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  1. #1
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    Switching from BBing to Cycling?

    So I've been bodybuilding for three years now. The first year I spent dropping from 230 to 164. I spent a year at a fairly steady weight, and now I'm bulked up to 180 lbs at 5 foot 7. I've always wanted to take up cycling and I've been looking into it a lot more lately.

    I love the thought of riding centuries and logging 150 miles a week. But I am DREADING the thought of losing the muscle I've worked so hard to gain.

    I'm just looking for insight and advice into how I would best train. If I eat and lift like I'm still bulking but incorporate the cycling will the combination of so much cardio and the weight training be detrimental? I know how to time my cardio/diet to maximize fat loss, but I have no idea how to work around cycling for hours at a time.

    I'm just looking for any advice or insight I can get. Thanks

  2. #2
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    Yes.

    Sustained endurance training will be detrimental to your muscle gains. It's really one or the other.

  3. #3
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    Well...

    It hard to put a lot of miles on a bike and not have it affect your overall physique. Doing lots of miles will tend to optimize your body for that.

    To keep as much muscle as possible:

    1) You need to drink a carb/protein drink while you ride (either a 4:1 or 7:1 ratio of carb/protein is common).
    2) You need a recovery drink with a similar ratio when you're done.

    Both of those will help you keep your muscle. I use Accelerade and Endurox, but you need to find something that works for you - people have very different responses to different drinks.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
    199x Lemond Tourmalet, Yellow with fenders (Beast)

    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  4. #4
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I think you could maintain current strength by weight training once or twice a week, with current poundage. But your muscles might get a little smaller. Your overall fitness would probably improve if you were doing both maximum cycling and moderate lifting. You would have to switch your mindset from "bigger is better" to "fitter is better".


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  5. #5
    Senior Member nostromo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    I think you could maintain current strength by weight training once or twice a week, with current poundage. But your muscles might get a little smaller. Your overall fitness would probably improve if you were doing both maximum cycling and moderate lifting. You would have to switch your mindset from "bigger is better" to "fitter is better".
    I agree with this as I've seen it happen to me. I stayed away from any heavy cardio because I have a very tough time putting on mass. I've never had a lot of BF but from cycling alone I've dropped almost 20lbs. I have not lost any strength, in fact I'm still increasing it in certain exercises.

    But I found I craved carbs in a crazy way, especially on a high protein/medium to low carb summer diet. My conditioning has improved quite a bit and I recover quicker from workouts. I look smaller in clothes but I'm leaner and feel better.

    If you're worried about muscle loss up your protein intake and maybe carbs if you run out of steam during rides.

  6. #6
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    I am wondering how much experience you have riding a bike? I mean as a serious method of exercise, not for just a leisurly spin down the bike path.

    If you are just starting out you will probably not be doing centuries right away, even though you sound like you are in decent shape. You could probably keep going steady at the weights, as well as biking for a few hours a week to start. Then when you get better at cycling, you can decide to cycle more and do fewer weights, enough to maintain your physique. The best part is that if you do both fairly intensely, you will be able to eat massive amounts of food to stay at your present size. You may have to play around with the ratios a bit though. As well, doing both cardio and weights instead of just concentrating on one or the other will probably make you fitter after all is said and done.

    I am not sure where you live, but a real cold winter is a good excuse to bike less and do more weights. Of course summer has the opposite effect.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the great replies guys. I've never really road for the fun of it. I do my cardio to do cardio. This last summer vacation I'd ride about 25 miles at a time on a mountain bike. I'm going to purchase a used road bike sometime in these coming months.

    I think what I am going to do is continue my bulk for the majority of the winter. Instead of doing my cardio on a machine I'll ride my cycle indoors. That way I will be incorporating it into my workouts. Then once it starts to get warmer I'll begin my cut and again use the bike instead of the machines for my cardio. and I'll be riding and doing much more cardio. I think that will work out ok. Then if I decide I want to cycle more I'll start edging over to that instead of the bodybuilding.

