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    Training and weight questions

    So this week I bought a trainer and I have ridden it everyday since I got it, for at least an hour a day. On a normal week I ride between 10-50 miles. This week I have already ridden nearly 100. With all this training I have been finding myself hungrier...is this normal? Since I have been hungrier I have eaten more, but still healthy foods...I'll add a little more granola to the bowl in the morning or instead of just fruit for a snack I'll add toast with peanut butter and a piece of fruit. It seems to work to keep me full for a while, but man have I been hungry.

    It scares me because I haven't felt this way since before my lifestyle change a year ago...and I don't want to gain weight back. Which brings me to my next question...for a while I have been holding steady at 167lbs, but as of today I weigh around 172...a 5 lb gain in less than two days...not cool with me...why in the hell would this happen? Surely it isn't because I started eating more healthy foods is it? This gives me the worst feeling in the pit of my stomach...I hate the fact that I have gained...even when training harder than normal!

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    The good folks on this forum will tell you that you can exercise the weight off, but it rarely works that well IMO. There are probably several reasons for this. One reason is that exercise will make you hungrier, often out of all proportion with the amount you're exercising.

    My advice would be to back off to your previous average level of exercise. You said this is 10-50 miles, so back off and ride 30 miles next week. Then gradually increase your weekly time by no more than 10 per cent a week. So...30 miles...33 miles...36 miles...40 miles....until you reach your upper limit in terms of time available. Hopefully the gradualness will "fool" your body into thinking it isn't working harder, so it doesn't need more food.

    Also watch the intensity of your riding. You might be working harder on the trainer than on your real bike. I find that when I increase intensity, I increase hunger. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't increase intensity--just that you should also do that gradually. In fact, you might want to wait until you've reached maximum volume before you increase intensity at all.

    Another thing that I noticed is that you're down to 167 pounds. For a guy of average height, that's a pretty good weight. How much more are you wanting to lose? Maybe it's time to think about switching into maintenence phase?
    Last edited by Roody; 01-16-09 at 10:08 PM.


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    I've seen authoritative proclamations that exercise increases appetite and that it decreases appetite. I even saw one peer-reviewed scientific study which claimed to provide good evidence for one. I thought the methodology was crap and I dont even remember which it supported. I dont know if there is better scientific evidence now than I found when I last searched a few years ago. Bottom line is that its subjective anyway, if your belly says you're hungry and science says you shouldnt be who ya gonna believe?

    My personal experience has been both. I've never biked seriously as exercise yet. Speed-walking/running I found that an hour at easy aerobic pace didnt change much. 20 minutes at max continuous effort or intervals didnt change much. 30-45 minutes hard left me famished, especially trying to do it regularly(every other day). Makes some sense that glycogen levels might drop to critical levels after that kind of workout and trigger increased appetite.

    YMMV, no, YMProbablyWilllV

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalchef87 View Post
    With all this training I have been finding myself hungrier...is this normal?
    It puzzles me why people ask this question. You burn more calories ... so your body figures it needs more calories ... so you're hungry. Of course it's normal!!

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    It puzzles me why people ask this question. You burn more calories ... so your body figures it needs more calories ... so you're hungry. Of course it's normal!!
    And of course the kicker is that your body doesn't really need all those extra calories, since it has plenty of fat for energy. Unfortunately, the body (or is it the brain?) prefers the "lazy" route of ingesting easily metabolised food, rather than going to the trouble of converting fat tissue to energy that can be used by the cells.

    I think this might be one reason that if I don't eat immediately after exercise--waiting a while for fat metabolism to kick in--I feel less hungry and I tend to eat less.


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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcbcbc View Post
    My personal experience has been both. I've never biked seriously as exercise yet. Speed-walking/running I found that an hour at easy aerobic pace didnt change much. 20 minutes at max continuous effort or intervals didnt change much. 30-45 minutes hard left me famished, especially trying to do it regularly(every other day). Makes some sense that glycogen levels might drop to critical levels after that kind of workout and trigger increased appetite.

    YMMV, no, YMProbablyWilllV
    I also have noticed different hunger responses to different exercise routines. Weight lifting makes me ravenous for a couple hours. My daily routine bike riding (one or two hours at a utility rider's pace) doesn't make me hungry. Intervals make me tired but not hungry. A long ride--over 4 or 5 hours--makes me hungry and also makes me crave certain foods. This will last for 24 hours or even longer. This might be glycogen depletion, but I don't think 30-45 minutes will usually deplete glycogen.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    It puzzles me why people ask this question. You burn more calories ... so your body figures it needs more calories ... so you're hungry. Of course it's normal!!
    some reasons why it may not be so simple:

    http://www.bodyandfitness.com/Inform...s/exercise.htm

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0616115855.htm

    http://www.oregonlive.com/health/ind...best_appe.html

    http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/ar.../il/il05a.html

    http://blog.nutritiondata.com/dietin...ise-as-an.html

    All on the first page of a google "exercise appetite suppression". Scanning them quickly it seems that they are mostly different ideas with only a little overlap.

