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  1. #1
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    Questions on starting a Biking Plan for weight loss..

    So, personally, I really really hate running... hence my interest in biking. I've recently put my beheamoth of an old 30+ lb mtb on the back burner, learned some stuff about bikes, got a new road bike, a Giant OCR2 fitted to me, and everything, Tiagra on the front derailleurs, 105 on the rear and have spent a little while getting used to it.


    Now onto the question..

    I started out doing a little over 12 miles for a couple rides, and what on my mtn bike took me about an hour and a half got cut down on my new bike by half so I decided after that to up my rides to an hour and a half which has since carried me roughly 17 and a quarter miles. I don't have a speedometer/odometer yet (need to get a new job so I can afford more of these things..) but through meticulous google earth tracking got the route out to roughly 17.25. Now, this is also taking into account running into a large number of people that I encounter walking around the harbor (Riding around San Diego Bay) but once I break free of the general area which may only be a mile at most of people, I go at a pretty decent pace, I'm willing to guess 15mph or a little more as my friend once tracked our pace and I felt 15 was a little slow.

    I can devote more time a day, but would love to try and limit most of the rides to 2 hours if possible, and was wondering what the best way would be to try and lose weight. I am of course, changing my diet to a far healthier one, low sodium, low carb, higher protein, downing far more water than I ever have and whatnot, so I believe it's basically boiling down to how I do the ride. Any tips? I try and keep my gears on one of the 3 hardest in the back and the hardest in the front (I have.. 27 gears- 9 in back, 3 up front).

    If wanting to drop weight really means upping my time beyond a couple hours a day, I can do it, but not as easilly. I've been biking on average 2 or 3 days, taking a day off, 2 or 3 again, a day off etc..

    Oh, and for reference, I don't look it but I weigh 219. Growing up I earned a lot of lean muscle working on construction type jobs with my dad but theres also that layer of fat I would love to remove. I'm 5'8" and tend to be on the stockier side, my goal is actually around 180- I can't follow the BMI chart because I'm one of those unique builds that it won't conform to. I'm sure we all can agree someone who can knock out 17 and a quarter miles without being 100% dead at the end in an hour and a half and doesn't get super winded at any point or play a serious set of tennis for hours straight without dying doesn't really qualify as obese.. but I digress. Only last thing I have to add is I carry a lot of weight in my upper legs, so it would be great if someone could mention ways to drop weight from my thighs, at least, from the part that isn't muscle which would be great so my jeans start fitting better in that area.. hah.


    Any and all helpful tips are appreciated!!! thanks much!

  2. #2
    Senior Member astonmartinag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottydoesntkno View Post
    I try and keep my gears on one of the 3 hardest in the back and the hardest in the front (I have.. 27 gears- 9 in back, 3 up front).
    The only mistake I saw on your post. To understand the need to use the lower gears, you must understand aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise would be something like running where your lungs really get going, vs. anaerobic which would be like weightlifting. Now if you are using the biggest gears, you are not pedaling as quickly, therefore not getting as much aerobic exercise. So what I recommend is using the lower gears, and spinning at a higher RPM. This will increase your heart rate, and get you a more cardio intense workout...leading to more weight lost.

    Honestly, however, none of that makes a difference...just ride as hard as you can, in the time you have. Remember 1 hour rides aren't always better then a 30 minute hard ride.

    For reference...I've added 12 miles to each of my rides over the last 3 months. I've gone from 152 pounds to 138 pounds (i'm 5'7.5). The only thing I changed was cut out the junk, and increase water intake (along with an increase in mileage).

    All that matters is the fact that your riding.

  3. #3
    Cat 4 J.Lockdown's Avatar
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    I agree with the post above, that you should not just be working on those high gears. Its the spinning that is really going to help you. I would suggest once you get the money to, purchase a heart rate monitor which will help you keep tabs on how hard your working. Its always very possible to work yourself harder then you should thus causing problems instead of good results. Along with that a computer will be nice to see ur RPM's mainly.

    For your diet you need to watch out what ur eating and how much. If you restrict yourself to so many calories a day you must be careful. If you dont have enough cals before a ride and during (mainly long distance rides for during) you can hit a wall were your body as no engery left. Their are also certien things you want to have in your system to give you good preformance on your rides. Things such as carbs and protiens can help you preform better on and after rides. Its some what of a test and go deal, were you need to try some things to see how your body responds to them.

    Water is going to be your best friend, but watch out how much you drink. Drinking to much water can cause you to have low amounts of salt in your system (signs of this include swelling of the joints, fingers, and toes). But in your daily diet you should be fine. A good way to see if you are getting rid of to much salt is looking for white lines on your biking gear.

    Also you should bike when you want to. Dont force yourself to ride cause then its not fun, it should be something you enjoy. I ride 6 days a week mainly because its enjoyable and great way to relax/de stress from things. If I dont feel like riding one day I wont push myself to ride. Along with that its not as much about distance but time since you can work harder on one route then another. Make the most of your time you have, push yourself hard enought but not to the point of pain. A normal ride for me is anywere from 20 to 40 miles with longer rides on weekends.

