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Old 09-27-06, 11:22 AM   #1
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Q about hear rates, losing fat vs lean body mass

I want to lose weight (fat) while at the same time try to replace that with lean muscle mass. So what do I do? Ride at a certain percentage of my maximum heart rate to be on some sort of "aerobic zone"? What if I ride harder than that (which I normally do)... am I burning up muscle tissue instead? How do I make sure that my loses are primarily fat and my gains are primarily muscle mass?

What about supplements? Right now I'm trying to eliminate as much carbs and fats and possible and eat as much protein as possible. I'm complementing my daily bike commutes with nightly workouts (weights). I follow a split body routine (M -> chest/triceps, Tu -> back/biceps, W -> legs (easy)/shoulders, Th -> same as M, F -> same as Tu, Sat -> legs (heavy)/shoulders, Sun -> free)

Recommendations or comments are welcome.

Thanks!
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Old 09-27-06, 02:30 PM   #2
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It's hard to do both at the same time. In order to put on muscle mass you need to eat more than just protein. You need carbs as well. If you don't have enough carbs your body will just scavenge protein from your muscles.

But if you eat enough that means you'll gain weight also. You can lose fat and gain muscle, but you'll also gain weight.
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Old 09-27-06, 04:14 PM   #3
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Losing Fat vs Gaining Muscle

#@*)!*&^...

I was about to finish this post when I closed the browser... now I'm typing it all again...

I need to qualify my initial inquiry...

Forget weight.

What I want is to lose body fat and gain lean body mass. That means that the love handles should dissappear, cut abs should show, and overall I should feel and look "muscular". No I don't want to be a body builder. What I want is to feel and look "solid", if you know what I mean.

A friend of mine who is a certified fitness trainer told me today that I should "spin" while keeping my heart rate within the "aerobic zone", which is defined as ((220 - <age>)*[80% to 65%]). While on this "zone" the body will use fat as the primary source of energy. Should I go above that, then my body will go into the "anaerobic" zone, meaning that the body will metabolize muscle tissue as the primary source of energy. So I should "spin" in the aerobic zone, since "mashing" will cause damage to my knees; through time, he continued, my heart will grow stronger meaning that I will be able to "spin faster" while still staying within the aerobic zone, which means that I'll be able to go faster with less effort (relatively speaking) and still use burn all of that fat first.

Of course during competition athletes go all out, zones be damned, but that's entirely different from training to lose fat and build muscle.

I'm still mulling over what all of that means, but I'm sharing it here for what it's worth.

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Old 09-27-06, 04:19 PM   #4
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More on losing fat vs gaining lean body mass

I'm still researching how and what I should eat and in what proportions (% protein, % carbs, & fat), workout intensity and rest periods, etc in order to support my training plan.

IOW, I'm very green at this but somehow I'll figure it out. If I can benefit from the knowledge and experience of others then I can minimize the trial and error as much as possible.

FWIW, I'm 43 years old, 5'9" and weight 184 lbs.

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Old 09-27-06, 05:19 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by GreenAnvil
I want to lose weight (fat) while at the same time try to replace that with lean muscle mass. So what do I do? Ride at a certain percentage of my maximum heart rate to be on some sort of "aerobic zone"? What if I ride harder than that (which I normally do)... am I burning up muscle tissue instead? How do I make sure that my loses are primarily fat and my gains are primarily muscle mass?

What about supplements? Right now I'm trying to eliminate as much carbs and fats and possible and eat as much protein as possible. I'm complementing my daily bike commutes with nightly workouts (weights). I follow a split body routine (M -> chest/triceps, Tu -> back/biceps, W -> legs (easy)/shoulders, Th -> same as M, F -> same as Tu, Sat -> legs (heavy)/shoulders, Sun -> free)
First, read "food for fitness", and perhaps "south beach diet" for some background. Too much protein is not a good thing, for a whole lot of reasons. Eat lots of vegetables, whole grains, whole fruits.

You want to stay in your comfortable aerobic range to burn fat. Riding too hard burns more carbs and doesn't increase your aerobic fitness. If you burn too much and don't replace it, you finish very hungry, and then tend to overeat.

The studies that accelerade quotes say:

* Drinking a carb replacement drink with protein in it reduces muscle damage
* Drinking something similar as a recovery drink reduces muscle damage

At the end of a hard ride, your body will try to replace the muscle glycogen, and if there's nothing there, it will break down muscle to do it.

I do know that after switching to accelerade/endurox, my legs are never as sore any more.
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Old 09-27-06, 05:40 PM   #6
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Try to exercise in different ways as well. Add some weights to you regimen as well. Throw in some fast days as well as slow days. You need protein to build muscle, but you will want carbs to help you from using protein as an energy source.

