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Training & Nutrition Learn how to develop a training schedule that's good for you. What should you eat and drink on your ride? Learn everything you need to know about training and nutrition here.

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Old 06-27-11, 07:48 PM   #1
harisund
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Losing pot belly - Faster or longer?

My Sports Tracker profile I started creating and using recently is here. I have been maintaining around 12-14mph, 30-35 minutes, ~8 ish mile bicycling runs.

Right now, I just want to lose my visible stomach. That's about it. I know the basics, calories spent should be more than calories taken in, can't spot reduce, etc etc.

So ..what do you guys recommend I do? Should I increase the distance / time I exercise? Or should I try to pedal faster and harder ?

Another note, it appears as if I am pushing my pedals as hard as I can ... is that a good thing or a bad thing?
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Old 06-27-11, 07:56 PM   #2
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Eat Less, belly shrinks.
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Old 06-27-11, 08:03 PM   #3
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If your sole focus at this point is weight loss, I would first increase total hours per week until you are at the limit of your schedule, then begin adding hard days as you gain fitness. As far as what constitutes a "hard" day and how fast - that is a whole 'nuther thing.

Regarding "pushing hard on pedals" - what is your cadence? Probably want to keep it above the mid 80's at a minimum on average, and work toward mid to upper 90's as you develop. Most beginners find themselves pedaling with a very slow cadence, which is not generally a good thing.
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Old 06-27-11, 08:12 PM   #4
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Ok, so increase total hours per week. I think I can try that. My curiosity was primarily the difference between attempting to go all out and riding 14 miles per hour but only doing that for 30 minutes before I tire out, and riding at 12.5 miles per hour but being able to pedal for an hour at the same rate.

The cadence part, I am pretty sure my cadence is not low and I have a decent understanding of gears, but the numbers, I have purchased a cadence computer and I will see what results I can get from that ..
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Old 06-27-11, 08:30 PM   #5
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I've slowed my cadence down because my nominal was 110-120. My heart rate was always exceedingly high, and I dropped from 155 to 143 in 2 weeks. Stopped there, but 3 months in I have a very slim tummy (lots of fat still!) and I'm stronger. I gained muscle, lost lots of fat. The quick drop was probably water weight from excreting excess sodium.
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Old 06-27-11, 08:54 PM   #6
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Ride more, eat less.

Riding longer but slower will burn more total calories than a short fast ride. So if you have the time, do it. If you don't have the time for a long ride, do a shorter faster one.

If you can build up to 3-4 hour long rides you'll burn a lot of calories. You will have to eat some to ride over 2 or so hours. But that's ok because you may eat 150 cal/hr but burn 500 cal/hr at an endurance pace. It adds up.
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Old 06-27-11, 09:03 PM   #7
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I would think of it in terms of miles. More miles = more calories. Speed can be deceiving because you may go harder but not as far. Time can be deceiving because you may go further but not harder.

*edit: that last sentence should probably be rephrased - you may go longer but not as hard.

Last edited by dolanp; 06-27-11 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 06-27-11, 09:11 PM   #8
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The pros (and coaches, and amateur racers) do training in terms of time, not distance.
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Old 06-27-11, 09:13 PM   #9
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Riding longer but slower will burn more total calories than a short fast ride. So if you have the time, do it. If you can build up to 3-4 hour long rides you'll burn a lot of calories
I didn't know that! Thank you, I shall put in some more time .. that I can do.

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You will have to eat some to ride over 2 or so hours.
Can I take that as a rule of thumb? I generally just carry water with me, and atleast on the weekdays I won't be doing more than an hour or 75 minutes of cycling .. is there any pre-cycling snack that might be worth it? (I generally have an apple)

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I would think of it in terms of miles. More miles = more calories. Speed can be deceiving because you may go harder but not as far. Time can be deceiving because you may go further but not harder.
That makes sense. I am probably going to follow this ..
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Old 07-01-11, 05:21 AM   #10
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www.myfitnesspal.com
I lost 60 lbs and I've kept it off. Eat less for weight loss. Ride more for fitness. I see many people fail to lose weight by focusing on the exercise component. Nutrition and calorie intake is the key to controlling weight. Riding the bike means you can eat more calories. You must still be in control of how many that is. A typical basket of chips and queso will cost you 30-40 miles on the bike. It is easy to ride the bike and gain weight if you eat too much. Picture is before and after. Time between photos is 9 months. Most of my riding has happened since the weight loss.


