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  1. #1
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    Weight Loss plateau ...

    So in my last 8 months of riding (easily 1500+ miles of everyday commuting and weekend riding) I've lost about 30 lbs. The riding was complimented with some martial arts classes 2-3 times a week and (very) little change in my diet.

    Now that the cold is upon us, I have noticed that I've stopped losing weight. I'm at 14.5-16% body fat and have been stuck there for the last 2 months.

    I know that's a decent place to be but I was wondering if I:
    1) Need to turn it up a notch (more riding or extra workouts)
    2) need to relax as the cold season somehow makes the body's metabolism slower
    3) Need to really change my diet

    to get to the next level.

    Anyway your thoughts would be most appreciated as usual.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

  2. #2
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    Well
    1) yes
    2) Probably
    3) yes

    This will probably get moved to the training and nutrition folder before long and if you search there you will find most of these answers I believe. I am in the same place as you I am guessing. I was 250 ish in Jan of 04 and am 220 now (5'10" so I still have a ways to go). I have been between 220 and 225 for several months and since the weather is getting cold here in the north east I am riding less. If either of us is going to loose more weight we need to do 1 and or 3. From what I have read here and elsewere what happens is you improve your diet a bit and exercise more and are shedding a bunch of weight but then hit a major plateau. I have read this over and over and the explanation is that your bady has now adjusted to the new diet and the rides and has leveled off. To loose more you need to do something different be it more longer harder rides or eating less or maybe cross training (I stopped running when I started cycling a lot and maybe that was a big mistake).

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jslopez
    So in my last 8 months of riding (easily 1500+ miles of everyday commuting and weekend riding) I've lost about 30 lbs. The riding was complimented with some martial arts classes 2-3 times a week and (very) little change in my diet.

    Now that the cold is upon us, I have noticed that I've stopped losing weight. I'm at 14.5-16% body fat and have been stuck there for the last 2 months.

    I know that's a decent place to be but I was wondering if I:
    1) Need to turn it up a notch (more riding or extra workouts)
    2) need to relax as the cold season somehow makes the body's metabolism slower
    3) Need to really change my diet

    to get to the next level.

    Anyway your thoughts would be most appreciated as usual.
    Don't know your diet, but I can tell you that if you really want to lose more weight, you need to eliminate some pretty detrimental foods, mostly of the potato and fried families. Also, if you increase your rides by 15 minutes of moderately paced riding, that will make a difference. Make gradual changes in riding duration and immediate changes in how much processed, nutrition poor food you eat, and you will see a nice steady drop of poundage...until the next leveling off...but that usually happens around 9-10% body fat for men. Then it gets a little tougher...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasschopper
    Well
    1) yes
    2) Probably
    3) yes

    This will probably get moved to the training and nutrition folder before long and if you search there you will find most of these answers I believe. I am in the same place as you I am guessing. I was 250 ish in Jan of 04 and am 220 now (5'10" so I still have a ways to go). I have been between 220 and 225 for several months and since the weather is getting cold here in the north east I am riding less. If either of us is going to loose more weight we need to do 1 and or 3. From what I have read here and elsewere what happens is you improve your diet a bit and exercise more and are shedding a bunch of weight but then hit a major plateau. I have read this over and over and the explanation is that your bady has now adjusted to the new diet and the rides and has leveled off. To loose more you need to do something different be it more longer harder rides or eating less or maybe cross training (I stopped running when I started cycling a lot and maybe that was a big mistake).
    NO MORE FRENCH FRIES EVER

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    And I forgot buying a new All CF bike. That helps most people, lol

  6. #6
    He drop me Grasschopper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zensuit
    NO MORE FRENCH FRIES EVER
    Yea yea I know but it is sooo hard...I am sure the ice cream needs to go too. I am sure I will retool the diet a bit and start runing again in the spring especially if I don't get it and keep it under 220.

    In other news my Salsa showed up yesterday and my build kit should be here on Thursday.

  7. #7
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zensuit
    Don't know your diet, but I can tell you that if you really want to lose more weight, you need to eliminate some pretty detrimental foods, mostly of the potato and fried families. Also, if you increase your rides by 15 minutes of moderately paced riding, that will make a difference. Make gradual changes in riding duration and immediate changes in how much processed, nutrition poor food you eat, and you will see a nice steady drop of poundage...until the next leveling off...but that usually happens around 9-10% body fat for men. Then it gets a little tougher...

    9-10% would be ideal for me. I'll try to ride more/harder but with the cold and sunlight situation I'd rather not force it. On the home front thought the new spinervals DVD (climbing) my wife got does kcik a$$.

    Thanks for the tips.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

  8. #8
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zensuit
    And I forgot buying a new All CF bike. That helps most people, lol
    Yeah that pretty much makes sure that I ride everyday.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grasschopper
    Yea yea I know but it is sooo hard...I am sure the ice cream needs to go too. I am sure I will retool the diet a bit and start runing again in the spring especially if I don't get it and keep it under 220.

