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  1. #1
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    Weight training to complement recreational cycling

    I'm a weight-lifter moving to cycling, more or less (~10 mile-each-way commute). I don't want to overtrain (I'm 44) but I want to keep lifting. I'm not trying to lift to increase my cycling performance. Rather, I'm worried that cycling is mostly quad-focused. For lifting and legs, should I give more emphasis to deadlifts, maybe stiff-legged, or even leg curls?

    Basically, what kind of leg routine (in terms of exercises and perhaps frequency in relation to cycing, not reps and all that), would complement the cycling?

    (I'm not worried about "bulking up", as I'm dieting and I know full well that to actually add substantial muscle mass, especially while dieting but even when not, only happens with massive effort, not with a bit of lifting of any sort. ).

    Thanks for any help,

    Andy

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    Cycle more to improve your cycling.

    Train in the gym more if you want to add strength and size to your legs.

    Not really compatible unless you are inclined to taking up track sprinting!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ed073
    Cycle more to improve your cycling.

    Train in the gym more if you want to add strength and size to your legs.

    Not really compatible unless you are inclined to taking up track sprinting!

    I tend to disagree. I have found supplementing my riding with weights to be very helpful.

    I will say though that this is not in the leg area. When I hit the weights, I tend to not work the legs too hard. They seem to get plenty of exercise on the bike.

    But I do alot with back, shoulders, stomach and arms. This has helped immensly with my comfort. Most notably with lower back exercises.

    And properly done, cycling is as intense on your calves/hamstrings as your quads. I do find that the leg exercises that help me target my calves and hamstrings, as my quads tend to naturally get stronger.

    -D

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    what does your leg routine look like now? what is you primary goal with weight training (size, appearance, strength, health)? don't do deadlifts because that is a mass building exercise and that doesn't seem like your goal. are you sore after leg day? are you looking to substitute your quad workout entirely with biking? what you should do depends on your fitness goals and you current level of training intensity, but basically as long as you are not sore the day after leg day then a 10 mile bike ride will not result in over training (assuming your diet is not extremely lacking, which it sounds like yours is not and your 10 mile commute is not a time trial)

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    Throw the stick!!!! LowCel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed073
    Cycle more to improve your cycling.

    Train in the gym more if you want to add strength and size to your legs.

    Not really compatible unless you are inclined to taking up track sprinting!
    Shhhh..... don't let Friel, Morris, Carmichael, etc in on this information. They seem to think that gym work can help out some.
    I may be fat but I'm slow enough to make up for it.

  6. #6
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    A good leg workout is stepups. Find a box that is twice as high as your crankarms are long.

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abergdc
    I'm worried that cycling is mostly quad-focused. For lifting and legs, should I give more emphasis to deadlifts, maybe stiff-legged, or even leg curls?

    Basically, what kind of leg routine (in terms of exercises and perhaps frequency in relation to cycing, not reps and all that), would complement the cycling?

    (I'm not worried about "bulking up", as I'm dieting and I know full well that to actually add substantial muscle mass, especially while dieting but even when not, only happens with massive effort, not with a bit of lifting of any sort. ).
    I wouldn't worry about any imbalances that cycling would cause to your routine as the loads are very low compared to what you're doing in the gym. Also the muscles used in cycling has to do with your form and if you practice spinning smoothly in a circle, it really uses our calves, hamstrings and glutes quite a bit. It takes the mental training to develop the smooth form. You do end up with incredible definition in your legs too.

    Pretty much all of the top-coaches incorporate some weight-lifting regimen into the training routine of their cyclists. Party because it's simply not possible to race a lot without tearing up muscles for energy on the long rides. So just to keep muscle-mass and strength steady, you gotta do some weight-lifting.

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    Thanks for the replies (and sorry about the delay).

    I'm lifting to keep or even add muscle mass, and get stronger or stay strong. I'm trying to lose fat so I an in caloric deficit. I'm biking 8 miles (10 was an exaggeration) 8 or so times per week.

    On the lifting, I'm doing a 3-day per week alternative two full-body routines (call them A and B). In A I do squats and lunges, in B I do deads and step-ups. I guess I've stopped worrying about compensating for any quad-dominance from the biking, partly for the reasons DannoXYZ gives (I've gotten clipless pedals recently and I think that helps with balance) and partly because it would be too complicated.

    So far so good, though I think I have to watch out for overtraining, particularly given my age and caloric deficit, and lack of experience with the bicycling.

    Thanks again for the replies,

    Andy

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I think you've got a good handle on it. But if you want the cycling to help with the weight loss, you probably need to do more than 8 miles a day, regardless of your age. A lot more. It is becoming clear that the fatter you are (or once were), the more exercise you need.

