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  1. #1
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    Newbie - Need Some Advice & Have Some Questions

    I also posted this in the Clydedales area - I don't know which is correct, most appropriate given my story below:

    Hello All, I just found this website and it looks like it could be really good timing for me.

    First, I am 52. I am 5'-10" and weigh in at about 215-217 in street clothes and with my steel toed boots (work required), so probably about 210-212 stark. Should I post here in the 50+ group or in the (gulp!) Clydesdales?!

    Second, I have a nice (I think) road bike I bought second hand from a buddy that is very into road biking, It is a Look 176 KG carbon fiber frame, Shimano Ultegra components and Rolf Vector Comp wheels. I wish I knew more and can get more facts if it is important for you to know to give accurate advice.

    I need to lose some weight (Yeah, I've seen there is ANOTHER area for that too). My history - I began riding in earnest about 4 years ago. Here in Pasadena, CA, a large pack rides around the Rose Bowl daily. I can't now, and couldn't quite before hang with that pack. They were simply too fast. I began driving my bike to the Bowl, doing a couple of perimeters (3.1 miles once around) and driving it back home in my car. I gradually built up to riding to and from my home to the Bowl (9 miles round trip) then did about 3 or 4 laps for a total of 18-20 miles. I was doing this fine and felt I was on my way to better things. I bought gear, helmet, etc. THEN, I took a ride on my 49th birthday and nearly got killed. I was riding at about 16-18 mph (granted, not fast by an experienced rider's pace) and an old man in a car turned left right in front of me. I slammed into the right side front of the car, breifly was up on the hood, then narrowly avoided having my legs get run over as I fell back onto the road. Scared the crap outta me and I've only ridden on the street again a couple of times. I feel a bit paranoid. But I want to get back into it and I am planning on starting again, as I did before. I have had afull physical and I am fine. Had a "Heartcheck America" CT scan of my heart, no plaque unbelievably! My cholestrol is fine at 179 total. My HDL is borderline between "desireable" and "concern" but i understand aerobic activity should correct that fairly quickly.

    Advice?...on the mental aspect (some of you have fallen, I know) the equipment, the weight loss? Training technique when working alone - which I honestl prefer at least for now...unless someone here is a local and would be willing to deal with a slowpoke. All help appreciated, Dan

  2. #2
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    HI , I weigh what you weigh, I'm the same age,the same hight and name.I ride alone.I don't do bike paths I venture into the street and find neighbor hoods,industrial parks and emty places on bussiness,easier to find the latter on Sundays.If I wasn't three thousand miles away almost, I w'd ride with you,when we both fet into shape by Labor DAy ..Hah..Hah, we'll meet halfway.For now though,pay as little attention to other riders as possible,avoid all traffic for that matter,find solitude,I know it's do-able in Pasadena.Many individuals revel in attention and company while cycling,I don't.I like it with family and friends (not bike "friends"). Seperate your riding from all the BS in the cycling realm,which is to say everything except cycling itself.You do in fact have a good bike.On a scale of 1 to 10 in the enthusiast catagory, a 7.

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    Dan, though I'm a little guy, I had a similar experience years ago when I was hit by a truck in the Dominican Republic...fortunately, I landed in a canal and wasn't injured (though I lost handlebars, front wheel, and my left shoe). I was really shaken, but I didn't have a car, so when I got home I looked up everything I could find about bicycle safety. I found out that just about everything I thought I knew was wrong, and I've become a million-times-safer cyclist. For me, just knowing that I could do something different helped me get over my skittishness; it was easy to see the protection that came from my new habits, and I haven't even come close to a crash since.

    So congrats for picking it up again after such a harrowing experience! The bike is sweet, the weight loss will happen, and every ride will reaffirm your cycling abilities.

    For training, don't think of it as training; make it your zen time, your chance to get away. How many opportunities do you have to just be one with your body and the road? You already know how sweet LA County is for cycling, but one thing I've learned is that no matter how much I ride, I've only touched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to beautiful places. If you want to do laps around the Bowl, awesome: make time to go exploring, too.

