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    Fitness Question

    Hello everybody,
    I'm looking for advice. I started riding in April hoping to get in shape and lose weight. I'm 43 6' 2" and 223. I started with 3 mile rides and I'm now doing 25 mile rides 3-4 times a week. 75-100 miles a week. When I started my heart rate would stay in zone 5 now I'm mostly in zone 3. So I am in better shape. My quads look better and I feel better. I have monitored my diet and I have reduced my calories to between 1600-2000 a day. Recommended by a nutritionist. My weight and body fat percentage have not changed. I understand I'm building muscle and it weighs more but the body fat percentage isn't changing either. I alternate between two different routes and my finish time is very consistent. It's like my body has a pace it's comfortable with it. I'll think I'm riding better and the time is the same. Each route also contains 32 stop lights. I'm averaging 16mph, it took me awhile but cadence average is 89. I always feel like I got a good workout and I'm trying to push myself to go faster but in the end the times are the same. I feel better and I'm not going to quit but why am I not losing any weight and why am I not getting faster? it is easier but I would think that the more you ride the more your muscles adapt and you would naturally go faster. Any help? Thanks Chris

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    Senoir Membre Rosso Corsa's Avatar
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    A good approach to training is that your body will adapt to the conditions you subject it to. So, if you always ride the same pace, your body adapts until it can do it comfortably, and then stops changing because it has adapted to meet the need. If you push yourself, it tells your body that it is not as fast (ie. efficient and strong) and it needs to be, so it tries to change so it is.

    You just need to be doing more hard efforts. This could be structured intervals, hill repeats, hard group rides, etc. Anything to get the HR past AT at least (it seems you have a HRM). Initially, two bouts of intervals a week is plenty (with riding in between still, just easier / recovery). Enough to make you feel dead the next day. And take your rest, it is as necessary in getting faster as the actual hard training is. Take in some food for recovery after, too. Just push yourself hard on these days, at times until your can hardly breathe, feel lactic burn, etc. Also, in between intervals make sure (generally) that you recover in between efforts, which means get the heart rate back down to 60%.

    It seems like these would only make you faster during hard efforts similar to the one in the interval, but it makes your whole system more efficient, muscles more tolerant to lactic acid, etc. So, you end up also being able to ride longer, and at a higher cruising speed.

    This is all just generally, of course. There are different type of intervals you can do, which do different things.


    To burn fat, do long, slow rides. There is a HR zone which burns more fat. It could be zone 2, but in any case it is lower because fat is slower to turn into usable energy for muscles, but if you give the body time to provide the muscles with fat, it will, saving glycogen (carbs) for the more intense efforts. If you go on a low carb diet, the premise is that if your muscles don't have a lot of carbs readily available to burn, it will burn fat instead.

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    a big man
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    Well, that is odd. You should be going faster, and your body fat percentage should be going down. Perhaps the lights are regulating a regular pace, keeping you at the same average speed even though you are moving faster in between lights.

    How are you measuring you body fat percentage? The device could be faulty.

    Have you noticed changes in how your clothes fit, is your belt looser? Has anyone mentioned that you look thinner or that you have huge calves? Are young women approaching you with their phone numbers?

    How long have you been on the new diet of 1600-2000 calories, and how long have you been riding that ~85 miles a week? Maybe it's just a little soon to expect results.

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    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    army43 - Like mentioned above I would try to find a riding partner, who is just a little faster. I thought I was pushing myself but when I ride with others I push a little harder, so I am competative, and I still make it without dieing.

    Also, try a shorter route but push for a faster pace. Mix-up what you are doing. I hate stop lights, I have two main intersections with highways and those lights can be long in changing

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    Thanks Rossa,
    I guess simply riding doesn't make you faster. You have to actually train with intervals. I was afraid of this. How long of a flat do you need for intervals? What is the criteria for a long slow ride? How long do you need to stay in zone 2 or 3? I do have a heart rate monitor and a Garmin 305.