What has worked for me was being faithful in my weight room attendance and riding as much as I can as hard as I can. I have not lost a single pound with 4000km of lung burning on my bike, and pumping weights at the gym. I have lost lots of fat though and that is easy to see. I still have some fat left to go, and I hope by the time that is gone I will have gained another 10 pounds.

I am sure there are lots of differing, albeit right answers to your question. IMO I believe the key is to stick with a healthy lifestyle that includes eating enough and exercise in increasing amounts as you get in better shape. Personally I look at it as a life long goal. To get in the best shape of my life and then get in better shape.

Just stick too it and you to can be an expert like the rest of us
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Old 09-27-06, 06:04 PM   #7
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The "aerobic fat-burning zone" is a myth. While it's true your body will burn a higher percentage of fat at a lower level of effort, you'll burn less overall calories than if you ride at higher intensity. For weight loss, it's total calories burned that's important (regardless of whether you're burning more fat or carbs).

That said, you can't ride at 100% intensity for very long, so you need to find a good balance...basically, if you're going for a long ride, you find an intensity level that you can hold throughout the ride.

But, if you can't go long, go hard. You'll burn more calories with the time you have available.

As for "eating as much protein as possible"...that's not very smart. For cycling, you need carbs to fuel your efforts. Better to eat a balanced diet of carbs, fats, and protein (perhaps with a slight emphasis on protein, especially if you're lifting weights).

For weight loss, quit drinking your calories (no sodas, juices, etc., and cut way back on alcohol). Also, cut back on food portion sizes (hint: if you go out to any restaurant in the US, and clean your plate, you've not "eaten", you've "overeaten").

Bottom line: eat a little less, and move a little more. If you can figure out how to burn a few hundred calories each day more than you eat, you'll lose weight. It's not rocket science, but it does take work, and persistence.

Best of luck.
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Old 09-27-06, 10:20 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by GreenAnvil
...Should I go above that, then my body will go into the "anaerobic" zone, meaning that the body will metabolize muscle tissue as the primary source of energy.l
Not quite correct. As you increase your exertion level, you will reach a point where you start burning glycogen at a faster rate than fat. Glycogen comes from glucose and is stored in the muscles as fuel. It is metabolized without oxygen (anerobic) and generates much higher power than fat metabolism. However, you have limited stores of glycogen and burning it produces lactic acid which causes that burning sensation in your muscles if it is produced faster than you can clear it out.

Glycogen is replaced over time from the carbohydrates that you eat.
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Old 09-28-06, 05:23 AM   #9
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There you go!

There you go, something like that is what my friend tried to say and I paraphrased incorrectly.

Now from a practical standpoint, what do I do? If I'm currently shaped like a bottle I don't want to just lose weight and look like a smaller bottle... I want to lose the fat and keep (or gain) the muscle. (BTW, I'm not really shaped like a bottle but do have excess visceral fat.)

Thank you all for your responses!

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Old 09-28-06, 07:44 AM   #10
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If you eat properly and ride a bike frequently and consistently you will lose weight and build leg muscles. If you want bigger biceps, you'll need to add some other workout.

Don't get hung up on details. Just go out and ride your bike.
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Old 09-28-06, 11:05 AM   #11
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Here's my before and after(s) going from 200 pounds/67 inches tall to 155 pounds to 143 pounds (my lowest weight since high school - July 2005). I'm 48 years old, now. I started this journey after turning 40:



Here's how I did it. (Warning: some folks will not agree with my methods and so, I will not be surprised if this gets flamed.)

- Started by walking and gradually moved up to running while watching my diet. I didn't calorie count, but I ate a lot of "rabbit food" (salads) and fruit. This got me to the 155 pound mark.

- To get to 143 pounds, I started taking an ephedrine, caffeine, aspirin (ECA) stack and estimated calorie intake and output using as Internet tool similar to www.Fitday.com and using the BMR formula to adjust for weight loss. Also, I practised a low carb diet, sending my body into ketosis, measured/monitored periodically with Bayer Keto-Sticks.

Since last September, I quit watching what I was eating, took a break from running due to an overuse injury, and started bicycling, including commuting to work 5 days a week 20-26 miles a day, depending on if I had time to add a few miles in the morning. I gained a few pounds since then, reaching 165.

For the past month or so, I've gone back to the ECA stack, BMR formula/Fitday-like website, and implemented a spreadsheet to track calorie input and output. I've lost 11 pounds so far. I'm aiming for 150 pounds by the time I go on vacation in October.

Anyway, that's what works for me.

BTW, most of my running was aerobic (marathon training), but I did do a little bit of resistance training using only my own body weight during the evenings while sitting in front of the tv. When doing aerobic workouts, it's best to stay at or slightly over OBLA (just under lactate threshold).