    I'm not saying these are right or even that I agree, just that it is an issue that warrants some research and thinking about.

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    I'd try adding some low-fat protein to your diet rather than increasing the carbs. Even small amounts of meat tend to keep my appetite in check better than starchy/sugary(including fruit) foods do. Maybe keep some baked skinless chicken breast around for a snack. There are plenty of ways to spice it to help prevent it from becoming too boring.

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    Do you use a heart rate monitor? If not, I might suggest putting that on your short list of things to purchase. I don't think you need an expensive one to get the benefits. In fact, if you have more than one bike, I'd suggest an entry level HR monitor that is easy to move from one bike to another or to wear on your wrist when walking/running/lifting weights, rather than a HR monitor that is built in to a bicycle computer.

    If you conduct a 2X20 lactate threshold test (see the sticky on this forum) then you can determine your lactate threshold (LT). Then for my understanding, you want to put the bulk of your riding at levels below your LT, with a few intense intervals thrown in. It seems to me that a two hour ride at lower intensity has less increase in hunger than an all out balls-to-the-wall 2 hour ride. But your HR zone will vary depending on your objective. I'm in weight loss mode so I keep the intensity most of the time well below where I was riding before I got the HR monitor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Another thing that I noticed is that you're down to 167 pounds. For a guy of average height, that's a pretty good weight. How much more are you wanting to lose? Maybe it's time to think about switching into maintenence phase?
    My initial goal was 275, but my weight kept coming off, so I would like to shoot for 160. I need to study up on maintenance phase...because I don't actually know how to just maintain the weight loss.

    Last night I rode for around 45 minutes very low intensity....actually it was only about 10.5 miles. Today I am going to try and shy away from eating more than I normally would, but eat foods that keep you full longer.

    I still don't understand the 5lb gain in two days tho...

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    Quote Originally Posted by metalchef87 View Post
    My initial goal was 275, but my weight kept coming off, so I would like to shoot for 160. I need to study up on maintenance phase...because I don't actually know how to just maintain the weight loss.

    Last night I rode for around 45 minutes very low intensity....actually it was only about 10.5 miles. Today I am going to try and shy away from eating more than I normally would, but eat foods that keep you full longer.

    I still don't understand the 5lb gain in two days tho ...
    That can't be fat Not physiologically possible. Has to be mostly either water balance or crap balance. Perhaps you were actually dehydrated at the low weight?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcbcbc View Post
    That can't be fat Not physiologically possible. Has to be mostly either water balance or crap balance. Perhaps you were actually dehydrated at the low weight?
    I agree, or perhaps a combination of BOTH? I know when i am in a weight lifting phase, i go up about 6-7 lbs very quickly for the first week or week and a half, then it balances out as my body "readjusts" to the different routine and intake requirements and the median gain is usually around 2-3 pounds of lean muscle mass for a three week period.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalchef87 View Post
    My initial goal was 275, but my weight kept coming off, so I would like to shoot for 160. I need to study up on maintenance phase...because I don't actually know how to just maintain the weight loss.
    Generally, the less you weigh, the harder it is to lose weight. Going from 275 to 167 is like taking off a 108 pound backpack. Obviously you are using much less energy (calories) just to move your body from place to place. (There's another reason that people plateau, but I'm not going to mention it because it'll just start a flame war.)

    Maintenence of weight loss is exactly the best purpose of exercising a lot. Studies show that people who maintain weight loss usually exercise for 60 to 90 minutes a day. They also weigh themselves frequently and eat good breakfasts, among other habits.

    Last night I rode for around 45 minutes very low intensity....actually it was only about 10.5 miles. Today I am going to try and shy away from eating more than I normally would, but eat foods that keep you full longer.
    This is not a low intensity pace for somebody at your fitness level or cycling experience level. It would probably burn more calories if you cut back on the intensity and doubled the duration--although this is a controversial issue.

    Mileage is irrelevant. The crucial factors are time and perceived exertion (or heart rate if you use a monitor).

