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  1. #1
    Senior Member asiamj's Avatar
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    Muscle Fatigue and Leg Soreness...Why????

    Hello All,

    I recently got back on my bike about 4.5 months ago....I love it!! And this is about the same period I started a low calorie diet. Thus, far Iíve lost about 40 lbs or about 2.2 lbs per week. I eat a lot of protein (fish, steak, fruits, etc.) except for lunch (salads mostly) and not too much carbs. during this period. I consume about 1500 calories per day and burn about 700+ per day exercising which mostly consist of bike riding and the (moderate walking) treadmill.

    I am usually riding about the same distance and intensity, however, I notice that I am experiencing muscle fatigue and/or soreness on my thigh/leg areas. I also notice that I use to ride on the highest gear and now thatís getting too difficult for me and I now have to reduce to lower gears. It just seems that after 3.5 months of riding I should improve my leg muscles, so why am I experiencing muscle fatigue? And, soreness on my thigh/leg areas?

    Iíd appreciate your comments. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Blocking your fire exits coffeecake's Avatar
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    You're not eating enough? Unless you're a small dude, 1500 calories a day is not going to give you enough fuel. I realize you want to lose weight, but you can probably up your intake a bit without gaining extra pounds if you're working out.
    Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.
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  3. #3
    Faster than yesterday
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    Probably not eating enough. Cutting calories and optimum sports nutrition (for performance and recovery) are not best friends. It's usually said that a caloric deficit of 1000kcal/day is the max you should consistently do. So...if your RMR is about 1500 kcal, and you do 700 kcal of exercise, and add in a few hundred lifestyle calories, you're right there. Anything more and you're pushing it.

    I'd agree that you probably just aren't fueling well for your rides, which is admittedly a tricky proposition for someone whose main goal is to lose weight. If you take basic recommendations and eat 20-25 g protein with 80-100 g carbs (4:1 ratio) after a good, hard workout, that's 400-500kcal right there. And a 500 kcal deficit is the lower limit of the typical dieter's target range. In some ways, you're robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    I don't know if your diet is low-carb, but that will certainly make you feel tired on a long ride. If you're not eating them during (like in a sports drink), your performance will suffer. If you don't eat them after, you will not recover as well.

    Cycling isn't an activity that should regularly leave your muscles sore. Unlike running or weightlifting, there isn't much of an eccentric phase in cycling. This is the contracting but still lengthening phase, and is much of what makes you sore afterward. Ever hiked? It's the downhill part that kills your legs.

    As for using a smaller gear: that isn't necessarily bad. Most of us started out grinding a big gear because we thought it was pro, and now spin at a more reasonable cadence to place more load on our hearts. What cadence are you using now? Are you going the same speed or faster than you were?

    Unfortunately some of that 40 lb you've lost is lean mass, so it certainly wouldn't be surprising if you were stronger in absolute terms before the weight loss. In relative terms, which are often more important to cycling (think W/kg, VO2 max), you should be better now. Weight loss is made worse if you lose the weight very quickly (though a couple pounds a week is considered reasonable for an overweight man). It is also made worse if you were doing no strength training during your weight loss.

    Another possibility is that you are overtrained to some degree. If you've been really ambitious with your diet and exercise this whole time (40 lb at 2lb/wk is about 5 months) without any breaks, it might be time for a little R&R. This is just a possibility, food for thought. Try looking at your diet first, and see if some additional calories (carbs?) are in order.
    Last edited by tadawdy; 04-26-10 at 05:22 PM.

  4. #4
    Don't Believe the Hype RiPHRaPH's Avatar
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    I'm going to go in a different direction here and say that your bike setup may be robbing you of power and may be sapping all your power.
    If you are newer to it, what you think is a good fit is actually off a bit.
    Are your legs fully extended during pedal?
    Saddle too low or pushed too far back?
    Are your hands/shoulders fatigued?
    I have enough words to get me into trouble, but not enough to get me out of trouble.

  5. #5
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    It's all so complicated and personal. Basically, when you're burning that 700 cal., you're burning a mix of carbs, fat, and protein. So if your dietary protein intake is below the sum of what you're burning and what you need for maintenance, yup, you lose skeletal muscle. Bummer. I'd try one simple thing as a test: keep your diet and exercise exactly as is, but add 4 servings of 15g of a quality flavored protein, mixed in water. Take three just before meals and one at bedtime.

    If you feel better in a week, that was it. If you feel worse in a week, it's the other option: you're overtrained.

  6. #6
    Senior Member asiamj's Avatar
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    First of all..I like to thank everyone for your comments...I find them very helpful.

    tadawdy: I don't consume too much carbs lately, but having said that, I don't feel tired during the day at all. As a matter of fact the opposite is true. Just after riding, my legs feel a little light, fatigue, and sore. I ride (2) times per day when weather permits, once in the morning and once in the evening. Each ride is about 45-50 mins. It's not a difficult ride..mostly flat. I do this almost everyday, unless the weather is not cooperating then I use the treadmill (2) times per days for 30-35 mins each time. I am not refueling since I wake up around 7am, and I am out the door. When I get back that's when I have some Fiber One Cereal w/o milk and lots of water.

    I ride a mountain bike, and had to reduce my gears to 3 to 4 clicks down. I believe that I am maintaining the same speed, but sometimes that is difficult too do unless I reduce to more lower gears again. The way this trend is going...I'll run out of lower gears!! I am going to try giving myself a 1 day break.

    RiPHRaPH: Good points..I will look into this.

    Carbonfiberboy: Thanks for the advice..but it sounds like a lot of calories..is it?

