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Old 04-15-07, 02:06 PM   #1
Yen
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Another fitness question

I'm wondering if any of you who began cycling later in life (as opposed to continuing since you were much younger) have seen a noticeable change in your physical appearance. Not just weight loss leading to a smaller version of your previous shape, but the toning and re-shaping and muscle definition that results from consistent, regular physical exercise. I realize it takes years to get rid of the fat deposits that took years to pile on the hips, legs, belly and arms..... but is it really possible to get a leanish-looking body when you start getting serious in your 50s?

I used to diet when I was younger. Back then, exercise wasn't preached like it is now. Dieting leads to only a smaller version of the previous shape -- same bulges as before, just smaller. Physical activity + reasonable dietary changes lead to not only a smaller body, but a smoother appearance.

At 50+ I am still able to lose weight somewhat easily through moderate diet changes and moderate almost-daily exercise, but the fat distribution is different and it hangs on for dear life from the waist up. I'm wondering if I need to lower my expectations, or if the results will just take longer. I believe our appearance isn't as important as our overall health and fitness.... but for those moments when I do care, I'd just like to know.

Jen
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Old 04-15-07, 03:16 PM   #2
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Difficult this. I have never carried excess fat but I do have a body mass that migrates. I also do not diet as I need my Carbo-hydrates that most diets cut out. Only thing is that I have periods of the year when I do not exercise as much and in these periods I do put on weight. Trouser size goes up by 2" and shirts get looser round the chest. And I do not feel fit. When I start exercising properly the trouser size goes down but the shirts stay loose for a long time. Weight gets an initial loss but then goes up again. Then if I am lucky, that also goes down rapidly. In theory- or who you listen to- You lose fat and then gain muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. What I do notice though is that my calfs get shape to them and when I am at peak fitness- all you can see on them is shaped muscle and sinew.
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Old 04-15-07, 06:03 PM   #3
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You need to do full-body resistance exercises for a whole variety of healthful reasons, not just bicycle riding - especially as you get beyond about 30-35 yo and start that inevitable 1% per year muscle strength loss that happens if you don't.

Do I look like Charles Atlas or Arnold Schwarzie? No, much of that is what you are born with.

However, I do have the pleasure of recently reading a medical report about a "Very well developed" gentleman of 67 yo.

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Old 04-15-07, 06:33 PM   #4
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As DnvrFox says +1.
If you are willing to do a lot of exercise, you will see results. My legs have no fat and are very muscular at age 65. I got my waist down to 34 at 73" height and 195 lbs. There is no noticeable fat on my upper body either. Two years ago I was a fat 245 lbs size 40+ waist. So that is the good news.
What did I have to do?
Very disciplined diet consisting of high energy and quality food.
Exercise at least 1.5 hours/day and often three hours. Exercise consists of fast hiking at 4 MPH, biking at 17 MPH and weights and resistance bands and squats.
I am trying to loose a few more pounds and find it difficult.
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Old 04-15-07, 06:46 PM   #5
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As you can see by my avatar, it is quite possible to become far more slim and attractive through bicycling. Just sayin'
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Old 04-15-07, 07:30 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. I'm not interested in whether cycling alone does it, but if it is reasonable to expect dramatic changes if we begin after 50. But as I said when I first joined this forum, whatever I do today, no matter how little or how slow, it's a lot better than if I did nothing at all.

Will - with all that time spent each day, I'm assuming you are retired...? I wish I had that much extra time. I wish I had that much discipline!

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Old 04-15-07, 07:50 PM   #7
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I'm 56 and have always had a weight problem. According to the charts I'm either 50 lbs overweight or 13" too short (sorry...old joke). I am broad shouldered and fairly well muscled (big boned???) so while obviously overweight, I carry it without being too round. I took up cycling again two years ago and haven't ridden as much as I'm riding more frequently when I can. That said, I would swear that as quickly as the day after any type of 15 mile ride or more, I can really feel a difference in my body the next day. My pants feel looser and my belt (on its last notch) also feels looser. I have no doubt that this summer I will be able to lose significant weight once school is over and I can ride almost every day. As for my diet, I just try not to be as stupid as I've been for the last half century.
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Old 04-15-07, 08:26 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Yen
Will - with all that time spent each day, I'm assuming you are retired...? I wish I had that much extra time. I wish I had that much discipline!

Jen
No, I am not retired yet. I prioritized exercise as a way to deal with the stress of an industry under duress. My customers are the Detroit Automotive Industry and their suppliers. Do I need to say more?

