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Old 12-13-08, 04:21 PM   #1
challaday
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Weight Loss vs. Training Intensity

I am trying to get into shape to do some racing next year. I haven't done any racing for 15 years, and I now want to get into the mix again. I also had not gotten on a bike at all for 12 of those 15 years.

I got back on the bike about 3 years ago, and this spring, summer, and fall, I was able to put in a decent amount of time and miles. Overall, though, I still think I'm about 5-10 pounds higher than I'd like to be. 4I'm 40 years old, 5 foot 6 inches, and weigh about 155 pounds. My local gym has one of those scales that has the fat % calculation where you grab onto the handle, and it shows up between 15%-16%

The issue is that I can certainly lower my calorie intake, but when I do, even by a 200-300 per day, I feel it in the 2nd-3rd hour of a training ride.

So, how do you balance the weight loss side with the need for calories for training.
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Old 12-13-08, 04:27 PM   #2
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Eat enough to fuel your riding and to replenish afterwards. Cut back in the evenings.

The electronic BF% gauges aren't very accurate.
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Old 12-13-08, 05:21 PM   #3
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That's a really long ride. I lost a bunch of weight with only 90 minutes per day, at the bottom end of tempo intensity. I didn't recover any of my ride burn, as the intensity was low enough to live off of fat.
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Old 12-13-08, 05:35 PM   #4
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I am the exact height and age as you. I was at 155 about 6 weeks ago, but I am now down to 149. I would like to get down to 140 and I think I can do it. I have increased the amount of low intensity training that I do on the bike and the weight has started to come off.
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Old 12-13-08, 05:45 PM   #5
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5'6" 155 sounds about right to me. I made it to 150 last season for a bit, but I didn't quite have to same ummmffff
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Old 12-13-08, 05:47 PM   #6
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I've dropped 10 in that last 6 weeks. I've got a few more to go. I've been doing mostly zone 2-4 rides at least 90 min if I'm outside. No less than 1 hr if indoors. Sometimes I get a little zone 5 in there on the group rides. Based on past experience I have found it better to lose the weight first, than work on getting fast. I got faster just by losing weight even though I was keeping a caloric deficit. I have also found that if I am not done dieting by the time the racing starts, I'm boned for the season. But thats me. You might get different results.
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Old 12-13-08, 05:48 PM   #7
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The secret is you gotta eat a little bit while riding. Gel, powerbar, anything.
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Old 12-13-08, 06:12 PM   #8
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The secret is you gotta eat a little bit while riding. Gel, powerbar, anything.
+1

If you eat a little something during your ride, it'll help you feel a little less overwhelmed during the ride and can make you feel less hungry after the ride too.

Do you eat anything in the 2 hrs preceding your ride?
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Old 12-13-08, 06:53 PM   #9
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Actually, I've been pretty good about nutrition over the last 9 months. On heavy riding days, I'm putting in about 2500-2800 calories, but I'm generally riding 3-4 hours. I eat about 300 cals worth of complex carbs 2-3 hours prior to riding, and I generally go through about 16 ounces of powerade/gatorade during the ride, along with water.

Typical daily intake is 20%/20%/60% of fat/protein/carbs, spread around 5 main eating periods.
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Old 12-13-08, 07:27 PM   #10
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Eat lots on the bike. starve yourself off. You'll lose weight. You're not supposed to lose more than 1lb/week, but I don't have the patience for that.
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Old 12-13-08, 07:40 PM   #11
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Does anyone know, physiologically speaking, why maintaing heart rate in a certain zone is supposed to promote your body using its fat stores for energy? I have a very basic understanding of metabolism, and I can't figure out why this is the case.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-13-08, 07:40 PM   #12
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didn't keith bontrager say "weight loss. intensity. choose one."
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Old 12-13-08, 08:13 PM   #13
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Actually, I've been pretty good about nutrition over the last 9 months. On heavy riding days, I'm putting in about 2500-2800 calories, but I'm generally riding 3-4 hours. I eat about 300 cals worth of complex carbs 2-3 hours prior to riding, and I generally go through about 16 ounces of powerade/gatorade during the ride, along with water.

