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  1. #1
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    Loosing weight(fat) while touring

    I hear about people who actually gained weight while touring... I'm wondering why? And if it's possible to use the tour as a way to lose weight by eating very healthy before, and while on tour and not eating greasy food.

    Is there a certain diet or system to follow so that you'll actually be loosing fat while touring?
    Last edited by Robert_in_ca; 02-23-08 at 05:07 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    The following is based on my observations on the TA last summer and may or may not be relevant since everyone is different.

    I lost some weight on a 73 day tour despite the fact that I ate constantly and whatever I was hungry for. One person gained a couple pounds (probably muscle) on the same trip and another lost 20.

    I would say that I was eating as much as 5000 calories per day and that included a lot of candy bars and ice cream. I didn't eat a lot of fried stuff or fast food though and didn't eat huge amounts at a time but rather snacked constantly on and off the bike. I think that staying fueled is more of a concern than "eating healthy" or losing weight. We found that our bodies told us what they needed if we listened. We seemed to crave whatever our body was lacking.

    I would advise against consciously trying to lose weight on a long tour. I think that might be a recipe for disaster, Just eating the amount that your body tells you it needs (and that will be a lot if doing much mileage) will probably result in weight loss if you need to lose weight.

    I think that a tour is a vacation and eating whatever you want without guilt is part of the enjoyment. It is a bonus if you lose weight in the process. That said if I wanted to lose weight on tour I would ride longer miles rather than restricting diet.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DukeArcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    I would advise against consciously trying to lose weight on a long tour. I think that might be a recipe for disaster
    I agree, and was that an unintentional pun?

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    The only person I ever met who gained weight during touring was someone who discovered some super high calorie peanut chocolate bar in South America and ate those ravenously for a few days. We have both lost weight on our tour without even trying, even though we both scarf down huge plates of pasta at night and lots of regular snacks like nuts, chocolate and whatever else we can get our hands on.
    We blog about bike touring, with reviews, tips and cycle touring podcasts at Travelling Two

  5. #5
    Senior Member slowjoe66's Avatar
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    I gained quite a bit of weight on tour last year, about 7 pounds in a week. Of course, I ate like a pig at the trough. Burgers, corndogs, beer etc. Wherever something looked good, I had some. I have consciously set a course over the last period of time where I am in good health and at or very near my perfect weight. That of course includes watching what I eat. But when I am on tour, all bets are off and I pig out because I am using so much energy/calories. That being said, I probably over did it

    I think the biggest thing that I did negatively in that regard, was that I feasted at night. I rode all day and was burning calories, but then at night at camp, when I wasn't burning anymore I had beers, and an abundance of food. This is what I will change next time, and my recommendation to you. Eat what you want and what your body is telling you during the day while you are using it. At night eat sensibly because it will be with you and turning into fat while your sleeping.

    My two cents.
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    Let's say a body went on a nice long tour, three months or more. And he ate all that he wanted and drank pints of beer whenever he felt like it. I'd guess that at the end of three months, our experimental subject would be a nicely weathered, deep-breathing specimen in the very peak of health. Whatever his weight at that time would be a good indication of his natural and proper weight and should be loved just as it is.

  7. #7
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    Last edited by Cyclesafe; 02-12-09 at 09:40 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    A 150 lb male every day burns his basal rate of 2000 calories plus (on average) 40 calories for every loaded mile he rides. If he rides 50 miles per day, he must consume 4000 calories each and every day to not lose body fat.

    When that same male gets on his bike in the morning, in addition to his body fat, he has about 1600 calories of glycogen stored in his liver that, along with what he had for breakfast, is available for him to fuel his ride. When that is gone and if he doesn't eat any more during the day, he bonks and likely won't get his 50 miles. Unfortunately, body fat is just not broken down fast enough to be much available as energy during the day: instead, it will be broken down while he sleeps to help replenish his glycogen store.

    Ok, what this means is that if this man eats (4000-1600) 2400 calories per day he will lose the maximum possible amount of weight and still make his 50 miles. Since each pound of body fat is 4000 calories, a 2400 calorie per day diet he cause him to lose about 3 pounds of fat a week.

    Now it really doesn't matter (within reason and within the short run) what he eats during the day to get these 2400 calories. I'm partial to Dairy Queen and don't otherwise worry about my calories so I don't lose too much weight on tour.
    ^^^^ That is it in a nutshell, I typically loose a bit of weight when I tour, but I am carrying about 5 extra pounds of insulation that falls off pretty quickly when I up my exercise levels from my base rate. I love the being able to eat what I want, my downfall is sweet tea (as in the southern delicacy) I have all but given it up during the week, but when on tour will consume it with abandon. I don't particularly like deep fried foods, so those are not an issue, just about anything else is fair game.

    Aaron
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    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeArcher View Post
    I agree, and was that an unintentional pun?
    Yes unintentional. Maybe my subconscious mind is more clever than my conscious one though

  10. #10
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    Here is a twist. Something I am a bit concerned about for a two week tour in a couple months. Thanks to illness, over the last 6 months or so I lost about 15lbs (at 135, there wasnt much to start with). I am actually finding it hard to add some weight back on. I am pretty active with biking and skiing so I generally stay at the weight I want. Somewhere I read that I have to add about 3500 cal to my basic daily requirements each day just to gain a pound. I have to be careful with the diet so I cant simply go on a pig-fest. Hopefully I can add some by May cuz two weeks in the saddle would normally cause me to drop a few pounds.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Mr York's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sth View Post
    Somewhere I read that I have to add about 3500 cal to my basic daily requirements each day just to gain a pound.
    You want to add 3500 calories to gain a pound, but spread that out over a week, not all in one day. So if you eat 1600 calories a day normally, then add 500 calories a day, and over the course of a week, you will have consumed 3500 calories extra that may let you gain 1 pound in weight.