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    there was a time when i had my calorie intake down around 2k or less. i felt like i slammed into a wall. i stopped losing weight and i couldnt get my times up. i upped my calorie intake with great results. since then i have averaged only a pound a week but alot of people up here thinks thats ok. my speed and times are improved. have you talked to your nutritionist lately? your not riding 12 miles a week anymore. i am in the neighborhood of 3000 now. i had a chance to pick the brain of a nutritionist. she agreed on my current diet with the amount of riding/ activity. she simply explained like i didnt have an idea "your muscles need more energy to work harder". after about a half an hour i am sure glad i dont pay someone to look out for my eating habits. they against my will, tell me things i already know and they annoy the piss out of me (excusing yourself to the restroom is such a great escape)
    "If you never suffered from over training then you've never trained hard enough"

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    60-70% Max HR is your long slow ride HR. 80-90% Max is your peak for interval training.
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    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    How are you measuring your body fat percentage?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_fa...ent_techniques

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    Justin70,
    I am definately wondering about the lights. I am always slowing down, or speeding up, or stopping for them. I don't know what overall affect is though.

    I'm using a regular scale that measures weight and body fat. It may not be completely accurate but I would expect it to move somewhere. It fluctuates between 1/2 to 1 1/2 %. I weigh myself at the same time everyday.

    I definately feel better and my cardio is much better. My quads are getting big and calves look better and my wife thinks I look thinner. I teach middle school so I make it a policy to politely decline phone numbers from young girls unless I want to call their mom.

    The calorie intake has been consistent for almost a year and I've been doing the 85 miles a week for about 2 months.

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    Senior Member dbikingman's Avatar
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    There is a lot of different ways to do intervals. Here is an interval program that you can fit to your current fitness level. Consider a level 7 what your current riding pace is an 8 is a little harder, 9 a little more, and a 10 is you can't do anymore for a minute. a 6 is slow and relaxing. Do each segment for 60 seconds. Try it once or twice a week.

    So 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 6, 7, 8, 9, 6, 7, 8, 9. 6, 7, 8. 9. 10, 6, 6,

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    dbikingman,

    I tried a shorter route 2 days ago by accicent when tire went flat. When I checked the data everything was higher, pace, cadence , avg speed. But it was only 9 miles.

    I found the virtual partner on my Garmin 305 and I have been beating him lately (but I think he's letting me win). I do try to catch anyone I see riding on the road.

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    Fastflyingasian,

    I thought I was going into starvation mode maybe so I increased my calories, I still eat healthy just more of it. It didn't change. I think losing a pound a week is perfect. When I talked to the nutritionist I found out her husband was a triathlete so she understood the fuel requirements. She looked over my food diary and said who eats better than you? Just keep doing what your doing. That was a $100 visit. She told not to come back I was doing fine.

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    Draft Producer Fastflyingasian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by army14 View Post
    Fastflyingasian,

    I thought I was going into starvation mode maybe so I increased my calories, I still eat healthy just more of it. It didn't change. I think losing a pound a week is perfect. When I talked to the nutritionist I found out her husband was a triathlete so she understood the fuel requirements. She looked over my food diary and said who eats better than you? Just keep doing what your doing. That was a $100 visit. She told not to come back I was doing fine.
    ah very good
    "If you never suffered from over training then you've never trained hard enough"

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    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by army14 View Post
    My weight and body fat percentage have not changed. I understand I'm building muscle and it weighs more but the body fat percentage isn't changing either.
    It is mathematically impossible for these statements to be true. Think about it...

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    Im willing to bet a faulty scale is the culprit... invest in a body fat percentage caliper and use a hospital grade weight scale. Most of the time those wal-mart or target type scales are pretty iffy in their measurements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by army14 View Post
    Justin70,.

    I'm using a regular scale that measures weight and body fat. It may not be completely accurate but I would expect it to move somewhere. It fluctuates between 1/2 to 1 1/2 %. I weigh myself at the same time everyday.
    Haaaannngg on here.
    I think we might have found your problem. You are saying that you consistently get readings of 1% to 1.5% body fat composition using your scales.

