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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 06-15-11, 08:08 PM   #1
Mr DW
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train AND lose weight?

I'm returning to cycling for the 2nd season after many years off. In college I was in good shape and biked quite a bit. Now I'm getting back into it. I've built a decent fitness base over the past year but now I'm wanting to ratchet it up to the next level.

I'm faster on the bike than a lot of my skinny cycling buddies. Over the past month I've been focusing more on interval training and shorter harder rides trying to get more quality time vs quantity time. Also, I've been reading more about nutrition and making sure I eat good before and after my training rides.

Problem is, I'm still quite a bit overweight (5'9" 230lbs). Although I can feel myself getting stronger on the bike, I'm not losing any weight. I'm guessing I will have to choose between riding for fitness or riding for weight loss. I was really hoping I could do both but now I'm doubting if I can.

Any suggestions? Anyone else have similar problem?
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Old 06-15-11, 08:32 PM   #2
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Like the saying goes;

Ride for fitness and diet for weight loss!

It's a simple matter of how much in, vs how much used!

Simply riding will only help you lose weight, you have to control what you eat.

I guess you could ride hard 8-12 hours a day, every day and lose more weight.
But even the pros, (you know those uber skinny guys) diet.

You did not get to the weight you are at in 2 years, why should you think you will lose it as quick?
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Old 06-15-11, 08:46 PM   #3
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If you're not concerned about the Nth degree of performance, and if you can keep from indulging in the exercise-driven urge to eat everything in sight, there's no reason you can't do both reasonably effectively at the same time. If you can't approach it that way, I'd say pick one or the other as a primary goal and work toward it before going after the second one.
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Old 06-15-11, 08:52 PM   #4
JT Burkard
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JR said it. Ride for fitness but diet is the key to weight loss. I just started a little over a week ago. I weigh myself on Mondays. It's not going to come off fast but it will come off. Eat right (of course I just has Chinese take out with the wife) and ride and you will lose the lbs. I only lost one LB from last week but that's the first one and I am excited. As long as I stay on schedule with the rest of the week with riding and eating right, I should shed at least another 1-2 lbs.
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Old 06-15-11, 09:22 PM   #5
Mr DW
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Originally Posted by jr59 View Post
You did not get to the weight you are at in 2 years, why should you think you will lose it as quick?
LOL, that's exactly what my wife says!

I'm not very patient so I guess I will have to start counting calories. Hopefully I can keep up the interval workouts w/o "carb loading"

Does anybody know if your body can easily replenish muscle glycogen stores from body fat?
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Old 06-16-11, 04:07 AM   #6
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I lost some strength going from 275 in Early Oct. to 215 in March.I've gotten it back since then by maintaining current weight.My endurance has increased big time as I'm much more efficient. I'm 54 6'2" and many people have told me I don't need to lose more weight. I'm sure some very patient/smarter and/or younger people can lose weight and gain strength but I wasn't one of them.The good news is that you're already put a year in and have some good habits.
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Old 06-17-11, 09:08 AM   #7
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I'm an anomaly, perhaps. I can't do long rides (say over 30 miles) or fast shorter rides while I'm dieting, because I run out of gas. So for me, it's diet until it's time to prep for a ride, forget about the diet for a few weeks, then go back.

Alternatively, you could go on a long bike tour. Ride 6 hours or more every day, and just skip the beer and dessert. You'll lose weight and gain strength simultaneously!
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Old 06-17-11, 09:29 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mr DW View Post
LOL, that's exactly what my wife says!

I'm not very patient so I guess I will have to start counting calories. Hopefully I can keep up the interval workouts w/o "carb loading"

Does anybody know if your body can easily replenish muscle glycogen stores from body fat?
Of course it can and does. The question is how quickly?

And that is another ball of wax. For each person it is different.


The question is always when will lack of food make me bonk?

For me, it's normally a fitness issue, I bonk when I have pushed myself beyond my limits.
Not because I didn't eat enough. There have been times when I didn't drink enough and came close to heat type bonk.
But mostly it's just me not being fit enough.

