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Old 07-16-07, 05:10 AM   #1
coasting 
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Weight gain from cycling?

Last weekend I really pushed myself hard to try get myself off a weight loss plateau that I've been on for months. The strangest thing happened. Monday morning I weighed myself after using the bathroom (get rid of every bit of weight possible!) and I had gained 2 kgs i.e over 4 lbs! Same thing happened previous weekend. I do generally lose the gain over the next week before the next ride but that means I don't lose weight over time.

Saturday I did 80 miles (my longest distance yet due to getting lost on a planned 50 mile ride) solo - 5 hours
Sunday 45 miles group ride

Both were over hilly terrain where I pushed really hard uphill and there were a lot of hills. On the solo ride I specifically went to the steepest hills in the area. The group ride was especially hard becasue I was riding with people who were faster and much stronger climbers than me. Both rides exhausted me making me fall asleep after I got home. I did eat a lot post ride, but healthily - turkey, lettuce, cucumber, pasta, celery, eggs, peas

Some background: I was 210 lbs before the weekend. Height 5'10. Been cycling both days on weekends for about 10 months. I eat very healthily (no junk no added salt, very low fat, moderate carbs, lots of fruit and veg) - so healthy I get bored with the food I eat. Good cardio fitness. I don't get out of breath on solo rides though I do push hard (I always chase other faster riders whenever I see them and especially when they overtake me).

What's going on? Why do I keep gaining weight after rides? Why can't I lose weight over time? Anyone else see weight gain after rides?

Thanks
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Old 07-16-07, 05:59 AM   #2
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How many calories a day are you comsuming? Alot of weight loss/gain is by how many calories you are burning on the ride and how many you are consuming on a daily basis. If you are consuming more than you are burning, it will be stored as fat. It sounds as if you are eating the right metabolism kicking foods but still if you are taking in too much of them the weight wont go away.
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Old 07-16-07, 06:04 AM   #3
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Well, my guess would be you are building muscle. While you probably are loosing fat, muscle is more dense than fat, so that could be why you are putting on some weight. Lots of people who try and loose weight by lifting experience this phenomenon. The fact that you are loosing it over the week may be because you are eating less, not weighing yourself when not on a full stomach, etc...

Have you just recently started biking?
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Old 07-16-07, 06:38 AM   #4
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this could be fluid retention. Dehydration can lead you to retain more fluid, which can be heavy.
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Old 07-16-07, 06:40 AM   #5
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[QUOTE=bfloyd]How many calories a day are you comsuming? Alot of weight loss/gain is by how many calories you are burning on the ride and how many you are consuming on a daily basis.



Actually I lost quite a bit of weight before I hit my plateau just from dieting and not much exercise (just gentle leisure rides) and I have continued to eat the same stuff to this day. When I hit the plateau, I noticed the weight was just the same day after day. Then a few weeks ago I decided to cycle harder and longer to get the weight moving down again, but over a typical week the weight doesn't budge. It just goes up post ride and drift back down to starting point. So now instead of a flat plateau I'm on a bumpy plateau like some of the awful roads I ride on!

I read about good foods and watch diet programmes a hell of a lot (it's becoming obsessional) and I just can't make any suggested changes - I simply don't eat the bad stuff they say to cut out. No sweets, cakes, chocolate, saturated fats (I only use olive oil if at all), don't use sugar, no red meat. At least 60% of a typical meal is vegetables/fruits. The easiest way for a fat person to lose weight is to cut out bad foods, but I already did this and saw great results for a while. I need another kick-start and I thought cycling would do it.
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Old 07-16-07, 06:57 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattE30
Well, my guess would be you are building muscle. While you probably are loosing fat, muscle is more dense than fat, so that could be why you are putting on some weight. Lots of people who try and loose weight by lifting experience this phenomenon. The fact that you are loosing it over the week may be because you are eating less, not weighing yourself when not on a full stomach, etc...

Have you just recently started biking?

I've been cycling for about 10 months but until about 2 months ago it really wasn't exercise. For 8 months I was more of a leisure cyclist enjoying the scenery and looking around rather than pushing myself and enjoying the mechanical aspects a la sheldon brown. 2 months ago I got more focused on cycling for exercise and got myself some clipless shoes and pedals; i even swallowed my pride and got myself a pair of skin tight lycra shorts and jersey. It's not a pretty sight but my aching butt was pleased I did.

I've got a lot fitter and can keep up with the serious riders (the ones with badass looking shades) on flats and easy hills (still working on the hill climbing though). I suspect my climbing woes are a direct result of my weight but it seems climbing and rideing hard isn't helping on this front.
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Old 07-16-07, 06:59 AM   #7
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You are not going to put on 2kg over a weekend. Thats like an extra weeks worth of food. You may be retaining a couple of litres of water though. I find my weight goes up after a big ride then comes down over the next few days.
Weigh yourself every day and average it over the last week, dont sweat the ups and downs too much just looks for long term trends.