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Old 10-04-06, 02:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenAnvil
...Should I go above that, then my body will go into the "anaerobic" zone, meaning that the body will metabolize muscle tissue as the primary source of energy.
Not quite correct. As you increase your exertion level, you will reach a point where you start burning glycogen at a faster rate than fat. Glycogen comes from glucose and is stored in the muscles as fuel. It is metabolized without oxygen (anerobic) and generates much higher power than fat metabolism. However, you have limited stores of glycogen and burning it produces lactic acid which causes that burning sensation in your muscles if it is produced faster than you can clear it out.

Glycogen is replaced over time from the carbohydrates that you eat.
yeah, you don't have to worry about catabolizing muscle until you run out of glycogen. Sure working out intensely will burn mostly glycogen, but you can't be anaerobic for more than a couple minutes anyway. If you ride right at LT (the transition between aerobic glycolysis and anaerobic fermentation in the muscles) you'll still have about 2-hours of glycogen supply (assuming full recovery from yesterday's ride). Most likely you don't have the fitness and muscle-efficiency to ride at LT for that long anyway, so no worries about burning up muscle. Just eat a small meal beforehand and bring along energy-drinks for longer rides over 1.5 hours.

And pick up some fitness-training books like Friel's Bible or Armstrong/Carmichael's book. They cover nutrition as well as training regimens. Your diet's composition will actually need to be customized for the riding that you'll do. Cutting back on the carbs will actually cause you to burn up muscle because you'll run out of glycogen quickly. Low-carb is a sedentary couch-potatoes way of losing weight, it's not a fitness-based diet; they're not getting fitter and any healthier with that weight loss. Their aerobic system has not improved nor has their muscle-tone or efficiency.

For the maximum and quickest weight-loss, you'll want to burn as many calories per day as possible. So there's a balance between speed & time here. If you ride too fast, you'll burn lots of calories/hr, but you won't get in many hours or burn off very many total calories. If you ride too slow, you'll burn up a lot of hours, but not as many total calories. Aim for brisk, steady-speed rides, where you can barely talk smoothly, but not so fast that your legs burn or that has you quitting in less than an hour. So 1.5-2.0 hours at a brisk pace you can maintain the whole time is a good target, like the pacing below to burn off as many calories/hr as possible. Good luck!

Quote:
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BTW, most of my running was aerobic (marathon training), but I did do a little bit of resistance training using only my own body weight during the evenings while sitting in front of the tv. When doing aerobic workouts, it's best to stay at or slightly over OBLA (just under lactate threshold).

Last edited by DannoXYZ; 10-05-06 at 02:03 AM.
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Old 10-04-06, 04:11 AM   #13
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The ultimate way of loosing fat is quite simply : Go bicycle touring ! A 4 week trip with 6-9 hours a day of loadede touring will get rid of a lot of fat. Eat all you can and you will still loose weight. Really long slow rides is also very effective.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:08 AM   #14
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The ultimate way of loosing fat is quite simply : Go bicycle touring ! A 4 week trip with 6-9 hours a day of loadede touring will get rid of a lot of fat. Eat all you can and you will still loose weight. Really long slow rides is also very effective.
I'm not sure if it was all fat, or some muscle as well, but I also lost weight (i.e. the bloat around the waist) when I went touring. And I'm really looking forward for another tour in Spring of '07. This time I'll bring protein supplements with me as well so I can lessen the muscle-loss the increase the fat-loss.
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Old 10-04-06, 08:50 AM   #15
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yeah, you don't have to worry about catabolizing muscle until you run out of glycogen. Sure working out intensely will burn mostly glycogen, but you can't be anaerobic for more than a couple minutes anyway. If you ride right at LT, the transition between aerobic glycolysis and anaerobic fermentation in the muscles, you'll still have about 2-hours of glycogen supply (assuming full recovery from yesterday's ride). Most likely you don't have the fitness and muscle-efficiency to ride at LT for that long anyway, so no worries about burning up muscle. Just eat a small meal and bring along energy-drinks for longer rides over 1.5 hours.

And pick up some fitness-training books like Friel's Bible or Armstrong/Carmichael's book. They cover nutrition as well as training regimens. Your diet's composition will actually need to be customized for the riding that you'll do. Cutting back on the carbs will actually cause you to burn up muscle because you'll run out of glycogen quickly. Low-carb is a sedentary couch-potatoes way of losing weight, it's not a fitness-based diet; they're not getting fitter and any healthier with that weight loss. Their aerobic system has not improved nor has their muscle-tone or efficiency.