    I still don't understand the 5lb gain in two days tho...
    Probably fluid balance, as others said. You shouldn't worry about short term gains, but you should be very aware of longer term trends of a week or more. I've had good success with this formula:

    "Weigh yourself on the scales. If you gained weight, eat a little less next week. Repeat on a weekly basis for the rest of your life."
    Last edited by Roody; 01-17-09 at 10:34 AM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Generally, the less you weigh, the harder it is to lose weight. Going from 275 to 167 is like taking off a 108 pound backpack. Obviously you are using much less energy (calories) just to move your body from place to place. (There's another reason that people plateau, but I'm not going to mention it because it'll just start a flame war.)

    Maintenence of weight loss is exactly the best purpose of exercising a lot. Studies show that people who maintain weight loss usually exercise for 60 to 90 minutes a day. They also weigh themselves frequently and eat good breakfasts, among other habits.



    This is not a low intensity pace for somebody at your fitness level or cycling experience level. It would probably burn more calories if you cut back on the intensity and doubled the duration--although this is a controversial issue.

    Mileage is irrelevant. The crucial factors are time and perceived exertion (or heart rate if you use a monitor).



    Probably fluid balance, as others said. You shouldn't worry about short term gains, but you should be very aware of longer term trends of a week or more. I've had good success with this formula:

    "Weigh yourself on the scales. If you gained weight, eat a little less next week. Repeat on a weekly basis for the rest of your life."

    Well I have the qualities/habits listed of the maintenece phase, I weigh every morning and exercise pretty much daily. Also I eat healthy 99 percent of the time...no fast food, no excessive sweets, etc...mostly fruits and veggies, then beans and peanuts for protiens...though occasionally I'll dip into some meat.

    I'm sorry, before I put my initial goal at being 275 I meant 175.

    And I think the workout last night was pretty low profile...I wasn't working hard...my heart rate couldn't have been up to it's max...or near it I wouldn't think. I need to get a monitor I guess. I think other suggestions may have been true about the dehydration and weight...I usually don't drink enough, but since getting the trainer I have been making sure to drink more water...

    Today I haven't been as hungry, I ate a small bowl of granola w/ soy milk for breakfast at 6am, then at 9:30 I ate 1/2 an orange and a slice of whole wheat bread w/ peanut butter and I drank about 10 ounces of OJ with it. For lunch I'll probably eat a salad, PB sandwhich, and an apple...or maybe another bowl of granola who knows.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalchef87 View Post
    Well I have the qualities/habits listed of the maintenece phase, I weigh every morning and exercise pretty much daily. Also I eat healthy 99 percent of the time...no fast food, no excessive sweets, etc...mostly fruits and veggies, then beans and peanuts for protiens...though occasionally I'll dip into some meat.
    Just bear in mind that some "healthy" food has as many calories as junk food, and too much of any food will make you fat. I know this from experience! Watch the portion sizes on those fruits, beans and nuts. Also watch your condiments and beverages.

    And remember that you need MUCH less food to maintain 170 pounds than to maintain 250 pounds. Off the top of my head, it might be as much as 800 calories less, but you can look that up. To me this is the heartbreak of dieting. You lose the weight and you want to go back to eating whatever you want. But you have to eat much less than you want to keep the weight off.

    That's one reason to exercise more during the maintenence stage. If you burn 500 calories, you can afford one "treat" that day. Also, you have a little cushion in case you screw up and eat more than you should once in a while.

    And I think the workout last night was pretty low profile...I wasn't working hard...my heart rate couldn't have been up to it's max...or near it I wouldn't think. I need to get a monitor I guess.
    You sure didn't have your HR near max for 45 minutes! But it was probably higher than you thought it was, and probably higher than it needed to be. Remember that for weight maintenence you should be trying to exercise for more than an hour every day, if you can possibly find the time. You can't do that volume of high intensity exercise until you're in better shape than you are now (based on the fact that you're only riding 10-50 miles per week). You will be unable to sustain it, and you'll either get hurt or just get too tired.

    Addendum: You do not need a heart rate monitor unless you're training for competition. The Perceived Exertion Scale is perfectly adequate for fitness and weight loss training. It has the advantage of helping you to become more aware of your body and is, of course. cheaper and less complex than using a HRM.
    Last edited by Roody; 01-17-09 at 03:34 PM.


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    Quit weighing in daily. There's no need for that at all, and it will just frustrate you. Your weight will fluctuate daily. I'd also try lowering the carbs a bit and increase the protien. This might trigger your body to start burning fat. Also, make sure your actually eating healthy fats. You should check out myfitnesspal.com. Also find a good online caloric needs calcuator and figure out what you need to either maintain or lose, based on your goals. Be sure to include an estimate of calories burned from your cycling workouts. If you want to maintain, it's pretty much calories in, calories out. If you want to lose, create a healthy deficit. Don't lose more than 2 1/2 pounds a week.

