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  1. #1
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    Size and Hill Climbing -- A Report

    Well, I just came back from my first semester at college.

    Since starting school, I've been riding more than ever -- usually circa 400 mile weeks -- and taking really good care of myself by sleeping tons, taking some supplements, using the schools ice baths to aid recovery, and monitering my body fat.

    I'm 6' 2.5" and last season I raced at an average of about 174 lbs. I'm not sure what my body fat was last season, but at the begining of the semester in Sep. 03' it was 8.4 %. I figured that it would be possible for me to get my weight into the high 160's so that I could climb better -- and do this without sacrificing the muscle I had. So I worked hard, and watched my eating. But the catch is this... I never weighed myself while I was at college.

    So... after training very seriously through fall semester to prepare for racing in 04', I felt very fit, and have been climbing MUCH better than ever before in my life. My body fat has also dropped to 6.8% (I think I can get it to 5.5%-6.0% for the important races of the season). But again, I didn't know for sure how much I weighed. Since my body fat dropped significantly, and I haven't been doing any lifting, I figured that naturally my weight had probably dropped into the 160's.

    When I got home the other day to MA from school in CA, I had the chance to weigh myself.

    I weigh 185.

    I don't know what the hell happened.
    How the heck did I put on so much lean mass?!?!

    I guess that for my height, I'm still not really THAT big, but I'm no longer a small guy. The fact remains that despite gaining about ten pounds (Try that while riding 400 miles weeks!!!) my climbing has hugely improved.

    Whatever... I guess the lesson here is that when you're trying to improve your climbing, losing weight isn't the only solution all the time. I've improved greatly by gaining strength -- and let me tell you, I'm getting meaner on the flats -- and that wouldn't have happened if all I was doing was losing fat and not putting on muscle.

    My first race of the season is in the begining of February and in 90 miles long with 13,000 ft (yes, you read right) of elevation gain as we go over 8 passes. A lot of pro teams should be in attendance. I'm excited to see how the new 185 lb. me will perform over a course like that.

    - MAURIZIO

    Edit: I realise that at my current height and weight that I'm proportioned a lot like Hincapie. That's not too bad I guess.

  2. #2
    bac
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    That is some serious muscle mass that you've added! I generally find that when I'm training, my total weight remains the same or decreases just a bit, but my % of body fat decreases several levels.

    Think of your body like a car. If you make the engine bigger, your car will go faster, yet it will be heavier with the added weight of the engine. So, adding a bigger engine is not going to make your car any slower!

    Good luck on the 13k worth of climbs!

  3. #3
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
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    power-to-weight ratio is responsible for your improvement. You may weigh more now but the added strength more than makes up for it.

  4. #4
    Jubalayo Unogwaja! Bokkie's Avatar
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    Maurizio, think of it like this: muscle mass is about 4 times heavier on average. As you improve your muscle/fat ratio, expect to put on weight. Don't be despondent about the increase in weight. You have it under good control and it seems you are being competently advised.
    If your bollocks ain't sore, yer ain't on yer boike!

  5. #5
    Pat
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    Quote Originally Posted by cycletourist
    power-to-weight ratio is responsible for your improvement. You may weigh more now but the added strength more than makes up for it.

    Power-to-weight ratio determines your speed on climbing. On flats, speed is determined mainly by power alone and weight is rather immaterial. On flats, you are working against mainly wind resistance.

    On hills, you are generally going too slow for wind resistance to be much of a facter. In that case it is how fast can you lift the weight of you and the bike? As you gain weight, obviously, you would tend to slow down. But gaining muscle mass while losing fat, is like dropping a larger engine into a car. Sure the car will weigh more but the increase in power will improve the power to weight ratio and increase acceleration. In your case, you have just dropped in the larger engine. Sure you weight more, but the gain in power more then makes up for it.

  6. #6
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    I weigh 185.

    I don't know what the hell happened.
    How the heck did I put on so much lean mass?!?!

    ****

    If it's your first semester in college, you may still be growing. A looong time ago, in my first year of school, I put on around 15 pounds of muscle without a lot of weight training.

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