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  1. #1
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    weight lifting and cycling

    I'm sure that you have all heard questions like this a million times, but I couldn't find anything in the archives that was similar to my situation. I am a small guy, 5'4 100 pounds soaking wet. I bought a road bike last summer and started riding a few times a week. By the time it was getting too cold for me to ride i was getting in about 200 miles a week. A few years back I was really into weight lifting and had my weight up to around 125. Now I'm starting to get back to my old weight lifting practices. I know that adding a little cardio while bulking is a good thing, but if I were to ride 100-150 miles a week how would I keep that from hurting my gains in the gym? I can tell you all of my exercises and supplements too if that would help. I wont post it unless its necessary to keep from having such large posts. Any information or help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Faster than yesterday
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    100 miles a week isn't so much volume that it should hurt you in the gym, but I'd be eating before, during, and after to make up any calories. bodybuilders typically gain mass, then shed fat, btw, rather than doing it all at once. The idea is to gain muscle, if it means putting on a little fat to make sure they maximize the lean mass gain. Before a competition, they "cut."

    If you don't really care about getting faster, you can keep your rides at a moderate intensity (12-15 RPE) and still get cardio benefits; there are benefits above this, but doing intense cardio isn't really conducive to gaining weight (duh). This will conserve some calories and save some training stress.

    For general health, it's great to incorporate strength training, but the cardio factor is much more important. I used to be basically an all-weights kind of guy, with the attitude that "exercise is exercise, right?". You'll find a lot guys like this at your local gym. Then I went to school for exercise physiology, which reformed my views quite a bit. In a nutshell: no, adaptations to weights and cardio are not even close to the same, in any way. There's a lot more to it than body weight and calories, just as there's a lot more to nutrition than fat, calories, and vitamins. Sorry, that's my PSA for the day.

    No criticism intended, just meaning to stimulate some thought as to why you want to gain a bunch of weight. I've been there before, and it took some thinking for me to realize that it wasn't actually what I wanted. Not to mention that my food bill was insane, and I wasn't even eating very good food. I'm a lot bigger than you (6'1", 158 lb), and it takes a lot for me to gain weight.

    I realized that I thought I was small, because of all the athletes I saw in the gym who were much bigger than I was. You know, the 200+, lean six-footers. But they just had different body types, and are actually atypical. Some guys here wish they were closer to your size. That's a climber's build, though slighter than most.

    Basically, I'd advise anyone to find some activity they really like to do, and do that. It's much more likely you'll develop a healthy lifestyle around something you like, than something you think you should do. Luckily, that's cycling for me. If it's bodybuilding for you, that's great. If that's more your thing, you're likely to get more (if not necessarily better) advice on a bodybuilding forum. You're more likely for someone here to tell you that lifting weights is totally useless, though they'd be wrong, of course.

    A side note: you added 25 pounds to a 5'4", 100 pound frame? Are you sure? Was it actually mostly lean (was your body fat measured)? You'll hear of 200+ lb baseball players showing up to spring training with "20 lbs of muscle" added from last year. Usually, though, they mostly just look pudgy. They may have gained 20 lbs, but it certainly wasn't all muscle. It's hard to gain that much lean mass, period, let alone in a period of a few months. If you were still growing and developing (were you in high school?), that's a different story, but that you're back down to 100 leads me to believe that isn't the case.
    Last edited by tadawdy; 02-23-10 at 07:10 PM.

  3. #3
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    I completely understand what you are saying. I really enjoy being in the gym and seeing the gains. I however really like riding my bike when the weather permits. To answer your question about my weight fluctuation. I started lifting at exactly 96 pounds. I lifted for about a year before I went to basic training for the Air Force. I obviously was unable to lift while at basic training, but I was on an eating waiver because i was "under weight" for my height. This meant that I was able to eat for longer periods of time and was given two protein shakes a day on top of my usual 3 meals a day. Don't get me wrong I was still getting plenty of exercise while in Texas, but it was mainly cardio. After basic training I weighed in at 112 which was a pudgy 112. However, while at my tech school I had a roommate who was really into body building and he kept me motivated to hit the gym with him every day after class (this onto of the daily Physical Training that we did each morning). When I left tech school I weighed 123 pounds. I was always eating military food, so it was as healthy as I could get at the time, but I wouldn't say that the food in the chow hall is that "unhealthy". I understand the disbelief, but the situation is also very bizarre.

