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Ride easy to lose say what?(11 posts)

Ride easy to lose say what?Americano Cyclepop
May 23, 2002 8:43 AM
The owner of a huge bike shop here in Pasadena, Ca
told me that if I wanna shed some weight. I should take it easy on my rides!!

Is there any truth to this? I seem to always in full race mode need help getting

do group rides with the elderly, thats what i do to slow down nmishmael
May 23, 2002 8:54 AM
re: Ride easy to lose say what?MikeBu
May 23, 2002 9:06 AM
When you do a Zone 2 ride which can be roughly defined as 60%-70% of your Max Heart Rate suppossedly your body uses bodyfat as fuel. When you go harder then that your body uses glycogen because converting fat to fuel takes too long. This winter/spring I did about 80% of my rides in this zone and I have noticed quite a bit of weight loss and I have gotten faster as well and I recover alot faster after climbs.
re: Ride easy to lose say what?mtber
May 23, 2002 9:11 AM
You hear a lot of talk about the working out in the 'fat burning zone' these days which approx 50-60% max HR. Apparently, when training a this intensity a considerably higher percentage of fat than glycogen is burned than when training at 75-80% MHR.

Sounds great - take it easy and burn more fat. The problem is that when working a 50-60% MHR you burn FAR less TOTAL calories. If you work out super easy for 2hrs and burn only 400 cal vs. an intense workout for 1hr where you burn 800 cal, the end result is that you burn more total cals and more fat cal with the intense work out (and 75-80% isn't even very intense if you race) even though the actual % of fat cals is less.

Why don't most people in this country realize - THERE IS NO MAGIC PILL!
re: Ride easy to lose say what?brider
May 23, 2002 10:20 AM
MTBER got it right. What happens is that, up to a certain point, the amount of fat utilized is high. At that point, however, you start to ADD glycogen utilization, and the total amount of fat utilized stays relatively constant.
I lost 18 kgsSGrouts
May 23, 2002 10:31 AM
I agree with mtber.
I am speaking from my experience.
Before three years i lost 18 kgs in one year by riding higher than the fat burn zone.
But you must lower the carbs and take more protein.

10 pounds since ChristmasMcAndrus
May 23, 2002 10:52 AM
Until two years ago I paid no attention to nutrition related to cycling. Then I started eating a lot of carbs but I don't know the percentage. While my riding strength improved consistently, it was tough - almost impossible to lose weight.

I was just eating too many carbs. Since Christmas I've cut the carbs in about half and 10 pounds have disappeared.
Intensity, duration, weight loss...Kyle
May 24, 2002 7:15 AM
I think there are a few things to focus on here.

First, the amount of weight you lose is based on how much work you do over the duration of your workout. (Seems obvious, right?)

Second, there is no 'fat burning zone' per se. The amount of fat you utilize is relatively constant throughout a workout, while the other fuel sources vary considerably. I think someone mentioned this below.

Third: Duration varies GEOMETRICALLY with intensity. What I mean by this, is that small increases in intensity tend to create huge declines in duration.

Here's an example of what I mean. Take an imaginary person who, over 1 hour, must average 200 watts of power output (very closely related to calories burned) to stay in the middle of his aerobic zone. In order to burn the same number of calories in half and hour, he'd have to average 400 watts, right? (i.e. if you cut the time in half, you have to double the power.) The problem is, our subject would probably only be able to maintain 400 watts for about 1 minute at a max effort--which would burn almost no calories (he would have performed only 7 watt/hours worth of work vs. the 200 watt hours above.)

Now look at it the other way. What if our subject reduced his effort 20% to 160 watts? He would probably be able to double his duration, thus doing 320 watt/hours worth of work over 2 hours with only a moderate effort.

What about a 1hr. max effort time trial--that ought to shed the weight, right? Our imaginary subject could probably maintain about 250 watts--for a 25% gain in calories burned. However, he would be left feeling absolutely dead and could have simply ridden one and a half hours at 160 watts for the same amount of 'fat burning.'

This is also why mountain biking, while feeling super hard, doesn't take the weight off you like LSD road rides. You hammer up the hill, then coast down the hill--making your total work over the period surprisingly low.

So there it is: The whole fat burning zone thing isn't an intensity zone so much as it is a duration level. The intensity zone stuff probably just got started as a simple way to explain things to people in the gym.

Good luck...

PS: I realize I didn't use the physics terms exactly correctly. But I think the concept is clearer this way.
Intensity, duration, weight loss...brider
May 24, 2002 7:27 AM
Kyle -- While agree with you totally on the observations you've made, the thing to remember is that your assessment takes in only the time of the work being done. The higher intensity will increase the metabolic rate to a higher degree than the lower intensity work, and will thus do more burning of energy after the work is completed. I've never really seen this quantified to any reasonable degree, but it's been a well-accepted concept for a long time. Also, the higher intensity work will tend to increase and/or maintain more muscle mass than the lower intensity work, which will keep the base metabolic rate higher, and thus burn more energy (especially fats) at rest.
May 24, 2002 8:12 AM
is a very strange concept that has become a real pillar of weight loss. What is it? No one really seems to know. I've never seen a study on people with 'slow' metabolisms vs people with 'high' metabolisms--or have these labels just become catchphrases for a bunch of unrelated genetic traits?

Certainly you can adjust your 'metabolism' (which I define as the amount of energy it takes you to just remain warm and breathing.) As you said, an extremely muscular person is going to have a higher 'metabolism' simple because it takes more energy to maintain lean muscle mass (fat takes very little energy to maintain.) As far as biking goes, increases in muscle mass are kind of negligible compared to more endurance oriented adaptations. Weight lifting would be more efficient if this is your goal.

As you say, the benefits of post-workout increases in metabolism are really hard to quantify. I mean, they certainly exist--your HR declines much more slowly after a hard workout than after an easy one. But how many calories are we really talking about here? And how long do the effects last? No one seems to know and I wonder if they're all that spectacular.

Another factor I didn't get into in my post is frequency. This is another benefit of aerobic workouts (for weight loss)--you need fewer rest days and therefore get higher volume (in a perfect world without kids, jobs, etc.)

So you're probably right, really. I'm guessing that there is an optimal intensity zone that is the perfect balance between allowing high duration and frequency, allowing a high amount of work to be performed, creating a long post-workout metabolism increase, and increasing muscle mass. I'm guessing it's somewhere in zone 2, but it's hard to say.
Ride easy to lose say what?JSchneb
Jun 5, 2002 8:00 AM
I think that a big key is to limit your intake of high-glycmic carbs to after a hard workout. The rest of your carbs should be in the form of fruits and veggies.

Last year, I was riding 6 days a week and didn't drop a pound. This year, I did the above w/the same training schedule and have dropped 14lbs as of Feb.