For the maximum and quickest weight-loss, you'll want to burn as many calories per day as possible. So there's a balance between speed & time here. If you ride too fast, you'll burn lots of calories/hr, but you won't get in many hours or burn off very many total calories. If you ride too slow, you'll burn up a lot of hours, but not as many total calories. Aim for brisk, steady-speed rides, where you can barely talk smoothly, but not so fast that your legs burn or that has you quitting in less than an hour. So 1.5-2.0 hours at a brisk pace you can maintain the whole time is a good target. Good luck!
I have followed these practices for quite some time, but at the encouragement of some friends I was thinking about going on a low-carb diet. Low carb as in no excess breads, pasta and grains. Fruits and vegstables would be acceptable. Not trying to be argumentative, just get your point of view, how/why do bodybuilders get so big with low carb high protien diets(exclude the ones juicing up) if you say that carbs are essential for growth? Thanks-
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Old 10-04-06, 09:12 AM   #16
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I have followed these practices for quite some time, but at the encouragement of some friends I was thinking about going on a low-carb diet. Low carb as in no excess breads, pasta and grains. Fruits and vegstables would be acceptable. Not trying to be argumentative, just get your point of view, how/why do bodybuilders get so big with low carb high protien diets(exclude the ones juicing up) if you say that carbs are essential for growth? Thanks-
Cycling is an endurance sport...bodybuilding isn't. For endurance, your body needs carbs for fuel.

Bodybuilders emphasize protein in their diets for muscle growth, and cut back on carbs (and everything else, including water) to get as lean as possible to show off their muscles.
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Old 10-04-06, 11:09 AM   #17
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I have followed these practices for quite some time, but at the encouragement of some friends I was thinking about going on a low-carb diet. Low carb as in no excess breads, pasta and grains. Fruits and vegstables would be acceptable. Not trying to be argumentative, just get your point of view, how/why do bodybuilders get so big with low carb high protien diets(exclude the ones juicing up) if you say that carbs are essential for growth? Thanks-
I'm not sure which bodybuilders you're talking to, but the ones I see at the gym follow closely to the same 4:1 carb-protein mix us cyclists use for recovery. They may go down to 2:1 carb-protein at times, but carbs are still the majority of their calorie-intake. Some references:

Bodybuilding.com - Anabolic Ammunition Arsenal (look about 3/4 down page for calorie-mix calculator)
ABCbodybuilding - A Scientific Investigation into the Rationality of Post Workout Carbohydrate Consumption
ABCbodybuilding - Analysis of Nutrient use during Low, Moderate, and High Intensity Exercise
SparkNotes - Functions of Carbohydrates

One way to measure daily protein-requirements is to measure how much lean-muscle mass these bodybuilders are gaining each month, then divide out by 30-days (+ a little for normal metabolism). It's not a whole lot of muscle that human-body can pile on each day, and the daily-requirements of protein for building muscle isn't that much. However, the amount of calories one needs for doing the workouts is significantly higher.

It really comes down to total calorie-intake a day as well. A fairly low-mileage slow-speed rider won't need a whole lot of carbs. So they can get by on 1:1:3 fat-protein-carb mix in a day (400:400:1200 calories = 2000 total). Whereas someone who rides fast double-centuries and trains for them may need a 1:1:8 mix in a day with 4000 calories total and 3200 of that from carbs. It depends upon the level of performance you're training at and your nutritional-requirements needs to match that.

Gluconeogenesis from proteins occur at a very slow rate, so it can't support performance-riding. It also only occurs at low glycogen-levels which elevates glucagon and cortisol levels. Both of which are catabolic steroids which causes your body to disassemble perfectly good muscle-tissue for fuel. This is fine if you're a sedentary couch potato who wants to lose weight, it'll burn off both excess fats and proteins on your body. In the end, you'll be thin, but you'll be a twig with a double-chin and love-handles. Additionally, you won't get improved aerobic-capacity, VO2-max, lower resting-HR, faster recovery from max-HR, increased muscle-efficiency, and other measurements of fitness. In order to do that, you have to train hard, and you'll need to eat the necessary carbs to support that kind of training.

But yeah, excess carbs OR fats OR proteins will not help. It comes down to maintaining that calorie-deficit every day where you burn off more than you eat to lose weight.

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Old 10-04-06, 10:13 PM   #18
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Gluconeogenesis from proteins occur at a very slow rate, so it can't support performance-riding.
It can in fact just barely sustain life in the short term. In the long term a lack of fat or carbs in the diet will produce 'rabbit starvation', no matter how much protein is consumed.
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Old 10-05-06, 03:02 PM   #19
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I have followed these practices for quite some time, but at the encouragement of some friends I was thinking about going on a low-carb diet. Low carb as in no excess breads, pasta and grains. Fruits and vegstables would be acceptable. Not trying to be argumentative, just get your point of view, how/why do bodybuilders get so big with low carb high protien diets(exclude the ones juicing up) if you say that carbs are essential for growth? Thanks-
Fruits and vegetables are great, but I think you need more carbohydrate than that. You can get that with quality whole grains, which have few of the drawbacks of the refined ones. Whole wheat, brown rice, etc.
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