  4. #4
    Faster than yesterday
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    Not disbelief, just reasonable skepticism.

    Anyway, cycling at a moderate intensity would be a good way to get in an hour or so of cardio on most days of the week, and could be done in conjunction with your lifting. If you eat enough, and hydrate properly, this shouldn't keep you from gaining in the gym.

    It would be best for your leg days to coincide with cycling off days, when possible. Not sure of your lifting schedule and your splits, but you get the idea here. When you're riding on the same day as another workout (upper or lower body), lift early in the day, and ride as a recovery type of activity later on...maybe a before/after work, or lunch/evening kind of separation. The order isn't as important with upper body work, but put your priority worjout first,and then it's warm down, eat your 3 to 4:1 CHOrotein, hydrate, and rest.

    Since you like riding, but it isn't your priority and you don't need to do intervals or other very difficult work, it doesn't matter if you do it fatigued. I'd keep up with my nutrition and hydration, but otherwise go out and enjoy yourself. If anything, it should actually help your recovery.

    For you, though, it sounds like you just need to eat more (as well as keep lifting). If you gained a bunch of weight during basic, where you get your fair share of jogging and marching (if I'm not misinformed), eating 5 times a day was certainly a part of it.
    Last edited by tadawdy; 02-23-10 at 09:07 PM.

  5. #5
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    I have hit the gym since High School Football, and will be 64 this spring. I have slacked off on the legs since I ride about 200+ miles a week when weather allows, and hit the trainer when it does not. I still do one set of 50 squats with body weight + 50 lbs on off days, and leg curls, 3 days a week. That, along with calf and reverse calf raise, combined with the Road Bike, suit my needs.

    You are very likely younger than I, and can hit it a lot harder. Figure out which one is your primary passion. Excessive gym time will hurt your cycling, and excessive cycling will hurt your gym time. If cycling is your passion, adding 20-30 lbs will slow you down on hills. My primary passion is on the road bike, but still hit it hard in the gym. I am 5' 11", 155-160 lbs, and right at 9% BF.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Thats a lot of leg work in a week SC. I do legs once a week myself. The advantage of cycling while wt lifting is that by reducing your body fat you actually look better. It will show your cut & definition & make you appear bigger. Use a mirror to watch your gains & ignore the scale.
    Hybrid) Trek FX 7.2
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  7. #7
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    You are right about ignoring the scale. As long as jeans are loose, I don't worry much any more. When jeans get tight, it means I have slacked off and have to get serious again. An old country boy likes to eat. :^)

    Although it has been maligned, is old and stodgy, the Mediterranean Food Pyramid has worked for me for many years. Although not the best diet, it is easy to follow, and does not impair one's ability to eat "regular" food when that is what is available. Many places where we eat when biking don't cater to a healthy life style. I have eaten so many bananas over the years I simply do not like them any more. I will gratefully accept them on a long ride, but would rather have most anything else.

    At 160 lbs, and having biked pretty hard for 20 years, the upper body gets tired with the weights way before the legs when I do squats. I mainly use the weights to balance so I don't get knees in front of feet. Not a good thing at my age. A life time paying dues at the gym is paying off big time now.

    When younger, I trained Sport Shooters, and worked with many National Champions. I still train Armed Professionals and Citizens in Armed and Open Hand Defensive Techniques, and think a good trainer should be able to demonstrate techniques they teach. Staying in shape is a tremendous edge at any age. I can still handle most folks half my age. This pays the bills, but cycling is the passion.

    I loaded up on Powerbars at Krogers tonight. They were on sale for fifty cents. I guess I will go back for more tomorrow, sure am ready to ride.

    Ride well, and often, my friends.

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