  4. #4
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Like they say about falling off a horse, you just have get back on and in time the anxiety will go away. I was also hit while street riding about 4 years ago when someone right turned in front of me. I broke both arms and was out for 12 weeks including rehab. When I got back on the bike I stayed to bike paths for awhile as I was very nervous about riding in traffic. I started riding on roads a couple of months after that and after some time I was completely comfortable with it. You do need to be careful riding on the road and that for me means no running red lights or stop signs, watching traffic closely in intersections even when the light is green. Just realize driving to work in your car probably has more risk to it than riding your bike, be carefull and go out and have fun, you only live once.
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  5. #5
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    Glad to hear it was not real bad...Like has been said, we learn from our experiences and need to keep on going ... maybe using some good lights, even in the daytime might add to your comfort factor, knowing that people can see you better. For daytime though they have to be a little brighter... Welcome to the world of exercize and better health. ... ... ... ... ... .. peace.

  6. #6
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    Glad you got back up on that horse. I think everything you listed will be helped by simply riding your bike.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by stonecrd
    .......I broke both arms and was out for 12 weeks including rehab...
    No offense,but if I had "broken both arms" I'd be finding some other form of exercise. Maybe I'm just chicken but I took a hard fall on a motorcycle years ago slid right through an intersection that WASN'T green! - broken helmet, strawberried my "outback" etc and I never rode again. Gave it up and haven't looked back.

    I don't intend to give up bicycling and I practice all the thins mentioned here, I don't run signals, I make eye contact, I wear bright warning colors, etc. But my fear is the reason I am plannig on riding the Rose Bowl perimeter and not venturing out truly on the road.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ?? Beverly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in Pasadena
    I need to lose some weight (Yeah, I've seen there is ANOTHER area for that too). My history - I began riding in earnest about 4 years ago. Here in Pasadena, CA, a large pack rides around the Rose Bowl daily. I can't now, and couldn't quite before hang with that pack. They were simply too fast. I began driving my bike to the Bowl, doing a couple of perimeters (3.1 miles once around) and driving it back home in my car. I gradually built up to riding to and from my home to the Bowl (9 miles round trip) then did about 3 or 4 laps for a total of 18-20 miles. I was doing this fine and felt I was on my way to better things. I bought gear, helmet, etc. THEN, I took a ride on my 49th birthday and nearly got killed. I was riding at about 16-18 mph (granted, not fast by an experienced rider's pace) and an old man in a car turned left right in front of me. I slammed into the right side front of the car, breifly was up on the hood, then narrowly avoided having my legs get run over as I fell back onto the road. Scared the crap outta me and I've only ridden on the street again a couple of times. I feel a bit paranoid. But I want to get back into it and I am planning on starting again, as I did before. I have had afull physical and I am fine. Had a "Heartcheck America" CT scan of my heart, no plaque unbelievably! My cholestrol is fine at 179 total. My HDL is borderline between "desireable" and "concern" but i understand aerobic activity should correct that fairly quickly.

    Advice?...on the mental aspect (some of you have fallen, I know) the equipment, the weight loss? Training technique when working alone - which I honestl prefer at least for now...unless someone here is a local and would be willing to deal with a slowpoke. All help appreciated, Dan
    Glad to hear you weren't seriously hurt and you're back on the bike.

    Have you considered taking some cycling courses? The League of American Bicyclists has courses for all levels of riders. I've been through a few of them since they're required by the park district where I volunteer. They not only teach rules of the road but include crash avoidance techniques, how to handle the bike in emergency situations, etc. They certainly gave me a little more confidence in being able to handle my bike under different conditions. I can't say they've prevented me from falling off the bike but I have avoided crashing into anything (knock on wood )
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    Ride at your own pace. Fitness, endurance, and confidence will come with time. Just hang in there and enjoy riding your bike. Can set goals when you feel it's time to challenge yourself. Accidents will happen and I can understand the apprehension to venture back on the road and/or riding longer distances. Motorcyclists face the same dilemma as cyclists, so one has to be more aware of possible hazards and take the appropriate precautions because most drivers are looking for other cars not 2-wheelers. Personally I feel too many people are obsessed with speed and distances and forget the joys of viewing your surroundings and even stopping to strike up a conversation with neighbors, local businesses, and fellow cyclists.

