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    I give up! cujet's Avatar
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    Question: Often, I ride many miles, never any weight loss

    I've been an avid cyclist for many years. The lightest I've ever been is a fit 190, when commuting to work, 22 miles in, 27 home. With me, there is a clear relationship between long rides and hypoglycemia/food requirement. The more I ride, the more I have to eat, just to be functional. Cutting back on food is not possible as my blood sugar drops into the 50's. (not diabetic). Hypoglycemia runs in moms side of the family.

    In any case, I would like cycling to be part of my current weight loss goals. Today, I have time for about 100 road miles per week. Any thoughts of the type of rides that would be helpful?

    This is me, 20 pounds lighter than I am now (at 195LBS):

    Last edited by cujet; 10-15-10 at 05:30 PM.
    If it doesn't burn fossil fuel, I don't like it.

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    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    What sort of riding do you do? Can you describe a typical ride?

    I'm guessing from your bike that you push yourself fairly hard; if so, that would explain why riding makes you hungry, and isn't amounting to any weight loss. Slower rides tend to suppress the appetite, at least somewhat.
    Don't believe everything you think.

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    Allocate more of you caloric intake to carbs in order to balance the effects of the hypoglycemia.
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    I give up! cujet's Avatar
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    A typical ride is simply out the driveway and down the road. It's fairly rural and totally flat. I generally ride with my HR at 140-150. I'm not fast, due to other health/heart issues (heart infection years ago). So, going slower is not what I'd like, as it would mean I'm below 13MPH and that's too slow! I'll put it this way, my legs never get tired. But my heart does get fatigued after 2 or so hours.

    I was thinking about trying sprints or pushing harder. Not sure.
    If it doesn't burn fossil fuel, I don't like it.

  5. #5
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Try munching something small every 15 minutes. Maybe a handful of trailmix. Plus drink lots of water. That should keep you from bonking.

    See if you can find a nutritionist who specializes in sports... particularly endurance sports. Talk to them about diet.

    Post your same note on the Triathlon forum see what they have to say. Diet, before, during and after is critical for the Ironman dudes.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cujet View Post
    The more I ride, the more I have to eat, just to be functional. Cutting back on food is not possible as my blood sugar drops into the 50's. (not diabetic).
    The trick is to eat just enough to fuel your ride, but not over-eat immediately afterward. Start eating before you start riding, so your blood sugar doesn't drop immediately. I find that a pre-ride Clif bar (whiole or half-bar, depending) works pretty well for me. For rides that last longer than an hour, I'll consume Hammer Gel and CarboRocket sports drink to keep me going. My goal is to consume around 200-250 cal/hr. If I've ridden hard, which I usually do, I don't normally feel very hungry immediately following a ride. If I am hungry, I'll eat post-ride snack that contains mostly protein.

    For me, hour-long rides help me maintain my current weight. Longer (~2+hr) rides seem to promote more weight loss. YMMV.

  7. #7
    Senior Member MVclyde's Avatar
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    I find that 1 1/2 hour rides (or longer) promote weight loss for me. I also find that about 300 miles a month is the minimum for weight loss. About 1/3 of my miles are commute (easy to moderate). The other 2/3 are harder/faster fitness rides. I generally push pretty hard (even on parts of my commute). I don't normally eat during rides unless I'm doing 40 or more miles (but I always try to eat something pre-ride except for commutes). I read somewhere that you should eat within a half hour of finishing a ride because that's when your body needs/utilizes the nutrients most effectively. I tend toward Cliff Bars or Power Bars, but peanut butter sandwiches work well for me also.

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  8. #8
    Senior Member mkadam68's Avatar
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    I'm afraid I don't know enough about hypoglycemia/diabetes, etc... to say anything about them. So take this with a grain of salt.

    First: make sure you're riding 6 days a week. 5 minimum.
    Second: you're riding too hard/fast. If you're HR is 140-150, and I'm assuming you're my age (42) or older, I'm guessing this is too hard. You're probably in zone 3. Zone 1 is best for utilizing stored fat as an energy source. Zone 2 maximum. Of course, you'd have to test your HR and find your zones to really know what zone you're in.
    Third: go out for 2 long rides a week. Try to do 3-4 hours to maximize the fat-burning engine. Make sure you stay in zone 1.
    Fourth: at this point, stay away from intervals/sprints. Establish the base (zone 1: fat as a primary fuel source), then revisit in 2 months.

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    Maybe you just aren't meant to be less than 190. Perhaps your body is right where your genetic makeup wants it to be.
    Try foods with a low glycemic index, so that they stay with you longer. Something with fat or protein in it will also last longer.
    Failing that, you could always take the (somewhat drastic) step of going on a high fat ketogenic diet for a month or two to teach your brain to use ketones as fuel in addition to glycogen. I did that to reduce the frequency of hot flashes after menopause and have the unexpected bonus of no longer getting shaky and weak when I get hungry now. My stomach growls, but that's all.
    This diet is normally prescribed for children with certain kinds of epilepsy that prevent them from making use of glycogen in the brain. Of course, you have to be careful as it's really easy to gain weight doing it.

