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  1. #1
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    Body Weight & The Old Guy

    In preparing for a supported cross-country tour this summer, I'm trying to get my weight down as I don't feel like lugging an extra 15-20 pounds over the Rockies. In doing research, I found several sources that say an "ideal bicycling weight" is 2 lb per inch of height. I'm 57 years old and 5'6" so that would be 132 pounds. Well, that ain't happening! Here's the issue -- good cyclists seem to be extremely thin in their upper body, while as I get older I'm trying to minimize strength loss so I'm lifting weights 3 times per week and getting on the rower a couple of times per week. My goal weight for the ride is 150 pounds which results in a BMI of 24.2. Also, from a vanity standpoint, I find that when I go any lighter I just don't look as good as my face is not as full-looking. Just out of curiosity, what have you guys found as the proper balance between cycling weight and maintaining upper body strength?
    Last edited by GaryInWI; 03-31-11 at 09:13 AM. Reason: typo

  2. #2
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    That also depends on your body type and what sort of bone structure you have. I'm the same age and height and I have never been below 160 pounds since I was 18 and very fit. I'm at 176-178 right now and I'm trying to get down to 165 which where I was from the time I was 25.

    I'm built like a running back with heavy bones so there is no way I could get down to anything less than 155 without being underweight.
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    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    I guess I should be the last to reply to this. However, something I found out the other day might help.

    I NEVER eat before my workouts, never.. Since I belong to Ballys, I get email tips on exercise. The reason I mention this, is because I am getting stronger, but losing weight. The tip mentioned that if you DON'T eat before you exercise, you will not GET ANY WEIGHT GAIN. I noticed that my lifting poundage is going up, but my weight is going down. Not complaining, because as we get older, it is NATURAL that we put on more weight.

    Hope this little tips helps out...
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  4. #4
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    I generally don't eat before I work out either. I find that I eat quite a bit less afterwards as well.
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    The ideal weight of 2lbs/inch is good for a pro that climbs mountains on a bicycle to make a living. I’m 6’ and 188lbs and could never reach that ratio and still be healthy enough to ride a bike with my body type @ 144 lbs. A better indicator is watts/kilo of body weight. For the type of ride you are going to do you will need to develop strength and endurance that allows you to ride @ Z2 for hours. The higher watts that you produce while sustained riding in Z2 and Z3 (getting over mountains or fighting headwind) the more prepared you will be for the ride. A training plan that incorporates higher intensity intervals will raise the body's ability to produce more watts at the same HR.

    I do about 2.5 hours of core/resistance work a week. My routine does not include lifting big weights but rather doing pull ups, pushups with my extremities on medicine balls, squats while standing on medicine balls or a upside down Bosu ball, and various core drills.
    Last edited by Allegheny Jet; 03-31-11 at 09:26 AM.
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    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    I am 6 feet tall and 170 pounds or 2.36 #/in at age 62. I workout at the gym 5 times per week but focus on strength training that builds my core and back and those muscles that cycling does not or weakens. Knowing what I know about doing tours with lots of climbing, I would try to be as skinny as possible while listening to my body. I could get down to 165 but that is about as low as I want to go.

    Here is a pic from a couple of weeks ago.

    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  7. #7
    Senior Member TromboneAl's Avatar
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    I'm 5' 11" and recently dropped about 13 pounds to end at 155 pounds, in part as a substitute for buying an expensive bike. If I went lower than that, my wife would have me committed for being an anorexic.

    It has indeed made hills easier to climb. Probably not as big a difference as buying a bike that weighs 13 pounds less, but I don't think I've lost much muscle. I depend on the weightlifting to maintain the upper body strength. BTW, it feels good to be this weight.

    I always have a protein shake after hard exercise. GNC 100% Whey Chocolate Caramel is the best flavor.

    BTW, the book Strength Training Past 50 shows that 3x/week weight lifting is not much better than 2x/week.

    This is what that weight looks like:

    Last edited by TromboneAl; 03-31-11 at 09:44 AM.
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  8. #8
    commuter and barbarian scroca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryInWI View Post
    I found several sources that say an "ideal bicycling weight" is 2 lb per inch of height.
    Wow, that is very thin. I am 6' 3" and weigh 157.4 just now. I consider myself very thin. I don't know that there would be much to lose to get down to 150, though I guess I managed it when I was 18.

    I think you should keep in mind that it will be normal to lose some weight on tour unless you eat out a lot. I wouldn't do anything to sacrifice muscle to match some theory about bicycle weight.

    By the way, could that 2lbs per inch refer to racing weight?
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  9. #9
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    Let how you feel and look be your guide. Are you fit? If you cycle regularly and feel good when you do, you're fine. Are you fat? Stand in front of the mirror and look at yourself. that should tell you something. If you're not all flabby and are fit, you're just the way you should be. I'm 5'7" at 162 and am just fine. when I start using formulas, I see that I am slightly overweight, yet people consider me to be quite fit looking. And I am fit. Body type and conditioning matter more than anything.
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  10. #10
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Pro cyclist George Hincape 6' 3" 165 pounds or 2.2 pounds per inch.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  11. #11
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Pro cyclist George Hincape 6' 3" 165 pounds or 2.2 pounds per inch.
    To quote Phil Leggitt "and here comes big George Hincape".
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  12. #12
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegheny Jet View Post
    To quote Phil Leggitt "and here comes big George Hincape".
    Would Phil Leggitt say "and here comes *very* big A'jet"?
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  13. #13
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=TromboneAl;12438226]I'm 5' 11" and recently dropped about 13 pounds to end at 155 pounds, in part as a substitute for buying an expensive bike. If I went lower than that, my wife would have me committed for being an anorexic.