  10. #10
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Hi Dan in Pas. I am a fairly recent return to cycling, Oh I'd ride some now and then but nothing serious at all until the last couple of years. Previously, years ago i rode a lot, and always on the streets. Then the less I rode the more afraid of traffic I became. Yep, the streets can be dangerous. And the more I ride the less actually afraid of traffic I become. I do take precautions though, and avoid busy streets as much as possible, and head for the country roads and scenic byways. I know that's hard down in Pasadena. But that's one of the reasons my wife and I up and moved from South Orange County, CA to Montana! BTW, I mostly ride alone so I can go slow at my pace. My advise, ride lots. The more you ride the more comfortable you will become. Don't let the actions of one old fools stop you from something you love. avoid Bike paths, as they are perpetually clogged with walkers, joggers and skaters, who are even more unpredictable than cars! Do try to use the longer bike paths along the rivers down there though, I had some very nice rides down in the Long Beach Area along the river there.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by howsteepisit
    ....Do try to use the longer bike paths along the rivers down there though, I had some very nice rides down in the Long Beach Area along the river there.
    Excellent suggestion, I have ridden the bike paths that parallel the Santa Ana River Channel and the 605 Fwy - though neither for as long a trip as I wanted. I wish I had been in good enough condition to make it down to the beach and back. But I'll work up to it.

    One thing about getting back into biking, I DO remember improving quickly - probably because I was just liking it. I was riding about 3 weekdays nd then either Sat or Sun I would take a longer ride, perhaps 15-20 miles. I'd be tired but it was a "good" tired.

    My girlfriend used to be a fairly devoted mountain bike rider. For whatever reason we both became more sedentary after we met even though both of us really are active (minded?) people. We both put on weight - truthfully? She more than I. I put on about 10-15 lbs and i thought I was overweight BEFORE that. I think she has put on about 25 or even (eek!) 30 lbs....but she was in beautiful condition when I met her. She did century rides and the yearly (don't know the name of it) ride in Mexico...Ensenada?

    Though her weight truly doesn't bother me - I'm crazy about her, I think it bothers her a LOT. I know she is willing to start again, but time is hard for her to come by - a truly bad SoCal commute and frankly, she is more out of shape cardiovascularly than I. rather than having her fel an pressure to resume, I will start back by riding after work and if i get the results I THINK I'm going to get, I think she'll want to start riding again. Not accounting for the extra 15 lbs or so, and the fact that I am another 4 years older, I THINK I should get back to what I was doing in only a month or two....then surpass it.

    Since I know I have no physical limitations (miraculously) what is a good daily or weekly total to ride and at what pace/spin RPM should I target to begin reliable, significant and sustained calorie burning?

  12. #12
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    One of the problems you will find coming back to cycling is Bike Fitness. You may have had it once but I would say that it will take around 6 months for most to get the muscles re-attuned- The Strength into those muscles and then to have the energy to do bike rides. I take it you want to cycle for the fitness side as well as weight loss. I can't help on the weight side except to say that biking will require you to change your diet. No soda, no sugars and a lot less fat and junk food. Protein and carbo- hydrates are what will get you cycling and a little bit of fat does help.
    Lecture over as I don't have a weight problem.

    When you start riding- Take it steady. If it hurts- slow down. Then if you are doing a long ride- then slow down. Get the muscles in trim first. Look at doing a days exercise and a days rest. I ride Sundays for the long ride and Tuesday and Thursday night. Tuesday is only a 5 mile sprint-Well it used to be but I now do a 5 mile warm up and then 10 miles at speed, and then 5 mile cooldown. Thursdays I go out for hills and if I can climb 2,500ft on 4 hills- then I have taken a long ride.
    Don't expect to do this initially. Start with a weekend ride then go out twice a week for a few extra miles. Then as you fitten up- do longer milage- harder hills at a higher speed, but don't push too hard till you are ready.
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  13. #13
    just keep riding BluesDawg's Avatar
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    Forget the numbers. Just ride as often as you can, as fast and as far you want to. As you start getting better fit, then you can set realistic goals.
    The more you ride your bike, the less your ass will hurt.

