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Questions about weight (the person, not the bike)(29 posts)

Questions about weight (the person, not the bike)stan_b
Jun 2, 2003 8:42 AM
I am 5'8" and weigh 167. I have already lost about 5 pounds and hope to lose quite a bit more. I was really impressed by the weight poll awhile back. Most guys here are really lean. My question involves how you got that way and stay that way.

Did any get there just by cycling, eating anything they want?

Or do most have to at least pay some attention to what they eat? I've been trying to eat low fat with only fruit for breakfast.

Finally, how much does performance really improve? That is my motivation to lose weight primarily. For every so many pounds over an ideal weight, is there a corresponding decrease in performance statistics such as average speed?

Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, soy, nuts, fish, non fat dairyContinental
Jun 2, 2003 9:06 AM
That's what I eat for 90% of my meals and snacks. The other 2 meals per week I eat normal American diet. I'm 44, my BMI is 21 to 22, 8%-10% body fat. For optimal health and performance I believe you need good diet, exercise, rest, and positive attitude.

If you reduced your BMI to an optimal 22, you would weigh 145 lbs and should have more strength, power, and endurance. Your bike would fly.

You'll get sicker than hell if your try to change to this type of diet quickly. Slow changes over several months are necessary to make the transition. A bowl of steamed veggies, brown rice, and tofu with some cilantro and chile pepper (that's what I'm having for lunch) will become more appealing than a double cheeseburger. Bran flakes, textured vegetable protien, blueberries, and skim milk (breakfast for me most days) will taste better than a stack of pancakes and sausage. Honest.
BMI is useless informationColnagoFE
Jun 2, 2003 9:27 AM
BMI would make equal a bodybuilder with 4% body fat the same as a fat person who sits on the couch all day with the same weight. It doesn't take into account fat percentage. At 10% BF I am borderline overweight according to BMI.
BMI is useless informationBikeViking
Jun 2, 2003 10:10 AM
Agree wholeheartedly!! I am 6'3", 196 lbs and it puts me right at the overweight limit of 25

What useless crap!! There has to be a better method!!
BMI is poor indicatorpitt83
Jun 2, 2003 11:31 AM
I'm at 13% body fat, 6'4" and 235# and considered obese by BMI. Don't think so. I would need to be 205 to be considered "normal". That's skeletal for me. Weight to height ratio is OK, but doesn't consider muscle mass
Are your big muscles good for cycling or health?Continental
Jun 2, 2003 12:04 PM
I agree that BMI does not consider muscle mass and is not a useful final diagnostic tool for obesity. It is a good screening tool for the general population. I do think that there is an optimum BMI for cycling performance, which is the question being asked. One of the breakthroughs for Lance Armstrong was loss of muscle mass.

I don't think that big muscles and the exercises required to get them are healthy, and I know that they do not improve cycling performance. Of course, I'm a skinny 6"4" 178 lb geek who couldn't put on 40 lbs of muscle and 8 lbs of fat to be 235# and 13% body fat. I study diet, exercise, and health and have never seen any information that indicates large muscle mass improves general health or longevity. I'd love to see a well controlled documented study by a major research institution that shows big muscles are good for health and longevity. Then I can bulk up and be a he-man.
Are your big muscles good for cycling or health?Jeff Rage
Jun 2, 2003 12:40 PM
MOre muscle mass=raised metabolism. there are so many benifts to this, and they are well researched and documented.

However, more muscle mass=more weight, which can make you slower on the bike.
Jun 2, 2003 1:05 PM
Sure, upper body mass is not helpful and can be detrimental for road cycling, but for mountain biking can be pretty helpful. then again i'm not Lance Armstrong or planning to compete on the level he is competing at so i'm not all that interested in being that cycling specific. All in all, i'm not that big anyway. i just don't have that body type, but there is little doubt that things like squats and deadlifts and seated rows can directly apply to cycling. having a strong back--especially low back alone will help injury prevention at a minimum. cyclists can also use some tricep development. look at lance's arms. his tris are well developed but his biceps are not at all--very cycling specific and great for when every gram counts. another benefit of bigger muscles is that you burn more calories just sitting still so you can eat more and not gain weight. another plus that is especially important for cyclists is that they are keep bone mass--cycling is not that weight bearing so if that's all you do your body isn't subject to the impacts that runners have. bone density can suffer as a result. no need to be a he-man. if you don't eat tons of food you won't bulk up. it's actually pretty tough to get bigger for most people. putting on 3-4 pounds of muscle a year would be a pretty good accomplishment for most assuming you aren't taking things like steroids that can make you make more rapid gains.
depends on the directionpitt83
Jun 2, 2003 4:16 PM
I'm coming down from 260 and 23% body fat; where I am now 235 and 14%) is far better. I'll be 225 and ~11% by August with the summer schedule of mileage.