    The newer reccomendations for moderate to vigorous exercise:

    • 30 minutes per day if weight is normal, as a minimum for acceptable health.
    • 60 minutes a day to lose small amounts of weight, or to maintain normal weight after a small loss.
    • 90 minutes a day for significant weight loss, and even to maintain large weight losses.

    ***********

    For most of the population, the real challenge is not determining the best form of exercise, but finding the time and motivation to do the right amount of exercise.

    (And please bear in mind that much of the advice on this forum concerns professional cyclists and serious amateur racers.)


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    • 30 minutes per day if weight is normal, as a minimum for acceptable health.
    • 60 minutes a day to lose small amounts of weight, or to maintain normal weight after a small loss.
    • 90 minutes a day for significant weight loss, and even to maintain large weight losses.
    Hey Roody, Those are the new ACSM guidelines? Is there a link for that info? I need to send it to, uhm, someone.

  11. #11
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    Hey Roody, Those are the new ACSM guidelines? Is there a link for that info? I need to send it to, uhm, someone.
    Actually it was the USDA.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    The newer reccomendations for moderate to vigorous exercise:

    • 30 minutes per day if weight is normal, as a minimum for acceptable health.
    • 60 minutes a day to lose small amounts of weight, or to maintain normal weight after a small loss.
    • 90 minutes a day for significant weight loss, and even to maintain large weight losses.

    ***********
    That sounds about right... It takes me at least 30-minutes/10-miles to warm up, sometimes even longer. So I'd say to actually lose weight, you need to ride at least 90-120 minutes a day, 10-12 hours/week. It's really the 2nd and 3rd hour into a ride that really burns off the calories after you've fully warmed up. If time is limited, it's better to do a single 3-hour ride on teh weekend than three 1-hour rides during the week.

  13. #13
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    Actually it was the USDA.
    Thanks! USDA huh? Who would have thought. My SIL thinks washing the car is considered activity.

  14. #14
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mothra
    That sounds about right... It takes me at least 30-minutes/10-miles to warm up, sometimes even longer. So I'd say to actually lose weight, you need to ride at least 90-120 minutes a day, 10-12 hours/week. It's really the 2nd and 3rd hour into a ride that really burns off the calories after you've fully warmed up. If time is limited, it's better to do a single 3-hour ride on teh weekend than three 1-hour rides during the week.
    Maybe so. But it also seems like I can ride a lot harder for one hour than I can for 3 hours, so I feel like I'm getting a better workout with 3 one-hour rides. The real hard part is that many of us should be exercising for 90 minutes or more every day. Some benefits of exercise for diabetes and blood pressure, for example, only last for about 24 hours.

    The only way I can get in that much exercise on a daily basis is to bike-commute to work and other places.


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    I think those USDA guidelines are very broad-brush. I wonder what the basis is?

    The evidence I know of (and my own experience) is that losing weight mainly requires appropriate diet (I've lost 20 pounds so far this time, without too much cardio until the last 5 pounds or so). Exercise helps a lot in Keeping it off for long periods of time, I think, but this claim is very hard to establish it seems to me.

    Since I also lift weights, play some tennis, etc, I don't need to rely only on biking. One of its best feastures for me, though, is that its fun and I can fairly easily fit it into my daily schedule, like Roody. I know I'm in the wrong forum for this but I think the 1990s emphasis on cardio for exercise/weight loss is somewhat overstated. As to the biking, I also think two shorter workouts (I ride about 30 mintutes twice per day) is as good or better than one long one, and I know I saw a recent study that reached that conclusion. In fact, when I plateau I plan to try doing some intervals, which could easily be done in a relatively short but intense bike workout, I hope even on my commute.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abergdc
    I think those USDA guidelines are very broad-brush. I wonder what the basis is?
    One basis is the National Weight Control Registry. This survey of people who maintained large weight losses found that most of them did exercise for 90 minutes or more a day.

    Of course the guidelines are broad. All guidelines are broad. But they're more specific than the old guidelines, which simply called for 30 minutes of exercise for everybody. If you want something more specific, you should probably pay a nutritionist or trainer for an individualized program.


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    Isn't it part of aerobic/anerobic degrees that determine metabolism? Aerobic burns calories only during the workout, anerobic raises metabolism and works past workout time, increasing metabolism for hours afterward?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    Maybe so. But it also seems like I can ride a lot harder for one hour than I can for 3 hours, so I feel like I'm getting a better workout with 3 one-hour rides. The real hard part is that many of us should be exercising for 90 minutes or more every day. Some benefits of exercise for diabetes and blood pressure, for example, only last for about 24 hours.

