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  1. #1
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Is my training assumption right?

    As I've posted before, I'm spinning and on the weights consistently. I recently bought a body fat % scale. The first day with the new scale I was at 190.5 lbs. and 21.5% body fat. Today (a week later) I'm at 192.5 lbs and 20% body fat. I know the weights are having an effect because my biceps are at 14" which represents an increase. My assumption: I'm gaining weight and losing body fat because muscle weighs more than fat. Does this make sense? And, if my goal is to get leaner and lighter for cycling, should I give up the weights and do more cardio? TIA.

  2. #2
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Body fat scales are not very repeatable. To make sense of the readings, you need to track the data over a longer period. In addition, it's best to use them at the same time of day when you will be at about the same level of hydration. My experience is that first thing in the morning will read significantly higher fat% than afternoon. I suggest using the scale when you get home from work, but before any evening workout.

  3. #3
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supcom
    Body fat scales are not very repeatable. To make sense of the readings, you need to track the data over a longer period. In addition, it's best to use them at the same time of day when you will be at about the same level of hydration. My experience is that first thing in the morning will read significantly higher fat% than afternoon. I suggest using the scale when you get home from work, but before any evening workout.
    I've been using it consistently every morning about 8:00 AM. So that part, at least, has been consistent. The other consistent "trend" is that every day I weigh a little more and my body fat % declines. There has been no "bouncing" yet. Thanks for the suggestions.

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    Muscle does NOT weigh more than fat. A pound is a pound no matter what.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wmelton's Avatar
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    Muscle *does* weigh more than fat. Given the same volume, muscle will weigh more than fat.
    A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

  6. #6
    Member trimonkey's Avatar
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    Excuse the stupid question, but how do bodyfat scales work? I always assumed the only accurate way to get bodyfat percentage was to use calipers.

    As for giving up the weights, a lot of cyclists here use them, but it's geared towards strength and injury prevention as opposed to gaining size for aesthetic reasons. It's a personal choice. I'm 180lbs, and i enjoy working out and carrying some extra muscle, because i like the way it makes me look and feel, and i'm sure carrying more muscle increases your metabolism (WOOHOO!!!). Then again, i'm not looking to race seriously, or break any records, so weight isn't a big deal for me.

    So i guess it depends largely on where you want to go with your cycling. Racing? Pleasure? Fat loss? All three?

  7. #7
    Senior Member wmelton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trimonkey
    Excuse the stupid question, but how do bodyfat scales work? I always assumed the only accurate way to get bodyfat percentage was to use calipers.
    Here's a link that gives a basic explanation.

    http://www.healthchecksystems.com/fatscale.htm

    From my experience, daily tracking is inaccurate/unnecessary and hydration levels *greatly* effect the results. If you are looking for trends, make sure you measure at least 2 hours after you wake up and you notice your hydration level. My BF% has varied 1 -> 1.5 % depending my hydration level.
    A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

  8. #8
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    BF Scales are grossly inaccurate, but they are fine for charting a trend up or down. So long as you don't worry about the exact number. I've seen guys at 20% register as 10 and vice versa. But if you're seeing the same trend continue, then your assumptions are no doubt correct. You have probably gained some muscle. You may or may not have lost fat as well. I would say not most likely, but your bf% goes down because you still have more muscle in relation to fat.

  9. #9
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Looked back at your previous posts. I'm 61. I also gain weight in winter, up to 10 lbs. Up to about the first of February, my climbing ability declines. I work out consistently, lift weights, cross train, ride rollers, all that stuff. Then for some reason, like birds coming north, about now my ability starts to come back, even though I'm still heavy. It's just the Decline of the Great Dark.

    So you weigh more. But I'll bet you're climbing better anyway, aren't you? Muscle weighs more than fat? I don't know about that, but for sure you're converting dietary protein into muscle fiber. More muscle plus training equals more kilowatt hours produced, equals more fat lost. So I'd say, yeah, you're maybe eating more than you need to, but so what? Riding will fix that later. The main thing is to stay healthy and don't get injured so as the weather improves you can do the miles you want. Unnecessary muscle will disappear along with the fat.