You might try going slower on your rides. I find if I dont push myself I can go out for 3-4 hours and not be hungry after a recovery drink, and I also eat less during the rides.
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Old 07-16-07, 07:28 AM   #8
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+1 on the water retention, the same thing happens to me. If the pounds don't come off and more some in the next 3 days or so, you are probably eating too much. If you are counting calories, don't forget to count the stuff you eat during the ride.

If you go to sparkpeople.com, they have some tools - a good calorie counter/food diary, and you can enter the # calories or hours / week you are excersicing - then it comes up with a daily calorie range for weight loss. The deal is, you have to stay in the range, even on days you did a big ride. You can't say "I did a 2000 calorie ride today, so I get to eat 2000 over my plan" (or even 1000. 500 is probably OK). it's really easy to overeat massively after a long ride and not even notice. even healthy food has calories.

I think the most important thing is long rides don't help you lose weight. short, extremely intense rides do. i know it's weird, but i've compared notes with a lot of people on this, and it seems to be pretty common.

good luck and don't forget to enjoy your riding!
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Old 07-16-07, 08:04 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valygrl
+1 on the water retention, the same thing happens to me. If the pounds don't come off and more some in the next 3 days or so, you are probably eating too much. If you are counting calories, don't forget to count the stuff you eat during the ride.
I agree. I'm usually up a couple pounds after a long ride, even when I'm very careful about calorie consumption during the ride. The weight goes back down in a day or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by valygrl
I think the most important thing is long rides don't help you lose weight. short, extremely intense rides do. i know it's weird, but i've compared notes with a lot of people on this, and it seems to be pretty common.
I'm not sure I follow this at all. The calories burned during a long ride don't contribute to weight loss? At high intensity, you're clearly burning more calories per minute than during longer, less intense rides. But the total calories burned are just that -- calories burned.

I think what is common is that on longer rides people don't eat enough during the ride to maintain a reasonable blood sugar level. So, when they finish they are starving, and easily eat back all the calories they've burned during the ride -- and then some! So now, I eat about 150 calories per hour on the bike, have a small recovery meal right after, then a reasonable meal a bit later. Most of the rides I do are "long" (at least by my definition, >45 miles), and I've lost lots of weight this way. If you're burning more calories than you're consuming, you'll lose weight.
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Old 07-16-07, 05:09 PM   #10
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Thanks everyone for all the information and personal experiences. It sounds like my experience is not uncommon and is most likely a water retention issue and muscle building.

I actually don't want to build muscle...if anything I have excess leg muscles from dragging my weight around and I used to do a lot of sports before getting fat. I've always been an active person even after gaining weight. I just need to tighten the muscles more and losing some wouldn't be a big deal.

I was so discouraged and fed up this morning after weighing I thought what's the point of trying?!! Why not just get that bucket of fried chicken I've been craving? Now I'm thinking I'll stick with the extra cycling efforts and wait a couple more months before patronising that fine food emporium KFC. By then I'll know if it is a reward for losing weight or giving up.
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Old 07-16-07, 10:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coasting
Last weekend I really pushed myself hard to try get myself off a weight loss plateau that I've been on for months. The strangest thing happened. Monday morning I weighed myself after using the bathroom (get rid of every bit of weight possible!) and I had gained 2 kgs i.e over 4 lbs! Same thing happened previous weekend. I do generally lose the gain over the next week before the next ride but that means I don't lose weight over time.

Saturday I did 80 miles (my longest distance yet due to getting lost on a planned 50 mile ride) solo - 5 hours
Sunday 45 miles group ride

Both were over hilly terrain where I pushed really hard uphill and there were a lot of hills. On the solo ride I specifically went to the steepest hills in the area. The group ride was especially hard becasue I was riding with people who were faster and much stronger climbers than me. Both rides exhausted me making me fall asleep after I got home. I did eat a lot post ride, but healthily - turkey, lettuce, cucumber, pasta, celery, eggs, peas

Some background: I was 210 lbs before the weekend. Height 5'10. Been cycling both days on weekends for about 10 months. I eat very healthily (no junk no added salt, very low fat, moderate carbs, lots of fruit and veg) - so healthy I get bored with the food I eat. Good cardio fitness. I don't get out of breath on solo rides though I do push hard (I always chase other faster riders whenever I see them and especially when they overtake me).

What's going on? Why do I keep gaining weight after rides? Why can't I lose weight over time? Anyone else see weight gain after rides?

Thanks
For the weight gain, I think I know what's going on. Simply speaking, you don't have enough sodium.