If you ride at a SLOWER pace, and I mean much slower pace. Your body will use more fat than glycogen.
But you will use less calories. So riding faster burns all your glycogen and more of your fat than riding slow.

All above is just IMO; yours may differ!
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Old 06-19-11, 07:43 PM   #9
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In my experience I have found that I simply cannot out-exercise poor eating. A person with any kind of personal and family life simply does not have enough time in the day to exercise enough to burn as many calories as bad eating puts into your system. To lose weight I feel I have to control my calories consumed. Your results may vary.
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Old 06-20-11, 12:01 AM   #10
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Tall Cool One said it right. If you have a family, job, house and all the other fun things middle age guys have to do on a daily basis it is hard enough to find time for a 12 mile ride. I have found that you must diet and ride as much as you can. There is no way you are going to have enough time to burn enough calories to lose weight. I finally got a decent headlight, tail light and other appropriate gear to ride at night. I just finished my ride about a 1/2 hr ago after a day full of everything else. Hang in there and good luck!
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Old 06-20-11, 01:51 AM   #11
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With me, I ride 5 days a week. Tuesday is a 90min ride with 45 min of threshold. Weds is a 30 - 90 min recovery ride. I repeat my threshold ride on Thurs. Friday is another recovery ride. And finally on Saturday I do a long tempo ride (about 4 hours). I find that with that schedule, I can ride plenty. I also strength train twice a week, usually on Weds and Friday. I do my recovery rides after. One thing I have had to keep a sharp eye on is my calorie intake. As I have been losing weight and my % of body fat goes down, my need for calories goes up. Otherwise I end up kicking in the body's starvation effect and I plateau.

And yes, I have a job, and a family. My wife supports me 100%. She see's this as an investment in our future. 90 min a day 4 days during the week, and usually I am back before lunch on Saturday. If there is a will, there is a way.
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Old 06-20-11, 06:41 AM   #12
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I just started riding about 7 weeks ago when I started training for a triathlon. I've lost about 3 lbs, by the scale. Not that impressive.

However, while some of this is because I think I'm eating more, part of it is that I've built muscle - and muscle is denser than fat. So, let's say I've lost 10 lbs of fat but gained 7 lbs of muscle - I'm smaller (my clothes fit better), but the scale isn't going to reflect how much I'm working out.

So - if you feel better and you're not killing yourself (make sure you eat ENOUGH), then know it WILL come off slowly but it should still come off.

Unless you're using all the biking as an excuse to eat mac & cheese for dinner every night.

Not that I have any experience with that or anything.
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Old 06-20-11, 02:49 PM   #13
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As others have noted, it is possible to "out eat" any level of exercise and still maintain or even gain weight. You probably need to start looking carefully at your diet, not just the amounts, but the make up of those calories and also when you are eating plays a role in what is burned and what is stored.
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Old 06-20-11, 03:42 PM   #14
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I didn't weigh myself the first 6 months of "the new me journey". I just focused on being more active and being consistant in an exercise program. I figured that it was a habit by then as I looked foward to my activities. I lost 25 lbs. in that time. I was then ready to tackle stage 2.... Weight loss/ eating better. The confidence I gained with the exercise program carried over to calorie control. Stage 2 lasted 14 months. I'd lost 210 lbs total by then but had also lost strength. Stage 3... Weight maintaince/regain strength is nearly complete after 3 months. I still have about 10 lbs of unnecessary fat to lose but I won't sacrifice strength/endurance to do so. This may be the toughest part but I'll learn alot doing it.
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Old 06-28-11, 01:15 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the helpful replies. I actually went to see a dietician. Turns out I wasn't eating enough! She had me add 2 snacks per day and increase my protein and fiber intake. Also she said I needed to do some sort of strength training in addition to cycling to maintain and build muscle mass. So now I am focussing on eating QUALITY calories instead of simply trying to limit my QUANTITY of calories. It is going to be weird to eat more but its not like I was doing all that great on my own so what do I have to lose.
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