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    After a long distance cycling, how much weight you lose

    After a long distance cycling, how much weight you lose, can it successful weight lost?

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Yes, it can. But only if you don't eat more to compensate for the fat you have burned. Most people do, unfortunately.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Being young helps .. 4 months on a tour, is different at 30 than 60.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tonyjaja View Post
    After a long distance cycling, how much weight you lose, can it successful weight lost?
    1) What is a "long distance" to you?

    2) After riding a century (100 miles) or longer ride, I usually gain weight for a few days. It's a water retention thing.

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    1) What is a "long distance" to you?

    2) After riding a century (100 miles) or longer ride, I usually gain weight for a few days. It's a water retention thing.
    I was really shocked the first time I did the Grand Tour Highland double. I lost a couple of pounds. I figured it was just water weight and that a couple of days later it would be back. A couple of days later it had doubled.

    Still I'm inclined to think most of the time any weight changes from a long ride (and nothing under a century is enough to even be on the table for weight loss unless ridden so hard that the rider has to be very very fit) is more apt to be water weight.
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

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    Gained One Pound.

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    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    I map my rides with Cyclemeter and one of its functions is calculating calories burned. The other day I did a 25 mile ride to a brewery and looked at the report when I got there and it said I burned 2025 calories. Calories in, calories out. The body going thru a normal day uses X amount and then extra activity adds to that number. If you want to lose weight its simple math the number in has to be less than the number out. When we got to the brewery I showed the report to my friend and he said well looks like you earned 4 beers.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    I map my rides with Cyclemeter and one of its functions is calculating calories burned. The other day I did a 25 mile ride to a brewery and looked at the report when I got there and it said I burned 2025 calories. Calories in, calories out. The body going thru a normal day uses X amount and then extra activity adds to that number. If you want to lose weight its simple math the number in has to be less than the number out. When we got to the brewery I showed the report to my friend and he said well looks like you earned 4 beers.
    And when you saw 2025 calories for a 25 mile ride ... you had a good laugh.

    That's very high for a short ride like that.

    Think in terms of 500 calories per hour, and you'll be closer to the mark.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    I map my rides with Cyclemeter and one of its functions is calculating calories burned. The other day I did a 25 mile ride to a brewery and looked at the report when I got there and it said I burned 2025 calories. Calories in, calories out. The body going thru a normal day uses X amount and then extra activity adds to that number. If you want to lose weight its simple math the number in has to be less than the number out. When we got to the brewery I showed the report to my friend and he said well looks like you earned 4 beers.
    LOL. 80 calories per mile?

    I'm a biggish rider at about 200lbs. When putting out as much power as I can sustain for an hour at a time, about 250 watts, I burn something in the region of 13 or 14 calories per minute. On the flat, in reasonably windless conditions, I'd cover over twenty miles in that hour, but certainly fewer than 25. That's going to be less than 40 calories per mile. If you can burn 80 per mile, turn pro. Seriously.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    My longest ride of this spring/summer was 80km last week. I made sure to hyrdrate and eat along the way. When I got home I was 2kg lighter than when I left. The next morning I had gained 1.5kg of that back. I think to some degree there is something other than water involved, but it seems to be mostly just how much you sweat as compared to how much you drink. I see real weight changes over a scale of weeks rather than days.

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    You burn roughly one ounce of fat every hour in the saddle. It is hard to see that on the scale because there is a lot else going on (water going in and out, carbs, etc.)

    Weight you lose on top of that ounce per hour (if any) is water and glycogen. Over the first 48 hours after a long-distance ride, lost muscle glycogen will be replenished, and some additional fat may be burned if you count your calories and avoid overeating. Glycogen is much heavier (per calorie) than fat and that makes it even harder to notice fat loss. You really need to track your weight for weeks and months to see real weight changes.

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    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    And when you saw 2025 calories for a 25 mile ride ... you had a good laugh.

    That's very high for a short ride like that.

