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-   -   The Truth about Cycling and Weight Loss (http://www.bikeforums.net/clydesdales-athenas-200-lb-91-kg/950956-truth-about-cycling-weight-loss.html)

bbbean 06-02-14 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sullalto (Post 16815470)

So is breathing and hydrating, but I thought we could give people benefit of the doubt and assume they have the sense God gave a goose. If someone has to be told that a chicken breast and a salad are healthier than a Big Mac, your lecture on a low GI, carb balanced, nutritious diet is moot.

BB

daviddavieboy 06-03-14 03:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bbbean (Post 16815805)
So is breathing and hydrating, but I thought we could give people benefit of the doubt and assume they have the sense God gave a goose.

Aparently not. I stand by the statement that calorie counting using quality calories does work, whatever someones circumstances. If a persons health conditions make them unable to eat healthy and only patron McDonalds an KFC then I cannot speak to that.

Black wallnut 06-03-14 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sullalto (Post 16815470)
Eating healthy IS pretty damn important though.

If you are attributing healthy eating to avoiding HFCS then I've no argument. However the problem I have with such statements is that healthy is a moving target that is not the same for all people. Hence why some can lose with low carb diets, some can't. Conversely some folks can eat lots of carbs and not get fat. Most of us in this forum that are here because we are overweight rather than tall and big boned are likely not the type that can lose weight without serious effort.

Kingby 06-03-14 12:04 PM

Interesting read on whether is a calorie a calorie.

Do calories matter? « The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D. The Eating Academy | Peter Attia, M.D.

Sullalto 06-03-14 12:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Black wallnut (Post 16817395)
If you are attributing healthy eating to avoiding HFCS then I've no argument. However the problem I have with such statements is that healthy is a moving target that is not the same for all people. Hence why some can lose with low carb diets, some can't. Conversely some folks can eat lots of carbs and not get fat. Most of us in this forum that are here because we are overweight rather than tall and big boned are likely not the type that can lose weight without serious effort.

I meant it more of a "quality matters, and 'real food' is generally preferable to the alternatives", nothing too specific.

Black wallnut 06-03-14 12:42 PM

Here is an example of how cycling has helped someone lose 100 pounds.

brianogilvie 06-05-14 02:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stephtu (Post 16806599)
Sure, you have to eat during those long rides. But you don't need to eat that much during the ride, your body can only absorb so much in a given amount of time to help you. So it still should be a deficit for the ride minus the food you ate during. It's the overcompensating after the ride that can thwart your weight loss. So eat during the ride to not bonk. But then don't eat a super big dinner post-ride because you rode, just eat your normal amount, perhaps a little more.

^ This is true. During distance rides, I aim to eat 200-250 calories an hour; I'm expending more than twice that. When I did the Great River Ride 170K last fall, I had a negative calorie balance for the day, despite eating during the ride and having a fairly generous pizza afterwards.

On the general principle, it's worth keeping in mind the adage that you can't outrun (or outride) a bad diet. In 2012, I rode about 2500 miles and gained 10 lb. In 2013, I rode about 3500 and lost 45 lb.—not because I rode more, but because I was counting calories and eating fewer than I expended.

Telly 06-06-14 01:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MRT2 (Post 16806188)
Just among us Clydes.

There are many threads that start off with, "I want to take up cycling to lose weight."

But I wonder if this premise is flawed. How many of us are riding for years but still carrying extra weight. I know I am.

So a couple of thoughts. These are not conclusions, but rather I will put these out there as questions and see what the group thinks:

Is weight loss mostly about what, and how much you eat and drink? Can you actually gain weight from cycling?

Can weight loss make you a better cyclist? Last summer after losing 40 lbs from the previous summer, I felt like I was flying on the bike. This season, after gaining a few lbs, not so much. I am reaching familiar milestones, but working harder for them. So going forward, maybe thinking about riding my way back into shape is putting the cart before the horse. Maybe I should be thinking that I should push myself away from the table through the winter so that when the weather gets nice, I can just ride and not have to worry about weight loss?

On the other hand, is it possible that cycling can make you fitter, but not necessarily leaner. I am already feeling the difference this season, though the scale shows no weight loss, yet.