Typical daily intake is 20%/20%/60% of fat/protein/carbs, spread around 5 main eating periods.

You mean sugar water? Ditch the gatorade
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Old 12-13-08, 09:53 PM   #14
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Does anyone know, physiologically speaking, why maintaing heart rate in a certain zone is supposed to promote your body using its fat stores for energy? I have a very basic understanding of metabolism, and I can't figure out why this is the case.

Thoughts?
Here's what I have been told, so take it with a grain of NaCl:

In real basic terms, it has to do with the fact that your body has evolved to be darn smart, and conserves as much glycogen as possible. So quick activities use glycogen stored in the muscle cells to fuel activity. However, as activity continues, the body naturally understands that it will use up that valuable resource, and it starts using stored fat instead, at least to the point where the aerobic fuel cycle is possible, after which, it starts using glycogen again.

From an evolutionary standpoint, glycogen stores are valuable because it is the fuel necessary for most fight or flight activities.
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Old 12-13-08, 09:55 PM   #15
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You mean sugar water? Ditch the gatorade
I've been told that before. I've also been told that gatorade/juice/sugar water is the quickest way to get calories into the body during exercise. About 50/50 in those statements, so I keep using it. Also, its got salt which helps replenish that.
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Old 12-14-08, 12:17 AM   #16
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In real basic terms, it has to do with the fact that your body has evolved to be darn smart, and conserves as much glycogen as possible. So quick activities use glycogen stored in the muscle cells to fuel activity. However, as activity continues, the body naturally understands that it will use up that valuable resource, and it starts using stored fat instead, at least to the point where the aerobic fuel cycle is possible, after which, it starts using glycogen again.

From an evolutionary standpoint, glycogen stores are valuable because it is the fuel necessary for most fight or flight activities.
A fine summing up, just the caveat that you'll never be relying entirely on fat for fuel during exercise. A low level exercise following something like a baconator might get an elite endurance athlete to use ~40% fat.

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I keep using it. Also, its got salt which helps replenish that.
Really doesn't have enough salt to matter. Decide whether or not to drink it based on the sugar not on the 140mg of electrolytes per serving. You could quadruple that with a quick shake from a salt shaker.
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Old 12-14-08, 12:46 AM   #17
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Does anyone know, physiologically speaking, why maintaing heart rate in a certain zone is supposed to promote your body using its fat stores for energy? I have a very basic understanding of metabolism, and I can't figure out why this is the case.

Thoughts?
you burn the same amount of fat anywhere past ~60%MHR. the body has a ton of energy stored as fat but can't process enough of it for intense activity, which is why we have muscle glycogen (which is different from liver glycogen... chemically the same but liver glycogen is exclusivly for the brain as that is its only fuel (unless you bonk and have to break down protein...)). the proportion of energy from fat goes down as your glycogen energy use goes up with intensity.
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Old 12-14-08, 09:49 AM   #18
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you burn the same amount of fat anywhere past ~60%MHR. the body has a ton of energy stored as fat but can't process enough of it for intense activity, which is why we have muscle glycogen (which is different from liver glycogen... chemically the same but liver glycogen is exclusivly for the brain as that is its only fuel (unless you bonk and have to break down protein...)). the proportion of energy from fat goes down as your glycogen energy use goes up with intensity.
That means that you burn the same amount of fat when you are going at 85% MHR as at 60%. The rest of the energy is made up from glycogen. You rebuild your glycogen stores after the ride, either from body fat converted to glycogen, or more directly from consumed carbohydrates. So the "fat burning zone" is commonly misunderstood- it's not that at low intensities you burn more fat, you are burning a higher percrentage of fat.

The fat--burning ability of low intensity riding comes from being able to do a lot of it. Five hours at 500 Cal/hr vs two at 800 Cal/hr burns more calories overall. But two hours @ 500Cal/hr in the "fat burning zone" burns less calories than that 800 Cal/hr fast ride.