    Think in terms of 500 calories per hour, and you'll be closer to the mark.
    I have no idea if Cyclemeter is accurate at all I know you input weights and it accounts for flats and climbs or tries to. I was on my loaded touring bike and the course was fairly hilly. Trying to get used to the bike loaded in different ways. The total weight was close to 300 pounds if you know how to factor that in. I’m not recommending anyone take these free iPhone apps as the gospel and of course get a power meter if you are really trying to figure it out. A method I have used is in the gym get on a bike trainer that has wattage output and yes you will find how hard you have to work to make 200 watts and you can then apply that feeling to your road riding. As you mentioned I thought the number was over inflated but even at 2 beers or 1 beer worth of effort it’s easy to see how you could consume more than you burn thru riding.

    Regardless the point is as someone posted the loss is very slow and hard to measure over any short period of time due to bike riding. The cardio benefits are most likely greater and harder to measure. The calorie burn just living and breathing for a day is a couple thousand if you don’t do any activity. I would say in most people needing to lose weight increased activity only increases hunger if they eat the wrong foods in the wrong order they could likely gain weight thru cycling.

    This forum is the general cycling forum and many coming here are beginners or the average of what’s out there in the cycling world. I personally wouldn’t call 25 miles a short ride nor would I call it a long ride for me. But many new to riding would consider 25 miles a long ride. If the question were posted in the road forum I wouldn’t have answered because the point of the question there would have a whole different meaning than say it was posted in the Clydesdale forum etc. All people that can sustain a 20 MPH speed for an hour I would think would be a fraction of the top 1% of all bike riders out there and most likely have a very low body fat percentage to start with. Thus weight loss due to biking would mean a whole different thing to them.

    If anyone knows what percentage of cyclist have ever done a 100 mile ride in a single day it would be interesting to know and then compare that small percentage to see what their body fat number is. Assuming 20MPH and the 100 miles would take 300 minutes at 14 cal / min that would equal 4200 cal to do a “long” ride. Some cal’s would be taken in prior to the ride some during and some after to replenish what was taken from the body. Based on those numbers is 4200 an excessive number?
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    I have no idea if Cyclemeter is accurate at all
    It's not.


    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    A method I have used is in the gym get on a bike trainer
    Stationary bikes at the gym aren't accurate either.


    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    The calorie burn just living and breathing for a day is a couple thousand if you don’t do any activity.
    Try 1200-1500 calories.


    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    This forum is the general cycling forum and many coming here are beginners or the average of what’s out there in the cycling world. I personally wouldn’t call 25 miles a short ride nor would I call it a long ride for me. But many new to riding would consider 25 miles a long ride.
    The OP asked about "long distance cycling". Several people post in General because they are unaware that there are forums more suited to their questions. The OP might be unaware that there is a Long Distance forum here. In the Long Distance forum, the metric century distance (100 km) is just dipping your toe into long distance cycling ... practice rides, building up. 100 miles is the distance where it all begins, and the distances keep going up from there.


    Quote Originally Posted by bud16415 View Post
    If anyone knows what percentage of cyclist have ever done a 100 mile ride in a single day it would be interesting to know and then compare that small percentage to see what their body fat number is. Assuming 20MPH and the 100 miles would take 300 minutes at 14 cal / min that would equal 4200 cal to do a “long” ride. Some cal’s would be taken in prior to the ride some during and some after to replenish what was taken from the body. Based on those numbers is 4200 an excessive number?
    Quite a few of us have done 100 mile rides ... but 20 mph is a brisk assumption. Try 20 km/h ... an 8 hour 100 miler is a reasonably decent, comfortable pace. At 500 calories per hour, that's about 4000 calories.

    The recommendation is to consume approx. 500 calories prior to the century, and then approx. 250 calories per hour (roughly half of what's being burned) during the ride. Theoretically, a person should lose weight during a century, but many of us have a pizza or something after.

    And there's the retaining water situation. Many long distance cyclists gain weight immediately after a long ride, and then 2 or 3 days later we make tracks to the toilet all day long ... and the next day we're back to our original weight.

    If a person were to cycle somewhat shorter distances regularly throughout the week, and then do a century or longer pretty much every weekend, the person would very likely lose weight. When I was doing that, I struggled to keep weight on.