  10. #10
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    How many hour a week do you spend sitting in the flying coffin in the background?

    I want my pilot to have a good blood suger level.

  11. #11
    Señor Blues on the path's Avatar
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    Assuming you're not allergic to peanuts, try a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar before you ride. Works for me. And I recommend not using the typical store brands. Read the ingredients on the label. It should say "peanuts". If it says anything else, put it back and find one that says "Ingredients: peanuts". You have to look, but you can find it in most stores.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    First: make sure you're riding 6 days a week. 5 minimum.
    Second: you're riding too hard/fast. If you're HR is 140-150, and I'm assuming you're my age (42) or older, I'm guessing this is too hard. You're probably in zone 3. Zone 1 is best for utilizing stored fat as an energy source. Zone 2 maximum. Of course, you'd have to test your HR and find your zones to really know what zone you're in.
    Third: go out for 2 long rides a week. Try to do 3-4 hours to maximize the fat-burning engine. Make sure you stay in zone 1.
    Fourth: at this point, stay away from intervals/sprints. Establish the base (zone 1: fat as a primary fuel source), then revisit in 2 months.
    If this works for you, great! Personally, I find myself unable to lose weight while riding at a snail's pace. I lost 50lbs by riding as hard as I could for as long as I could as often as I could. Weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit; the bigger the deficit, the more weight you lose...

  13. #13
    I give up! cujet's Avatar
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    Thanks! That a lot to chew on. Obviously, 190 Lbs is fine for me. However, I feel horrible at 215-220, that's just too big.

    Because of my heart issues, my heart rate is always higher than normal. So, I'm not really working hard at all at 140. Jogging results in a 170 HR. That's why I figured that the "zone" was a bit skewed for me. Maybe not.

    In any case, I have difficulty riding with a HR around 130, as it's too slow. S. Florida is hot and I get no wind. Plus grandma passes me. We can't have that

    My shortest ride is 1:15. Normal is up to but not over 2Hrs. I'm 47 years old. Any more than 2 hours results in extreme fatigue, an irregular heartbeat and obvious problems due to heart issues.

    Generally, I can't push hard enough to "tax" my legs.
    If it doesn't burn fossil fuel, I don't like it.

  14. #14
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    If you can't exercise it off, then you'll have to work on your diet. Perhaps your doctor can refer you to a registered dietician to come up with a plan.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cujet View Post
    Because of my heart issues, my heart rate is always higher than normal. So, I'm not really working hard at all at 140. Jogging results in a 170 HR. That's why I figured that the "zone" was a bit skewed for me. Maybe not.
    You might want to look into renting or buying a power meter. It's a much more precise gauge of how much work you're doing than a heart rate monitor. Also a relatively precise measure of calories expended. The downside is they're pricey and add weight to the bike. In my area, there's a shop that rents wheels equipped with PowerTap SL+ wireless power meters for $35/day or $150/week. Rental fees get applied toward purchase if you decide to buy.

  16. #16
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Actually, hypoglycemia is a form of diabetes spectrum disease. It indicates a strong risk of developing type II diabetes, because you have a sluggish insulin response at the back end, when it should turn off, and that's acting in combination with your long skeletal muscles ability to uptake glucose without the interaction of insulin. Insulin also promotes blood glucose to store as fat, and this is an issue with both Hypoglycemia as well as full Type II Diabetes.

    I( agree wholeheartedly on the suggestion of a sports nutritionist consult, and have a workup while you're at it for diabetes....ie, the HgA1C test, for long term sugar management.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  17. #17
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    While you're at it, consider getting some "real" cycling clothing - you're cycling togs in the picture are totally wrong! ha ha.

    Anyway, you have medical conditions that are far outside the norm for what most of us regular joes can advise you on, and you haven't mentioned once what kind of food you're consuming so for YOU it's probably best to fork over some clams for a professional to help you get on your way.

  18. #18
    On a Mission from God FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Losing weight is simply a function of calories in < calories out. With your dietary restrictions, you're going to have to figure out how to make that work, but that's what it boils down to. I find that if I eat much healthier foods (organic, whole foods, no preservatives/additives, etc.) I don't need to eat as many calories to "nourish" my body, and I can cut my calorie intake way back.

    I weighed between 225 and 215 for the longest time, even while riding every day. I was "fit" but I wasn't losing weight. Once I cut back my calorie intake and increased the quality of calories I did eat, I lost 35 pounds in 3 months. I'm now down to 172 (as of this morning) and slowly still losing.

  19. #19
    I give up! cujet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Actually, hypoglycemia is a form of diabetes spectrum disease. It indicates a strong risk of developing type II diabetes, because you have a sluggish insulin response at the back end, when it should turn off, and that's acting in combination with your long skeletal muscles ability to uptake glucose without the interaction of insulin. Insulin also promotes blood glucose to store as fat, and this is an issue with both Hypoglycemia as well as full Type II Diabetes.