Lots of exercise is a good way to cope as compared to others who go to the bar.
I am 65 and expect to retire soon.
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Old 04-15-07, 09:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by will dehne
No, I am not retired yet. I prioritized exercise as a way to deal with the stress of an industry under duress. My customers are the Detroit Automotive Industry and their suppliers. Do I need to say more?

Lots of exercise is a good way to cope as compared to others who go to the bar.
I am 65 and expect to retire soon.
Will, is your intensive exercise schedule ever a source of stress in itself? For example, setting goals that you feel you have to meet, and perhaps not meeting them, or having to do superhuman efforts to meet them?

I am much more laid back than you regarding exercise, considering it in the context of my entire life, in which I try to build a number of stress relief activities, such as my music and time with my family. Exercise is only one of my stress relievers.
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Old 04-15-07, 09:57 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Yen
Thanks everyone. I'm not interested in whether cycling alone does it, but if it is reasonable to expect dramatic changes if we begin after 50. But as I said when I first joined this forum, whatever I do today, no matter how little or how slow, it's a lot better than if I did nothing at all.

Will - with all that time spent each day, I'm assuming you are retired...? I wish I had that much extra time. I wish I had that much discipline!

Jen
I think it's tougher, but not impossible, as you get older. You just have to work harder at it, which demands more time, which takes a serious commitment and lifestyle changes.

You hear many athletes talk about how easy it was when they were 20, but how they have to work so hard to stay fit at 40. I think that applies to everyone. Our bodies will never look 20 again, but if we could just find enough time to put into it, we could be just as fit as we were then. Matching our performance from that age might be impossible, but being just as fit isn't.
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Old 04-15-07, 10:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yen
I'm wondering if any of you who began cycling later in life (as opposed to continuing since you were much younger) have seen a noticeable change in your physical appearance. Not just weight loss leading to a smaller version of your previous shape, but the toning and re-shaping and muscle definition that results from consistent, regular physical exercise. I realize it takes years to get rid of the fat deposits that took years to pile on the hips, legs, belly and arms..... but is it really possible to get a leanish-looking body when you start getting serious in your 50s?

I used to diet when I was younger. Back then, exercise wasn't preached like it is now. Dieting leads to only a smaller version of the previous shape -- same bulges as before, just smaller. Physical activity + reasonable dietary changes lead to not only a smaller body, but a smoother appearance.

At 50+ I am still able to lose weight somewhat easily through moderate diet changes and moderate almost-daily exercise, but the fat distribution is different and it hangs on for dear life from the waist up. I'm wondering if I need to lower my expectations, or if the results will just take longer. I believe our appearance isn't as important as our overall health and fitness.... but for those moments when I do care, I'd just like to know.
I was very fit from my late teens until 48 (not counting 2 pregnancies wherein I gained 60 lbs. each but lost it w/in 2 years post-partum. No regrets, not a one). Hormones, burn-out, unconscious eating led to 30 lb. weight gain. I woke up one morning two months after my 50th and freaked out -- I was way too young to be feeling so crappy!

Got the eating under control, hit the gym, found cycling classes, rediscovered love of road riding. Six months it took me to lose that 30 lbs. In that time I became more compact -- very muscular but smaller than in my heavy lifting days. I credit the cycling -- my calves & ankles are smaller & more defined than ever. I have no "saddlebags" either -- something I had no matter how lean I was in younger years. Even my arms are smaller -- still muscular, but more compact.

So yeah, I like what I see in the mirror. I like even more the way I feel when I wake up in the morning. I'll be riding as long as I can.

Be as compassionate toward yourself in your journey as you would be to someone else in your position.
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Old 04-15-07, 10:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DnvrFox
Will, is your intensive exercise schedule ever a source of stress in itself? For example, setting goals that you feel you have to meet, and perhaps not meeting them, or having to do superhuman efforts to meet them?

I am much more laid back than you regarding exercise, considering it in the context of my entire life, in which I try to build a number of stress relief activities, such as my music and time with my family. Exercise is only one of my stress relievers.
I think that this is a reasonable observation by you. My personality is such that I focus on something and loose my-selves in it and therefore blanket out other things I rather not think of.
I think they call this escapism.
I have some idea of your many hobbies and that is great for you. We are all different. I enjoy focus. That is why that XC trip was so great for me.
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Old 04-16-07, 04:47 AM   #13
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I think they call this escapism.
We are all different.
So true, which is what makes life interesting!

