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  1. #1
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    Looking for some advice or encouragement to get past my plateaus.

    I started Cycling this year, mostly, because I wanted to do some trail riding on my mountian bike and I wanted to build up my stamina and lose some weight. I was at 230. My fattest and grossest. I know 230 isn't a lot for some people but I am a skinny guy basically, with a layer of fat hanging off my gut and man-boobs. Disgusting. Any way, I was doing great over the course of the first month or so. I was(and am) getting out 4-5 times a week and comming home exhausted. I am not shyiung away from any hill that is on my routes and have lately been trying to keep my cadence high to burn more fat. I started out riding my MTB on the street and then got my hands on an old Peugeot road bike. Other than the fact that it's a little too small for me and that I am afraid that I am going to break it under my weight, I like it very much and even at my poor conditioning and skill level I could see a HUGE diference in riding that bike on the street and my MTB on the street. Lately, as my stamina has increase, I have been doing less road riding and more trail riding and bike path riding for -gasp- recreation and I have been riding a little more for utility purposes.

    First,my "win"s. I feel less winded, but just as sore, when I am done with a ride. I can pull hills better than I could before and rarely have to walk any. I am consistantly ina gear or two higher than when I started. I ahve the engergy to STAND to peddle into the 5th or even 6th mile of a ride now.

    My problems are two-fold right now: I'm not loosing any more weight and I'm not going any farther. I went from 230 to 215 in like 6 weeks and was prety happy. Then I stayed at 215 for a couple of weeks and left the house this morning at 218. I am not pleased. The other thing is that, even though my total milage per week has been going up, I still can't ride any more than 8-10 miles in one sitting BUT it doesn;t matter what surface I'm on. 8 miles of street whipes me out as much as 8 Miles of dirt. I'm proibably at 50 mile a week total.

    What can I do or change to keep the weight comming off and building my mileage? Should I stay OFF the trails for now and concentrate on the road bike (there is no way that I could do a double session, my legs are too......heavy after a ride)? Slow the cadence down and power-up more?
    Last edited by mr,grumpy; 08-22-09 at 08:23 AM.
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
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  2. #2
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    I like what Jimmy Buffet, the composer-songwriter-singer-author, said when he was interviewed after a few hit songs. He said something like -- Yep, I'm an overnight success, after 10 years of day work.

    Keep riding, keep up a steady routine and a healthful diet, and you'll eventually get the rewards you want.
    I reserve the right to be wrong at any time. :D

    Man does not live by bread alone, that's why God made ice cream.

  3. #3
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    You seem to be onthe right track. Keep a high cadence. Pushing a hard gear will fatigue your muscles sooner than a light gear.

    The small frame is more likely stronger than a big frame. Shorter tubes. The longer pencil snaps in half easier than the short pencil principal! It may not be as comfy as the correct size, but it should be stronger.

    Wheels are wheels. THhy are either well built and strong or they suck!

  4. #4
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I would consider your shoes and pedals. Once you become strong enough to put out some power, the flex in your shoes becomes a problem that will limit every aspect of cycling.

    If you have stiff cycling-specific shoes and "clip-less" pedals you will be aided by several benefits. You will be able to put more load on your feet. This takes some of the load off your seat and allows longer rides. You will also be able to spin faster. This reduces the load on your muscles and increases your cardio fitness.

    I started cycling again in 2008. For the first 3 months, I used street shoes and was limited to 20 mile rides at 14 mph. Then I purchased low-cost SPD style MTB shoes and pedals. I was able to: A) increase my cadence from 75 to 95 rpm B) increase my speed from 14 to 16 mph and C) increase my distance from 20 to 50 miles.

    Three months ago I began to feel limited by pain in my back and feet. A Bike-fitter suggested stiff Carbon Fiber cycling shoes and more advanced Look Keo pedals. Again, I found a major increase in speed from 16 to 18 mph and an increase in my distance from 50 to 110 miles. I now ride with little pain, even after 8 hours.

    You need to take care of limits created by equipment or your progress will be reduced. Then start thinking about food and hydration. You will need to consume sports drinks and energy food while riding more than two hours.

    Michael
    Last edited by Barrettscv; 08-22-09 at 10:41 AM.
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  5. #5
    Fred at large
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    So, you've been cycling for about 2 months and you've made some incredible progress. But, now you're wondering if you've hit a plateau or have regressed.