    I( agree wholeheartedly on the suggestion of a sports nutritionist consult, and have a workup while you're at it for diabetes....ie, the HgA1C test, for long term sugar management.
    Thanks Tom. I do see an excellent endo. We test for A1C related stuff every 6 months. It's always on the very low side, 2.6 last time if I remember correctly. I hired a dietitian recommended by my doc and the food intake was beyond what I can consume in a day. I'll have to try someone else.

    I know I do well on a low carb diet and if I skip dinner.

    Just in case you are interested, a turkey sandwich drives my blood sugar down to 70, right away. Excess insulin production is my understanding. So does manual labor outside in the hot Florida weather. A salad, with grilled fish does not cause problems. And, as long as I don't ride, it's calories enough.
    If it doesn't burn fossil fuel, I don't like it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
    I'm afraid I don't know enough about hypoglycemia/diabetes, etc... to say anything about them. So take this with a grain of salt.

    First: make sure you're riding 6 days a week. 5 minimum.
    Second: you're riding too hard/fast. If you're HR is 140-150, and I'm assuming you're my age (42) or older, I'm guessing this is too hard. You're probably in zone 3. Zone 1 is best for utilizing stored fat as an energy source. Zone 2 maximum. Of course, you'd have to test your HR and find your zones to really know what zone you're in.
    That's not really accurate.

    You'll burn more fat calories in zone 4 than zone 1 even though in the former case only 1/3 of the total is fat and the later is 2/3 fat.

    You also need to stress your body to grow more mitochondria which allows you to burn more fat in the future.

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    - Body composition is a function of diet, supported by exercise.

    - Physical condition (aerobic and anaerobic) is a function of exercise, supported by diet.

    - If you are not losing weight, you are consuming as many calories as you are burning.

    - More riding won't necessarily help you lose weight. As you stated, you compensate by eating more. That on itself is ideal; you get better conditioning, which is not a bad thing.

    Your best bet to lose weight would be to cross train with weight lifting. It raises your metabolism for much longer (up to an hour with aerobic exercise, up to 15 hours with anaerobic exercise). It also builds more muscle, which also raises your basal metabolic rate (how many calories you burn just standing there; fat doesn't consume anything besides the effort to carry it around, muscle has to be fed even when not in use). Based on what you say, this sounds like a better way to run a caloric deficit.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by cujet View Post
    You lost me at hello...all I can see is the G-V in the background and the C177RG as your avatar....



    Sounds like some good advice by others. It has to be related to how you are eating, not so much the riding.
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  23. #23
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    regarding riding at a lower heart rate. I know what you mean, I don't like riding slow, HOWEVER, you may be surprised at just how fast you do still actually go riding at these lower heart rates. also, Pay particular attention to keeping your heart rate low when going up hills. (i know you said you live in florida but there must be a few hills) even though you have the energy and oomph to battle up them, fight that urge and go up them slow and gradual. SSTORKEL mentioned he got great results just riding hard and that is definately true for almost anyone starting from scratch going from totally sedentary to working out. However, once your body has some conditioning, if you keep riding at too hard of an intensity your not going to allow your body the chance to recover enough to actually build and get better. By building up a stronger "base" level of fitness at lower heartrates, you will allow your body to work harder on other days. Basically instead of riding at 150bpm all the time, you need some days at 130, other days at 165. The cyclists training bible by joe friel was recommended to me in the road forum and it's very useful. It can get a bit technical because it's created for people looking to race but the basic info in it is good.

    And of course, temper all of this advice with the appropriate advice from your doc/nutritionist, etc. If you google Joe Friel, you will find his blog and website and he may have a coach in your area that is reasonably priced that can coordinate with your doc/nutritionist and create a plan that is best for you.

  24. #24
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
    That's not really accurate.

    You'll burn more fat calories in zone 4 than zone 1 even though in the former case only 1/3 of the total is fat and the later is 2/3 fat.

    You also need to stress your body to grow more mitochondria which allows you to burn more fat in the future.
    Yes, percentage-fat burnt isn't as important as total-calories burnt per hour. The more calories/hr you burn, the more you can burn per day, per week, per month and the faster you can shed the weight. Just have to be careful about depleting yourself too much though, because you'll get big munchies and pig out. Thus undoing all your hard work. So take sports-drinks along, ride hard for the time that you have, have a recovery drink within 15-20 minutes after the ride and watch the total calories per day. Also try for at least one 2-hour ride a week, or 3 if you can find it. The 2nd and 3rd hour burns off a higher-percentage of fat, even though the total calories/hr remains the same.

    And yeah, intervals are your friends. Do one day with as many 1-minute intervals as you can deal with before passing out. And another day with 2x20 tempo. These two workouts will do the most for improving your average-speed. Allowing you to do all your other ride faster and burn off more calories/hr.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-23-10 at 04:00 AM.

  25. #25
    I give up! cujet's Avatar
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    Well, the good news is that I'm down to 208. The bad news is that I'm slower than ever. Starvation, skipping breakfast and dinner, and riding ain't easy. My 120 pound personal assistant eats more than I do. It's really disheartening. I've been quite careful with my diet. It's not 100% perfect, but better than 90%.

    I'm determined to make 190 this year.
    If it doesn't burn fossil fuel, I don't like it.

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