I am getting back into cycling after a 5 year layoff. I am 28 years old, 5' 8" and weigh 188lbs. This is down in the last 6 weeks from a high of 203 lbs. In order to lose weight I have cut my caloric intake (duh). I am eating 5 small meals a day for a total of around 1100 calories. I am steadily losing 2 lbs per week and am happy with my progress. My goal is to get down to 170 lbs and then reevaluate my fitness.
Right now I am cycling twice during the week (never 2 days in a row) for 1 hour at as great of an intensity as I can maintain. I am trying to increase my average speed, which is at this point a very pathetic 13.5 mph. Then, I ride once on the weekend to increase my distance riding capabilities. I have finally made it up to 20 miles per weekend ride, and am planning to add 5 miles each weekend.
Here are my questions:
When I ride I am not excessively winded (which as a former smoker surprises me), instead I simply have no power in my legs (they burn like crazy with minimal effort). That is the reason why I haven't been riding more frequently. I assume that my leg muscles need time to rebuild after each workout. Am I correct, or should I start riding every day (the weather is great and it sucks to sit inside)? Given that I am at around a 1000 calorie daily deficit, is my body going to have the energy to build leg muscle? Can I really expect to get stronger while losing 2 lbs a week? One last note is that I drink a protein shake with 24 grams of protein immediately after each workout, hoping to help build leg muscle.
I appreciate any advice.