    For a start that is very close to zero, so it's going to be very hard for the scales to detect any decrease at all.

    More importantly, if your body fat percentage was really that low, I doubt you would be a very healthy person. In fact 'essential fat' which is the amount of fat that your body needs to continue functioning for males is between 2-5%. It's recommended you keep a level higher than this, 8-15% for men although this value is argued a bit but you get the general idea. In other words, with a body fat percentage that low, you might be dead.

    So, this along with what you have said about how you feel better, are fitter, comments from others about your looks and the body fat percentage not changing on the scales, I would put my money on the scales just not being reliable for measuring your fat percentage and giving you bogus readings.

    Electronic scales (which is what I presume you are using) are notoriously inaccurate for measuring body fat. If you are really worried about this figure you are better off getting it measured periodically by other more reliable methods.

    Edit, Addition: As an idea, you might want to try using the stop lights as intervals if you have so much of them. For example, go as hard as you can (higher intensity) and use the slowing down or stopping at the lights your rest period. You might get caught out because light turned green when you were expecting to stop at a red but hey, try to push yourself.
    Last edited by damnable; 08-16-08 at 10:09 AM.
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    I don't think his body fat is that low... I think he means it fluctuates 1-1.5 percentage points rather than it fluctuates BETWEEN 1-1.5.

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    Quote Originally Posted by damnable View Post
    Haaaannngg on here.
    I think we might have found your problem. You are saying that you consistently get readings of 1% to 1.5% body fat composition using your scales.
    I think the OP is saying that his scale fluctuates by 0.5 to 1.5%. Mine does, too.

    Anyway, my suggestion would be long (2+ hour) high-intensity rides if you want to burn fat. Sure, your body is more efficient about burning fat if you go slow, but if you go fast you'll create a larger calorie deficient and burn more total fat. You just won't be as efficient about it. That's what seems to work for me, anyway. I was doing 20 miles/day 5-6 times a week and losing weight but not burning much fat. Doing 40-60 mile rides on the weekends (3-4 hours @ 15.5mph avg) seems to be doing the trick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by damnable View Post
    Haaaannngg on here.
    I think we might have found your problem. You are saying that you consistently get readings of 1% to 1.5% body fat composition using your scales.

    For a start that is very close to zero, so it's going to be very hard for the scales to detect any decrease at all.

    More importantly, if your body fat percentage was really that low, I doubt you would be a very healthy person. In fact 'essential fat' which is the amount of fat that your body needs to continue functioning for males is between 2-5%. It's recommended you keep a level higher than this, 8-15% for men although this value is argued a bit but you get the general idea. In other words, with a body fat percentage that low, you might be dead.

    So, this along with what you have said about how you feel better, are fitter, comments from others about your looks and the body fat percentage not changing on the scales, I would put my money on the scales just not being reliable for measuring your fat percentage and giving you bogus readings.

    Electronic scales (which is what I presume you are using) are notoriously inaccurate for measuring body fat. If you are really worried about this figure you are better off getting it measured periodically by other more reliable methods.

    Edit, Addition: As an idea, you might want to try using the stop lights as intervals if you have so much of them. For example, go as hard as you can (higher intensity) and use the slowing down or stopping at the lights your rest period. You might get caught out because light turned green when you were expecting to stop at a red but hey, try to push yourself.
    What I mean by fluctuating is one day I'm at 24%, next day 22.5 %. and on any given day it's between 22%-25%. I weigh myself once every morning. I think the scale may be inaccurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    I think the OP is saying that his scale fluctuates by 0.5 to 1.5%. Mine does, too.

    Anyway, my suggestion would be long (2+ hour) high-intensity rides if you want to burn fat. Sure, your body is more efficient about burning fat if you go slow, but if you go fast you'll create a larger calorie deficient and burn more total fat. You just won't be as efficient about it. That's what seems to work for me, anyway. I was doing 20 miles/day 5-6 times a week and losing weight but not burning much fat. Doing 40-60 mile rides on the weekends (3-4 hours @ 15.5mph avg) seems to be doing the trick.
    Knowing that I want to burn fat, how would you fuel yourself for these 3-4 hour rides?

