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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 06-17-09, 02:17 PM   #1
XLII
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Watching Calories w/Exercise?

I don't post much, usually just read and search topics. It's great reading everyone's success stories. I've been riding a road bike for about 3 years now. I do sprint tri's and want to get rid of about 20-30 lbs. My question is when you're counting calories and exercising as much as we do how many calories should we/I consume in a day? I have searched online and I'm not really finding too much. I currently take in around 2000 cals per day, sometimes less. I ride for an hour 4 times a week with an avg of 16-18 mph. I am 6ft 225lbs, 35 yrs old. I have been counting calories for 10 days and have lost 6 pounds.

Is it "safe" to only consume 2000 cals and then burn 900 - 1100 during exercise? Should I up the calories or decrease the exercise?

Any links to useful sites on this subject is welcome as well.

Thanks in advance for your input.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:25 PM   #2
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Safe? Maybe. Effective? Maybe, but doubtful. If your goal is to lose fat and maintain lean mass, you're doing it wrong. You've lost weight, but depending on your pre-diet fitness it may have just been fluid weight. At that caloric intake you'll burn up any muscle your body can get to.

Calculate your Basal Metabolic Rate and try to aim for around 500 calories less than that daily. Track your weight weekly and adjust in 100 calorie increments to fine-tune. There are lots of resources out there like dailyplate.com, etc.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:27 PM   #3
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That is basically how I lost my 110 pounds in less than a year. I don't know how safe it was, but I did get all of my blood pressure pills and the tests my doctors came back with seemed OK.

The tests did indicate I was a little low and my good cholesterol and vitamin d, so the doc put me on some supplements.

I think the big thing is if you are eating that few calories, you need to make sure you have a good balance of vitamins and nutrients. Just my .02. I am certainly not a doctor, but it seemed to work for me.

The other thing is to listen to what your body is telling you.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:28 PM   #4
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I don't post much, usually just read and search topics. It's great reading everyone's success stories. I've been riding a road bike for about 3 years now. I do sprint tri's and want to get rid of about 20-30 lbs. My question is when you're counting calories and exercising as much as we do how many calories should we/I consume in a day? I have searched online and I'm not really finding too much. I currently take in around 2000 cals per day, sometimes less. I ride for an hour 4 times a week with an avg of 16-18 mph. I am 6ft 225lbs, 35 yrs old. I have been counting calories for 10 days and have lost 6 pounds.

Is it "safe" to only consume 2000 cals and then burn 900 - 1100 during exercise? Should I up the calories or decrease the exercise?

Any links to useful sites on this subject is welcome as well.

Thanks in advance for your input.
Hey XLI,

We're about the same weight and height (i'm 5'11" and 222 lbs). I think its safe for you to consume 2k cals a day as long as you're exercising. You burn cals everyday anyway without exercise. I've gone from 233 to 222lbs in the last month and half (My goal is 190). My normal weekly routine is cereal with 2% milk in the morning, a fruit bar or fruit before lunch, a whole wheat turkey sandwich with a small bag of chips, another small snack (usually fruits again), then a small normal dinner. I think I average about 1500 calories a day. Also, I cut out soda and coffee completely out of my system. Only water and unsweetened ice tea for me - at home and at restaurants. I also give myself a break and eat bad stuff once in awhile. During all this, I do about 17+ miles a day (except for the last few days since work and school has been crazy).

I think the biggest reasons I've dropped pounds is cycling and changing my eating habits. i noticed eating whole wheat bread really helped curve my appetite during the day. I use to always get hungry and snack on stuff but it literally went away once I switched to whole wheat. I'm sure the cycling helped alot too
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Old 06-17-09, 02:34 PM   #5
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I wanted to post again that you really should focus on body fat and not the scale. There's plenty of people in the C&A forum here that advocate what I consider starvation diets (1500 cal/day with 17 miles of riding, Sinister1???), and that's a fast way to lose weight AND a great recipe for muscle loss, poor nutrition, and altering your metabolism.

If you think of it as "dieting" you are almost 100% guaranteed to gain it all back when you revert to your old eating habits. A starvation diet will only exacerbate this. It takes years to gain the weight, and it will take awhile to lose it.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:40 PM   #6
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2000 sounds about right for an hour a day 4 days a week, unless you're just hammering out those rides beyond belief.

I for one am skeptical of the calorie burn numbers for biking.

I run for an hour and I come in with nothing left sometimes. Sit down and log my run and it gives me like 600 or 700 calories. The same hour on a bicycle burn rate in the software I use gives me 1100 cals or so, and I just don't buy it. I expend way more effort running an hour than biking an hour.

