I actually used one of those scales about a month ago at a buddies house and when I set it up for my height it told me I have body fat percentage of 12.5%.

I think part of the problem for me might be that I have pretty strong legs. I ski raced for about 14 years of my life including Div. I in college when I was on a pretty rigorous lower body weight lifting program. I wonder if this throws off those scales a little bit.

Thanks for the input ...
beer notes off the topBreck
Jun 1, 2001 10:46 AM
studies show beer mimics calories somewhere's in between fat and carbo and the magic number is generally given as 7 calories per gram, so re-calculate if you wish..

pabst , the one time classic "what'll you have?" blue collar beer, won their blue ribbon from their premium brew Andeker.

Budweiser, "the king of beers",.
the town of Budweis, Czechosolovokia was making beer long before any brewer from elsewhere borrowed it's name. Likewise Michelob is another Bohemian town famous for it' beers.

"hey mabel, black label" the old timers will remember. Two 5 oz glasses of Shiner's for the brand name once brewed in Ft. Worth, Texas though not from there.

Any two fisted drinkers out there ? :)
Jax among other's made a stein for you with handles both sides.