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  1. #1
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    HIIT - mashing vs spinning

    Hello all. Well, some background if it helps; I'm 183cm, and 111kg. My long term goal is to get to 93kg where I will be about 18% body fat. I've started up exercising for about 2 months and eating right for about 1, and started weighing myself a few days ago. Oh and i'm male, despite the name (long story).

    Anyway, I just twisted my ankle running. I don't want to drop the ball with my cardio, and I've started riding my bike again recently, so I figure why not do some HIIT intervals on my bike to lose weight? My ankle should be ok for cycling in a few days, but who knows how long it'll be before I can run on it again.

    So I figure I will do two minutes of easy spinning at about 90 rpm, then some high intensity sprinting/mashing for one minute, rinse and repeat until I'm exhausted. Is this a decent routine? My primary goal here is calorie burning and fat loss, before cycling was more for fun but since i can no longer run i am going to be a bit more serious about it.

    Any suggestions or advice much appreciated.
    Last edited by Violet; 10-31-11 at 11:58 AM. Reason: Incorrect calculations

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    You might try the training and nutrition forum...

    I'm surprised that you think you'll be only 15% bodyfat at 93kg. I am 191cm and wouldn't be down to 15% body fat until I got to around 86kg. You don't say how old you are, but it's worth remembering that we tend to lose a bit of muscle mass as we get older.

    I'd recommend something a little less intense if fat loss is your aim. One minute intervals at maximum intensity, with two-minute spins to recover, will have you trashed within about 20-30 minutes. I'd suggest saving the intervals for one or at most two sessions per week, and making your staple a one-hour session at your threshold - that is, the maximum level of constant effort you can maintain for the time.

    If you have lots of time, long steady distance rides of several hours duration at low intensity are a good weight-loss strategy. Doing them you get most of your fuel by burning fat directly, and because you don't deplete your glycogen reserves you are less likely to be starving at the end of the ride. But of course this is much more expensivenin terms of the time required.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    You might try the training and nutrition forum...
    Yeah I was debating between there and here. If a mod thinks it's better there, I'd appreciate if he/she might move this thread

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    I'm surprised that you think you'll be only 15% bodyfat at 93kg. I am 191cm and wouldn't be down to 15% body fat until I got to around 86kg. You don't say how old you are, but it's worth remembering that we tend to lose a bit of muscle mass as we get older.
    I'm 23. I have quite broad shoulders and hips, and a bit of muscle on me. I'm 30% body fat now, so unless my calculations are horribly off i should be just under 15% at 93kg.

    EDIT: my mistake, late night maths, I will be just over 17%.. though that's assuming no extra muscle gain, which i doubt.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    I'd recommend something a little less intense if fat loss is your aim. One minute intervals at maximum intensity, with two-minute spins to recover, will have you trashed within about 20-30 minutes. I'd suggest saving the intervals for one or at most two sessions per week, and making your staple a one-hour session at your threshold - that is, the maximum level of constant effort you can maintain for the time.
    That sounds alright. I could trash myself with HIIT on monday, take it easy wednesday, and trash myself again on friday, and have the weekend off.

    Quote Originally Posted by chasm54 View Post
    If you have lots of time, long steady distance rides of several hours duration at low intensity are a good weight-loss strategy. Doing them you get most of your fuel by burning fat directly, and because you don't deplete your glycogen reserves you are less likely to be starving at the end of the ride. But of course this is much more expensivenin terms of the time required.
    I don't have the time for it now, but i may do in a few weeks - will keep this in mind.
    Last edited by Violet; 10-31-11 at 03:31 AM.

  4. #4
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    The experts (book writers) want 500 miles of easy riding before beginning any intense training.They call this base miles. During this time one works on pedaling technique and general form. As you've only been at this for two months I'd recommend focusing on making exercise a habit. Learn to have fun while doing it. Make it part of your life not a suffer-fest you have to do. You want to still be at it 5,10,15... YEARS from now. Develop something few people your age have.... Patience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Violet View Post
    Hello all. Well, some background if it helps; I'm 183cm, and 111kg. My long term goal is to get to 93kg where I will be about 15% body fat.
    Who told you that?

    Anyway, for interval training, a start would be to hammer it for 30 seconds and then rest for 30. Repeat that a bunch of times. A full minute is pretty long for a full-out sprint effort. I upshift three gears or so, then romp on the pedals like I did when I was ten years old.

    When that gets boring, or when you're taking it over 35 mph/56 km/h on flat ground, then start reading up on more specific routines.

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    Thanks for the replies everyone, it's given me food for thought. Yes my body fat estimate was a bit off at 93kg, it'd be closer to 18% (assuming my lean body mass stays the same). I know that seems like relatively little fat at that weight, but I have been working out on and off for years and some muscle has thankfully stuck around. TBH, I wouldn't mind just being 100kg if I can get my body fat under 20%, but we'll see.