    2 months is not a long time. In that time you've been able to get your distance up to 10 miles. That is GREAT! Especially for someone "coming off the couch" and just starting to exercise. The 3 lb weight gain while alarming to you, is really nothing. It's equal to 3 glasses of water. One other thing is that it could be new muscle mass from the exercise you've been doing lately. You did say you were stronger now. Strength = muscle.

    I would consider riding the Pugeot more. If you aren't comfortable because of the seat, replace it. If it's the "fit" of the bike, try to change the stem for a longer one. You can also get set-back seatposts if it is still too short with a longer stem. Once the bike is comfortable to ride, you will start to go longer distances.

    230 lbs should not have any effect on the steel frame of the Pugeot.
    I am Fred, hear me slurp my Grande Mocha.

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  6. #6
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    Add some weight to your pack, make it harder on yoruself. Vary your route so that it's longer. Upgrade your equipment so that you're not sore anymore. Stretch before and after your ride so that you're in less pain. Mostly, just stick with it: weight lost easily gets regained easily. Long term weight loss is a huge committment and can't be rushed.

    keep on keepin on.
    gravity, friction, physical exhaustion: these are the demons you must slay in order to be a cyclist.

  7. #7
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    riding

    For stamina try to add a little more mialege to your ride and try to up the speed a couple of mph. More riding will help you. As for weight I am at a plateau also and I think I am eating a little more because I am riding more. ECB1

  8. #8
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob P. View Post
    So, you've been cycling for about 2 months and you've made some incredible progress. But, now you're wondering if you've hit a plateau or have regressed.

    2 months is not a long time. In that time you've been able to get your distance up to 10 miles. That is GREAT! Especially for someone "coming off the couch" and just starting to exercise. The 3 lb weight gain while alarming to you, is really nothing. It's equal to 3 glasses of water. One other thing is that it could be new muscle mass from the exercise you've been doing lately. You did say you were stronger now. Strength = muscle.

    I would consider riding the Pugeot more. If you aren't comfortable because of the seat, replace it. If it's the "fit" of the bike, try to change the stem for a longer one. You can also get set-back seatposts if it is still too short with a longer stem. Once the bike is comfortable to ride, you will start to go longer distances.

    230 lbs should not have any effect on the steel frame of the Pugeot.
    Thanks. I get a little discouraged reading here about guys who are much heavier than I am riding much, much longer distances than I can. I do sometimes forget that it's only been a few weeks that I have even been riding and, yes, I am straight off the couch! So, I guess I will stick with the Peugeot more than the trail riding for the time being and get that ten mile loop as my regular ride and see about adding on to that a little at a time. My "back sliding" might be psychosomatic since I "have" to start going to the gym when I hit 210. At 200 I get to get a new roadbike though and at 180 I get a GSXR!
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
    "MTBing is cheap compared to any motorsport I've done. It's very expensive compared to jogging."-ColinL
    Rides:
    1999-ish Diamondback Sorrento (I'm not Dead Yet! I feal happy. I think I'll go for a walk!)
    1980ish Raleigh Marathon (Vintage Steel)
    2007 Gary Fisher Advance (giving the Sorrento a break)
    2006 Trek 820 (Captain Amazing)
    2010 Specialized Tricross (Back in Black)


    My little bike blog.

  9. #9
    Senior Member mr,grumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ECB1 View Post
    For stamina try to add a little more mialege to your ride and try to up the speed a couple of mph. More riding will help you. As for weight I am at a plateau also and I think I am eating a little more because I am riding more. ECB1
    I have to get a computer for the bike I think. Right now I am only going on "feel".
    "I'm built like a marine mammal. I love the cold! "-Cosmoline
    "MTBing is cheap compared to any motorsport I've done. It's very expensive compared to jogging."-ColinL
    Rides:
    1999-ish Diamondback Sorrento (I'm not Dead Yet! I feal happy. I think I'll go for a walk!)
    1980ish Raleigh Marathon (Vintage Steel)
    2007 Gary Fisher Advance (giving the Sorrento a break)
    2006 Trek 820 (Captain Amazing)
    2010 Specialized Tricross (Back in Black)


    My little bike blog.

  10. #10
    Senior Member MorganRaider's Avatar
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    I would also recommend a heart rate monitor.

  11. #11
    Fred at large
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
    Thanks. I get a little discouraged reading here about guys who are much heavier than I am riding much, much longer distances than I can. I do sometimes forget that it's only been a few weeks that I have even been riding and, yes, I am straight off the couch! So, I guess I will stick with the Peugeot more than the trail riding for the time being and get that ten mile loop as my regular ride and see about adding on to that a little at a time. My "back sliding" might be psychosomatic since I "have" to start going to the gym when I hit 210. At 200 I get to get a new roadbike though and at 180 I get a GSXR!