2000 calories a day is perfect for most normal grown men but you may have to adjust from there. Also the program I'm on lets you net calories. For instance I net 1750 a day.

If I don't exercise then it's rabbit food. If I burn 600 cals exercising then I get to eat those calories back.

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Old 06-17-09, 02:45 PM   #7
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2000 sounds about right for an hour a day 4 days a week, unless you're just hammering out those rides beyond belief.

I for one am skeptical of the calorie burn numbers for biking.

I run for an hour and I come in with nothing left sometimes. Sit down and log my run and it gives me like 600 or 700 calories. The same hour on a bicycle burn rate in the software I use gives me 1100 cals or so, and I just don't buy it. I expend way more effort running an hour than biking an hour.

2000 calories a day is perfect for most normal grown men but you may have to adjust from there. Also the program I'm on lets you net calories. For instance I net 1750 a day.

If I don't exercise then it's rabbit food. If I burn 600 cals exercising then I get to eat those calories back.

John
No way would I believe 1100 cal/hr on a bike, unless you exercise by racing crits or something. I'd believe half of that maybe.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:45 PM   #8
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I wanted to post again that you really should focus on body fat and not the scale. There's plenty of people in the C&A forum here that advocate what I consider starvation diets (1500 cal/day with 17 miles of riding, Sinister1???), and that's a fast way to lose weight AND a great recipe for muscle loss, poor nutrition, and altering your metabolism.

If you think of it as "dieting" you are almost 100% guaranteed to gain it all back when you revert to your old eating habits. A starvation diet will only exacerbate this. It takes years to gain the weight, and it will take awhile to lose it.
Yes, it does sound bad. 1500 calories is really on the low end. I don't count so I'm not sure how much I'm taking in. However, I know nutrition wise, I think I'm okay. Doctor on my last check about 3 weeks ago said I'm good and meet with a trainer that my work sponsors regularly. I forgot to mention I do weight training as well during lunch at work to keep muscles toned. Metabolism definitely has changed but I'm feeling good and strong. Funny though, trainer said to increase my calorie intake since I'm cycling and weight training more.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:50 PM   #9
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I agree with TrekJapan and lambo vt on the cals burned while cycling, but everything I see, read, and my bike computer state otherwise. I rode 75 minutes the other day and my bike computer said 1345 cals burned (Garmin Edge 305). Seems high to me as well.

Love the feedback. Keep it coming.
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Old 06-17-09, 02:53 PM   #10
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I agree with TrekJapan and lambo vt on the cals burned while cycling, but everything I see, read, and my bike computer state otherwise. I rode 75 minutes the other day and my bike computer said 1345 cals burned (Garmin Edge 305). Seems high to me as well.

Love the feedback. Keep it coming.
I think the best way to really gauge calorie burned is with a heart rate monitor? I use to have one but lost the sensor. Although not sure how accurate it is.
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Old 06-17-09, 03:16 PM   #11
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Some thoughts

I'm 39 and went from 208 to 192 in the last three months. What worked for me was to count calories with this math: 3500 calories = 1 lb of fat. A 7,000 calorie deficit over 1 week = losing 1lb of fat. A 14,000 calorie deficit = losing 2 lbs of fat. I Assume basal metabolic rate = 1908, Harris-Benedict Adjusted: 2290.

Starting with the 2290, I incurr a daily calorie deficit of about 750 (1539 daily calories.) If I don't exercise, I try to hit this number on the head. But if I ride I add in the calories frrom that day (say a 47 mile local ride @ 2300 calories) for a total daily projected intake of 3839 calories. If I eat 2500 calories that day (which is lot of food) I still incurr a deficit of 1339 calories. If you do that four times a week, you get a deficit of 6698. Add to that the three days of noncycling each week in which I am running a daily deficit of 750, 3 x 750=2250 additional deficit calories. Combined, thats a weekly deficit of 8948, which is more than 2 lbs of fat loss a week.

This is, of course a best case scenario. I strayed from the path plenty, failed to count for a week at a time, stuffed myself at a party or two and drank a bunch of beer. They key is to keep at it and make sure you get on the bike, and to also think through the basic scientific math of what you are trying to accomplish. What gets complicated here is the other factors that also influence your weight. When I drink more than two drinks of alcohol, I'll instantly swell with water, sometimes by as much as 3 lbs. You pee it out over the next few days, or sweat it out on the bike. Also, as you ride your muscles in your legs actually grow stronger, bigger and add weight to your frame. So while on paper I've lost 16lbs, I know I've also added as much as 4 lbs of new muscle so I've probably actually lost as much as 20 lbs.

