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Old 04-13-10, 02:04 AM   #1
leedavis88
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10% Body fat, how can I loose muscle mass ?

So I need some advice with weight reduction. Last January I weighed 225lbs and got into cycling.

I'm now 178lb and apparently 10% body fat. I'm 5' 10" and middle thigh is 22.5"

Basically I want to get up hills faster without further increasing my leg mass.

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Old 04-13-10, 02:29 AM   #2
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Congratulations on the weight loss and fitness improvements.

5% BF? Though some racers are in that range, it's considered below a healthy level for most.
You want to lose slow twitch fibres, but keep the fast twitch ones? Not possible. Which is good, because you want ST fibres for climbing. They're also less bulky than FT.
You want to climb faster? Eat healthy foods, and spend more some time climbing hills. Long ones.
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Old 04-13-10, 02:40 AM   #3
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upper body but why loose muscle? You can get away without some upper body strength but wanting to loose muscle could slow you down up the hills. I realize the pros are skrawny but look at the muscle distribution, anorexic on the top muscle bound on the bottom. It will likely depend on your muscle makeup on how much you could actually loose anyway.
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Old 04-13-10, 08:45 AM   #4
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Why would you want to do that? Are you a racer? The levels of BF that you are wanting to get to are not healthy for most folks.
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Old 04-13-10, 03:39 PM   #5
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Well I understand what you're saying. Our climbing ability is limited by our aerobic capacity, which even with the best training is only so large. So if you are getting dropped on hills and yet have low bodyfat, like you do, your only recourse is to lose protein.

That's never easy. The best way I know is the way Lance lost it before last year's TdF. Go out the door with two water bottles and just ride. Carry something with you to eat, but try not to. Just ride. Not hard at all, you just want the time. When you get back, eat, but don't stuff yourself. You won't be able to anyway. Have a recovery drink with the normal carb/protein ratio and then food that's half veggies. Keep your portions controlled, but make sure you get enough protein. You'll be hungry a lot, but the weight will melt off. The main thing is to keep the mileage up and the effort and calories down.

After your weight drops to around 155, you can worry about the fine points of strength and speed. A BMI of 22 is upper limit for many pros. Though I'm perfectly happy at around 25, but like you, know I could be faster if I were lighter, but my wife doesn't like skinny boys.
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Old 04-13-10, 03:56 PM   #6
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Is there any way to target the loss of slow twitch muscle fibres without effecting my performance?

Basically I want to get up hills faster without further increasing my leg mass.
Losing muscle mass?. You need a stricter diet & higher work/caloric output until you have achieved the desired weight & BF % you set yourself. You can go uphills until your blue in the face, if you don't eat anything or limit it considerably, your leg mass ain't staying around.
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Old 04-14-10, 04:03 AM   #7
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It's more important that we have a certain AMOUNT of body fat, than a certain percentage. If you're 5'10" and 178 lbs, with 10 % body fat, that's ~18 lbs of fat. I'm usually at around 135-140 lbs during the summer season, with around 8-10 % body fat, and could definitely lose some more without being unhealthy. That's something like 5-6 lbs less than you have, and we're the same height. So you could get down to 6-7 % body fat and end up with the same amount of body fat as I have then.

However, I wouldn't be too sure you have 10 % body fat. How do you know?
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Old 04-14-10, 05:03 AM   #8
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It's more important that we have a certain AMOUNT of body fat, than a certain percentage. If you're 5'10" and 178 lbs, with 10 % body fat, that's ~18 lbs of fat. I'm usually at around 135-140 lbs during the summer season, with around 8-10 % body fat, and could definitely lose some more without being unhealthy. That's something like 5-6 lbs less than you have, and we're the same height. So you could get down to 6-7 % body fat and end up with the same amount of body fat as I have then.

However, I wouldn't be too sure you have 10 % body fat. How do you know?
I have tanita BF scales that measure my composition as 8-10% body fat and are very pleased with my fat loss. I would like to get my course averages up and other than developing my overall fitness I believe my lbs per inch could be improved to aid my climbing. I do hill repeats to help with my climbing but are concerned that with increased strength comes increased mass/weight?

My motivation is that I'm considering joining a Club and perhaps Racing.

Thanks for all your comments so far.
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Old 04-14-10, 05:07 AM   #9
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Well I understand what you're saying. Our climbing ability is limited by our aerobic capacity, which even with the best training is only so large. So if you are getting dropped on hills and yet have low bodyfat, like you do, your only recourse is to lose protein.


