I'm a 54-year-old-woman with a sedentary job (other than climbing the stairs to my office several times/day, and walking to/from my car to the office). My regular long weekend ride is on Saturdays with the group, and sometimes on Sunday with my husband or friends.
Earlier this year we joined a gym so I could do spin classes after work (instead of ride in the dark). Soon after we joined, I signed up with a trainer for overall strength training. During this time, my workouts both on and off the bike are a much higher intensity than before. I am much stronger and I notice the benefits on the bike, esp. on hills and trying to catch the faster riders.
However, I weigh about 6 pounds more. I know that muscle gain usually = weight gain, so what really concerns me is that my jeans and summer shorts also fit tighter.
In analyzing this, I'm wondering if this is to due one or a combination of the following:
-- Not eating enough
-- Eating too much (over-compensating after a strenuous workout, as I am very careful other times)
-- More workouts in the higher zones (spin class, heart-pumping strength training, treadmill intervals, etc.) and much fewer lower-impact cardio/fat-burning workouts.
I'm not as concerned about the weight as I am about what appears to be extra fat girth. I worked hard to lose weight and successfully kept it off through a changed lifestyle of healthy eating and regular exercise.
Prior to ramping up earlier this year, I took more long walks and moderate weekend rides. Now, the weekend rides are with a faster group with my heart rate in a higher zone for most of the ride. While I am much stronger, I'm concerned about my heart rate being in a higher zone for most of a long ride (3-4 hours), and the accumulation of additional body fat in spite of being careful of what I eat.
It seems that maintaining one's weight/size is more difficult when training ramps up. I eat a healthy diet with small meals/snacks every 2-3 hours or so throughout the day to maintain my blood sugar, and choose healthy foods. I try to avoid sugar except during and immediately after rides. So, I'm at a loss.
Any suggestions would be much appreciated.