As for strength training, I do it for various reasons other than cycling (preservation, metabolism, strength for other tasks ion life, etc.). I also enjoy lifting in the off season; it's fun to watch the gains in definition and lifting more than body weight at the squat rack is pretty cool.

I consider myself an outlyer for BMI alone. I'm 29.6 and not as near to the "obese" category as that index alone places me.

As for gaining, no advice because I've never had to.
BMI is useless informationJeff Rage
Jun 2, 2003 4:57 PM
I'm 30 years old, am 5'2" tall, and in pretty good shape. A while back I tried to do a BMI for fun. The results came back that I was an OBESE 11 year old!
Jun 2, 2003 9:18 AM
FWIW- I've always been thin and a bit of a workout freak post-college. Cycling started as a way to do cardio while the scenery changed, be outdoors, etc...

According to my HRM, most of my rides burn between 800-1100 calories/ hour, so I can eat whatever I want. If I don't, I start to feel weak, lost muscle mass, and feel a bit burnt out. I don't think trying to lose weight while boosting "performance" is a great idea. Also, I made a concerted effort to gain some muscle mass in the winter and spring, and I'm working at keeping it on.

If I were you, I would just put as much time as you can into riding, and not analyze things too much until you want to turn it into a science (and take half the fun out of it). You naturally will become in better shape no matter what you do. The science becomes useful when you hit plateaus, or become more extreme about the sport.

Performance comes through your cardio conditioning. There are plenty of old geezers out there that could lose 30-40 lbs that could ride circles around guys half their age. It is definitely possible to be in excellent cardio shape and a bit overweight. Obviously heavier guys will suffer more on hills, but on the flats it becomes a level playing field (no pun).
improve for what?ColnagoFE
Jun 2, 2003 9:21 AM
are you gonna race competitively? or just want to ride in some centuries? if the latter, don't sweat your diet so much. if the former, you're gonna have to watch it a bit more. Also don't just go by height and weight. Body fat percentage is a much more telling statistic. Pro cyclists tend to look like birds on top and weightlifters on the bottom. Great for cycling, but you're still gonna get people kicking sand in your face at the beach with that kind of figure. I like the look of myself with more of a "V" shaped upper body. I'm not Lance Armstrong so a littly extra weight up top is not gonna hurt me too bad. if i was you i'd start looking at your diet as a whole. breakfast is the most important meal of the day and if you aren't fueling up and getting enough protein then you stand to lose muscle. what gets you there and keeps you there? less or equal to what you burn through exercise and daily activity. getting too fat? eat less or exercise more. getting to lean? eat more. there are really no tricks other than a good program of exercise and recovery and a good diet.
Let's stir some thihngs up here!Jeff Rage
Jun 2, 2003 9:31 AM
I lost about 30 lbs. of fat this year. I'm now about 126 lbs. @ 7.3% bodyfat at a height of 5'2". I weihgt trained 3-4 days a week. However, my fat loss came mainly from my diet. I started off eating a low carb diet (>70 gr./day) and eventually went ot a very low carb diet (>30 gr./day). For the last few moonths, my diet was approx. 50% protein, 45% fat, 5% carbs. One day a week I would have a "carb day." One thing to note is that I hardly did any cardio! (Haven't been able to ride, due to the weather.)

For me, I never noticed any fat loss from biking. However, I have noticed muscle loss from biking.

I realize low carb diets may not be the best thing if you a cyclist, but I thought I'd throw in what I did, because it did work.
Sorry, don't believe in low carbstan_b
Jun 2, 2003 9:36 AM
diets especially for cycling. Carbs are the primary fuel for aerobic exercise. I know low carb diets can help one lose weight but many feel the weight comes back.