    In other news my Salsa showed up yesterday and my build kit should be here on Thursday.
    I dropped 4 pounds from the bike with my new/old C-40. I gave up everything fried except for the occassional trip to Buffalo Wild Wings, eat ice cream about once/month if I take the kids out, and killed all potato products. Still eat Tex-Mex and don't count calories...works fine...

    But I know...Ice Cream is my achilles heel

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jslopez
    Yeah that pretty much makes sure that I ride everyday.

    Back to the other post...only a little increase in duration of your rides is needed...not harder...just keep the engine going a little longer...it works wonders...

  11. #11
    H23
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    If you eat in restaurants regularly, only eat half of whatever you get at most. The calories on a typical plate at most American restaurants is outrageous.

  12. #12
    Banned. galen_52657's Avatar
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    IMHO, weight loss is all done on with 'output' not 'input'. One should watch what one eats, but with an eye toward balanced nutrition, not calories.

    That being said, I don't think you can expect to loose weight in the winter. I consider holding stead the best that can be done. Cold and reduced daylight make for a loss of weekly riding time and calorie usage.

    However, come spring I if you want to push past your plateau and loose more weight I would suggest more intensity in your workouts. Once a week, decide to do sprints and/or hill repeats but keep it short - say, 15 minute warmup, 1 hour workout, 15 minute warm down. If you throw in a day of really hard - but not long - work, your body will respond. Hill repeats once a week will do the job.

  13. #13
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    Whenever you hit a plateau, just change your routine around alittle bit. I wouldn't necessarily work out more often, but work out a little bit harder. If you work out at the same intensity all the time, your body adjusts to it. By working out harder will re-kick start your system. When you ride, throw in some sprints here and there. Fiddle with your workouts and alter them enough where your body notices the difference.

    FYI, IMO, I would never go by body fat measurements. The only way to definitively measure your bodyfat percentage is to do it in the water.

    Use the scale as a way to gauge weight-loss, but then you have to make sure that you weigh yourself at the same time every time. Just because you weigh the same does not mean your not losing bodyfat.

    The mirror and your clothes are the best way to measure your weightloss because some people will not lose weight but be able to fit into clothes that are smaller.

    Therefore, do not be too concerned about bodyfat percentage....

  14. #14
    Senior Member collegeskier's Avatar
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    I would recomend adding some lifting into your workout. It helps increase metabolism and it also can be done at night and when it is really cold out.

  15. #15
    No climb too steep! TripleCrank's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jslopez
    Now that the cold is upon us, I have noticed that I've stopped losing weight. I'm at 14.5-16% body fat and have been stuck there for the last 2 months.

    I know that's a decent place to be but I was wondering if I:
    1) Need to turn it up a notch (more riding or extra workouts)
    2) need to relax as the cold season somehow makes the body's metabolism slower
    3) Need to really change my diet

    to get to the next level.

    Anyway your thoughts would be most appreciated as usual.
    Noticed your signature -- "What kind of cyclist am I? The one that has fun ...." Unless you change it, you're right where you should be.

    Change it to "What kind of cyclist am I? The one who kicks ass...." then lets talk!

  16. #16
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TripleCrank
    Noticed your signature -- "What kind of cyclist am I? The one that has fun ...." Unless you change it, you're right where you should be.

    Change it to "What kind of cyclist am I? The one who kicks ass...." then lets talk!

    How about "... who has fun kicking ass" ?

    Other than that, my wanting to improve is not exactly the antithesis of fun.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

  17. #17
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    Hey js, if I had to guess, my guess would be that you're pushing about the same time/speed on your normal routes and not agressively pushing up those times/speeds still? If so, the previous poster probably hit it in suggesting that you need to vary your workout or find a new challenge to work toward. If you lost 30, considering the level of mileage that it sounds like you are putting in, if you don't boost your output the second 30 definitely is not as easy as the first 30. That would be true for just about everyone, so don't get discouraged.

    Assuming that your mileage estimate is even close to correct, that would be only about 200 mi./month which is not an extremely high number if weight loss/control is a goal. For example, during the spring/summer, I might put in 150-200 mi./week in a week where I had enough time and daylight, more if I were training for an organized ride or tt. The effects of whatever you do are going to vary by person, so there isn't really any hard and fast rule. You haven't really described your diet, so whether you should modify it can't really be commented on. However, if you eat fast food for any meal, or eat after 8 or 9pm - cutting things like this out would definitely make an impact.

    I would also agree with galen in that I have not usually had a lot of success losing weight in the winter. It can certainly be done - and I have, but would generally require much more discipline and self control than most have/want to have during the holdays given weather, daylight, and just plain time limitations.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes...