Your body has mechanisms to keep your blood sodium at a decent level (so you don't die). If you drink a lot of water to rehydrate, your body can't put it into blood volume (because that would send the sodium level lower), nor can you excrete it (because you lose salt there as well).

So, it stuffs it between cells, and you put on weight. And it will stay there until you get enough sodium, but if you're on a low-salt diet, it will take a while.

While some people are salt-sensitive and excessive use can lead to high blood pressure, it's not a problem for most people, and if you get too much you body can easily get rid of it. So, you need more salt during/after your hard rides, and not an insignificant amount - the recommendations are around 500mg sodium per hour, which is around 1000mg of salt. That's a lot.

To try to lose weight, I think you should work on your on-bike and recovery nutrition. You mentioned that you eat a lot when you get back - that's a good indication that you aren't getting your on-bike nutrition right. Your hunger is depressed while you are exercising, but you have low blood sugar when you get back and that causes a huge hunger spike.

If you take in 250-350 cal/hour of mostly carbs and 250-350 cal of a good recovery drink (I use endurox, others like chocolate milk) when you finish, your blood sugar will be constant and you won't have to eat a lot. Or, to put it another way, if you keep your blood sugar constant, you don't have to replace the fat that you burned.





Go read this post for a bit more info on sodium and a couple good references I found:

http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx/arch...xperience.aspx
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Old 07-17-07, 08:34 AM   #12
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That's super helpful, Eric. Thanks. You may have helped me figure out why I'm consistently 2-3 pounds heavier after a long ride. Our long rides are usually on Sundays. First thing I notice is that during these rides my trips to the restroom are less frequent than everyone else's. Red flag #1. Second, my weight is up 2-3 (sometimes a bit more) on Monday and Tuesday, and usually normalizes by Wednesday.

Mondays after long rides are "bathroom days" for me -- I must pee about 5 gallons.

The somewhat unavoidable conclusion is that my hydration practices suck -- whether I'm on the bike or off. I drink a lot of caffeinated drinks, which I'm sure doesn't help.

I assume that even if the drink I use while riding (usually Gu2O) has sodium, it's not helping much if I'm not consuming enough of it.

Besides drinking more on the bike, and the other obvious stuff, do you have a recommendation? Maybe some V8 or tomato juice pre- and post-ride? That stuff has more sodium than ocean water. I also notice that some of the gels (clif, I think is one of them) has a 4x sodium variety (but gels seem to have very little sodium to begin with).

How about a pinch of salt in each bottle during a ride?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericgu
For the weight gain, I think I know what's going on. Simply speaking, you don't have enough sodium.

Your body has mechanisms to keep your blood sodium at a decent level (so you don't die). If you drink a lot of water to rehydrate, your body can't put it into blood volume (because that would send the sodium level lower), nor can you excrete it (because you lose salt there as well).

So, it stuffs it between cells, and you put on weight. And it will stay there until you get enough sodium, but if you're on a low-salt diet, it will take a while.

While some people are salt-sensitive and excessive use can lead to high blood pressure, it's not a problem for most people, and if you get too much you body can easily get rid of it. So, you need more salt during/after your hard rides, and not an insignificant amount - the recommendations are around 500mg sodium per hour, which is around 1000mg of salt. That's a lot.

To try to lose weight, I think you should work on your on-bike and recovery nutrition. You mentioned that you eat a lot when you get back - that's a good indication that you aren't getting your on-bike nutrition right. Your hunger is depressed while you are exercising, but you have low blood sugar when you get back and that causes a huge hunger spike.

If you take in 250-350 cal/hour of mostly carbs and 250-350 cal of a good recovery drink (I use endurox, others like chocolate milk) when you finish, your blood sugar will be constant and you won't have to eat a lot. Or, to put it another way, if you keep your blood sugar constant, you don't have to replace the fat that you burned.





Go read this post for a bit more info on sodium and a couple good references I found:

http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx/arch...xperience.aspx
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Old 07-17-07, 09:03 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by RiPHRaPH
this could be fluid retention. Dehydration can lead you to retain more fluid, which can be heavy.
That would be my guess also. Weigh yourself once/week at a maximum. Look for trends. Don't try to explain any one variance. Go with the trend instead.

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Old 07-17-07, 12:14 PM   #14
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To combat the weight gain from water retention due to dehydration, I suggest using a sport drink such as HEED (my personal preference) or Accelerade. Plain water doesn't replenish sodium, potassium or the trace minerals you loose through sweating (the loss of which all contribute to water retention)

I prefer HEED because I don't like the excessive sweetness of Accelerade or Gaterade. Whatever you use, it has to be something that entices you to drink it often. You also have to remember to drink at least every 15 minutes. I can't remember what the recommended "dose" is, but I try to drink 2 good mouthfuls of fluid every 15 minutes when I ride. I go through one 32 oz water bottle every 90 minutes or so.