    The only way I can get in that much exercise on a daily basis is to bike-commute to work and other places.
    It depends upon what your goal is with the workouts. I was looking at the weigh-loss part and that's best addressed with longer rides. The shorter more intense rides are a different workout and will help you build strength and increase ave. speed, but doesn't do as much for losing weight. Of course, the short intense rides will help you ride at a faster speed on the 3-hour endurace rides as well, so you'll burn off more cal/hr. It all works together.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mothra
    It depends upon what your goal is with the workouts. I was looking at the weigh-loss part and that's best addressed with longer rides. The shorter more intense rides are a different workout and will help you build strength and increase ave. speed, but doesn't do as much for losing weight. Of course, the short intense rides will help you ride at a faster speed on the 3-hour endurace rides as well, so you'll burn off more cal/hr. It all works together.
    I'm no expert but here's how I understand it: On a long ride with moderate effort, you will burn a higher proportion of fat as fuel. On a short ride with intense effort, you will burn a lower proportion of fat, but (since you are burning more total calories per hour) you might be burning the same absolute amount of fat. In that way, the actual calories of fat burned in three fast one hour rides might be equivalent to the the amount burned in one slower three hour ride.

    Read Carmichael. He explains it a lot better than I do.


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    Well, let's go straight to the source research that Carmichael himself uses: Journal of Applied Physiology - Determinants of fat oxidation during exercise.

    With a maximum fat-burning per hour of about 200-250cal/hr or so, a 3-hour ride @ 50% VO2-max will still burn off more total fat than three 1-hour rides. The 3-hour ride @ 50% VO2-max might burn a 600cal/hr rate with 250 (41%) of that from fat while a 1-hour ride @ 75% VO2-max might be at 850cal/hr with only 120 cal/hr (15%) from fat. So three 1-hour rides will burn off a total of 2550 calories with 360 from fat while the single 3-hour ride burns 1800 calories total (750 fat calories).



    The warm-up still has to occur and I doubt anyone goes out and starts a 1-hour ride at 75% of VO2-max anyway, so the actual calories burnt will most likely be less than the example I used above.

    Note that the fat-burning percentage drops from a maximum at around 50% VO2-max to 0% at LT, about 82-87% for most people. And at above LT, you're burning all carbs anyway.

    However, for weight-loss, you don't actually have to burn just fat, it's total calories burnt and the calorie-deficit of your meals. As long as you're burning off 500 more than you eat each day 1-lb/week weight-loss will occur. Just that it's easier to burn off a lot of calories in a longer/easier ride than a 1-hour hammer-fest.
    Last edited by Mothra; 07-17-06 at 07:31 PM.

  21. #21
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    But much more intense exercise, such as intervals, can lead to after-exercise higher metabolism for at least several hours. I don't think that's true of lower-intensity. Also, it doesn't really matter what you burn (fat or carbs). The main point is to burn calories, so again the higher intensity shorter workout does fine. Also also, I believe there is some evidence that longer low-intensity workouts are catabolic, that is that they can lead your body to eat into muscle more than shorter more intense workouts (this hardly proves it, but look at sprinters vs long-distance runners for body composition). Finally, the nutrients you use depend on the macronutrient balance in your diet, as I understand it. If you are on a low-carb diet, for example, your body can get the energy from fat. So, I wonder whether those results in those graphs are invariant to the sort of food they're eating, particularly the macronutrient balance.

  22. #22
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mothra
    Well, let's go straight to the source research that Carmichael himself uses: Journal of Applied Physiology - Determinants of fat oxidation during exercise.

    With a maximum fat-burning per hour of about 200-250cal/hr or so, a 3-hour ride @ 50% VO2-max will still burn off more total fat than three 1-hour rides. The 3-hour ride @ 50% VO2-max might burn a 600cal/hr rate with 250 (41%) of that from fat while a 1-hour ride @ 75% VO2-max might be at 850cal/hr with only 120 cal/hr (15%) from fat. So three 1-hour rides will burn off a total of 2550 calories with 360 from fat while the single 3-hour ride burns 1800 calories total (750 fat calories).



    The warm-up still has to occur and I doubt anyone goes out and starts a 1-hour ride at 75% of VO2-max anyway, so the actual calories burnt will most likely be less than the example I used above.

    Note that the fat-burning percentage drops from a maximum at around 50% VO2-max to 0% at LT, about 82-87% for most people. And at above LT, you're burning all carbs anyway.