Is it possible that cycling isn't even all that great of an activity for weight loss for people who are already overweight? Though cycling is a great activity that gives the rider a tremendous mental boost, it may not be the be all and end all for weight loss. Regular gym workouts with shorter, but much higher intensity may be better for weight loss, though not as much fun as going for a long ride on a mild spring day.

Thoughts?

I've been cycling three years regularly as a commuter, and after starting out at 340 lbs, I've gotten down to 270 lbs with little or no dieting (bad choice, but it's been a bumpy couple of years). When I confronted a friend who's a dietitian, she stated that my actual weight loss was much greater since I hadn't taken into account that I had developed muscle tissue in place of the fat that I had lost.

daviddavieboy 06-06-14 03:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Telly (Post 16826057)
starting out at 340 lbs, I've gotten down to 270 lbs with little or no dieting . . . . my actual weight loss was much greater since I hadn't taken into account that I had developed muscle tissue in place of the fat that I had lost.

Congrats of the loss! If I get to drop 70 pounds in total I will be over the moon! As in your case I didn't change my diet until recently. Now I am TRYING to eat quality food not really changing the quantity. +1 on the muscle, Last year at 250+ I could only manage 5 miles this morning I am 220 and could easily do 50-60 miles. My pastor asked me the other day if everything was ok because I was getting smaller. I told him I am only eating pizza on the weekends now then said 'oh- putting 80-150 miles a week on by bicycle might be helping too.'

daviddavieboy 06-06-14 03:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Black wallnut (Post 16817395)
If you are attributing healthy eating to avoiding HFCS then I've no argument

I avoid this like the plague.

FBinNY 06-06-14 06:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Telly (Post 16826057)
.... When I confronted a friend who's a dietitian, she stated that my actual weight loss was much greater since I hadn't taken into account that I had developed muscle tissue in place of the fat that I had lost.

This is a point I've been making for years. There's too much focus on weight, and not enough on what that weight is. Common sense tells you that a 200# athlete is fitter than a 170# person of the same height who can't run a block to catch a bus.

While riding will eventually shave pounds, early on there's also a process of muscle building which offsets that, and there may be zero net weight change. But belt size is a good indicator, as are other indicators, such as how you feel after climbing a hill or X flights of stairs.

One of my favorite indicators of condition is density. Fat floats, bone and muscle sink, so high high you float in water is an indicator of the ratio of fat to muscle.

So folks who take up cycling to lose weight may be discouraged by what the scale shows, but should be happy to change fat at the belly to muscle in their legs even if they don't lose an ounce.

Telly 06-06-14 06:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 16826373)
One of my favorite indicators of condition is density. Fat floats, bone and muscle sink, so high high you float in water is an indicator of the ratio of fat to muscle.

Haven't been to the beach yet, but when I go, I'll try the buoyancy test and share the results!

http://styrian-sprint-shop.at/homepa...water_bike.jpg

ill.clyde 06-06-14 07:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 16826373)
This is a point I've been making for years. There's too much focus on weight, and not enough on what that weight is. Common sense tells you that a 200# athlete is fitter than a 170# person of the same height who can't run a block to catch a bus.

While this is true ... I think way too many clydes/athenas fall into a trap of claiming this as why they're not losing weight, when really they're not truly managing their portions and likely overestimating their caloric burn on a given workout.

It's a somewhat slippery slope

FBinNY 06-06-14 07:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ill.clyde (Post 16826440)
While this is true ... I think way too many clydes/athenas fall into a trap of claiming this as why they're not losing weight, when really they're not truly managing their portions and likely overestimating their caloric burn on a given workout.

It's a somewhat slippery slope

Taking up a new exercise routine and trying to diet ate difficult enough alone. Combined they're especially difficult, and to an extent contra-indicated, since a calorie deficit makes it harder to ride (past 10 miles or so).

One of the main reasons people quit is because they get discouraged, usually after hitting a plateau after only a few pounds of loss. Even if they don't diet, and don't lose an ounce, folks who take up cycling will see a benefit in overall health, and if they have to lie to themselves to stay with it, that's better than quitting.