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Old 07-01-11, 08:38 AM   #11
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***WARNING***

The increase in mileage/distance is directly proportional to an increase in a passion for cycling and stress alleviation.
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Old 07-01-11, 08:58 AM   #12
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www.myfitnesspal.com
I lost 60 lbs and I've kept it off. Eat less for weight loss. Ride more for fitness. I see many people fail to lose weight by focusing on the exercise component. Nutrition and calorie intake is the key to controlling weight. Riding the bike means you can eat more calories. You must still be in control of how many that is. A typical basket of chips and queso will cost you 30-40 miles on the bike. It is easy to ride the bike and gain weight if you eat too much. Picture is before and after. Time between photos is 9 months. Most of my riding has happened since the weight loss.


Solid work. I lost about the same amount of weight a few years ago and also have been keeping it off. You are 100% right about tracking everything you eat. People often 'reward' themselves with food after exercise and end up overdoing it and undoing their hard work.
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Old 07-02-11, 08:02 PM   #13
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Answer? It depends.

Try this on a treadmill so you can check out the difference for yourself:

Do one session where you perform hard interval runs for 45 minutes- do 2 minutes as hard as you can running with a 30 second- 1 minute rest. At the end of 45 minutes, note your total calorie output.

The next day, take a 75 minute easy run and note your total calorie output.

You're going to notice something- the caloric output will be pretty close. In some cases, if you're really efficient and in pretty fit shape, you'll find that the 45 minute interval run may even produce a higher caloric output.

So- if you're short on time, I always suggest intense interval training sessions. If you've got the time, go for the longer ride where you sustain an average speed. Both have their benefits.

The one thing that is true is that you do need to watch your eating- creating a deficit of 200 calories per day and training 5- 6 days a week will trim you down, no matter if you choose to go with longer workouts of a steady pace or a shorter workout at an intense, higher workout.

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Old 07-03-11, 09:53 AM   #14
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I don't see you losing weight by exercise alone. I figure it takes me at least 70 miles (and could be more) to burn a pound of fat. Also that fat burning figures that I am not eating any more as a consequence of riding 70 miles (and that will NEVER happen). Exercise can help weight gain but you will have to watch what you eat pretty carefully. It is very easy for a bunch of calories to hide out in one's diet. So many of our convenience and snack foods are incredibly calorie rich.
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Old 07-03-11, 03:25 PM   #15
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Another note, it appears as if I am pushing my pedals as hard as I can ... is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Yes it is a bad thing - mostly because it is unlikely you will keep doing it - which will lead to quitting and more yo-yo dieting.

Focusing on you paunch or gut or whatever should be a secondary goal - that only comes in to play after you have reached your ideal body mass.

And again -it is the long term that counts in regaining a great body shape. The mechanisms surrounding different body fat tissue make it nearly impossible to lose quickly. If you are really vain - and have the money -then get to a doctor that likes to cut.

The only other "healthy" avenue is to introduce activities that "jar" the fat tissues. Sprinting, jumping rope or any exercise that invokes connective tissues of the torso will help "hide" fat tissue and generally improve what is known as a "good physique."
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Old 07-07-11, 08:25 AM   #16
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People are saying that exercise won't help you lose weight. I agree that you have to diet too, but exercising regularly (as you're doing) will increase your metabolism and you'll feel your body demanding more calories as your workouts get more advanced. Reward your hard work by eating HEALTHY and varied food until you are SATISFIED. Not binging nor starving.

As the others said, longer workouts burn more calories than short, intense workouts. If you can feel your heart beating, even if you're not going that fast, you're doing good. Keep pushing. But not too hard cause you'll get discouraged or injured.

I find that it's actually easier to work out every day rather than 3x a week (or whatever doctors are recommending) because a regular schedule becomes a routine part of my day and keeps me feeling healthy. This also allows me to vary the intensity of the workout without losing progress. If I'm not feeling it, I'll just go on a nice and easy ride, just to get out in the fresh air, move around, and then stretch. And if I skip a day or two it's no big deal. I congratulate myself if I've gone the same distance or more than the day before. And each time I feel I'm about to wear out, I try to push just a teensy bit harder. Then I coast down some fun hill and go home pleased.
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Old 07-07-11, 08:56 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by harisund View Post
My Sports Tracker profile I started creating and using recently is here. I have been maintaining around 12-14mph, 30-35 minutes, ~8 ish mile bicycling runs.

Right now, I just want to lose my visible stomach. That's about it. I know the basics, calories spent should be more than calories taken in, can't spot reduce, etc etc.

So ..what do you guys recommend I do? Should I increase the distance / time I exercise? Or should I try to pedal faster and harder ?

Another note, it appears as if I am pushing my pedals as hard as I can ... is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Do a little research. You want to be in a moderate exercise mode for a long duration to burn fat. Intensity workouts will put you in a high cardio zone, and that's not what you want. Back off, spin easy. If you can't carry on a conversation while biking your effort level is too high for what you're looking for. If you want to build strength and cardio, then start pushing it.
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Old 07-07-11, 09:44 AM   #18
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Thanks a lot for your responses guys.