The crazy but most helpful tool in all of this was an iphone with the free Lose It app installed. It's the tool I used to count calories and on the iphone its accessible all the time.

BTW - yes, a heart rate monitor polar bike computer is super helpful.

Good luck.

Cheers, Nick
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Old 06-17-09, 03:19 PM   #12
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Yes, it does sound bad. 1500 calories is really on the low end. I don't count so I'm not sure how much I'm taking in. However, I know nutrition wise, I think I'm okay. Doctor on my last check about 3 weeks ago said I'm good and meet with a trainer that my work sponsors regularly. I forgot to mention I do weight training as well during lunch at work to keep muscles toned. Metabolism definitely has changed but I'm feeling good and strong. Funny though, trainer said to increase my calorie intake since I'm cycling and weight training more.
No offense, but most doctors know/care very little about fitness. Your trainer (though they are rarely to be trusted too) is on the mark.

I'm not trying to criticize you, nor am I a model of physical fitness myself, but sometimes I just feel like there's more MISinformation out there than anything else. "Toning," for instance... but that's for another thread.
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Old 06-17-09, 03:23 PM   #13
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That is basically how I lost my 110 pounds in less than a year. I don't know how safe it was, but I did get all of my blood pressure pills and the tests my doctors came back with seemed OK.

The tests did indicate I was a little low and my good cholesterol and vitamin d, so the doc put me on some supplements.

I think the big thing is if you are eating that few calories, you need to make sure you have a good balance of vitamins and nutrients. Just my .02. I am certainly not a doctor, but it seemed to work for me.

The other thing is to listen to what your body is telling you.
+1, I also lost about 80#s in 6 months. Gained 30 back and am working on takin it off now

The numbers are a good place to start but they aren't very reliable. I only take in about 2200 calories a day as well but I am losing fat and getting stronger. It seems to really depend on the composition of those calories. I can really tell when I haven't had enough protein.

I found the calories burned metrics that HRMs and other devices to be way off. According to them I burn 2-3K calories a day with my 25mile fast commute. No way I kill more than 1000 as my body is very used to doing this type of movement.

You really have to listen to your body. Know when its really hungry or when it just wants a drink of water.
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Old 06-17-09, 03:27 PM   #14
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I usually estimate about 50-60% of calories for biking. If I ride two hours I log one. I have a HRM but I don't use it. I just know if I work out an hour or so a day doing something, anything, it's enough.

My job is largely sedentary a lot where I'm guarding a telephone and working on a computer and a lot of times I get home and head for the couch and don't do a lot around the house. The last few months I've really made an effort to get up every few minutes and do something, anything, like walk around the building at work. Do a few push ups or yoga poses and right now our family is moving so I'm going through closets and such in the evenings. I'll also hop on my bike and go to Starbucks a mile or two away to get a cup of black coffee if nothing is going on.

I think you can hammer an hour a day but if you sit the rest it's problematic. I really have to work at it to stay mobile. For instance this week at work I have to write a bunch of reports which could tie me to the chair for hours at a time. I set my Palm Pilot to go off every hour and I get up and do something. Anything. No excuses.

Some people at work might not like it if they knew it but they wouldn't like it if I had a stroke and died either.

John
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Old 06-17-09, 03:28 PM   #15
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No offense, but most doctors know/care very little about fitness. Your trainer (though they are rarely to be trusted too) is on the mark.

I'm not trying to criticize you, nor am I a model of physical fitness myself, but sometimes I just feel like there's more MISinformation out there than anything else. "Toning," for instance... but that's for another thread.
No offense taken. The bottom line is, I feel better, I feel stronger, I'm eating healthier, and I'm losing the weight. Doctors/trainers can be right or wrong but I'm listening to what my body tells me. I've done the starvation diet before and you're absolutely right, its temporary weight loss. However, I don't starve myself, I eat what I want in moderation, and I exercise.
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Old 06-17-09, 03:31 PM   #16
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Some thoughts

I'm 39 and went from 208 to 192 in the last three months. What worked for me was to count calories with this math: 3500 calories = 1 lb of fat. A 7,000 calorie deficit over 1 week = losing 1lb of fat. A 14,000 calorie deficit = losing 2 lbs of fat. I Assume basal metabolic rate = 1908, Harris-Benedict Adjusted: 2290.

Starting with the 2290, I incurr a daily calorie deficit of about 750 (1539 daily calories.) If I don't exercise, I try to hit this number on the head. But if I ride I add in the calories frrom that day (say a 47 mile local ride @ 2300 calories) for a total daily projected intake of 3839 calories. If I eat 2500 calories that day (which is lot of food) I still incurr a deficit of 1339 calories. If you do that four times a week, you get a deficit of 6698. Add to that the three days of noncycling each week in which I am running a daily deficit of 750, 3 x 750=2250 additional deficit calories. Combined, thats a weekly deficit of 8948, which is more than 2 lbs of fat loss a week.