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asiamj View Post
    I do this almost everyday, unless the weather is not cooperating then I use the treadmill (2) times per days for 30-35 mins each time.
    Quote Originally Posted by asiamj
    It just seems that after 3.5 months of riding I should improve my leg muscles, so why am I experiencing muscle fatigue? And, soreness on my thigh/leg areas?
    Doing treadmill & cycling together is know to damage the rectus femoris. The length-tension relationships are all wrong. That muscle will shorten during cycling, lengthen during running. Recipe for disaster.
    Last edited by $ick3nin.vend3t; 04-27-10 at 08:08 AM.

  8. #8
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asiamj View Post
    <snip>.

    Carbonfiberboy: Thanks for the advice..but it sounds like a lot of calories..is it?
    As we all should know, protein is 4 cal./gram. So that's 60 cal./15g or an additional 240 cal. protein/day. The question this treatment asks is, "Are you burning more protein than you're eating?" Going calorie negative on your protein is unlikely to have a good result. OTOH, this may be more than you need. But the first thing to establish is whether or not this is the problem. Later you can worry about getting it dialed in. Use whey protein - no lactose in it. Optimum Nutrition is pretty tasty - for what it is, I mean.

    Treadmill is fine. Heh. All duathalon and triathalon riders run, or those sports wouldn't exist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by *****3nin.vend3t View Post
    Doing treadmill & cycling together is know to damage the rectus femoris. The length-tension relationships are all wrong. That muscle will shorten during cycling, lengthen during running. Recipe for disaster.
    Where do you come up with this nonsense. How is running on a treadmill different than running outside? Lots of people manage to run and bike without damaging any muscles.

  10. #10
    Faster than yesterday
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    When I get back that's when I have some Fiber One Cereal w/o milk and lots of water.
    ok. so post-ride, you should be having some easy-digesting protein, too. This is doubly true if your post-workout meal is also your breakfast. Don't like milk? You could use soy. Or whey protein. those are all good ones.

    After that morning ride, your muscles definitely want some food. It's especially important to give it to them if you want to ride hard again later that day. Glycogen synthase, insulin...there are lots of reasons it's opportune to refuel your muscles after a good workout.

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    Where do you come up with this nonsense. How is running on a treadmill different than running outside? Lots of people manage to run and bike without damaging any muscles.

    Lots of people manage to run and bike without damaging any muscles. That means "Not everyone".

    The OP is going from an activity that is non-impact (0%) to imposing 5-6 times bodyweight on joints & "unconditioned" muscles that are used in running, causing stress fractures & muscle soreness & that is the very reason why he is experiencing problems in thigh/leg areas. The muscle is going from a shortened state to being lengthened rapidly & under greater force.

    Also, If the OP is getting sufficient protein for muscle repair, can't see it being a caloric issue.
    Last edited by $ick3nin.vend3t; 04-28-10 at 01:54 PM.

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    Also asiamj, start riding in the rain, has some major health benefits over riding in the dry, but so does riding in sunshine. But a combination of the two will bring greater benefits.
    Last edited by $ick3nin.vend3t; 04-27-10 at 03:54 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member asiamj's Avatar
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    Carbonfiberboy: 240 Calories/day Only..I'll give that a try..heading to GNC.

    gregf83, tadawdy, & *****3nin.vend3t: You guys are great and very knowledgeable. Great discussion....Also, will get a rain jacket for the next ride in the rain

    Thank you again!!

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    asiamj, Seriously, you need to choose between running or cycling.

    Its either '4 walls' or beautiful scenery.

  15. #15
    Heeeeeere's Johnny! live311's Avatar
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    You could also be overtraining. I would recommend taking a few days off from working out, maybe a week, and then get back into it and see how you feel.

  16. #16
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asiamj View Post
    Carbonfiberboy: 240 Calories/day Only..I'll give that a try..heading to GNC.

    gregf83, tadawdy, & *****3nin.vend3t: You guys are great and very knowledgeable. Great discussion....Also, will get a rain jacket for the next ride in the rain

    Thank you again!!
    Depends on how warm you ride. I can't tolerate a "rain jacket" for more than about 3 miles. I drown in it. I wear thin microfiber jackets that are "Lightweight, windproof, water resistant" like this: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...1511000_400070
    Pearl Izumi and most bike clothing manufacturers have something similar. Look for the quoted words.

  17. #17
    Faster than yesterday
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    asiamj, Seriously, you need to choose between running or cycling.

    Its either '4 walls' or beautiful scenery.
    One could also choose to run outdoors, which is really a different animal than running on a treadmill.

    As for running being "known" to "damage" the rectus femoris: the sentiment is out there, but that's probably embellishing a bit. Chronic running, without other proper maintenance such as stretching and strengthening activites, can lead to imbalances and tension in the muscles that cross the hip, the rectus femoris being one of these (the only quadriceps muscle to do so). It is an antagonist of the hamstrings, and when you have these chronic imbalances/insufficiencies in one, it can cause problems with the patella and the lower back. Not everyone gets them, or ever has an issue. It all depends on your flexibility to begin with, pelvic tilt, running posture, gait mechanics, etc...

    It is not safe to say that running and cycling combined will damage you. I would say that a cyclist who hasn't done much weight-bearing work or exercise to counter typical cycling postures is more likely to face some biomechanical issues.

    It is feasible to enjoy running and cycling at the same time, assuming you work up to it.

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    Banned. $ick3nin.vend3t's Avatar
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    I love these Giordana clear rain capes for rainy weather, seeing Lance wear similar out on training runs in Belguim/Netherlands in the DVD Lance Armstrong - The Road to Paris.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=mt1p...eature=channel

    Inspirational!.




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