Once they get into a routine of exercising daily, and their overall health improves a bit, they can adjust the focus to their diet.

In any case, you can fool yourself about weight (either way), but belts and clothes don't lie, so if the scale doesn't move but your belt seems to be stretching that's progress.

stephtu 06-06-14 08:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Telly (Post 16826057)
When I confronted a friend who's a dietitian, she stated that my actual weight loss was much greater since I hadn't taken into account that I had developed muscle tissue in place of the fat that I had lost.

I think the "muscle replacing fat" thing is way overblown, and sometimes used as an excuse by people not getting their diet right to get the results they want. It's pretty normal to lose some muscle along with the fat while losing weight. You are carrying less weight around all day, don't need as much muscle to do it. Body builders all say it's difficult to build muscle on a calorie deficit, mostly they are happy with maintaining strength, weight on the bar. Also muscle gain rates peak out at maybe 0.25 pounds per week, while fat can be lost at 1-3 pounds per week, depending on how big you are, so it's just very unlikely that "muscle is replacing fat", it's just "you aren't losing fat". You can be getting in much better cardiovascular shape from the cycling, but not losing fat, and not gaining muscle either. More efficient muscles but not bigger ones.

Unless you are lifting weights and seeing your maxes go up, or taking accurate body fat percentage readings and seeing your lean mass actually go up, I'd say you probably aren't gaining much if any muscle. The buoyancy test is a good one, hydrostatic weighing is the gold standard for testing body fat percentage. But I think it's hard to assess without an underwater scale! Underwater weighing facilities being hard to find & expensive, I would use one of those fat-percentage BIA scales instead, they are rather inaccurate but if you check every few months and are going down, it's an OK measure. Or simply measure waist circumference, eventually can go to body-fat calipers.

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY
While riding will eventually shave pounds, early on there's also a process of muscle building which offsets that, and there may be zero net weight change.

Disagree that it can offset enough for zero net change.
Quote:

But belt size is a good indicator
Yes.

Quote:

how you feel after climbing a hill or X flights of stairs.
Indicator of better cardiovascular health, a good thing, but losing fat on top of that would still be better.

Quote:

One of my favorite indicators of condition is density.
Yes.

Quote:

So folks who take up cycling to lose weight may be discouraged by what the scale shows, but should be happy to change fat at the belly to muscle in their legs even if they don't lose an ounce.
Pretty much impossible to shrink the belly without seeing the scale go down IMO.

Null66 06-06-14 09:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ill.clyde (Post 16826440)
While this is true ... I think way too many clydes/athenas fall into a trap of claiming this as why they're not losing weight, when really they're not truly managing their portions and likely overestimating their caloric burn on a given workout.

It's a somewhat slippery slope

WAY, WAY, WAY overblown....
A nice, comforting thought, but not a significant factor..

It is extremely hard to put on muscle with a calorie shortage. Even serious weight lifters, using lifting patterns that work for them. I respond very well to German volume method and 5x5, some respond best to 5/3/1 others to traditional body building splits.

It takes a lot of effort to put on significant of muscle, enough muscle to make a difference on a scale.

In a calorie deficit, highly unlikely even when you're purposefully trying to put on muscle lifting weights. Even, uh, chemically assisted most work very hard to preserve (not build) muscle while in a calorie deficit.

This is why bulk and cut is common in bodybuilding.


Much, much more likely is called compensatory eating, eating more then replacement calories.

Really,

Which is more likely

The well documented compensatory eating
-or-
You achieving the holy grail of body building, putting on muscle while cutting. Without PEDs, Without the common eating disciplines of eating high protein (1-2 grams per pound of lean body mass), tiny meals 10x a day mixing protein sources so you're always trickling in protein to stay out of muscle wasting catabolism... sleeping 2-3x day, 2 hours of cardio and 2 lifting sessions day. Attempting this has frustrated SO many body builders ruining their contest prep...

But you did it just riding a bit?

Little Darwin 06-06-14 11:46 AM

Cycling has two key benefits to me related to weight loss (mentioned or implied by some of the posts here).

1) It increases my fitness level.
This is beneficial on its own, although I resist the term "fit and fat" because a person can always be more fit with less fat (unless it gets too extreme).