Performance, however, is my main concern so even if I could lose weight on a low carb diet, I wouldn't go that way.
several recent meta-analyses show no difference between dietsterzo rene
Jun 2, 2003 1:13 PM
In other words a calorie is a calorie. There is no magic bullet to weight loss, so toss out those grapefruit45 pills too.
Is too much cardio BAD for losing weight?ColnagoFE
Jun 2, 2003 10:38 AM
Did I get your attention? Not to condone not doing cardio, but I've read in some places where excess cardio (2+ hours cycling a done a few times a week on a regular basis probably qualifies for this definition) can actually make your body hold onto fat. I haven't done as much cycling this summer but I have remained consistent with my weight lifting. My body fat is as low as it's ever been--even when I was cycling nearly every day for hours at a time. AMA determined that there is nothing magical about the ratio or protein to carbs and that Atkins and the like lose weight mainly from water loss at first and caloric reduction over the long term, but I believe that more proteins can make you feel full quicker...thus helping with weight loss. I know I can eat a whole bag of chips and hardly feel full while a good steak fills me up pretty quickly.
maybe that's my problem!tarwheel
Jun 2, 2003 11:12 AM
I average about 150 miles/week and ride year-round, yet my weight has not changed appreciably over the past 2-1/2 years. In fact, my weight often seems to go up when I'm riding a lot. Last summer, I rode 450 miles in a weeklong cycle tour and gained 8 pounds! In March and May of this year, I cycled more than 700 miles each month and didn't lose a pound, even though I was really watching my diet and controlling my portions. In February, I rode only 434 miles and lost 5 pounds, and in April, I rode 541 miles and lost 4 pounds.

Several years ago, I followed the Atkins diet very closely and lost 15 pounds the first month. I kept weight off by minimizing my carb consumption. However, I found it difficult to cycle on a low-carb diet -- but it's the only diet that has ever worked for me in taking off weight.
mix it upColnagoFE
Jun 2, 2003 12:44 PM
the thing that seemed to work for me is to mix up your workouts. if you've been doing all base then throw in some intervals, if you don't lift, start lifting weights...then do some cardio kickboxing, some running, some swimming, go rock climbing...whatever. sometimes mixing it up will get those last few pounds off. i think maybe your body gets used to the same exercise routines after a while and you need to shock it into responding by doing something different.
maybe!Jeff Rage
Jun 2, 2003 12:45 PM
One problem with excess cardio is that you can burn muscle mass, wihch slows down your metabolism. This can account for why some people do tons of cardio but still carry extra bodyfat.

One thing you could do is go on a low-carb diet to lose fat in the "off-season." As I said, your cycling performance will be limited on a low-carb diet.
$hit, I consume 30g per hour on the bike! I`ve lost 30lbsSpunout
Jun 2, 2003 10:58 AM
In two years since back to cycling. 45% fat, I don`t think that it can be healthy anyway you look at it.
2nd Continental's info plus Coffee!HAL9010
Jun 2, 2003 9:34 AM
And lots of it. In fact use Coffee in your water bottle. After all Coffee is essentially water with flavor. Refer to The book "The Caffeine Advantage" by Weinberg & Bealer.

Then include a nice Belgin Abby style Ale or a Porter or Stout as part of your post ride recovery treat.

Please note the tongue-in-cheek content aspects of this post.
I my case I did the followingjoekm
Jun 2, 2003 9:35 AM
Besides riding my bike I all but totally eliminated fast food and made it a point to bring my lunch to work instead. I took to putting my wallet in my lunchbag so there was no way I could forget to bring it.

The bike definitely helped but I also think eliminating Wendy's, Burger King, McDonalds, etc. played at least as big a part.

BTW - I went from about 196 to about 176 and am hoping to eventually get to 172.5. I have decided that I will make no "weight weenie" upgrades to my bike until I hit that threshold.
Performance gains will be huge....biknben
Jun 2, 2003 9:51 AM
In '99 I weighed in at 210 lbs. At 6 feet tall, I was able to carry it without looking huge. I had riden for years but still steadily put on weight. At some point (long story), I decided to get rid of all the excess.

I dropped over 50 lbs between '99 and '00. I started racing again and found the difference to be incredible. I now enjoy the hills.

Loose the weight any way you can. Portion control, IMO, is the biggest problem for most. I used a steady regimen of mild starvation, slim-fast, and exercise.