    Of course you'll taper the weights down. When and how much depends on your goals. I'll put weight training into maintenance mode about the first of May and then quit for the summer about the first of June. At my advanced age, I can't do serious intervals and serious weights at the same time. So as intervals pick up, I ease up on the weights. However, unlike a lot of guys, I still get stronger every year. And smarter. Age and treachery still beats youth and innocence.

  10. #10
    Member trimonkey's Avatar
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    Cheers wmelton, interesting stuff.

  11. #11
    Senior Member bruce19's Avatar
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    CFboy-

    Since it's 5 degrees here in "balmy" CT I haven't been out on the bike except for one time about a week ago. Had a heat wave...I think it was 40 degrees. Anyway, I went out on an easy ride primarily because I wanted to ride a particular mile long hill near my house. I actually did feel good going up and ended up doing more hills on a 14 mi. circuit. Took me 56 minutes which averages to 15 mph. As I said, I was not riding hard and the route included more hills than usual, so 15 mph was pretty encouraging to me, especially at my 190 lbs. I do agree with you that riding will accelerate the fat loss. I am really looking forward to cycling weather around here. If I can get down to 180 lbs. I know I'll get to that "riding without the chain" feeling and that's what I'm really after.

  12. #12
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19
    I know I'll get to that "riding without the chain" feeling and that's what I'm really after.
    Yes, that is encouraging! We get to ride year-round here in the PNW. I say there are two kinds of riders here: the wet and the weak. I hit the rollers on Tuesday after a hard weekend and the pedals felt light. First time this year. Cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by trimonkey
    Excuse the stupid question, but how do bodyfat scales work? I always assumed the only accurate way to get bodyfat percentage was to use calipers.
    Bodyfat scales are very dependant on hydration. My tanika has a multiple scales - set it on the normal setting, it shows me at 13%, set it on "athlete", and it shows me at 9%. But its *fairly* repeatable in the long term if hydration is constant, though the absolute value isn't great.

    Calipers can give nice repeatable numbers with consistent technique, but they also aren't very good in absolute accuracy.

    The gold standard is hydrostatic weighing, where they weigh you underwater. I've never had that done but I do sink in the hot tub these days...
    Eric

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    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  14. #14
    Killing Rabbits
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericgu
    The gold standard is hydrostatic weighing, where they weigh you underwater. ...
    Dual energy x-ray absorbtion (DEXA) is the gold standard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthalpic
    Dual energy x-ray absorbtion (DEXA) is the gold standard.
    Yup. There's also the bodypod, which measures volume of displaced air in a chamber. I've used all 3 methods and got differing results with each one. Unless you're extremely anal the only test you need is a measuring tape, honestly.

  16. #16
    Senior Member brevig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19
    The first day with the new scale I was at 190.5 lbs. and 21.5% body fat. Today (a week later) I'm at 192.5 lbs and 20% body fat. I know the weights are having an effect because my biceps are at 14" which represents an increase. My assumption: I'm gaining weight and losing body fat because muscle weighs more than fat.
    The acceptable healthy standard is to be able to gain 1 - 2 lbs of muscle a month and to lose 1 - 2 lbs of muscle per week. The concept that you gained 2 lbs of muscle in a week is nearly impossible...even with the use of steroids. I'd avoid the home body fat machines all-together. If you have a membership at a gym, simply ask one of the personal trainers to do it on a regular basis. The fee they charge you (see if they'll only do the measurements) would be worth the accuracy, in my opinion.

    Otherwise, remember to keep your goals realistic so you don't become disappointed:

    1 - 2 lbs of muscle gain per MONTH
    1 - 2 lbs of fat loss per WEEK
    Richard Brevig
    By consuming less, I work less...

  17. #17
    Senior Member brevig's Avatar
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    I posted the little note and then realized I hadn't answered your original question, sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by bruce19
    ...if my goal is to get leaner and lighter for cycling, should I give up the weights and do more cardio?
    I'd continue the cardio and resistence (weight) program. You probably don't have to worry about gaining too much muscle mass that quickly. You'll probably want more endurance than anything? Make sure your sets have above 12 repititions. 6-12 reps per set is for hypertrophy (muscle growth) training. Above that is for endurance; I'd suggest 15-20.

    Though, the true idea behind training is specificity. If you're doing all of this to be able to ride better...then simply ride your bike and you'll get where you want to be.
    Richard Brevig
    By consuming less, I work less...

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