  14. #14
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    1) What is a "long distance" to you?

    2) After riding a century (100 miles) or longer ride, I usually gain weight for a few days. It's a water retention thing.
    Exactly. It's when your muscles need to be restocked with nutrients, it's glycogen "transport". You will be drinking water beyond what you lost because the body needs it for transport. So, standing on the scales the next day it will look like you gained. About 36hrs later your body will begin dumping that extra water. Then you can get a better picture of what you may have lost.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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    Senior Member bud16415's Avatar
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    I saw that he said “long distance cycling” but then he followed up with “can it successful weight loss?” Allowing for the translation issues, I was assuming their question was can riding a bike some distance they considered long be a good method of performing successful weight loss? In making that assumption I was assuming they were a person that needed to lose some pounds and looking at biking as a substitution for diet. I would say it is an excellent supplement to diet as it will build muscle that burns fuel at rest as well as work. It’s a good form of cardio that will improve overall activity etc. so the long term result has to be positive in terms of health and fitness and ability to lose weight. But in terms of a given “long” ride you will most likely consume as many calories as you burn.

    There are also many studies on metabolism changes in conjunction with caloric intake changes at the same time as changes in exercise levels.

    I do agree any mapping program on a phone no matter how detailed the algorithm is and how careful you input all the known factors into it, will still have a wide margin of error computing calories used for a specific individual during a bike ride. Likewise using a program that tells you how many calories is in a specific food like a pizza is not going to be very accurate. I do feel the high end gym equipment that uses electrical loading and measures current and voltage output should be a reasonably accurate measurement of output. On a bike one of the biggest factors that doesn’t get accounted for is wind unless the program somehow factors that in. I know mine doesn’t. Nor does it measure tire size or pressure or rolling resistance.

    I would say it’s all relative and the data is only some kind of ballpark number to use to compare ride to ride.
    What's not in your legs needs to be in your gears.

  16. #16
    Dane silvercreek's Avatar
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    I haven't done any long distance riding but I do need to lose about 85 lbs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    I was really shocked the first time I did the Grand Tour Highland double. I lost a couple of pounds. I figured it was just water weight and that a couple of days later it would be back. A couple of days later it had doubled.

    Still I'm inclined to think most of the time any weight changes from a long ride (and nothing under a century is enough to even be on the table for weight loss unless ridden so hard that the rider has to be very very fit) is more apt to be water weight.
    The most I ever weighed was after four days of centuries each day. Thought I would have lost weight but actually gained it.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill View Post
    The most I ever weighed was after four days of centuries each day. Thought I would have lost weight but actually gained it.
    Water ... as mentioned earlier in this thread.

    How were you 3 days after the last of those centuries?

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    My weight did come back down, but no real weight loss.

  20. #20
    Senior Member OldsCOOL's Avatar
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    Bottom line, if you want to lose weight you must learn to "stay hungry". Biking is a great way to help you lose weight but when you come off the road you cant be overcompensating. If you will burn more calories than you eat......

    It isnt rocket science. There is no easy method. Simple, yes. Easy, no.
    Having a flat tire as part of the total cycling experience is highly overrated. Knowing how to fix one quickly is not.

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  21. #21
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Depends on the distance and how long. There was a UK rider that rode to the far east- or back from it- and I can remember that when he did eat- it was in the region of 6,000 calories at a time. Imagine 6 good meals one after the other. He needed the calories to be able to ride the next day. I used to do a hard 100 miler offroad. We were burning about 500 calories for 12 hours. The 6,000 but there was no way we could take in that amount of food but we did manage about 2,500 to 3,000 during the course of the ride. We were also taking at least 1 litre of water per hour and at the end of the ride all we wanted was food- Nasty greasy KFC and we wanted it. I put on 3lbs that day and next day it had risen with the extra snacks I took in the day.7 days later and I was back to my normal weight but I have to admit that I was fit then- and a lot leaner.