That's never easy. The best way I know is the way Lance lost it before last year's TdF. Go out the door with two water bottles and just ride. Carry something with you to eat, but try not to. Just ride. Not hard at all, you just want the time. When you get back, eat, but don't stuff yourself. You won't be able to anyway. Have a recovery drink with the normal carb/protein ratio and then food that's half veggies. Keep your portions controlled, but make sure you get enough protein. You'll be hungry a lot, but the weight will melt off. The main thing is to keep the mileage up and the effort and calories down.

After your weight drops to around 155, you can worry about the fine points of strength and speed. A BMI of 22 is upper limit for many pros. Though I'm perfectly happy at around 25, but like you, know I could be faster if I were lighter, but my wife doesn't like skinny boys.
Thanks, I'll give this a shot. What HR zone do you think I should maintain as 'not ride too hard'?
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Old 04-14-10, 07:14 AM   #10
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great weight loss
impressively low body fat
can't imagine that's correct though
also can't imagine anyone would want to be 5%
I've heard that at 18% you can see your abs muscles

about your big legs, I imagine you always had stout legs? even as a teen? were you heavy as a teen?

I think the only way to get skinny legs is to run. cycling won't do it.
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Old 04-14-10, 07:41 AM   #11
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Tanita scales (I have one myself!) are fairly accurate when it comes to relative changes in fat percentage, however they are quite unreliable when it comes to absolute body fat percentages. That is, you can very well expect a change of 10 percentage points to be accurate, but if it shows that as being from 32 to 22, it could just as well in reality be 37 to 27 or 28 to 18. There's really no way of telling with that method.

The best way of getting an accurate measurement is to find a place where you can get it done using a BodPod or a water immersion tank. The next best thing after that is a thorough caliper measurement performed by an experienced user. Of course, the gold standard is any of several forms of transmissive methods (X-ray, IR) that look through the body to actually see and measure the fat directly, but they're both very expensive, somewhat invasive and usually completely inaccessible. Therefore, BodPod and such are the best for the average Joe.
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Old 04-14-10, 08:47 AM   #12
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Thanks, I'll give this a shot. What HR zone do you think I should maintain as 'not ride too hard'?
Zone 2. Which is a broad target. You'll have to see how it goes for you. You'll get starving hungry on the bike. If you start to get dizzy, you'll obviously have to eat a little. I try to keep it down to about 25 calories a hit. I like to have one bottle with Cytomax or HEED in it, about 100 calories, just in case. Put a Clif Bar in your saddle bag, too, for a get-home. I'm not Lance. As your body switches over to better fat and protein use, and you get better at knowing how hard to ride, your blood sugar should become more stable. Just don't try to climb hard - you won't be able to.

Watch out for personal problems. You'll get grouchy. This is not fun. Guys like Lance and Bjorne Riis are tough guys.
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Old 04-14-10, 10:01 AM   #13
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Carbons advice is spot on. I had to do this last year and after a while the ammonia smell doesn't bother you anymore. Just make sure you wash your jersey IMMEDIATELY after the ride, or it will eat through the fabric.
You could also try a high protein diet. Recent research suggests that a diet in protein actually strengthens the bodies ability to use protein as fuel, much the same way as a diet high in fat strengthens fat or a diet high in carbs strengthens carb utilization. Just make sure there is a calorie deficit, shouldn't be too hard as most protein is pretty brick like in your stomach.
Using your muscle will keep your muscle. At that weight, its obvious you worked very hard for that muscle. If you lift weights, reduce intensity, frequency, volume, all of it. Lift like wimp dat haz yet to be pawmped uuup! Even pushups, if you keep doing any sort of muscle strengthening exercise at a volume and intensity that is comfortable to you AS YOU ARE NOW, your muscle will be maintained. So make it a point to go waaaaaaaaaaaaaay easy.
Good luck on being a skinny ****!
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Old 04-16-10, 03:34 PM   #14
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Go to a low carb (less than 20 grams per day) diet or go zero carb. You will continue to lose fat. You don't want to lose muscle... but guess what? I don't know of a single diet where you lose significant weight without losing some muscle. It is just too hard to control your diet and metabolism to not lose any muscle. Do you know why those professional cyclists look anorexic in the upperbody? It's because, they don't do a lot of upper body muscle building work like they do with their legs. I'm sure protein/muscle is being metabolized from their legs when they are in a carbohydrate/fat deficit, but that muscle is rebuilt when they are not in a "starving" state. I don't see cyclists do the same type of exercise to rebuild their upper bodies from the effects of "starvation."