  12. #12
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sth View Post
    Here is a twist. Something I am a bit concerned about for a two week tour in a couple months. Thanks to illness, over the last 6 months or so I lost about 15lbs (at 135, there wasnt much to start with). I am actually finding it hard to add some weight back on. I am pretty active with biking and skiing so I generally stay at the weight I want. Somewhere I read that I have to add about 3500 cal to my basic daily requirements each day just to gain a pound. I have to be careful with the diet so I cant simply go on a pig-fest. Hopefully I can add some by May cuz two weeks in the saddle would normally cause me to drop a few pounds.
    I used to lose weight and have trouble gaining it back, doctor told me to go to McD's and get a large shake to drink with every meal. That helped a bit, but I didn't really start to put on weight until after I had been married for about 7 years

    Aaron
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  13. #13
    Zoom zoom zoom zoom bonk znomit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert_in_ca View Post
    I hear about people who actually gained weight while touring... I'm wondering why?
    You can easily gain weight by drinking gatorade etc instead of water. I generally buy these but dilute to half strength. One 800ml bottle of "Zing" I found in a gas station once had 1800kJ. Five of these a day (along with 3 decent meals) will add a few kilos to you over a week.
    First rule of weight loss... Don't drink your calories.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member slowjoe66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    First rule of weight loss... Don't drink your calories.

    For those of us who like to throw back a few cold ones, thems fightin' words!
    I don't have a solution but I admire the problem!

  15. #15
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowjoe66 View Post
    For those of us who like to throw back a few cold ones, thems fightin' words!
    AMEN!

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by znomit View Post
    First rule of weight loss... Don't drink your calories.
    Yep, sugary drinks can add a huge amount of calories. If worried about weight drink water at home.

    Still... On tour I find that drinking a substantial portion of my calories makes sense. The goal then is to fuel my body not to lose weight. If the tour is a long one with fairly high daily mileage, staying fueled can be a challenge and keeping electrolyte levels up can be a problem as well. I still drink way more water than anything else, but a few sports drinks a day, especially when it is 100F seem to help stay fueled and keep electrolyte levels up.

  17. #17
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    Last edited by Cyclesafe; 02-12-09 at 09:40 PM.

  18. #18
    Question Authority JoeMan's Avatar
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    Weight Loss on a Tour

    Thanks for your post it was informative and well written. Perhaps it would be best to be in good shape before leaving on a tour.

  19. #19
    ...into the blue...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    A 150 lb male every day burns his basal rate of 2000 calories plus (on average) 40 calories for every loaded mile he rides. If he rides 50 miles per day, he must consume 4000 calories each and every day to not lose body fat.
    Do you have a link? Some of us, ahem, weight a bit more than 150.

  20. #20
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    Last edited by Cyclesafe; 02-12-09 at 09:41 PM.

  21. #21
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    I can gain weight on tour, by eating too much at night, as someone above said. I also learned that I can eat whatever during the day, but at night i have to have a normal dinner and then stop. Exception is if my stomach is growling, but other than that, it's over.

    What you really have to watch out for is the weeks AFTER the tour. I gained 7 pounds in the two weeks after my cross country tour because I forgot to stop eating when I stopped riding. Your appetite goes crazy, you start thinking it's ok to have pizza for lunch a burger & fries for dinner and ice cream in between. If you keep that up for even a few days after the tour, the pounds come right on. So the DAY you stop riding is the DAY you have to start eating less. It's extra hard, because those huge portions start to look normal, so the first few weeks after require a huge amount of self control to re-set your idea of what a normal portion is.

    I think it might depend on your starting place, though. It seems to me that people who are a little heavier to begin with may lose on tour, where if you're already pretty slim, you might not. No science in that, just an observation.
    ...

  22. #22
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    It's unhealthy and unsafe to lose more than 1.5 pounds a week. Keep that in mind when your watching calories on a tour.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by sneekyjesus View Post
    It's unhealthy and unsafe to lose more than 1.5 pounds a week. Keep that in mind when your watching calories on a tour.
    Such quotes always need to be contextualized. For a 150lb guy? For a women? What about a 300lb guy? How many weeks? For old men, or for 25yo's?

    At any rate, though, nothing makes a tour miserable faster than not eating enough to keep the energy flowing. The only thing I can think of that sounds worse is the thought of going up on the Blue Ridge Parkway at my current weight. Ouch.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by sth View Post
    Here is a twist. Something I am a bit concerned about for a two week tour in a couple months. Thanks to illness, over the last 6 months or so I lost about 15lbs (at 135, there wasnt much to start with). I am actually finding it hard to add some weight back on. I am pretty active with biking and skiing so I generally stay at the weight I want. Somewhere I read that I have to add about 3500 cal to my basic daily requirements each day just to gain a pound. I have to be careful with the diet so I cant simply go on a pig-fest. Hopefully I can add some by May cuz two weeks in the saddle would normally cause me to drop a few pounds.
    Why would you want to put on weight, just for the sake of putting on weight? If you are eating enough to be healthy and active, and to sustain activities like cycling and skiing, why would you want more body fat?

  25. #25
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    I've found I initially lose weight on tour, but after a few months on the road my body become acclimated to the demands and I can gain weight fairly easily after that.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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