  14. #14
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    My experience with cadence is that for the last tow years I rode with a 70-85 cadence, mostly about 80. I did not improve my speed at all, and I was slow! My endurance did get better but I was slow! Did I mention I was slow? This year, with very little riding, I decided to up my cadence to 90-100. It makes a big difference after the first couple of rides, so I would try ad hard as you can to ride with a higher cadence, and use you gears to keep your HR to something reasonable. I do ride up to 4 hours at a HR of 80+ per cent of max (measured).
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluesDawg
    Forget the numbers. Just ride as often as you can, as fast and as far you want to. As you start getting better fit, then you can set realistic goals.
    For me, this advice resonates as the most accurate. I had a routine that I was using and I was enjoying. It will be hard to start again from scratch (with added weight and older legs) but I think it will at least be familiar and I'll know what to expect. I will be thrilled when I can get back to a 20-25 mile ride a couple of time a week and a "long" ride of may 30-40 miles one weekend morning per week. That may not be much for a lot of you, but it'll be an accomplishment to me and I think I can get there (fingers crossed) fairly quickly.

    I did buy/install a "Cat's Eye"...what are those things called? A digital....? mileage meter?, cadence counter? Anyway, you probably know what I mean. I was using it to stay above a 80 spin count and to keep mental notes on how far/avg. speed I was making but I wasn't charting it or anything. Since I quit riding my buddy gave me one of those Nike watches that tracks my cardiac info...the kind that makes you wear a sensor on your chest. Its a nice toy, but do any of you find those things to be valuable?...or is it (as I think) unnecessary for what I'm trying to do right now?

  16. #16
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in Pasadena
    No offense,but if I had "broken both arms" I'd be finding some other form of exercise. Maybe I'm just chicken but I took a hard fall on a motorcycle years ago slid right through an intersection that WASN'T green! - broken helmet, strawberried my "outback" etc and I never rode again. Gave it up and haven't looked back.

    I don't intend to give up bicycling and I practice all the thins mentioned here, I don't run signals, I make eye contact, I wear bright warning colors, etc. But my fear is the reason I am plannig on riding the Rose Bowl perimeter and not venturing out truly on the road.
    You should do what you are comfortable with. I think that if you go out and are hestitant or nervous during your activity you will probably be at more risk of problems than if you are comfortable and confident. Try driving down here with the crazies in Miami, I feel much more safe on my bike than I do on my ride to work every day.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

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  17. #17
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    I find a HR monitor is semi-useful. For very long rides I try to keep my HR in the 70-80% range, that really helps with endurance. For shorter rides, I try to keep in the 80-85% range, as that really helps improve fitness. Of course, you mileage will vary. OP, work on getting your cadence up over 90, it really helps with your speed and endurance.
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  18. #18
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    Toes,
    I am most interested (in the short term) with dropping perhaps 20 to 25 lbs. I'd be jumping for joy if I could drop 25. It is my understanding that maximum fat burning takes place at a lower percentage of theoretical maximum heart rate (TMHR) than most people think. I THINK I've heard like a sustained 60% to 70%. Is that right? Does anyone know? I also seem to remember that your TMHR is roughly 220 less your age, so in my case at age 52 about 168?

    60 to 70% of that is only about 100 to 120 beats per minute. That just does NOT strike me as though I am going to lose much weight.....unless I do it for hours on end! Am I all wet with these calc's? My riding time to start will probably only be about an hour (maybe a bit more) per ride. Say, 3x per week and a longer ride on the weekend. Someone with knowledge please straighten me out!