You will probably feel really lousy for the first few weeks. However, it is possible for your body to be reprogrammed to use fat as it's main energy source if you deplete the carbohydrates from your diet.

Check out Charles Washington's blog. He's an endurance athlete that lives a zero carb lifestyle:

http://blog.zeroinginonhealth.com/about/
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Old 04-16-10, 03:45 PM   #15
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Is there any way to target the loss of slow twitch muscle fibres without effecting my performance?
I'm not sure what you think you can target or avoid. I do know that if you are new to cycling, and new to aerobic exercise (endurance) then you probably would want to continue to develop more slow twitch fiber capacity.

The simple answer to your situation is to continue to exercise in the sports you want to be good at and avoid exercising muscles you don't use in that sport. If you are so dedicated to a sport that you are exercising at low fat-storage levels - it is unlikely you will be building much additional muscle mass, anywhere.
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Old 04-16-10, 03:48 PM   #16
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Concerned that with increased strength comes increased mass/weight?
Stricken your diet.


5'7.... 130-140lbs.



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Old 04-16-10, 07:27 PM   #17
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I have tanita BF scales that measure my composition as 8-10% body fat and are very pleased with my fat loss.
Those scales are BS.
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Old 04-19-10, 03:23 PM   #18
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Those scales are BS.
No, they're not. At least mine is very consistent when it comes to changes. But they are useless for absolute body fat percentages, unless you're totally clueless and only want a very rough estimate (like if you don't know whether you're at 10 or 30 %!).
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Old 04-19-10, 03:24 PM   #19
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But they are useless for absolute body fat percentages, unless you're totally clueless and only want a very rough estimate (like if you don't know whether you're at 10 or 30 %!).
Hence they are BS.

Anyway, a few years ago I gained 30 pounds over the course of a month and it never changed from 5%

I have a hard time believing that I didn't gain any body fat in that time.

And yes, I had an eating dissorder...
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Old 04-20-10, 12:01 AM   #20
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Hence they are BS.

Anyway, a few years ago I gained 30 pounds over the course of a month and it never changed from 5%

I have a hard time believing that I didn't gain any body fat in that time.

And yes, I had an eating dissorder...
Impedance is also extremely sensitive to hydration status. I had one tell me I was 3% BF. Compared with a DXA, it was off by about a factor of 3.

As for Lance losing weight...IIRC he used to weigh a fair bit more, but lost a lot during his cancer struggles and just didn't really rebuild his upper body afterward. I seem to remember someone saying he used to be in the 170's.

And, yes, you probably don't want to walk around with <5% BF all the time (body fat. Being less than 5% full of Bike Forums is probably a good thing.)

Caloric restriction is one way to lose lean mass. People who practice these diets usually stabilize at a lower body weight (and BMR).

Sports performance is an odd thing in that it doesn't always agree with what's considered healthy.

Have you ever considered that maybe you're not really built to be a climber, and no amount of kludging will make you one? Even many world-class cyclists can't climb as well as guys who specialize in climbing. Maybe you're more of a time-trialist? A sprinter?

I'd rather be a big beefy, kick-ass dude like Cancellara than the skinny guy I am, but I really can't gain 20 lb of muscle (we're the same height). The guy's a beast. I am not. Never will be. My endurance and relative Wattage are pretty good, though. Gotta play your strengths.

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Old 04-20-10, 12:04 AM   #21
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Ok, they're useless for absolute body fat. But they do work very well for tracking changes, at least in my experience. During a weight loss episode two years ago, I tracked my body fat using several different methods: calipers, measuring tape (along with several calculation methods) and the Tanita unit. They all agreed to within two percentage points when it came to changes and trended similarly.
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Old 04-20-10, 12:29 AM   #22
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Ok, they're useless for absolute body fat. But they do work very well for tracking changes, at least in my experience. During a weight loss episode two years ago, I tracked my body fat using several different methods: calipers, measuring tape (along with several calculation methods) and the Tanita unit. They all agreed to within two percentage points when it came to changes and trended similarly.
They may track similarly, but the guy could be at a considerably higher BF% than he thinks. Basically, those methods can all have precision (if done right) w/o accuracy.

Maybe OP should get his BF measured by a more accurate method?
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Old 04-20-10, 11:58 AM   #23
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"lose" weight. "loose" is how baggy clothes fit, or like your front tire just before it falls off.

"If you lose a lot of weight, your skin will be loose."

Loose rhymes with juice...Lose rhymes with booze.


http://www.educationbug.org/a/lose-vs--loose.html
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