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  1. #1
    Senior Member billh's Avatar
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    water weight and the scale

    I guess I always knew water weight is a significant part of body weight but had never really quantified it, just had a rough idea could account for up to 5 lbs after a hard workout . . . so the other day, after a hard 20 min workout on the bike trainer, went to weigh myself and, sure enough, my body weight was 4-5 lbs lighter than usual, which I like to see, but then was very thirsty so filled up my water bottle and before drinking, thought, "I wonder how much weight I will gain back if I drink this water" so took it to the scale, hopped on the scale and sure enough the scale read x+1.5 lbs where x was the body weight without the full bottle. then just to confirm, I got off the scale, drank the entire bottle, hopped back on, and it read x+1.5. yay, water in the bottle was now water in my body, and the scale read the same. Then I hopped off, set the empty bottle down, hopped back on the scale, and it read x+1.5 still . . . so evidently, the bottle itself did not weight enough to tick it up to x+1.6 lbs. anyway, maybe all this is obvious, but it's nice to know how water replenishment relates to body weight. and that my scale records the water weight accurately.

    as an aside, I read somewhere that you should weigh yourself before strenuous exercise, then afterwards, drink fluid to bring your weight back to pre-workout levels. then you know you have replenished fluids. but I've lost as much as 5 lbs in a long bike ride, so that would be about 3 liters of water (4.5 lbs by the above measurement), which is a lot to drink.
    "The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one" JD Salinger, Catcher in the Rye, 1963

  2. #2
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Drinking enough water to bring your weight back up is "kind of" true. If you drink too much at once you will urinate out some of it as the body can't process it the way you want all at once. How long you should drink it over isn't something I know but I do basically put it back in over time.

    Also if you drink enough DURING your exercise then that's the magic spot.

  3. #3
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    You've got your weights wrong too - a liter of water is 1,000 grams = 1kg = 2.2 lb.

    I don't know what you're calling a long bike ride but I routinely drink 24 oz of water an hour when riding, and if it's hot enough, I'll drink as much as 48 oz of water an hour.

  4. #4
    Texas Tornado copswithguns's Avatar
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    Water weight is something best not overanalyzed. Your weight is gonna fluctuate from day to day depending on sodium intake and other things. I can weight myself daily and not get discouraged by the fluctuations; other people lose motivation when they don't see losses EVERY day. Most people will tell you to just weight in once a week because you'll generally lose a good amount in that time and not become discouraged by the water weight fluctuations.

    Long story short, just relax, eat well, bike plenty and it will come off.
    "Speed never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary...Now that's what gets you." -Jeremy Clarkson

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    If you like that, weigh yourself right before bed, and first thing in the morning. Goblins steal the weight at night!

  6. #6
    Commuter & cyclotourist brianogilvie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBentley57 View Post
    Goblins steal the weight at night!
    That would be "the toilet steals the weight at night." Well, that and transpiration.
    Public accountability: my Beeminder weight loss graph.

  7. #7
    Senior Member billh's Avatar
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    better yet . . . weigh myself . . . in the morning . . . after the hard workout . . . for the lowest possible number on the scale. it motivates me, what can I say.
    "The mark of the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one" JD Salinger, Catcher in the Rye, 1963

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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    When will people catch on that weight in and of itself is pretty meaningless. Body composition is a far better indicator of fitness than the number on the scale.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

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    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    I've found my weight drops as much as 5# on a long ride, and that's even with drinking a bottle an hour. I don't consciously try to 'drink it back' after the ride, but I drink water pretty freely over the next 8 hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    You've got your weights wrong too - a liter of water is 1,000 grams = 1kg = 2.2 lb.

    I don't know what you're calling a long bike ride but I routinely drink 24 oz of water an hour when riding, and if it's hot enough, I'll drink as much as 48 oz of water an hour.
    I didn't see the OP say it was a liter, just a bottle. And the water in a 24 oz bottle weight 24 oz - 1.5 lb.
    "Donít take life so seriousóit ainít nohow permanent."

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    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    When will people catch on that weight in and of itself is pretty meaningless. Body composition is a far better indicator of fitness than the number on the scale.
    Most of us aren't set up to measure specific gravity at home. I, for example, don't have a 300# hanging scale and a swimming pool.
    "Donít take life so seriousóit ainít nohow permanent."