    Thanks for the replies. I'll be lurking the boards and may post here and there.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nostromo's Avatar
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    I plan on doing the same thing, except I have a stationary bike in my basement along with my gym (all free weights). I'd like to see how far I can take things this winter. Last winter my strength really improved when I ramped up my protein intake. It's nice being leaner but I miss the power I had over the winter with the weights. I made a 10 lbs lean muscle gain this year over last summer so I'm onto a plan that works for me.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by nostromo
    I made a 10 lbs lean muscle gain this year over last summer so I'm onto a plan that works for me.
    I do not doubt that you are correct in the above statement, but I am curious to know how one measures the gain of lean muscle mass.

    The reason I ask is because I hit the weights 5 times a week and can see that I am getting stronger (larger muscles) but I do not know how to quantify the gains. I was wondering if there is a rule of thumb for quantifying muscle gained vs. fat lost?

  10. #10
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    Say last year he was 150 at 9% (13.5lbs) body fat. If this year he's 165 at 11% body fat. That means he gained 15lbs, but only gained 4.65 lbs of fat.

  11. #11
    Senior Member nostromo's Avatar
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    Last summer I wittled down to 174lbs, this summer at the same BF I was 184lbs. Noticably thicker all over while keeping the waist still tight, more strength and power.

    Over the winter the biggest change was diet where I cranked my protein higher but I had to force feed for the first few weeks, I have a lot of trouble keeping muscle on (true Ecto).

    Winter training style was a combo of Westside powerlifting and bodybuilding, very heavy weights (for me) for 5-10 sets of very low reps. (3-5). Then around spring I switch to less weight, faster tempo, more reps, bit more shaping movements.

    The cycling really burned off the fat much faster this summer with no hit (so far) to my strength gains. I always aim (I use a workout log) to add more weight, sets or reps to specific exercises. I only train 2x a week in my basement gym (all freeweights, power rack, etc.).

    Now that I've added cycling to my arsenal plan is to add even more muscle, try to come in around 190lbs or more by next summer. The cycling did a great job of shaping up my legs (quads, hams and calves). Next summer I may try a few weeks of no leg work and really hit the bike hard to see how they look.

    I've never seen a serious cyclist with poor legs...

  12. #12
    Senior Member VT Biker's Avatar
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    I too ran into this same problem. I got addicted to cycling, and started seeing my muscle mass in the upper body decrease. I think one could ride a road bike for fitness, and still gain muscle if the only riding was done at a very controlled pace, and only done to compliment your fitness level (in other words, you would not really be a cyclist, but more a fitness rider). At first, that was the point of riding for me. I want to tone up, and after a few spinning classes, found it fun and bought a bike.

    However, almost immediately after buying the bike, I became addicted to cycling. It was not enough just to go out for an hour to burn 500 calories. Especially after my first hill climb, lifting became secondary. I wanted to be able to ride like the guys at the front of the group, and zip up the mountain as effortlessly as they made it look. I have since lost about 15 pounds from 166 to about 151 and now use weight lifting only to keep up a toned look up top.

    Am I somewhat sad about losing the weight? Yes to some extent. But just this Saturday I had my best ride in the mountains here in CO. I powered up from Lyons to Ward without leaving the big ring, and dropped a few people on the way. This coming from someone who this spring had the granny gear it (on a triple) on roughly the same route.

    And that is why I would not recommend cycling to someone who is just looking for an alternative to cardio at the gym. I could stair climb all day long, and never would I care if my time or my results improved, just as long as I burned calories. Even if the guy next to me is going at a million miles an hour, I feel no sense that I need to improve. He is always going to be next to me, and there is not the ability to visually see the difference in fitness as there is during a group ride.

    Once you get outside on a bike, and start to see the level other riders are at (as they leave you in their dust), you just want to improve, become faster and stronger). And once you shoot down the mountain at 50 mph, the rush cannot be replaced.

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