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    It is beyond me how anyone can eat as little as 1600-2000 calories a day, do quite a bit of training and not loose weight. A 4 hour medium hard ride should set you back around 2000 calories so unless you are performing miracles (or cheating) you have to loose weight. I do not like the idea of eating less. Do more and eat healthy. If you do not loose weight, do more and so on until the weight starts to go. Eating too little just tells the body to go into hungermode.

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    Senior Member kokomo61's Avatar
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    It's what you eat. It's what you eat......it's what you eat.

    There are a couple of questions I'd ask - are you SURE that it's 1600-2000 calories? Unless you're measuring everything, it's very easy to underestimate portions and calorie intake.

    Are you eating the right things? The closer you can get to a 'natural' diet...e.g., lean meats/proteins, fruits and vegetables, the easier it'll be to stay within your caloric goals, and not feel deprived. As far as proportions, 40/40/20 - 40% of calories from lean protein, 40% from carbs (primarily fruits and vegetables while limiting grains like wheat, corn, etc.) and 20% of calories from fats. (It will be best to prioritize essential fats like Omega-3 in fish).

    Are any of your foods over-processed? Most processed foods are designed to make you eat more of them (especially snack foods). Any 'hidden' calories? Any sodas or high-calorie drinks?

    Are you hydrated enough? If you're not drinking enough water, (64 oz a day at a minimum), you could be dehydrated and feeling hungry as a result).

    Activity will help to increase your fitness, and help lose weight, but your food intake is actually just as, if not more important. I've said that 'you can out-eat ANY fitness program'. As my proof, I was training between a low of 80 miles per week in the winter, and 150-225 per week as the weather got better, including 3 centuries, 8 rides with 5000 feet of climbing, and one of the 3 centuries with 11,000 feet of climbing. I also worked out on other days....but in 1 year, I GAINED 25 lbs (and it WASN'T) muscle.

    I was drinking lots of orange juice (it's natural, isn't it?) drinking sodas like root beer and Mountain Dew, eating high-calorie meals that had lots of carbs and fats.....and wondering why I was STILL hungry.

    I got hit by a car in June, so my exercise got reduced dramatically, and I gained 10 more lbs.....and decided that I needed to make a change. So, I got rid of the orange juice and stopped drinking sodas and went to mostly water, and lots of it. I've dropped (mostly) processed foods and moved to a more natural diet, and have been really tracking my calorie intake, and sticking to natural foods that are hard to binge on. (I can easily binge on snack foods, breads or pasta, but have you ever tried to do that with broccoli or peas?)

    So far, I'm down about 14 lbs, and am rarely hungry - at least not 'bottom of the bag' hungry. Eating more natural foods has made me less hungry between meals, too.

    I'm watching calorie intake, but I'm not starving myself. Right now, it's around 1800 calories a day, and some days it's been a challenge to get there if I'm sticking to lean meats, vegetables and fruits.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kokomo61 View Post
    It's what you eat. It's what you eat......it's what you eat.

    There are a couple of questions I'd ask - are you SURE that it's 1600-2000 calories? Unless you're measuring everything, it's very easy to underestimate portions and calorie intake.

    Are you eating the right things? The closer you can get to a 'natural' diet...e.g., lean meats/proteins, fruits and vegetables, the easier it'll be to stay within your caloric goals, and not feel deprived. As far as proportions, 40/40/20 - 40% of calories from lean protein, 40% from carbs (primarily fruits and vegetables while limiting grains like wheat, corn, etc.) and 20% of calories from fats. (It will be best to prioritize essential fats like Omega-3 in fish).

    Are any of your foods over-processed? Most processed foods are designed to make you eat more of them (especially snack foods). Any 'hidden' calories? Any sodas or high-calorie drinks?