Lessons learnt, watch what I eat and longer drives.

I have increased my distance from 8 miles to 10 miles, which allows me to cycle for around 40 minutes and a little more as opposed to my earlier 33. .. I will probably increase it a little more, and continue watching my diet (I am pretty sure that's the reason why I am not losing any weight)


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***WARNING***

The increase in mileage/distance is directly proportional to an increase in a passion for cycling and stress alleviation.
This I agree with
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Old 07-08-11, 03:12 PM   #19
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So ..what do you guys recommend I do? Should I increase the distance / time I exercise? Or should I try to pedal faster and harder ?
Yes. Riding harder will increase the power you can sustain at lower intensity levels, but can't be done every day (you won't be fresh enough, and attempting to will leave you both slow and tired). A couple of hard days with 10 minute threshold intervals, some endurance riding, and some time off the bike are normal with every fourth week a rest week where you only ride at an endurance pace. Riding hard will increase your resting metabolic rate for hours and burn a few hundred more kilo calories. Easy rides won't do anything for you once you're off the bike.

Quote:
Another note, it appears as if I am pushing my pedals as hard as I can ... is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Bad. You'll fatigue much sooner at the same power / rate of energy consumption and risk knee problems.
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Old 07-09-11, 03:02 AM   #20
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I recomment longer slower, speed will happen when it wants to. Enjoy the work out so that you are more sure to be regular
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Old 07-09-11, 03:18 AM   #21
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Yep, that's what I am going to aim for . I am going to get a cheap heart rate monitor, try to be in the upper fat burning, lower cardio zone and try to go longer !
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Old 07-09-11, 04:31 AM   #22
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I've found that getting a rough idea of how many calories it takes to do a certain activity makes me focus on whether I really want that snack. Easy example - I reckon on burning about 40 calories per mile on my bike, and there are about 500 calories in a Snickers Duo. So it's an easy question to decide whether the Snickers is worth 12 miles on the bike. Or, put another way, if I ride 12 miles and then eat the Snickers I might as well not have bothered doing either, from a simplistic calorific point of view (OK, that ignores the enjoyment of the ride and any fitness benefits, but you get the picture)

It took me a while of fiddling with the calorie meter on the treadmill at the gym to figure what I could have deduced if I'd stopped to think about it, namely that if I cover a mile I burn a certain number of calories regardless of my speed. If I'm sprinting I burn more calories in a given time but it doesn't make much difference in terms of calories over a given distance. When cycling as your speed increases you get more of an issue with wind resistance and it takes ever-more effort to gain each successive mph on your speed (the same would apply to running outside rather than on a treadmill).

So on that basis if you're covering a set length and doing it faster and faster you'll gain a relatively small amount in terms of calories burned off. If you ride for a set time and cover longer and longer distances you'll be burning more and more calories. Don't forget that as you lose weight so it takes longer to burn calories, simply because you're moving less weight around.
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Old 07-09-11, 05:37 AM   #23
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As others have alluded to diet is most important to weight loss. You can't outrun a bad diet with exercise. The fact is you are consuming between 2000-3000 calories in food ( guess ) and burning maybe 400 riding.

You have to be careful here. High endurance cardio can be counter productive because you will naturally eat more in response, even if eating healthy you can easily over consume if you are not tracking you intake. Strength training and proper nutrition is important so that you end up losing the fat but retaining as much of the muscle mass as possible.

I went through this last year from a BMI of 32 down to 20 with calorie counting ( LoseIt! app ), biking, and rock climbing as the main parts.

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Old 07-10-11, 09:37 PM   #24
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You can't outrun a bad diet with exercise.


I wish I had taken some proper before-and-after pictures starting in 2009. I was at my heaviest that I've ever been, and I was riding more than ever, too.

235 lbs in Oct 2009, nearly got below 200 a year later, popped up to 215 this past March, and over the past week I broke the 190 mark. I'm never going over 200 again if I can help it -- this just feels too good.

You know Lance's line, "It's not about the bike,"? When losing the pot belly, it's about the kitchen.
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Old 07-11-11, 04:02 AM   #25
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I agree that riding longer helps to keep the weight off.

What works for me even better, or better in combination, is running. Some sports, like running, have an appetite suppression effect (sometimes big sometimes small). Usually only for a run of more than 40minutes. If I do a high intensity workout, running, biking, or ball sports, my muscles get more sore and it's the opposite - extra hungry so I eat more.
But all this varies by the individual so use these responses as a guide to find your own path.
having said that, gotta run!
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