2) It motivates me to eat right.
Eating right is also beneficial on its own, because along with lower weight comes better nutrition for the physiological needs of the body.

So, in short, I think we all agree that either physical activity or good diet is beneficial, but both together is even better.

Bicycling for me does one, and encourages the other... therefore, in my case cycling is a good weight loss program by combining direct and indirect methods. :)

NurseWizzle 06-07-14 02:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FrenchFit (Post 16814947)
Calories In / Calories Out ?

I thought that had pretty much debunked by now; ignoring insulin, hormones, metabolic rate, macro-nutrients, timing, etc. as this simplistic advice does. Do people still believe that any calorie is simply the same as any other calorie with respect to nutrition & obesity management?

Sadly, yes, a lot of people still fall for this.

linnefaulk 06-07-14 04:22 AM

I didn't start to lose weight until I started training for a century. I had a training plan which made me mix up my rides and introduce intervals. Our bodies are really good and being efficient. They learn how to do what we want with the least effort. DO the same ride everyday, and it will become lazy.

Sullalto 06-07-14 10:57 AM

Yeah that's why I had to start lifting and swimming. The commute alone put me on a plateau.

Drew Eckhardt 06-07-14 11:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FBinNY (Post 16826515)
Taking up a new exercise routine and trying to diet ate difficult enough alone. Combined they're especially difficult, and to an extent contra-indicated, since a calorie deficit makes it harder to ride (past 10 miles or so).

It depends intensity. At a slow enough endurance or recovery pace you don't touch your glycogen stores and it doesn't matter. One wattage list member found that below at 60% of threshold power his rides were entirely fat-powered.

100W out of 184 (95% of my top 20 minutes) which is about 360 Calories per hour +5, -20% at typical metabolic efficiencies doesn't increase my hunger or make me feel worse after not eating enough for at least 30 miles and probably a lot more, although longer rides involving hills where I run out of gears and work a lot harder aren't relevant data points.

Obviously riding like that does not boost your power so an endurance pace for you is faster and burns more calories in the future and you won't get a temporary metabolism boost after ceasing to ride.

An "embarrassingly slow" pace can also be psychologically difficult when you're metaphorically being passed by kids on big wheels.

FBinNY 06-07-14 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt (Post 16829910)
It depends intensity. At a slow enough endurance or recovery pace you don't touch your glycogen stores and it doesn't matter. One wattage list member found that below at 60% of threshold power his rides were entirely fat-powered....

I said a new exercise routine. People first taking up cycling to lose weight generally aren't fit, ad their bodies not adapted to sustained exercise at any level. You're right about riding slow enough, but for a newbie, especially an overweight newbie, just about any speed high enough to not fall over will deplete ready energy stores and have them fading in the stretch.

My point wasn't to use exercise to the exclusion of dieting, but to focus on one early on, and get to some reasonable of endurance, then begin drawing back on food intake.

Regardless of the method, weight loss programs have to meet one all important condition. They have to be sustainable, and not inflict too much misery, otherwise people simply quit.

Mithrandir 06-07-14 09:50 PM

1000 miles in 2 months. Gained 10 pounds.

W.T.F.


:mad:

Lord_Emperor 06-10-14 03:58 PM

I've been reading this forum a while but signed up to reply to this post what is working for me, hopefully someone finds this helpful.

This February I was 274lbs and today I am 226lbs, aiming for 173lbs.

I do think it's as simple as calories in - calories out. I set the most aggressive "safe" target of 2lbs/week and recorded everything in MyFitnessPal. My wife laughed at me when I would pour a cup of milk into a literal measuring cup or weigh my chicken breast on the kitchen scale before eating it but it worked. Without exercise I had a really hard time eating only ~1600 Calories in a day, but I did, and I lost the weight as planned. Still it wasn't pleasant - I felt hungry and tired all the time - so I exercised to earn more food.

I started on my cheap stationary bike and I was so out of shape at first that I couldn't manage exercise every day or even every 2nd day but I stuck to it. I let MFP estimate my Calories used (based on heart rate zone & time) and allowed myself to eat more based on that. As I got stronger it became every day, then 10 minutes longer, then trying to go another "mile" in the same time and another and another. Week-by-week my weight loss was consistent but I felt much better on days where I exercised and therefore ate more.

