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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 09-04-08, 09:51 AM   #1
Air
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Calorie Cycling?

Anyone hear of this? Long and the short is that one day you might aim for the lower spectrum of your caloric intake, the next the higher. Since your body doesn't know what's coming it'll actually burn more than if you stayed stable from day to day. In comparison to fitness where you have to mix up your exercise (sprints with varying lengths and speeds for example) this makes a lot of sense.

Thoughts? Experiences?
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Old 09-04-08, 10:40 AM   #2
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I don't know if that makes sense. In my experience, if you suddenly foist a low-calorie period on your body, it goes 'omg famine!' and gears up for storing energy. When you go back to eating more calories you end up putting on fat more easily.

I'm no more of an expert than you are, but I'd like to hear from someone who knows how the body chemistry works in this situation.
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Old 09-04-08, 10:43 AM   #3
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It's not like you starve yourself one day and gorge the next. For example, my baseline caloric intake is anywhere from 2400-2800 calories with 2600 being a good target for losing weight. So it would mean having 2400 one day, 2800 another, etc... I sort of do this naturally but apparently it's very popular in weight lifting circles. I don't know the complete in and outs but so far that's the gist I've gotten.
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Old 09-04-08, 12:34 PM   #4
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Im too lazy to count calories. I prefer to just rid a couple of extra hours a week!!

BTW, I have never heard of this theory. It could work, I guess. I really think every "body" is different, though, and trial and error has to ocur on a personal level.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:09 PM   #5
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This is a pretty common idea for dieting, even for maintaining weight. I've never heard it with cycling the days low, high, low, high though. The way I've seen it, and practice it to lose weight, is to maintain a calorie deficit for four of five days then one day (a cheat day) at higher calories. This prevents the body from going into starvation mode plus gives you the opportunity to enjoy some of the foods you like so you don't feel deprived.

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Old 09-04-08, 07:16 PM   #6
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I wrote about this in another thread about a week ago. You have covered the concept correctly and the reason correctly. Your body maintains a higher metabolism because it isn't always restricted in calories, because the high calorie days reassure your body that it doesn't need to start storing everything as fat for the coming famine.

If your goal is 2000 calories a day = to 14,000 calories a week
1,800 then 2200 X3 and one day at 2000 you are at 14,000 calories for the week.
The body is remarkable for adjusting to what it is given, by changing this you keep the body off balance, that is why you should do different exercises or rides to keep the body off balance so it continues to respond to the exercise.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:24 PM   #7
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Well, it might offset adaptation to the diet. I'll have to do some research though, to come up with anything more than a definite maybe.
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Old 09-04-08, 07:38 PM   #8
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Well, it might offset adaptation to the diet. I'll have to do some research though, to come up with anything more than a definite maybe.

Sounds like something a research assistant would say
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Old 09-04-08, 08:40 PM   #9
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The thing that concerns me with stuff like this is the tendency to associate causative factors, to the point almost of anthropomorphizing parts of your metabolism and bodily function. The body is tricked into thinking this, the body is scared by this threat, etc. Observation of results is one thing; extrapolation based on a non-empirically-based belief in causative factors is another.
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Old 09-04-08, 08:46 PM   #10
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It's not an anthropomorphizing of the issue, it's imprecise terminology, lbb. The body does adapt to diet, as well as exercise by getting as efficient as possible at that caloric intake or activity level, so we hit plateaus in training, or weight loss. Calorie cycling as I understand it is the dietary equivalent of periodization of exercise. Keep the body from adapting, so the metabolism stays ramped up.

As to the famine mode, that is biochemically driven. If your nutrient level goes below a certain threshold for a sufficient time, the brain sends out a signal to slow down the autonomic nervous system and go into conservation mode on calorie burn to preserve the reserves of fat as much as possible to delay starvation as long as possible. This is well documented medically.
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The thing that concerns me with stuff like this is the tendency to associate causative factors, to the point almost of anthropomorphizing parts of your metabolism and bodily function. The body is tricked into thinking this, the body is scared by this threat, etc. Observation of results is one thing; extrapolation based on a non-empirically-based belief in causative factors is another.
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