    Oh yeah, quite sweating it, and celebrate your accomplishment!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    Just bear in mind that some "healthy" food has as many calories as junk food, and too much of any food will make you fat. I know this from experience! Watch the portion sizes on those fruits, beans and nuts. Also watch your condiments and beverages.

    And remember that you need MUCH less food to maintain 170 pounds than to maintain 250 pounds. Off the top of my head, it might be as much as 800 calories less, but you can look that up. To me this is the heartbreak of dieting. You lose the weight and you want to go back to eating whatever you want. But you have to eat much less than you want to keep the weight off.

    That's one reason to exercise more during the maintenence stage. If you burn 500 calories, you can afford one "treat" that day. Also, you have a little cushion in case you screw up and eat more than you should once in a while.



    You sure didn't have your HR near max for 45 minutes! But it was probably higher than you thought it was, and probably higher than it needed to be. Remember that for weight maintenence you should be trying to exercise for more than an hour every day, if you can possibly find the time. You can't do that volume of high intensity exercise until you're in better shape than you are now (based on the fact that you're only riding 10-50 miles per week). You will be unable to sustain it, and you'll either get hurt or just get too tired.

    Addendum: You do not need a heart rate monitor unless you're training for competition. The Perceived Exertion Scale is perfectly adequate for fitness and weight loss training. It has the advantage of helping you to become more aware of your body and is, of course. cheaper and less complex than using a HRM.
    Just because I only ride 10-50 miles a week doesn't mean that is the only exercise I get...I run, play racquetball, play basketball, not to mention that I walk nearly 9-10 miles a day at my job...cycling is just my way around during the winter...until I got the trainer. I am in pretty good shape...better than most anyway.

    I probably should watch the amount of fruit I intake...today I had 3 oranges and an apple, 2 bowls of granola with soy milk(like one cup granola each time), and a waffle...with syrup...I know I know.

    Protien today from soy milk, fruits duh, but no veggies...but this is not typical, just what I have been eating for like a week.

    Typical eating style is granola in the morning, pb sandwich with fruit for lunch, and mostly veggies for dinner...I don't eat a lot of meat...by choice. I'll try to work in more protein.

    I only drink water and fruit juice, but I'm talking like 1 glass of OJ per day, maybe two.

    Weighing in daily is just a habit I have formed...I am anal about weighing in, I can't help it. I know I need to relax and enjoy life sometimes but I am paranoid of weight gain...

    I am going on a 40-50 mile ride tomorrow...can't wait!

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalchef87 View Post
    Just because I only ride 10-50 miles a week doesn't mean that is the only exercise I get...I run, play racquetball, play basketball, not to mention that I walk nearly 9-10 miles a day at my job...cycling is just my way around during the winter...until I got the trainer. I am in pretty good shape...better than most anyway.
    I kind of wish you had mentioned this sooner. In the OP it sounds like you don't get much exercise, and like a relatively small increase in your riding had left you feeling like you were starving to death--something that usually happens to people who aren't very active.

    Congratulations on your success, and enjoy your long ride tomorrow.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I kind of wish you had mentioned this sooner. In the OP it sounds like you don't get much exercise, and like a relatively small increase in your riding had left you feeling like you were starving to death--something that usually happens to people who aren't very active.

    Congratulations on your success, and enjoy your long ride tomorrow.
    Sorry, I should have mentioned that sooner...but I just didn't think about it. That is why it doesn't make since to me...I add 100 extra miles and suddenly I am starving, but hey I guess if my body is hungry I need to feed it.

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    CONGRATS! on the weight loss,three years ago i started my weight loss by commuting to work,ten miles a day,before i knew it i had dropped around 60 lbs.,so iam at the weight i want to stay (170/5'11),but i have people saying i look to skinny! and i eat six to seven times a day (small portions)NO suger drinks,i do a couple gallons of water a day ,(drink on it all day),,i do a thirty mile loop on my rode bike at least once or twice a week,and me and the wife walk 2/3 miles five times a week.with all this i still drop weight fast and stay full on snacks ! ALOT OF FRUIT,ALOT OF OATMIL(weight control by Quaker has the lesser suger),hope this helps and GOOD LUCK! nice blog by the way

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    I suggest weighing yourself once a week max! Also at the same time in the morning after you get up and go to the bathroom, before you eat. Also I would trade the granola(sugary) for oatmeal(no sugar). After your ride make a recovery shake(limit the sugar) which will fill you up for a while. Great job by the way!! I give kudos to you. I know exactly where you are coming from if you know what I mean.

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