    When I started riding again in 2006 I thought that 10 miles was "normal distance" for a road ride. Then I was up to 20 miles and thought that I was a "long distance rider." It took me several months to get to that part.

    When I started i was 240 lbs. I am now upper 220's. Not much weight change but a ton of physical change (2 pants sizes & I can see my belt buckle!!!).

    I am now riding 60-70 miles on Sundays and mtn biking 15-20 miles on Wednesday evenings after work. Unfortunately, like you, I am still not happy with my weight loss/fitness level and hope to take it up a notch by next year. Maybe then I won't suck so bad on hills.
    I am Fred, hear me slurp my Grande Mocha.

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  12. #12
    Real Human Being wild animals's Avatar
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    In my experience, and the experience of many people I know, exercise has been less important than diet for weight loss. If you haven't looked seriously at what you eat, and you think you can handle some changes, it might be a good time.

    I love my bike computer. LOVE IT. My bike computer is motivating and keeps me honest. When your legs are tired, it's really hard to be objective about how your ride went. I think my computer was $25 on eBay 4 or so years ago, and those were ~$25 of the best dollars I've ever spent. Performance Bike has the Cat Eye Enduro 8 (like the one I have) for $32 right now. Or for $30 you can get the Astrale, which has cadence (but I don't have that one so I can't vouch for it!).

    This might sound a little flaky, but I took a couple of classes recently about health and success in college, and the biggest thing they hit on, repeatedly, was setting strong goals. If you have a goal, you need to make it SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. One of the things that I and people I know tend to do is say "I'm going to lose 5 pounds in a month." Another (better ) way to do this is to say "I'm going to ride my bike 4 days a week for 1 hour each time, and I'm only going to have one Coke this week (on Friday)." Action goals are usually more helpful than "result" goals.

    So, point is, if you get a bike computer or heart-rate monitor, it's much easier to say "I'm going to ride intervals of ___mph or ___bpm for __ minutes every __ minutes, twice a week." I was doing that for awhile, staying in a certain BPM range (and not drinking pop), and lost a couple of inches and 8 pounds. (Then I started taking 20 credits of accelerated classes and gained back 5 of the pounds. )

    Good luck! Not that you need it. You sound really motivated.
    Go until you stop, then take a break.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Hill-Pumper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
    I "have" to start going to the gym when I hit 210. At 200 I get to get a new roadbike though and at 180 I get a GSXR!

    Why wait until you hit 210, proper cross training one of the best ways to break through a plateau. It forces you to use different muscles and keeps the ones that you are using all the time from adapting. So, hit the tread mill and/or elliptical a couple of times a week instead of the bike. Weights cans can be helpful too!!!

  14. #14
    Senior Member John Bailey's Avatar
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    You've lost 15 lbs. in 8 weeks. That's real close to 2 lbs. a week. Usually, it is suggested not to lose any more than that. You are doin' fine.

    Keep up the good work, don't worry as much, just have a good time and the pounds and miles will take care of themselves.

    And the best advice - go get the new bike now!!

    John

  15. #15
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    My weight is plateauing at around 206, down from a high of 228. My diet and exercise plan remain the same and I'm getting fitter, faster, stronger, just not any smaller.

    I know I've got to further reduce my caloric intake if I'm going to lose more weight. Very simple. Very hard.

    Oh, and a computer that shows heart rate and cadence is very helpful.

    Good luck.

  16. #16
    Working On My Kit Tan Varina Drag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr,grumpy View Post
    I have to get a computer for the bike I think. Right now I am only going on "feel".
    I have the Trek Incite 11i computer and it's treated me pretty well. $45 and has cadence monitoring, which I use more than anything else. It has really helped keep me in the right gear as I learn more about road riding.

  17. #17
    Bicycle n00B
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCAC View Post
    My weight is plateauing at around 206, down from a high of 228. My diet and exercise plan remain the same and I'm getting fitter, faster, stronger, just not any smaller.

    I know I've got to further reduce my caloric intake if I'm going to lose more weight. Very simple. Very hard.

    Oh, and a computer that shows heart rate and cadence is very helpful.

    Good luck.
    I've been on a similar plateau around 205 for the past month. However, my clothes are getting looser and looser, even though my weight is staying the same.

    ...and I'm starting to spin up hills instead of chugging like I was when I started riding in mid-May.
    I reserve the right to be wrong at any time. :D

    Man does not live by bread alone, that's why God made ice cream.

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