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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 11-20-05, 01:30 AM   #1
Duke of Kent
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How to lose upper body mass?

Pretty simple:

Is there any way short of starving myself to lose the "excess" (or so i consider it) muscle in my upper body?

Sure it gets the girls but its not helping me up the hills or into the wind. I ride a pretty good amount (250+ miles/week), think I have a pretty good diet for a college student, and have a pretty darn low body fat percentage. I don't want to be rail thin but just want to be skinnier up top.


Any help?
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Old 11-22-05, 10:58 PM   #2
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Lower your calorie intake, increase your riding. Prepare to become the disappearing man.
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Old 11-23-05, 08:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skandal20
Lower your calorie intake, increase your riding. Prepare to become the disappearing man.
Decrease protein intake--part of lowering your caloric intake.

The problem is that you can't tell your body which muscle mass you want to target. By decreasing protein and calories coupled with exercising to the point where glycogen stores are depleted, you run the risk of your body scavenging protein for energy from less desirable areas of your body--like your heart, diaphragm, and myriad of other places.
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Old 11-23-05, 01:27 PM   #4
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Muscles are always been torn down and rebuilt to maintain steady body-weight. What you can do is tweak those rates in the direction you want. Bodybuilders modify on the building end, you can tweak it on the tear-down side.

Muscle strengthening and growth comes from causing microscopic tears and trauma to the muscles fibres through exercise. This leaks out the contents of the cells into the surrounding tissue. This causes a rebuilding response and accumulates histamines, inflammatory cells, prostaglandins, fibroblasts, etc. The rebuilding process then uses free amino-acids and proteins absorbed from the bloodstream to rebuild these torn tissues.

Your protein consumption doesn't directly cause muscle-building or destruction. You cannot gain 5-7lbs/month of lean-muscle mass by just sitting around and eating steaks. You must workout intensely in the gym like the top bodybuilders to gain that amount of muscle. Similarly you cannot lose muscle mass as well by decreasing protein-intake (vegetarians don't waste away to nothing). Exercise is necessary in both cases to build or lose muscle. To lose the muscle-mass, you must utilize it as fuel during exercise. This requires long endurance rides where you deplete your glycogen stores and force your body into dissassembling muscle-tissue for fuel. Then maintain a calorie-deficit with your diet. However, you cannot control where this tissue is destroyed, most likely all over.

However, you can control what's rebuilt. Due to the inflammatory rebuilding response, only those tissues that have been stressed, damaged and leaked their contents will be rebuilt. That means muscles that have been exercised and stressed will be rebuilt. So the areas you want to keep strong, you must exercise while not pushing the muscles you want destroyed. So, don't do any upper-body workouts, don't yank on your bars. However, you do want to do hillclimbs and intervals to stress your leg-muscles and heart. Combine with the long endurance rides over time to lose weight in fat and muscle, you'll see a gradual shift in the muscle composition of your body; more muscle in the legs and less in the upper-body.

WARNING: The part I'm unclear about is if it's possible to lose muscle-mass all over while maintaining the same in the areas you want to preserve. It may end up being that you lose -20% of upper-body mass at the same time as -10% of the lower-body muscle. There may be a combination of a calorie-deficit diet and exercise that may allow for a -10% upper-body muscle while keeping all of the lower-body. But I'm not sure of the exact combination. You'll need to track diet, exercise, body-fat % and lean-muscle mass numbers over time to adjust as you go. You will find that with this kind of an exercise programme, you will not be making much improvements in fitness and speed. Many people experience constant fatigue, lack of energy, lethargy and apathy, so be careful.

Some articles of interest:
Journal Applied Physiology - Muscle regeneration during hindlimb unloading results in a reduction in muscle size after reloading
Journal Applied Physiology - Isometric Resistance Exercise Fails to Counteract Skeletal Muscle Atrophy Processes During the Initial Stages of Unloading

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Old 11-23-05, 03:53 PM   #5
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If you were to ride like hell, it would reason that your legs would be under hard use. It would also reason that your body would as well be under hard use. In this time- do not use your arms. They will atrophy away to a true road cyclists little t-rex arms. You can still eat. Although, your eating habits should change if you wish to change your body. If a pro cyclist rides and eats so much and has little arms- do what he does- minus the drugs. I bet it would take a while, upwards a year to get to where you wish. I have seen guys do it. I like the WARNING label- here is mine: I know $h1t. I am not professionally trained in anyway shape or form. I just read and keep active.
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Old 11-23-05, 06:07 PM   #6
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If you stop using a muscle, it will atrophy. Look at what happens to a person with a cast. Of course, you don't want to go to that extreme, but if you don't do strength building exercises with your upper body, you can expect to lose muscle mass.
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