    In anycase its a great way to lose weight and get more healthy. I have the problem on the other hand of needing to gain some weight, since I started biking I cant seem to get enought calories in me daily. I eat around 3,000 to 4,000 calories a day with about 1500 of those getting burned on rides.
    Last edited by J.Lockdown; 09-13-08 at 04:21 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Ah, well the diet is no problem, it's healthy- from the editors of Men's Health so it's pretty easy to follow, and extremely healthy with great food, but that diet, or rather change of eating style, works. Just following the diet last summer when I was back home, I lost an easy 15 lbs, without exercise. And I won't be overdoing the water. (and it doesn't cut TOO much sodium, but enough that it's not like I'll be eating big macs or whoppers everyday- those are the sodium overkills, ya know.. I get plenty of healthier ammounts)


    The thing is... with using the higher gears to spin more (which I totally understand btw), It feels almost like I can't get my pedals to keep me moving, almost as if your spinning backwards, there seems to be no real... traction- I guess is the word I'm looking for. The pedals I have aren't specialized for bike shoes (not clip ins) but they have the little cage for regular shoes at any rate. Can't really afford the clip-in style at the moment. The heart rate monitor- I have, and will start using, totally forgot about that. But going back to using (are they.. higher?) gears, the ones where I have a LOT less traction when biking on pretty level surfaces, any recommendation on which gear I should use- or should I really not focus on going fast as much as focusing more on the.. spin.. and heart rate for continuous amounts of time?

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Surf Bum
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    FWIW, according to something I found on the internet, cycling 15mph for one hour will burn about 870 calories. Do that four times a week and you've burned the equivalent of one pound (3500 calories) a week. Knock 500 calories off your daily intake and that will be another pound. Two pounds a week is a pretty decent weight loss, no?

    However, I suspect an increase in cycling or any physical activity may actually make you eat more though so it's kind of a three step forward, two steps back thing. But hey, it'll all work out in the end.

  6. #6
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    I think the word you are looking for is resistance, not traction But in any case, you measure this in RPM (revolutions per minute) and it's called "Cadence" and it should be around 80-100 RPM.

    If you are in too low a gear, you won't feel any resistance, and your cadence will be too high, and you get that no-resistance feeling. If you are only in the big chainring (front) and the little cogs (rear) for the hardest 3 gears, if your cadence was in that range you would be going really fast - so your current candence is probably quite low.

    The downside of pushing a big gear in a low cadence (called "mashing") is that it puts a lot of strain on your knee joints. It's healthier for your knees to "spin" - or use a lighter resistance at a faster cadence. Of course, if you ride up and down hills, you need to shift up and down -- shifting generally to try to maintain a fairly constant amount of resistance and cadence. (if it gets steeply uphill, resistance will go up and cadence down, as you reach the limits of your gear range)

    In a flat area, I would start in the middle ring in front and the middle of your cassette, and shift down and up just in the back, looking for a gear that you feel like your legs are going around pretty fast, you aren't pushing really hard, but you aren't getting that "no resistance" feeling. Ride in the flats for a while, getting used to a higher cadence, then try to maintain that cadence/resistance as you add hills by shifting.

    The goal for weight loss is to get your heart rate up, and you can definitely do that with a nice fast spin.

    Congrats on starting to exercise, biking is great!



    Oh, and pacificaslim, that calorie number is totally dependant on your body size and how hard your heart is working. So I'm just saying, don't start counting calories burned based on those numbers.

    here's something i found that you can put in your gears and it tells you how fast you go at what cadence:
    http://www.hostelshoppe.com/tech_gearcalc.php

    here's a site i used to count calories and that helped me come up with a daily calorie goal for weight loss, based on the amount of hours of activity that you also enter:
    www.sparkpeople.com
    and
    www.calorieking.com
    ...

  7. #7
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    I have a similar build. I am 5' 8" on a good day, and weighed 220 when i started working out 3 months ago. Now I am 195, from cardio and a good program from muscle and fitness. I bought my first road bike when I had to delay from running because of a slight tear in the hamstring- trying to keep up with teenagers at 41.

    I'm big on interval training. I think pushing it for a few minutes, then moderate for a few intervals for twenty minutes will be good then just do the rest of your ride at a moderate pace. You also should probably have one day for a few hours at a moderate pace.

    I am new to road bikes, but have been pretty successful with cardio overall, and I think the principles apply to machines, running, biking, taebo, etc.

    I have to say I like riding on paved trails here in Columbus Ohio. I didn't know they were so nice and I am mad i waited until the end of summer to buy my bike. I have also got some good workouts by trying to keep up with the faster guys - for at least a little while.

    I also suggest not shooting for a certain weight, but maybe waist size will be a better indicator of health. I started off at a 40 waist and now I am a 35. If I drop to a 33 and am still over 180, I will be happy. Anyway, good luck and shoot me a message if you need support. My problem is not dropping weight, its staying there. Usually i work out hard, burnout, and then gain the weight back. This time I take breaks, don't panic when some weight comes back, and try to change up y approach, because your body adapts.

    Good luck

  8. #8
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    yes... resistance, and thanks a lot for the tips and info! I was reading somewhere that a person had suggested starting at a speed you like, then shifting for a higher.. "cadence!" and trying to keep up with the same speed, which, in all truth makes sense and totally jives with everything I've read here.

    Now I need to go get work done on my final project and get my mind off the fact that I used the word jive... heh

    And- as for weight vs. belt size- I totally agree there as well. I am still fitting into the same pants and shorts I've had for years, however I noticed they were fitting a lot, well.. tougher now, than they used to, especially the jeans- which was the trigger to make me want to start all this, that and I figure it's not bad to want to be healthier now at 23 if it will help me to live longer and happier than counterparts my age who huff and puff to push a car or just go for a joy ride on a bike.. hah. And like I mentioned earlier, BMI can't relate to all people, some people have naturally more lean muscle which will throw the whole scale out of whack by your weighing more and being just as healthy.

    Thanks again!
    Last edited by scottydoesntkno; 09-13-08 at 09:24 PM.

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