  11. #11
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
    Most of us aren't set up to measure specific gravity at home. I, for example, don't have a 300# hanging scale and a swimming pool.
    You probably don't have a full body Dexa Scanner either

    The good news is you don't need one. Honestly, you don't need to pinpoint the exact bodyfat percentage or exact lean mass, what you need to be able to do is a reasonable estimate and, more importantly, be able to determine if you are trending in the right direction. A good full length mirror and a simple tailor's tape measure will get you in the ball park. Properly used calipers or even bioimpedance scales will also provide useful information if you don't obsess about fractions of percentages.

    Thanks to people relying on simple weight measurements and the horribly inaccurate BMI, we are seeing an epidemic of "skinny-fat" people, aka people whose body weight falls within the BMI's healthy range for their height but who still have above average bodyfat percentages due to low lean mass numbers. Losing "weight" is not always a good thing. Losing excess fat is. That's why many strength athletes and bodybuilders may have a BMI above 30 (obese according to the BMI scale) but bodyfat percentages under 12 (a very healthy and fit number). Six feet tall, 200 pounds and 30% bodyfat is far different from six feet tall, 200 pounds and 12% bodyfat. Weight only has meaning when put in context by reasonable estimates of body composition.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
    I've found my weight drops as much as 5# on a long ride, and that's even with drinking a bottle an hour. I don't consciously try to 'drink it back' after the ride, but I drink water pretty freely over the next 8 hours.



    I didn't see the OP say it was a liter, just a bottle. And the water in a 24 oz bottle weight 24 oz - 1.5 lb.
    24 fl oz of water weighs 25 oz but that is really just splitting hairs. A fluid ounce is not equal to a dry ounce. A fluid ounce is a measure of volume, and a dry ounce is a measure of weight.

  13. #13
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billh View Post
    3 liters of water (4.5 lbs by the above measurement)
    Quote Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
    I didn't see the OP say it was a liter, just a bottle. And the water in a 24 oz bottle weight 24 oz - 1.5 lb.
    1 liter = 33.8 oz = 2.2 lb (close enough)

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    I did my first metric century last weekend (been on the bike for about a month) after a 10+ year lay off. The ride had 4500 feet of climbing and temperatures started in the mid-70s and ending in the 100s with the heat index. Long story short, my scale was 9 pounds lighter when I got home. Over the next two days (rehydrating, eating, resting) I regained 7 of those lost pounds.

    Needless to say if I had to repeat that ride on a regular basis, losing weight isn't worth it.

    Joking aside, I've found that calorie counting and balanced meals has been FARmore effective at healthy weight loss than big effort days on the bike. But that's me.

  15. #15
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    You probably don't have a full body Dexa Scanner either

    The good news is you don't need one. Honestly, you don't need to pinpoint the exact bodyfat percentage or exact lean mass, what you need to be able to do is a reasonable estimate and, more importantly, be able to determine if you are trending in the right direction. A good full length mirror and a simple tailor's tape measure will get you in the ball park. Properly used calipers or even bioimpedance scales will also provide useful information if you don't obsess about fractions of percentages.

    Thanks to people relying on simple weight measurements and the horribly inaccurate BMI, we are seeing an epidemic of "skinny-fat" people, aka people whose body weight falls within the BMI's healthy range for their height but who still have above average bodyfat percentages due to low lean mass numbers. Losing "weight" is not always a good thing. Losing excess fat is. That's why many strength athletes and bodybuilders may have a BMI above 30 (obese according to the BMI scale) but bodyfat percentages under 12 (a very healthy and fit number). Six feet tall, 200 pounds and 30% bodyfat is far different from six feet tall, 200 pounds and 12% bodyfat. Weight only has meaning when put in context by reasonable estimates of body composition.
    I seriously doubt we've got any skinny fat people posting in this board. For a person (I'll use me as an example) who KNOWS he's fat, weight is a perfectly good tool to use to monitor progress towards skinny, if that ever happens. My body composition is not changing dramatically from year to year but the fat content may.

    Your example of body fat measurement might actually combat some of the fat-skinny I hear from time to time (I'm just big boned, I'm built like a line backer, I'm 5'10" but any lighter than 250 and people tell me I look skeletal, that sort of thing)

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    This is a cycling forum, weight is half the equation as far as going up the hill faster. Sure the 200 # bodybuilder might be "healthy" but he isn't going to be a good cyclist.

  17. #17
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    You probably don't have a full body Dexa Scanner either

    The good news is you don't need one. Honestly, you don't need to pinpoint the exact bodyfat percentage or exact lean mass, what you need to be able to do is a reasonable estimate and, more importantly, be able to determine if you are trending in the right direction. A good full length mirror and a simple tailor's tape measure will get you in the ball park.
    I have been gauging my progress in a number of ways.