Escapism isn't a bad thing. Sometimes it sure beats reality.
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Old 04-16-07, 07:29 AM   #14
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So true, which is what makes life interesting!

Escapism isn't a bad thing. Sometimes it sure beats reality.
And I appreciate you and this forum. You are helping me a lot. I do not have folks like you around here.
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Old 04-16-07, 08:21 AM   #15
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Yen-you can reshape after 50- and no, it is not expecting too much. From experience, it takes a combination of proper nutrition and exercise but if done correctly-and not overnight-it can yield excellent results. I really enjoy sliding on the same size trousers I was wearing out of College.

I suspect we all hit a point though, where that process only takes us so far. Will D talks about trying to get his weight down a little more. I struggle with some "leftovers" around my waist that reducing calories and continued exercise just don't seem to completely eliminate. I'm and several of us are still working on the answers there.

50+ is as good as age as any to get started. A number of us have done it.
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Old 04-16-07, 10:00 AM   #16
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Yen-you can reshape after 50- and no, it is not expecting too much. From experience, it takes a combination of proper nutrition and exercise but if done correctly-and not overnight-it can yield excellent results. I really enjoy sliding on the same size trousers I was wearing out of College.

I suspect we all hit a point though, where that process only takes us so far. Will D talks about trying to get his weight down a little more. I struggle with some "leftovers" around my waist that reducing calories and continued exercise just don't seem to completely eliminate. I'm and several of us are still working on the answers there.

50+ is as good as age as any to get started. A number of us have done it.
+ 1 Age provides experience; not limitation. Listen to your body and be wise. You will then make the right decisions for you to achieve your fitness and cycling goals.
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Old 04-16-07, 10:06 AM   #17
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I notice that when the height of the riding season gets here that most of my aches and pains go away.
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Old 04-16-07, 12:06 PM   #18
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I'm 53. I've have gone from 193 to 146(ish) since September. I was wearing extra large. Yesterday I went shopping and was shocked to find medium shirts too large. I actually bought a small.
My face sure looks different. My body is changing. I'll never look 30 again, but I am starting to actually have a waist for the first time in my life. I hope to loose about 8 more pounds.
I've started to do more situps and I'm looking for a core strength program I can do without a gym or equipment.

So, we'll see...
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Old 04-16-07, 12:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yen

Will -I wish I had that much discipline!

Jen
I will make an ethnic loaded comment about discipline [/B][/B](at my cost ).

You can count on Germans to be disciplined (many if not most).
You can count on Germans to wait patiently at an intersection for the light to turn green.
And the same Germans took 6 million Jewish and other people to a KZ without question it.

I did not come up with this. Freely copied from others.
This is the legacy we bear.
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Old 04-16-07, 01:51 PM   #20
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At 56 I can tell you it’s a life style change. Mine includes a regular sleep cycle (meaning going to bed at the same time-getting 8 hours), cycling and eating healthier foods. No eating late at night and since I got to bed around 9pm that means dinner is about 5:30pm. I am still employed. The results are 40 inch waste to 34 inch and feel great. With this approach if I want lasagna with sausages when I go out to eat I get it. Now I have to decide if I really want to give up the red wine.

Make it happen at your own pace. Eating healthier will be made easier if all the family joins in. I remember it was eight weeks of riding twice a week before I saw results, but when it started it was noticeable and kept on ticking.
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Old 04-18-07, 10:10 PM   #21
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Thanks everyone! Your stories and encouragement very encouraging.

Actually, I have lost some weight (30 lbs.) since about 3 years ago. I am tall and my weight is distributed very evenly which helps hide it better but it takes forever for the weight loss to become evident, even in clothes sizes and that can be a bit discouraging. But I've kept at it and I have 15 more to go. My diet is actually pretty good already.... I don't eat much junk and don't even buy cookies (my #1 weakness). A bout of acid reflux a few years ago forced me to eat smaller meals and eliminate many offending foods which I now have only occasionally. That's probably what got me started. I eat smallish portions and don't go back for seconds.

I just needed to exercise more. So, this month I have beefed up my walking routine to almost an hour daily and now that I have the bike, I can get even more exercise and use additional muscles that have been sleeping since the 80s.

It is discouraging to see and feel the effects of too-little exercise for too long but I have plenty of energy, I feel good, my health is excellent (low BP, low pulse, low everything)... I just want to get rid of the extra fat and rebuild the sleeping muscles.

Congratulations to all of you who have done it! I know how much hard work it takes, especially for us kids over 50.

Jen
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