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    Found this on Wikipedia but it still doesn't tell me what sustained percentage of max heart rate to shoot for to lose max weight:

    Maximum heart rate
    Maximum heart rate (also called MHR, or HRmax) is the maximum heart rate that a person should achieve during maximal physical exertion. Research indicates it is most closely linked to a person's age; a person's HRmax will decline as they age. Some research indicates the speed at which it declines over time is related to fitness—the more fit a person is, the more slowly it declines as they age.
    HRmax is utilized frequently in the fitness industry, specifically during the calculation of target heart rate when prescribing a fitness regimen. A quick way to estimate MHR is to subtract your age from 220, but HRmax can vary significantly between same-aged individuals so direct measurement using a heart rate monitor (and with medical supervision or at least permission and advice) should be used by those seeking maximum safety and effectiveness in their training.[3] People who have participated in sports and athletic activities in early years will have a higher MHR than those less active as children.[citation needed]

    [edit] Measuring HRmax

    The most accurate way of measuring HRmax for an individual is via a cardiac stress test. In such a test, the subject exercises while being monitored by an electrocardiogram (ECG). During the test, the intensity of exercise is periodically increased (if a treadmill is being used, through increase in speed or slope of the treadmill) until the subject can no longer continue, or until certain changes in heart function are detected in the ECG (at which point the subject is directed to stop). Typical durations of such a test range from 10 to 20 minutes. Since the HRmax declines with age, this test does not hold permanent value.
    Conducting an accurate maximal exercise test requires expensive equipment, and should only be performed in the presence of medical staff due to risks associated with high heart rates. Instead, people typically use predictive formulae to estimate their individual Maximum Heart Rate. The most common formula encountered is:
    HRmax = 220 − age (can vary) This is often attributed to various sources, including "Fox and Haskell". While the most common (and easy to remember and calculate), this particular formula is not considered by some to be a good predictor of HRmax.
    A 2003 study [1] of 43 different formulae for HRmax (including the one above) concluded the following:
    1) No "acceptable" formula currently existed, (they used the term "acceptable" to mean acceptable for both prediction of , and prescription of exercise training HR ranges)
    2) The most accurate formula of those examined was:
    HRmax = 205.8 − (0.685 * age) This was found to have a standard of error, that although large (6.4 bpm), still deemed to be acceptable, for the use of prescribing exercise training HR ranges.
    Other often cited formulae are:
    HRmax = 206.3 − (0.711 * age) (Often attributed to "Londeree and Moeschberger from the University of Missouri-Columbia")
    HRmax = 217 − (0.85 * age) (Often attributed to "Miller et al. from Indiana University")
    Sally Edwards, CEO of Heart Zones proposes a set of gender specific formula for predicting Maximum Heart Rate.[4]
    For males: 210 - 1/2 your age - 1% of total body weight (in pounds) + 4 = HRmax For females: 210 - 1/2 your age - 1% of total body weight (in pounds) + 0 = HRmax

  20. #20
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan in Pasadena
    Toes,
    I am most interested (in the short term) with dropping perhaps 20 to 25 lbs. I'd be jumping for joy if I could drop 25. It is my understanding that maximum fat burning takes place at a lower percentage of theoretical maximum heart rate (TMHR) than most people think. I THINK I've heard like a sustained 60% to 70%. Is that right? Does anyone know? I also seem to remember that your TMHR is roughly 220 less your age, so in my case at age 52 about 168?
    It is real simple. The more effort you expend, the more fat you burn. Period. Does that make common sense?

    There is an urban legend that there is some sort of "zone" for losing weight and fat burning. Not true. However, as a percentage of effort you will lose more fat at a lower level of work, but you will still lose more net at a higher rate. There are many articles debunking the "fat burning zone" which was primarily "invented" by the makers of those gym machines so that folks can feel good about hopefully losing weight at lower levels of exercise. I.e., I spent an hour today in my "Fat burning zone' and you know, I am not even sweating" kind of thing.

    It is nonsense.

    Also, the 220- your age is simply a very gross and poorly conceived estimate. Again, many, many articles debunking this.