  18. #18
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    Lots of great insight. Just to give a few details:
    1) my math is all screwed up, my daily commute is 13 miles both ways plus 40-60 +miles in the weekend will mean that I've done much more than 1500 miles over the last 8 months. I changed computers 2 times and jsut got too lazy to be more accurate. I'm doiing roughly 450-500 miles per month. Still nothing fantastic but at least more accuraate.
    2) I have been slacking lately, more on the martial arts classes then the riding as it's a hassle to go home late in the dark etc. I know that's not a valid excuse and I'm headed back tonight.
    3) Effort in riding, I used to squeeze in a few miles of hills in the morning and a nice steep grade short one to get the blood flowing, time constraints (and the slacking) has prevented me from doing that.
    4) I'm 5'7 and at 150. I figure that 140 would be ideal and 130 phenomenal. which is why I figure that where I am now is sort of the last few hurdles to overcome thus making things much harder

    Anyway I'm about to leave work and hopefully make more sense later. Thanks again.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

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    You sound to be at the same point I am. I've lost 35 and stand 5'7" and weigh 160 now and am turning 50 in January. I could stand to lose another 10 or so.

    I didn't completely stop riding, but I don't get all that much in anymore except on weekends and I haven't lost any more weight since around October. I'm going to maintain where I am by staying with my improved diet, which does not include starving myself. For my 50th, I AM GOING TO GET that carbon bike that Zensuit proposed. I've got my eyes on the new Orbea Onix, it looks like a sweet ride, unless I can find a used Orca in the meantime in my size. There's a glut of 57cm Orcas on ebay and roadbikereview classifieds at the moment, but none smaller.

    Foods that I eliminated were: BEEEER, Ice Cream, other sweets, heavy cafeteria lunches at the office, bagels in the morning at work, all fast food, and I watched the fat. I didn't worry about carbs, but I wouldn't eat too much starchy foods anyway. Besides, you need the carbs for riding. For dinner, I ate whatever I wanted, trying to limit my portions to prevent eating too much as was my previous habit. There was nothing scientific about it and I didn't count calories. One trick I did use was to log everything I ate along with my miles and weight. I didn't do anything with it, but when you see the hamburger you had for dinner a week ago, it reminds you not to do it again and have a chicken sandwich instead.

    My riding was very hard rides on weekdays after work, usually a 15 mile loop, keeping the speed up in the 20+ area, only slowing for the little hill, and using every other rider I see as a goal to pass. I know this pisses some people off, but I'm not doing it to show them up, I just need something to get me going. Sometimes they show me up, too. On weekends, I built up to 60-70 mile rides at a fast pace, but I didn't kill myself doing it.

    I figure in the spring I'll get on my new bike and start over again. In the meantime I'm doing the trainer, but not consistently.

  20. #20
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    I think it may be a bit too unrealistic for me to try and get more miles in and while I can definitely change the route and the intensity, I will have to acknowledge the harsher rides as the cold ven more.

    What I've decided to do now is be a bit more conscious in adding the "extra" efforts to sort of jump start my system. Nothing fancy just a few push ups and crunches in the am or while watching tv. Logic being that's time i would have spent doing nothing anyways plus it's a great picker upper.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

  21. #21
    Fly sillygirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by collegeskier
    I would recomend adding some lifting into your workout. It helps increase metabolism and it also can be done at night and when it is really cold out.

    I second that...

    Strength training teaches your muscles to burn more faster - gives them more oxygen. If you stay with your normal routine (try making your diet a little lower in fat) and add a strength training session twice a week, you will probably notice you come off off that plateau pretty quickly. Plus it will tone up muscles that arent used as much in cycling, so you will notice your body shape up better.
    "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function." F Scott Fitzgerald

    Check out my new food blog!!

  22. #22
    The Question Man
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    how does one determine their body fat % ? I've always wondered about mine but never knew how to check it.

  23. #23
    Zen Cyclist jslopez's Avatar
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    I have a Tanita scale. Gyms and doctors use more instruments to figure it out but the tanita seems fairly accurate. Check out performancebike or maybe nashbar for them.
    ZEN CYCLIST once again...

  24. #24
    Senior Member rich007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheebahmunkey
    how does one determine their body fat % ? I've always wondered about mine but never knew how to check it.
    I used to have TANITA scale (one with body fat measurements, IIRC, I paid around $60.00) until I broke it (spilled some water on it) and I have only replaced it with a basic scale... But based on my previous measurements I know now how much body fat % I have (more or less) by looking in a mirror...

    Check here:

    http://www.tanita.com/BodyFatOverview.shtml

  25. #25
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    Here's a web site where you can get a decent estimate of your body fat, using a few body circumference measurements:

    http://www.he.net/%7Ezone/prothd2.html

    To the OP - the folks recommending more riding and/or weight lifting are well-meaning, and those can be useful. But, for most folks, weight loss involves a more responsible relationship with food.

    It's really easy to subvert a good exercise program with poor eating habits...search this forum and you'll find countless examples of folks who ride their bikes 100-200 miles per week but are still overweight. Also, your metabolism is now slower than when you weighed 30 lbs more, so it's more difficult to achieve a calorie deficit now, unless you change your eating habits.

    As you yourself state, you've made no change in eating habits. If you want to lose some more weight, you'll need to look at what's you're eating and drinking. Identify your "worthless calories" (e.g., sodas), and your "problem foods" (the ones you have trouble controlling), and take steps to eliminate or restric them. With your exercise program, the weight should start coming off again. Best of luck.
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