Take off another 5 lbs and you may start to notice a difference. Then it becomes easy to loose more. Every ride will provide tons of motivation.
I agree with ColnagoFEmainframe
Jun 2, 2003 10:20 AM
It's basically a calories in-calories out game, assuming quality, nutritional intake. At 55 years old and 148, I find eliminating sugar in the diet is key. I eat lots of fish, salads, and tons of oatmeal/sliced apples, and never fast food or sodas. Strength and samina remain high and although I've never been muscular, I still use 40lb. dumbbells for inclined shoulder presses. Present riding schedule nets 150 to 200 miles weekly.
My 2¢mleptuck
Jun 2, 2003 10:59 AM
Now, I'm no dietary expert, but from 1/7/2003 I've dropped 45 pounds (from 249 to 204 today), and here is what I've done:

1) Gotten in at least 4 hours a week of zone 2-3 minimum excercise. During the Winter, I was putting in 45m sessions on the trainer 4-5 times a week, and nowadays I'm putting in 120-150 miles a week on the road in 30-40 mile chunks.

2) I tracked EVERYTHING I ate, and kept running daily totals. I originally went to a daily max of 3000 calories (that is still a LOT of food), and have since gradually reduced that to around 2600 cal/day when I am not riding. When I do ride, I allow myself 3000-3500 total daily cals depending on the length and intensity of my workout that day. Using this, I'm actually running a higher caloric deficit on riding days, if I'm burning 700-800 cals an hour on the bike.

3) Finally, and this was the toughest for me personally, was NOTHING to eat after 8PM. Obviously when the wife and I go out to eat or have guests over, this rule has to go out the window, but in those cases I try to eat and drink more reasonably (scotch and H2O instead of vodka and tonic or beer, chicken or fish instead of red meat, etc). My biggest weakness, when I reviewed my old dietary habits, was that many times a week I'd have a 9 or 10 o'clock sweet, be it a glass of milk and some cookies, or some ice cream.

My biggest thing was that I wanted to make sure I did not radically alter my eating habits early, and fall back into old habits when I realized I wasn't realistic about my initial goals. I still enjoy our weekly pizza on Friday nights, and can indulge an evil breakfast or lunch once or twice a week and not feel bad about myself.

Take it from me, after dropping nearly 50 pounds, it isn't (and doesn't have to be) nearly as difficult as you think it is (or will be).

Consequently, my riding this year has been relatively painless, and my buddies are quite amazed (and irritated!) that my riding is so much stronger than at the end of last season. Granted, I'll never climb like Simoni these past couple of weeks, but I've dropped nearly 20% off my original weight, and that is a massive amount when I'm on the bike.

Good luck!
Don't sell your efforts shortColnagoFE
Jun 2, 2003 12:52 PM
Sure there is no rocket science behind losing weight--but the hardest part is mental and that can be really tough--especially if you are starting out really deconditioned and overweight to begin with. Most people think very lilttle about the food they eat and the exercise they are getting and then blame a slow metabolism for their lack of ability to lose weight when it is really the 10 sodas they are drinking daily or the bag of chips nightly while watching TV. A good plan, consistency and discipline are key to losing weight for the long term. It's easy to give up before you see big results, but it is worth it in the end. Sounds like you have that figured out. Congratulations on your efforts!
Most people eat too much...terzo rene
Jun 2, 2003 1:33 PM
Here's what I use to determine caloric requirements:

REE = 370 + (21.6 * FFM)

REE = resting energy expenditure
FFM = fat free mass in kg, (1-body fat %)*weight = FFM

Then add on calories consumed in exercise and that's the daily food intake from all sources. To lose weight take that total and subtract 500 kcal/day. Obviously the better shape and the more watts you can produce and hence calories consumed per hour the more you get to eat.

A scale is extremely important. Most obese people GROSSLY underestimate their intake and portion sizes.
re: Questions about weight (the person, not the bike)Jeff Rage
Jun 2, 2003 5:39 PM
Stan, there's been a lot of ideas presented here. Did you get the information you needed?

Unless you have a gifted metabolism, you will have to look at your diet if you want to lose fat. The most basic advice - try to eat 5-6 meals a day, eating some protein at every meal. Try to stay away from stuff that is obviuosly bad: pizza, chips, cookies, soda, etc. The worst thing you can do is to consume a signifigant amount of fat and carbs in the same meal.

Hope this helps!
re: Questions about weight (the person, not the bike)aliensporebomb
Jun 4, 2003 6:33 AM
I just got back from a business trip where we had 17 hour
days moving network and computer equipment from one place
to another and very little meal brakes.

Though exhausted, I've definetely lost weight (a good thing)
and am about 15 pounds lighter than I was in January.

You can definetely feel the difference on the bike.

As was described above, 60 pounds it would seem like you
were a rocketship. Very cool.