    And frequently commented on- the Pro riders on tours- They try to keep calorie and water intake up on rides but at the end of of the race they replace the weight loss they have made with fluid within an hour or so. The Weight loss for them will be water loss as they have nothing else to lose. If they do not get the loss replaced as soon as possible- they will struggle the next day.

    edit--Still a lightweight and 150 lbs but My normal weight should be about 5 or 6lbs less. I am struggling to lose that weight but I have just started riding more and eating better. I have cut down on the fats and sugars and do about 100 to 140 miles a week in 4 or 5 rides. Don't know if it is the riding or the better diet but losing about 1lb a week untill I enjoy a takeaway of "Fish & chips" (Full of fat) or an extra bun on the ride. Then weight gain occurs for some reason.
    Last edited by stapfam; 05-08-12 at 03:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldsCOOL View Post
    Bottom line, if you want to lose weight you must learn to "stay hungry"
    Only true if you're still counting calories based on the dumb logic of the 70's & 80's that brought us the silly food pyramid and low fat diet that launched America's obesity troubles and carb dependency.

    Cycling is simply not going to drop much weight. For those who claim otherwise, especially those on a serious weight loss program, it was likely something else good that cut the weight. I'm reminded this every time I see riders chugging sugary drinks and eating Clif bars REI told them to buy. Not talking about Pros, just the rest of us.

    It's the absence of evil flour products, sugar, and simple carbs (ALL processed foods) that really drop the weight in my experience. This has been proven and scientifically backed in Gary Taube's book "Why we get fat", which may change many minds on calories in & out logic.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stapfam View Post

    And frequently commented on- the Pro riders on tours- They try to keep calorie and water intake up on rides but at the end of of the race they replace the weight loss they have made with fluid within an hour or so. The Weight loss for them will be water loss as they have nothing else to lose.
    This is simply not true. Pros on the TdF, for example, will burn substantial quantities of fat and muscle in the course of the race. There have been various measurements taken that show they lose significant muscle mass during the race.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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    Quote Originally Posted by uprightbent View Post
    Only true if you're still counting calories based on the dumb logic of the 70's & 80's that brought us the silly food pyramid and low fat diet that launched America's obesity troubles and carb dependency.
    ...
    It's the absence of evil flour products, sugar, and simple carbs (ALL processed foods) that really drop the weight in my experience. This has been proven and scientifically backed in Gary Taube's book "Why we get fat", which may change many minds on calories in & out logic.
    <rant>

    Low fat? What low fat? In case you aren't aware, Americans eat highly fatty diets. Americans are far ahead of all advanced countries in terms of consumption of red meat, but they eat _less_ grains and, more generally, carbs than, say, Italians or the Japanese. The ultimate low-fat diet is the vegan diet. Care to guess the percentage of vegans in the United States? Somewhere around 1%, lower than the percentage of atheists.

    Low fat has always been something that many people heard about but few actually practiced. They kept hearing about low-fat and talking about low-fat and then went on gorging themselves on steaks, cheeses and chicken wings. Obesity rates kept growing and in the end people started thinking "maybe talking about low-fat does not keep up from getting fat, let's talk about low-carb instead "...

    With all due respect to Gary Taubes, it is much harder to gain weight on a low-fat diet than on a high-fat diet. That's been proven over and over. The reason is that, to gain weight on a low-fat diet, you have to overeat a lot and systematically (your body won't start converting carbs to fat until its glycogen reserves are full), but it's very easy to gain weight on a high-fat diet (all excess fat is immediately packed in by the adipose cells.)

    </rant>

    P.S.

    Macronutrient intakes in grams per day per capita, United States:


    Do you see the point where Americans all went low-fat?

    Me neither.
    Last edited by eugenek; 05-10-12 at 02:37 PM.

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eugenek View Post

    Do you see the point where Americans all went low-fat?

    Me neither.
    Interesting figures and, to me at least, highly persuasive.

    I'll bet Mr Taubes is right about one thing, though. I'll bet that the nature of the carbohydrates Americans are eating has changed. More simple sugars, fewer complex carbs. Which will have made the problem worse, as many people will now be on a high-fat, high GI diet. Ouch.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

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