    It has indeed made hills easier to climb. Probably not as big a difference as buying a bike that weighs 13 pounds less, but I don't think I've lost much muscle. I depend on the weightlifting to maintain the upper body strength. BTW, it feels good to be this weight.

    I always have a protein shake after hard exercise. GNC 100% Whey Chocolate Caramel is the best flavor.

    BTW, the book Strength Training Past 50 shows that 3x/week weight lifting is not much better than 2x/week.

    This is what that weight looks like:


    155/71 = 2.18 .... We have a leader.

    Edit Whoops.... scroca is leading with 2.098.
    Last edited by Hermes; 03-31-11 at 10:20 AM.
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  14. #14
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    I generally don't eat before I work out either. I find that I eat quite a bit less afterwards as well.
    Ahh, you have mentioned one of the sweet after affects of a good hard workout..

    The meal after!!
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  15. #15
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    I am 6 feet tall and 170 pounds or 2.36 #/in at age 62. I workout at the gym 5 times per week but focus on strength training that builds my core and back and those muscles that cycling does not or weakens. Knowing what I know about doing tours with lots of climbing, I would try to be as skinny as possible while listening to my body. I could get down to 165 but that is about as low as I want to go.

    Here is a pic from a couple of weeks ago.

    I always give big props to peeps that workout 5 or more times a week. You go guy!!
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  16. #16
    Motorcycle RoadRacer cehowardGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scroca View Post
    Wow, that is very thin. I am 6' 3" and weigh 157.4 just now. I consider myself very thin. I don't know that there would be much to lose to get down to 150, though I guess I managed it when I was 18.

    I think you should keep in mind that it will be normal to lose some weight on tour unless you eat out a lot. I wouldn't do anything to sacrifice muscle to match some theory about bicycle weight.

    By the way, could that 2lbs per inch refer to racing weight?

    I am thinner.. I am 6'3" at 135 lbs.. At the gym peeps asked me do I have zero fat percentage..

    We are "super ectomorphs"...
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  17. #17
    Elite Rider Hermes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cehowardGS View Post
    I am thinner.. I am 6'3" at 135 lbs.. At the gym peeps asked me do I have zero fat percentage..

    We are "super ectomorphs"...
    This is a tough one to beat. 1.8 #/in
    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." Einstein

  18. #18
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
    Would Phil Leggitt say "and here comes *very* big A'jet"?
    I bet Bobbke would say "wow, I would never have expected to see A'jet still in the hunt this far up the climb".

    Then, Phil would say "well you know that on a recent training ride his Power Tap showed that he can coast downhill @ 300+ watts."

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  19. #19
    Century bound Phil85207's Avatar
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    What's the proper balance between cycling weight and maintaining upper body strength?

    Usually 10 to 20 pounds less than I weigh.
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  20. #20
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    1.67, but it does me no favors for cycling except for climbing. (105/63in.) I'm primarily a runner.

  21. #21
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryInWI View Post
    ........................In doing research, I found several sources that say an "ideal bicycling weight" is 2 lb per inch of height. I'm 57 years old and 5'6" so that would be 132 pounds. Well, that ain't happening!
    I think that 2lbs per inch of height is "ideal" for a Tour de France cyclist. At least that's what I've read. I wouldn't get too caught up with "ideal" anything.

  22. #22
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    That also depends on your body type and what sort of bone structure you have. I'm the same age and height and I have never been below 160 pounds since I was 18 and very fit. I'm at 176-178 right now and I'm trying to get down to 165 which where I was from the time I was 25.

    I'm built like a running back with heavy bones so there is no way I could get down to anything less than 155 without being underweight.
    I'm 65 and weigh 190 lbs. Also built like a running back. For 2 lbs. per inch I'd have to get down to 140 lbs. I have no "love handles" and am hoping to get down to 180 lbs. But, that's about it.

  23. #23
    gone ride'n cyclinfool's Avatar
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    You have heard it from the performance riders on this forum, Hermes & AJ both have a balance that is hard to beat.
    Once you are in that "normal" weight range, focus more on strength & health.
    I find that my riding improves when I am 10# lighter but my attitude does not, I get cranky because I can't enjoy treats or an occasional beer or wine. Strike a balance, we will never be on the TDF circuit.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    At 2.61lbs/inch I would be hesitant to loose any weight without risking loosing muscle and some needed fat? Now the guy behind me looks as if he could loose a couple pounds, but the colored bars on his sleeve and shorts indicate that is is a National Champion at 6'3" around 190 lbs.

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  25. #25
    Senior Member big john's Avatar
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    I did an unsupported cross country tour years ago when I was 220# and the bike was around 55#. I found it tough to eat enough even though I was downing 6000 calories per day. I lost 10 pounds on the trip but I did have giardia at the end.

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