When I'm doing longer rides (over 90 minutes), I take snacks with me (Luna and Lara bars, dried fruit, nuts, etc). I try to eat about 150-200 calories every 60-90 minutes. When I get home from a long ride, I immediately have a recovery drink, which replenishes Glycogen (very important), stabelizes my blood sugar, and prevents me from totally raiding the fridge when I get home, so I'll have my recovery drink, take a nice long shower, and then fix myself a healthy, reasonable meal (3 oz of protein, 2 servings of veggies, and 1 serving of a whole grain).

By the way the 3 best proteins for a recovery meal are: fish, soybeans, and eggs. They are more easily digested than other types of protein, and they are not too heavy for the stomach to handle after a long ride.

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Old 07-20-07, 07:18 AM   #15
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One problem with starting a diet is that it needs to be adjusted over time. Calorie requirements change with weight, and so when one loses weight their Calorie intake requirement decreases. If you maintain the same Calorie intake, it eventually plateaus.
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Old 07-21-07, 11:56 AM   #16
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That's super helpful, Eric. Thanks. You may have helped me figure out why I'm consistently 2-3 pounds heavier after a long ride. Our long rides are usually on Sundays. First thing I notice is that during these rides my trips to the restroom are less frequent than everyone else's. Red flag #1. Second, my weight is up 2-3 (sometimes a bit more) on Monday and Tuesday, and usually normalizes by Wednesday.

Mondays after long rides are "bathroom days" for me -- I must pee about 5 gallons.

The somewhat unavoidable conclusion is that my hydration practices suck -- whether I'm on the bike or off. I drink a lot of caffeinated drinks, which I'm sure doesn't help.

I assume that even if the drink I use while riding (usually Gu2O) has sodium, it's not helping much if I'm not consuming enough of it.

Besides drinking more on the bike, and the other obvious stuff, do you have a recommendation? Maybe some V8 or tomato juice pre- and post-ride? That stuff has more sodium than ocean water. I also notice that some of the gels (clif, I think is one of them) has a 4x sodium variety (but gels seem to have very little sodium to begin with).

How about a pinch of salt in each bottle during a ride?
Your monday experiences are a pretty good indication that it is sodium related.

If you are putting on weight, you are actually drinking more than you need - you can try reducing your fluids a tiny bit.

I'm still playing with this myself. Here's what I'm doing:

1) Thinking more about starting with a bit more salt in my system when I start.
2) Getting a reasonable amount of salt with my hydration. You are limited by taste, and I don't think I can get enough salt without it bothering me. But adding some salt there is fine.
3) Beef jerky has worked well with me in the past.
4) I bought some real electrolyte caps (succeed! for me - others I know use the Lava stuff), which will give me 300mg or so per cap. I'm going to try one of those per hour. Endurolytes are way too light on sodium.

One of the references I found suggested that if your stomach starts feeling queasy or your hands and feet swell, that's a good time to take a electrolyte cap.

The references I found suggest something like 500-700mg/liter. I'm aiming for that much per hour...
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Old 07-21-07, 02:57 PM   #17
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Thanks, Eric. You'd think if I were drinking too much, I'd wouldn't be going 5-6 hours on long rides without a bathroom visit. People in my group always remark how I fail to need to refill my bottles when they do.

I bought some veggie juice, which packs a walloping 750mg of sodium per 8oz serving. I'll have a bit of that before I ride tomorrow, shoot for drinking one bottle (20oz) of Gu20 per hour or so, and have a bit more sodium/veggie juice when I finish. I may even pack a bit in my spare gel flask. I'm also helping myself to a few spare salt packets when I visit restaurants -- I'll keep a few in my seat bag, too. If I'm not "producing" I may add a bit to my bottles.

I'll see how it all "flushes out" over the next few days .

Thanks for the tips, and great links. My guess is that this, like so many things bike-related, will require some experimenting and tweaking over time.
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Old 07-21-07, 05:31 PM   #18
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As predicted by some of you, last weekend's weight gain from riding disappeared rather suddenly as the water retention ended. My body released all the retained water on wednesday and my weight dropped 3 kgs and stayed off.

The salt issue is interesting. For today's ride, I added a bit of salt to my home made energy drink (strong tea, honey and a bit of sugar. Unlike last weekend, I didn't gain much weight post ride. I did another 80 mile ride just like last week and it was totally different...I was no where near as tired as last time and felt I could have gone on for much longer. The hills also seemed so much easier. Maybe salt is the answer
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Old 07-21-07, 05:35 PM   #19
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I forgot one other change I made...I ate a fig roll after every hour of riding
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