Fast forward 2 months and the deathly grip of winter has passed and I'm feeling pretty good spinning 30-60 minutes per day. I have this nice mountain bike from when I was a teenager so I get it fixed up (and following the sticker shock swore to do my own maintenance) and start riding to work 14Km each way 5 times/week. I track myself with Runtastic and let it calculate my calories and sync to MFP. Commuting was another huge step, I hurt again and couldn't do it every day at first but eventually I got there. I actually had a hard time eating enough, I'd finish dinner and feel full but I was still 500 Calories below my target. Now I'm eating like a teenager again, big breakfast, mid-morning snack, big lunch, hearty dinner. Still losing 2lbs/week.

The only concessions I made in what I eat was to eliminate candy (which I loved...) and eat more foods rich in fibre, aka vegetables & oatmeal - to deal with my Cholesterol. I never drank soda to begin with. I eat meat of all sorts, ice cream, takeout, lattes, but all in moderation and every last thing is documented into MFP. I don't stress +/- 100 Calories on normal days and +500 Calories when I take a day to rest.

I think any hurdles in weight loss are going to come down to accuracy. I went a few weeks of disappointing loss using Runkeeper to track my calorie consumption because it overestimated by a large margin (almost double!). Also if you are eating in a restaurant and can't measure your food, at least err on the side of overestimating volumes. In other words if it looks like 1.5 cups of noodles it's probably 2.

257 roberts 06-10-14 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lord_Emperor (Post 16839344)
I've been reading this forum a while but signed up to reply to this post what is working for me, hopefully someone finds this helpful.

This February I was 274lbs and today I am 226lbs, aiming for 173lbs.

I do think it's as simple as calories in - calories out. I set the most aggressive "safe" target of 2lbs/week and recorded everything in MyFitnessPal. My wife laughed at me when I would pour a cup of milk into a literal measuring cup or weigh my chicken breast on the kitchen scale before eating it but it worked. Without exercise I had a really hard time eating only ~1600 Calories in a day, but I did, and I lost the weight as planned. Still it wasn't pleasant - I felt hungry and tired all the time - so I exercised to earn more food.

I started on my cheap stationary bike and I was so out of shape at first that I couldn't manage exercise every day or even every 2nd day but I stuck to it. I let MFP estimate my Calories used (based on heart rate zone & time) and allowed myself to eat more based on that. As I got stronger it became every day, then 10 minutes longer, then trying to go another "mile" in the same time and another and another. Week-by-week my weight loss was consistent but I felt much better on days where I exercised and therefore ate more.

Fast forward 2 months and the deathly grip of winter has passed and I'm feeling pretty good spinning 30-60 minutes per day. I have this nice mountain bike from when I was a teenager so I get it fixed up (and following the sticker shock swore to do my own maintenance) and start riding to work 14Km each way 5 times/week. I track myself with Runtastic and let it calculate my calories and sync to MFP. Commuting was another huge step, I hurt again and couldn't do it every day at first but eventually I got there. I actually had a hard time eating enough, I'd finish dinner and feel full but I was still 500 Calories below my target. Now I'm eating like a teenager again, big breakfast, mid-morning snack, big lunch, hearty dinner. Still losing 2lbs/week.

The only concessions I made in what I eat was to eliminate candy (which I loved...) and eat more foods rich in fibre, aka vegetables & oatmeal - to deal with my Cholesterol. I never drank soda to begin with. I eat meat of all sorts, ice cream, takeout, lattes, but all in moderation and every last thing is documented into MFP. I don't stress +/- 100 Calories on normal days and +500 Calories when I take a day to rest.

I think any hurdles in weight loss are going to come down to accuracy. I went a few weeks of disappointing loss using Runkeeper to track my calorie consumption because it overestimated by a large margin (almost double!). Also if you are eating in a restaurant and can't measure your food, at least err on the side of overestimating volumes. In other words if it looks like 1.5 cups of noodles it's probably 2.

good post and welcome!


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