    First, weight, because in order to reach a healthier composition, I have a LOT of fat to lose, and I don't want to be 240lbs of muscle mass!

    Second, the fit of my clothes. I no longer can wear my 38" waist pants without a belt, nor do I have to stre-etch them out to convince myself I don't need the next size up.

    Third, my performance on the road. Each week, the same degree of suffering allows me to go farther. Hills get easier, even spinning on the flats is easier.

    But yeah, if it were JUST weight dropping off, one could end up being one of those people who still are out of shape, but not fat. OTOH, if it were JUST performance, I could be a still-fat but more fit guy.
    "Donít take life so seriousóit ainít nohow permanent."

  18. #18
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    1 liter = 33.8 oz = 2.2 lb (close enough)
    Ah! Missed that. My error.
    "Donít take life so seriousóit ainít nohow permanent."

  19. #19
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    I seriously doubt we've got any skinny fat people posting in this board. For a person (I'll use me as an example) who KNOWS he's fat, weight is a perfectly good tool to use to monitor progress towards skinny, if that ever happens. My body composition is not changing dramatically from year to year but the fat content may.

    Your example of body fat measurement might actually combat some of the fat-skinny I hear from time to time (I'm just big boned, I'm built like a line backer, I'm 5'10" but any lighter than 250 and people tell me I look skeletal, that sort of thing)
    I agree that there are probably no skinny-fat people posting in a Clyde/Athena board, it was just an example of why weight alone is a poor indicator. True also that weight is an important part of the cycling equation, especially for sprinting and hill climbing. Consider this though, a 150-pound cyclist loses 10 pounds of fat in a year but gains 10 pounds of muscle. The weight is unchanged but that is about a 15% shift in body composition and there will likely be a significant improvement in health, performance, and overall fitness. Example #2 , a cyclist loses 20 pounds in a year, half of it fat, half of it muscle, how do you suppose that affects performance? You state "My body composition is not changing dramatically from year to year but the fat content may." If your fat content is changing dramatically but your muscle mass is staying the same or increasing, then your body composition (the ratio of fat to lean tissue) will also change dramatically. You want to become lean and strong, not thin and scrawny. Look at pro cyclists, they are very lean but with a lot of muscle, especially in their lower bodies. So I'm sorry, but No the scale alone is not a good indicator of improvements in fitness.

    GeneJockey said
    "Second, the fit of my clothes. I no longer can wear my 38" waist pants without a belt, nor do I have to stre-etch them out to convince myself I don't need the next size up.

    Third, my performance on the road. Each week, the same degree of suffering allows me to go farther. Hills get easier, even spinning on the flats is easier."

    which is an indirect measurement of body composition indicating that he is losing fat while maintaining or possibly even gaining muscle. He mentions that he doesn't want to be 240# of muscle mass. That's not what I'm promoting at all. What I am saying is that you don't want to be sacrificing muscle, connective tissue, bone or even normal hydration levels for the sake of decreasing the numbers on a scale. What you want to do is get rid of excess fat, not weight at all costs, so you need to consider more than just what the scale says.

    I myself am still a good 30-40# of excess fat over my ideal (way down from where I started). One of the big changes I made when I actually started making real progress was to quit worrying about the scale and starting to focus on how I looked (from a fitness, not narcissistic standpoint), how my clothes fit, how I felt, and how I performed. There have been several points in the journey where I could see, feel and measure improvements even when the scale denied any progress.
    Last edited by Myosmith; 09-12-13 at 07:36 PM.
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    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Thin and scrawny is just not in my future.

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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
    Thin and scrawny is just not in my future.
    But keep up the good work, measure real progress, and strong and lean might be That's what I'm shooting for and I hope to see you there someday.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

  22. #22
    got the climbing bug jsigone's Avatar
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    is beer weight classified the same as water weight?

  23. #23
    Klaatu..Verata..Necktie? genejockey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    is beer weight classified the same as water weight?
    HA! I no longer consider beer to be the perfect recovery beverage. Too tempting! Nor are donuts the perfect carbo-loading food!
    "Donít take life so seriousóit ainít nohow permanent."

  24. #24
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsigone View Post
    is beer weight classified the same as water weight?
    NO! Water weight comes and goes, beer weight comes and stays and never seems to leave. It is the in-laws of the weight world.

  25. #25
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    pee clear
    you'll live many a year

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