This is, of course a best case scenario. I strayed from the path plenty, failed to count for a week at a time, stuffed myself at a party or two and drank a bunch of beer. They key is to keep at it and make sure you get on the bike, and to also think through the basic scientific math of what you are trying to accomplish. What gets complicated here is the other factors that also influence your weight. When I drink more than two drinks of alcohol, I'll instantly swell with water, sometimes by as much as 3 lbs. You pee it out over the next few days, or sweat it out on the bike. Also, as you ride your muscles in your legs actually grow stronger, bigger and add weight to your frame. So while on paper I've lost 16lbs, I know I've also added as much as 4 lbs of new muscle so I've probably actually lost as much as 20 lbs.

The crazy but most helpful tool in all of this was an iphone with the free Lose It app installed. It's the tool I used to count calories and on the iphone its accessible all the time.

Good luck.

Cheers, Nick
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Old 06-17-09, 03:44 PM   #17
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+1 on Lose It. It's fantastic if you have an iPhone.

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Originally Posted by Sinister1 View Post
No offense taken. The bottom line is, I feel better, I feel stronger, I'm eating healthier, and I'm losing the weight. Doctors/trainers can be right or wrong but I'm listening to what my body tells me. I've done the starvation diet before and you're absolutely right, its temporary weight loss. However, I don't starve myself, I eat what I want in moderation, and I exercise.
Sounds like you're doing the right thing. I'd be willing to bet that you're at more like 2000 cal if you counted... most people underestimate what they take in.

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Old 06-17-09, 04:07 PM   #18
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FYI, the numbers reported by the Garmin Edge are very high. I usually cut them by about 40%. Then they come into the realm of possibility.

For 17 mile rides, I wouldn't change diet to compensate. If you were riding 80 miles a day, then yes.
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Old 06-17-09, 05:02 PM   #19
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FYI, the numbers reported by the Garmin Edge are very high. I usually cut them by about 40%. Then they come into the realm of possibility.

For 17 mile rides, I wouldn't change diet to compensate. If you were riding 80 miles a day, then yes.
It's hard for any machine to know exactly, most machines work based on distance over time with a reported weight factor thrown in, assuming that you burn more energy at 30km/h then at 20km/h, which may in fact not be true. For example you can hit 45km/h going down a hill, especially easy if your a clyde, burning 50 calories, and then burn 5,000 calories going 5km/h on the uphill that follows.
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Old 06-17-09, 05:25 PM   #20
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Sounds to me like you're doing fine. I'd say that your exercise amounts to about the equivalent of a pound a week...a good rate to lose weight.
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Old 06-18-09, 07:59 AM   #21
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Great feed back all. Very helpful. Bottom Line, lose weight right?
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Old 06-18-09, 08:30 AM   #22
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+2 on Lose It on iPhone or Touch great free application

Build habits so the weight stays off and then use it to maintain.

I have lost 120 pounds in three years - but have netted about zero b/c temp changes were not made habits. I'm going to lose 80 this time (60 to go) and keep it off for life.
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Old 06-19-09, 08:13 AM   #23
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I think you're on the right track

I'm about your size, but a little older. I studied the weight watchers point system. It allows me about 1800 calories per day, but gives me a 200 calorie boost on days that I exercise, and around 1500 calories extra per week that I can use to "splerge".

I tried to set up my diet to give me plenty of healthy foods with my 1800 calories. If I ride for an hour, I eat an extra granola bar or two because they have a nice ballance of protein and carbs. Sometimes on weekends I'll do a longer ride (50 miles give or take). I've learned to eat more granola bars on those days, or I have trouble making it home.

I've learned to love oatmeal on riding days. Lots of healthy carbs, and easy on the calories....
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Old 06-19-09, 11:07 AM   #24
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Velo-if 3500 calories is a pound of fat, how do you arrive at 7000 calorie deficit to lose the same lb? Are you trying to account for water or something else?

Just curious.

CAS
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Old 06-19-09, 11:54 AM   #25
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Velo-if 3500 calories is a pound of fat, how do you arrive at 7000 calorie deficit to lose the same lb? Are you trying to account for water or something else?
3500 calories is right for a pound of fat (kilocalories technically). Maybe Velo switched to Garmin calories. 7000 Garmin calories is about right for a pound of fat.

Glycogen is another way the body stores fat. A quick weight loss can be burning off glycogen and water for a lot less calories than fat. It comes back on faster too and should be replenished.
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