    See:

    http://faculty.css.edu/tboone2/asep/Robergs.doc
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 05-02-07 at 04:06 PM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  21. #21
    Senior Member howsteepisit's Avatar
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    Dan, Denver is spot on here. Your max HR must be measured. Also, according to cycling coach and MD Arnie Baker, your HR max varies by activity, s a cycling max HR is different than a treadmill determined max. For example, my Max HR (cycling) is 193 and I am 50 and this is not unusual for the forum members. The old thing about the fat burning zone is based on studies that show at a lower HR you burn a higher percentage of fat, but it neglects that at higher HR you are burning so many more kcals that you are burning more calories. Since I have been spectacularly unsuccessful at losing weight through cycling I cannot comment on the best way, other than ride lots and eat less. The facts seem to be that you burn somewhere between 600 and 1000 calories per hour cycling, depending on your pace and your weight and condition (as you get into better condition you get more efficient with your calorie expenditure. And its really easy to eat more than enough food to offset the exercise burn-off. Even back in the day when I raced and trained 200-300 miles a week I never lost weight unless I made a real effort to cut my food intake. I really think the best advise is to ride to improve you fitness and most of all as an enjoyable pastime. The better you like cycling the more you will ride. The more you ride the better your chance at losing weight as long as you reduce your food intake to some reasonable level that still allows you to ride comfortably.
    Recycle, Reclaim, Reuse and Repair
    The 4 Rs to save the planet

    "Toes"

  22. #22
    OnTheRoad or AtTheBeach stonecrd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DnvrFox
    It is real simple. The more effort you expend, the more fat you burn. Period. Does that make common sense?

    There is an urban legend that there is some sort of "zone" for losing weight and fat burning. Not true. However, as a percentage of effort you will lose more fat at a lower level of work, but you will still lose more net at a higher rate. There are many articles debunking the "fat burning zone" which was primarily "invented" by the makers of those gym machines so that folks can feel good about hopefully losing weight at lower levels of exercise. I.e., I spent an hour today in my "Fat burning zone' and you know, I am not even sweating" kind of thing.

    It is nonsense.

    Also, the 220- your age is simply a very gross and poorly conceived estimate. Again, many, many articles debunking this.

    See:

    http://faculty.css.edu/tboone2/asep/Robergs.doc
    Yes, this myth is still perpetuated around this forum site. Simple equation calories out > calories in = loss in weigth. There is no magic to that. What you eat can make a difference though, been some recent studies that all of the low/no carb diets have some validity for quick weight loss. I know this year I have reduced my carb intake i.e no potatoes, one piece of bread instead of two and have seen a nice drop in my weight. I would never go no carb as I don't think any extreme like this or no fat or no meat is healthy in the long run.
    The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard and the shallow end is much too large

    2013 Noah RS

  23. #23
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stonecrd
    What you eat can make a difference though, been some recent studies that all of the low/no carb diets have some validity for quick weight loss.
    Yes, that appears to be the case. Sigh! And I love potatoes and other carbs. Every decent eating plan has you cut down in some fashion on Carbs.

    Why can't veggies be the cause of overweight?
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  24. #24
    Small Member maddmaxx's Avatar
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    THE FIRST LAW OF DIETING: That which tastes good is bad for you.
    An example....Asparagus. By the time you are finished marinating it a spreading butter on it so that you can grill it and make it taste good, it has become bad for you.

    THE SECOND LAW OF DIETING: Biking is bad for your diet.
    An example.....Biking done properly leads to the consumption of pie. Nuff said

    An observation: "The fat burning zone" is sometimes known as the zone of control.....

  25. #25
    Ondajib ondajib's Avatar
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    I took the Road 1 course from an instructor certified with the League of American Bicyclists. They have a few programs you can search for in your area at http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/education/

    It concentrated a great deal on urban cycling. You will be amazed at how confident youíll become and ultimately how much safer youíll cycle. Iíve cycled all over the city of Philadelphia since taking the course. No problems.

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