    Anyway, will try out some intervals tommorow and report back on how wrecked I am I may just climb up the local hill, since hills have been killing me recently, so it's bound to be a good workout.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Violet View Post
    Hello all. Well, some background if it helps; I'm 183cm, and 111kg. My long term goal is to get to 93kg where I will be about 18% body fat. I've started up exercising for about 2 months and eating right for about 1, and started weighing myself a few days ago. Oh and i'm male, despite the name (long story).

    Anyway, I just twisted my ankle running. I don't want to drop the ball with my cardio, and I've started riding my bike again recently, so I figure why not do some HIIT intervals on my bike to lose weight? My ankle should be ok for cycling in a few days, but who knows how long it'll be before I can run on it again.

    So I figure I will do two minutes of easy spinning at about 90 rpm, then some high intensity sprinting/mashing for one minute, rinse and repeat until I'm exhausted. Is this a decent routine?
    No. You won't turn the cranks around fast enough to get full muscle recruitment so you're putting out less power during each interval than you would pedaling faster for fewer Calories burned per interval and will fatigue sooner so you ride fewer intervals than when using a higher cadence.

    This ignores that riding such intervals won't maximize your total work over any sort of reasonable time period.

    Any suggestions or advice much appreciated.
    You'd do better riding 2x20 minutes with five minutes between intervals on hard days at your lactate threshold. The intensity is high enough to get a long increase in your basal metabolic rate, you're going to be able to put in a lot more time at high intensity, and the increased time means you'll get bigger performance gains.

    Since lactate accumulation increases with the fourth power of intensity the recovery time between intervals increases significantly with power. Your fatigue goes way up too so your total work is lower.

    I ride 2x20-5 around critical power (close to lactate threshold) for 609 kilojoules total in 45 minutes after warming up (about 609 Calories). 3x10-5 is more pleasant and practical. If I could ride 8x3 at 10% over that with 3 minutes between them in the same 45 minutes I'd total 563 kilojoules although that's not doable with 3 x 3 reasonable totaling 194 kilojoules (I haven't been racing or doing group rides lately so VO2 max intervals haven't been that interesting) and 554 kilojoules with a half hour of tempo riding bring the time total to 45 minutes.

    At 30 seconds it'd be more like 4x30 seconds with 4 minutes between intervals at double critical power for 164 kilojoules in a 14 minute work-out; or 536 kj with some tempo riding to get it out to 45 minutes (30 second intervals are useful because they'll get you through sets of traffic lights timed for cars).

    Going longer you could by definition ride an hour at threshold power but that's not practical in a lot of places outside with things like traffic lights and really isn't pleasant.

    This needs to be calibrated to your lactate threshold. With a heart rate monitor the standard protocol is going out, warming up, riding as hard as you can for 30 minutes, and using your average heart rate over the last twenty minutes as your lactate heart rate.

    You also need to work up to it. With a few thousand quality miles in my legs I could ride harder for a lot longer.

    There are books with formulas you can follow. The Time-Crunched Cyclist: Fit, Fast, and Powerful in 6 Hours a Week is a reasonable starting point.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 11-02-11 at 12:10 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Violet View Post
    So I figure I will do two minutes of easy spinning at about 90 rpm, then some high intensity sprinting/mashing for one minute, rinse and repeat until I'm exhausted. Is this a decent routine? My primary goal here is calorie burning and fat loss, before cycling was more for fun but since i can no longer run i am going to be a bit more serious about it.
    it's my thinking: if you want to burn maximum calories, pick a moderate pace that keeps your heart rate in your target zone and sustain that throughout the ride. don't push yourself too hard, getting hurt is counter productive.

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    Get a body fat scale or find a way to check your body fat on a regular (not necessarily frequent) basis. Do NOT assume that your lean mass will stay the same as you focus intently on your goals. Although the Training & Nutrition forum seems to not believe the results I had March->September, I will simply say that I'm no longer using weight as any sort of target.

    Get a metabolic assessment done, at your local gym or you may have to ask around. Do it both resting (so you can develop a target caloric intake from which you can manage your nutritional intake) and exercising (we do ours on our bikes - we take our indoor trainer INTO the gym). The exercise MAT tells you what YOUR heart rate zones are, along with the fat burn percentage in each zone. I'm "backwards", in that I have highest fat burn in zone 1. Without the MAT, I could be working out in the totally wrong range to achieve my goals.

    If you stay serious about this and might have the disposable income, I'd recommend prioritizing the purchase of a power meter. This will help you manage your intensity, as HR tends to lag behind the changes you put in. I do recognize that they are expensive, but I've been thrilled with the results and the overall awareness of my efforts. I had to do a lot of convincing to get my wife to "approve" the purchase of two power meters for our tandem, but I'm back "in my zone" and she's learning to use hers.

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