I am pretty sure that muscles consume liver glycogen except at high intensities when muscle glycogen is used. The brain does run only on glycogen and doesn't store any, so when you run out of liver glycogen you get stupid because your brain is running on fumes.
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Old 12-14-08, 02:02 PM   #19
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Yeah other tissues can use liver glycogen, it is just the chief source for keeping blood glucose levels high enough and thus is crucial to your brain as blood sugar is the brain's almost exclusive fuel.
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Old 12-14-08, 03:26 PM   #20
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The brain does run only on glycogen and doesn't store any, so when you run out of liver glycogen you get stupid because your brain is running on fumes.
Huh. My glycogen stores must be low because I feel pretty stupid.
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Old 12-14-08, 04:19 PM   #21
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I am trying to get into shape to do some racing next year. I haven't done any racing for 15 years, and I now want to get into the mix again. I also had not gotten on a bike at all for 12 of those 15 years.

I got back on the bike about 3 years ago, and this spring, summer, and fall, I was able to put in a decent amount of time and miles. Overall, though, I still think I'm about 5-10 pounds higher than I'd like to be. 4I'm 40 years old, 5 foot 6 inches, and weigh about 155 pounds. My local gym has one of those scales that has the fat % calculation where you grab onto the handle, and it shows up between 15%-16%

The issue is that I can certainly lower my calorie intake, but when I do, even by a 200-300 per day, I feel it in the 2nd-3rd hour of a training ride.

So, how do you balance the weight loss side with the need for calories for training.
If you shift your diet a bit, you can still get the energy you need and cut your BFP. The Training and Nutrition threads are chock-full of strategies to consider.

Apart from that, to counter the hunger that you feel while training, you should consume low-calorie, but high energy foods or solutions while you ride. Good examples (or at least things that have worked for me) are gels, Clif Bars, Powerbars, Bananas, etc. Avoid foods that are packed with sugars or fat, since these are harder to digest and will sit in your stomach longer, causing discomfort. In fact, the best resources to take in while cycling are liquid-based ones, since they are utilized by the body a lot faster and will give you energy a lot quicker.

Good luck!
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Old 12-14-08, 04:19 PM   #22
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I am pretty sure that muscles consume liver glycogen except at high intensities when muscle glycogen is used. The brain does run only on glycogen and doesn't store any, so when you run out of liver glycogen you get stupid because your brain is running on fumes.
Incorrect. The brain also uses ketone bodies for energy.
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Old 12-14-08, 04:27 PM   #23
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Does anyone know, physiologically speaking, why maintaing heart rate in a certain zone is supposed to promote your body using its fat stores for energy? I have a very basic understanding of metabolism, and I can't figure out why this is the case.

Thoughts?
I think this was said here, but the exact range is dependent on your maximum heart rate. However, your body utilizes more of your fat stores when working under 45% (or so) of your MHR (in zones, this is around Zone 1 and Zone 2).
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Old 12-14-08, 06:22 PM   #24
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That whole "best HR range to burn fat" is (pretty much) a myth. The harder to work the more energy you use and (pretty much) its even from all sources.

Being that is the racing forum I wouldnt work out in those suggested fat burning zones during this time of year. All that will do is make you a damn good zone 1 and 2 rider. Mix it up and do some SST. If you warm up and cool down correctly you will still have a good chunk of time each week in those easier "fat burning" zones. This is assuming you are like most of us and dont have all day to train. Common sense should tell you that 3 days @ 2 hours of zone 3 will burn more fat than 3 says @ 2 hours of zone 2/1
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Old 12-14-08, 07:53 PM   #25
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That whole "best HR range to burn fat" is (pretty much) a myth. The harder to work the more energy you use and (pretty much) its even from all sources.
There is a zone where you will burn calories without killing your muscle glycogen. Your body can then use more fat for fuel, and you don't have to eat as much. I lost 12 lbs in 5.5 weeks this way. 90 minutes of training each day, and I was carrying a 1200-1500 kcal/day deficit. I can't do that when I'm training hard -- too hungry, and can't perform day after day on a diet.
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