    However, for weight-loss, you don't actually have to burn just fat, it's total calories burnt and the calorie-deficit of your meals. As long as you're burning off 500 more than you eat each day 1-lb/week weight-loss will occur. Just that it's easier to burn off a lot of calories in a longer/easier ride than a 1-hour hammer-fest
    .
    Hey it sure was nice of you to do the research. It looks like you were right that long steady distance is better for burning fat than an equal time in short intenser rides.

    I don't have a very good monitor, but I'm seeing graph A and B a little different than you are. I'm seeing that the data points go up to only about 62% VO2 max, after that they are dashed curves on Graph A--indicating an extrapolation (I assume); and there is no curve plotted above 62 % on Graph B. So I''m not sure how accurate your analysis is at high VO2 max, although it looks like you were right based on the extrapolation in Graph A.

    Of course as you pointed out, other factors enter into it, and I still like the USDA recommendation that fat people exercise for 90 minutes every day, at moderate intensity. Most people probably can't maintain vigorous activity for 90 minutes on a daily basis, even if that level of intensity would help more with weight loss.


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  23. #23
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abergdc
    But much more intense exercise, such as intervals, can lead to after-exercise higher metabolism for at least several hours. I don't think that's true of lower-intensity. Also, it doesn't really matter what you burn (fat or carbs). The main point is to burn calories, so again the higher intensity shorter workout does fine. Also also, I believe there is some evidence that longer low-intensity workouts are catabolic, that is that they can lead your body to eat into muscle more than shorter more intense workouts (this hardly proves it, but look at sprinters vs long-distance runners for body composition).
    But I thought you were worried about overtraining? Intervals are great, but they will wear you out. I do intervals in the winter when I'm riding less. They make me tired! A 60 minute ride with a few intervals wears me out more than a 180 minute ride at a steady pace. Do you have good backing for the catabolic theory? It might be true, but it kinda sounds like BS from a weight trainer.

    Finally, the nutrients you use depend on the macronutrient balance in your diet, as I understand it. If you are on a low-carb diet, for example, your body can get the energy from fat. So, I wonder whether those results in those graphs are invariant to the sort of food they're eating, particularly the macronutrient balance.
    I'm not sure about this. I think your body gets energy (glucose) for endurance exercise from blood glucose and from glycogenstores, and also from the metabolism of fat and protein. All 3 sources are present in the normal body. I think which form the body uses depends on the duration and intensity of activity, not which one is most abundant in your diet. This is what mothra's graphs are showing, and what I tried to explain in a previous post. And I don't know of any writers on exercise physiology who advise imbalances of macronutrients such as a low carb diet.

    I just reread your original post, and I see we've gotten pretty much off topic. You realize that you have to come up with your own exercise program. I think you're smart to put a little more emphasis on cardio than you used to. I alos think you would be wise to invest more time in exercise. Personally, I do only a few upper body exercises with weights. I do basic multi-joint exercises with free weights about twice a week, mainly with strength as my goal. I do squats, deadlifts and calf raises in the winter, and core twice a week. I don't enjoy lifting, but it does make me feel good. I ride for 60 minutes in the winter and up to 180 minutes in the summer, 6 days a week. I walk or row on the seventh day. I also take a 4 day stretch off the bike every month. My main fitness goals are endurance, weight loss/maintenance and health (history of diabetes and heart attack). I hope this gives you some ideas about how to fit more exercise into a busy schedule.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Quote Originally Posted by abergdc
    Finally, the nutrients you use depend on the macronutrient balance in your diet, as I understand it. If you are on a low-carb diet, for example, your body can get the energy from fat. So, I wonder whether those results in those graphs are invariant to the sort of food they're eating, particularly the macronutrient balance.
    Well... the instaneous energy-source has more to do with intensity of exercise. The ratio & balance is shown in the referenced article. What happens over time, is a series of these instant moments strung together. If you're doing intervals and high-intensity, you WILL be burning mostly carbs, no way around it. Once you run through all 1500-1800 calories of stored glycogen, you WILL bonk and end up burning muscle (fat burning also stops without carb to ignite it). Converting muscle to glucose is a very, very inefficient process and the fastest you'll be able to go is 9-10mph. So really, the energy substrate used is the "effect" of the exercise intensity, which is the "cause".


    However with conditioning and additional strength, you'll be more efficient at the same pace later. So if your maximum 1-minute interval is 27mph at 10% above LT, after a couple months, 27mph may be only 5% above LT and you can hold it for 5-minutes. But you'll still be burning 100% glycogen. However, if you stay 10% below LT, you can burn more fats and the interval-training will allow you to burn more fat at higher speeds.

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    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    How hard is it to burn 1800 calories? 2 hours of hard effort near LT or something like that?

    What I wanna know is how fast your body switches to fat burning during the rest periods between intervals. Pretty fast?

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