    Are you hydrated enough? If you're not drinking enough water, (64 oz a day at a minimum), you could be dehydrated and feeling hungry as a result).

    Activity will help to increase your fitness, and help lose weight, but your food intake is actually just as, if not more important. I've said that 'you can out-eat ANY fitness program'. As my proof, I was training between a low of 80 miles per week in the winter, and 150-225 per week as the weather got better, including 3 centuries, 8 rides with 5000 feet of climbing, and one of the 3 centuries with 11,000 feet of climbing. I also worked out on other days....but in 1 year, I GAINED 25 lbs (and it WASN'T) muscle.

    I was drinking lots of orange juice (it's natural, isn't it?) drinking sodas like root beer and Mountain Dew, eating high-calorie meals that had lots of carbs and fats.....and wondering why I was STILL hungry.

    I got hit by a car in June, so my exercise got reduced dramatically, and I gained 10 more lbs.....and decided that I needed to make a change. So, I got rid of the orange juice and stopped drinking sodas and went to mostly water, and lots of it. I've dropped (mostly) processed foods and moved to a more natural diet, and have been really tracking my calorie intake, and sticking to natural foods that are hard to binge on. (I can easily binge on snack foods, breads or pasta, but have you ever tried to do that with broccoli or peas?)

    So far, I'm down about 14 lbs, and am rarely hungry - at least not 'bottom of the bag' hungry. Eating more natural foods has made me less hungry between meals, too.

    I'm watching calorie intake, but I'm not starving myself. Right now, it's around 1800 calories a day, and some days it's been a challenge to get there if I'm sticking to lean meats, vegetables and fruits.
    I was concerned with not losing weight and I felt maybe I was underestimating my calories, so I kept a 3 week diary and went to a nutritionist. My calories came out to 1600-2000. I'm no saint I do have a Pepsi and a bowl of ice cream once a week, but I rarely eat red meat, because of high cholesterol. I really don't eat a lot and I'm not often hungry. I eat my fruits and vegetables, but I could probably eat more vegetables.

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    Quote Originally Posted by army14 View Post
    Knowing that I want to burn fat, how would you fuel yourself for these 3-4 hour rides?
    I go for the standard 250-300 calories/hour. I'll typically eat a Chocolate Chip Clif Bar (220 cal) and drink a bottle of Gatorade (~100 cal) every hour. Afterwards, I try to eat or drink some protein shortly after the ride finishes. I'm generally not that hungry afterwards, so I don't consume too many carbs. Which, I hope, encourages my body to continue to burn fat. If I do need to eat, I'll go for complex carbs, fruit that is high in fiber, etc.

    Of course, you need to be exercising at a level that you're creating a big calorie deficit. My Polar heart rate monitor typically tells me that I burn 1100-1200 calories/hour. Dunno if it's accurate, but I do feel like I'm getting a good workout. If the calorie counter drops below 900 calories/hour, I figure my body has adapted to the route and I either need to kick the speed up a notch or add in a few more hills.

  25. #25
    Senior Member cod.peace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by army14 View Post
    What I mean by fluctuating is one day I'm at 24%, next day 22.5 %. and on any given day it's between 22%-25%. I weigh myself once every morning. I think the scale may be inaccurate.
    Let's assume you weight 200 lbs. Take the middle value you've just posted - 23.5%. That's 47 lbs of fat, 153 lbs of lean tissue. Lose a lb of fat, add a lb of muscle: 46 and 154. Your new bodyfat percentage: 23%. That's 0.5%, which is well within the 1.5% margin of error you've stated you routinely see on your scale, which means you're unlikely to notice it. Lots of record keeping and appropriate averaging can help with a more accurate but that depends on your mathematical inclination.

    One technique that's worked successfully for me in the past, and I'm applying it now, is to use the Zig Zag diet. Eat calorie deficient during the weekdays, raise calories on the weekend. For a complete explanation, go see Dr. Squat 'cause he's the man.
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