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  1. #1
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    Common knowledge

    I decided a month or so ago to get serious and get in shape (i.e. I am out of shape.). For me, this means weight loss, fat loss, building muscle. I have an additional goal of being able to go longer distances, but if I get the other common items, this one should take care of itself.

    I have a feeling that a lot of what you consider common knowledge may be new information to me. Rather than poking around in the dark, I thought I would start a thread so you can tell me the ideas, terms, other threads I should be looking at and books I must buy.

    Rather than telling you what I am doing. Tell me more about what I should be doing.

    Hopefully this thread will be valuable to other people also.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Unless you want totally generic advice that won't be very useful, you'll have to provide more information about yourself: how old are you; how much weight you want to lose; do you have problems metabolizing carbohydrates (blood sugar problems, diabetes, etc); how often can you ride; what you mean by "out of shape"; etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaco View Post
    Unless you want totally generic advice that won't be very useful, you'll have to provide more information about yourself: how old are you; how much weight you want to lose; do you have problems metabolizing carbohydrates (blood sugar problems, diabetes, etc); how often can you ride; what you mean by "out of shape"; etc.
    Actually, I was thinking the generic advice is what I want. Things like VO2 are new to me, but everyone here knows about it. 10% rule for increasing mileage.

    Assume middle aged, needing to lose 50+#s. Assume no medical conditions for this thread. Riding varies. I may get into what I have done and what I think is working, but I really don't want to get into my specifics. I will learn more and this thread will be more useful to others if I keep it generic. Odds are I will have other threads that are very specific to me, but this isn't really a ME thread.
    Last edited by RWBlue01; 07-04-12 at 12:34 AM.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Well, the first thing I would suggest, if you're 50 lbs. overweight and middle-aged, is don't assume there are no medical conditions. Why? Because 90% of losing weight is the food you eat, not your exercise regimen. Exercise to feel healthy and fit, not to lose weight. If your blood sugar spikes after a typical carb-laden meal, then the "normal" low fat, high carb diet will impede your progress at every turn. But you really won't know that unless you test yourself. if your blood sugar doesn't go much above 140 1 hour and 2 hours after a typical meal, then all you need to worry about is calories and cutting back on them. But if it does, then you should look into a low-carb high fat regimen that will keep your blood sugar levels within a normal range.

    No matter what diet (and I mean that term in the sense of a life-long way of eating, not a short-term fix) suits you, starving yourself is a surefire way to sabotage your long term weight loss. Yes, you may shed some pounds quickly, but the odds of keeping it off are stacked against you. Not only that, but if your calories in drop too low, your body will think you're starving and do everything it can to conserve fat.

    As for building muscle, that is a slow and difficult process, and slower and more difficult the more "middle aged" you are. You need testosterone to build muscle, and as you age, you manufacture less and less of it. That said, many people make the mistake of thinking that muscles develop while being stressed, when actually they develop as a result of repairing themselves after stress. If you never give yourself time to recover, that repair process can't take place.

    If you're short on time, you can find a lot of useful information here and elsewhere on interval training. As long as your heart is healthy, this is a great way to achieve fitness without spending hours and hours in the saddle.

    At the same time, I love to ride long distances, and the only way to get there is to ride. When I started cycling, a 25 mile ride was a long ways; now it's just a warm-up. I got there by riding a mix of routes. One day a week, I ride a relatively flat course, with only around 1,000 feet of climbing and lots of sprints. A second day, I ride a more hilly course, with 2,500 feet of climbing. And on the weekends, I do a longer ride (65 to 90 miles) that's a combination of both, with around 3,000 feet of climbing. I don't ride two days in a row, mainly because my older body can't take it. If you're in your 40's though, that probably won't be a problem, as long as your "recovery rides" don't stress your legs too much.

    This is about as generic as one can get, I imagine. You can find lots of specific training regimens on various cycling web sites, including this one.
    Scott CR1 Team

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    Ride more. You'll figure it out.

  6. #6
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    Since you are posting here, the question you are really asking is, "How do I become a self-coached athlete?" You start by informing yourself.

    Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible and Cycling Past 50 are standard texts. Brzycki's A Practical Approach to Strength Training is also good. Sally Edwards has a number of books on training with a heart rate monitor: http://thesallyedwardscompany.com/sa...ly-edwards.php
    Google "athlete nutrition" for a gaggle of articles and books about that subject.
    Hammer Nutrition has a PDF book that coves many aspects of nutrition, hydration, and electrolytes:
    http://www.hammernutrition.com/downl...guidetosuccess

    Then the next thing to do is to ride your bike, and ride it more. As you start riding and training, you'll encounter problems and have to figure out the solutions. That's the hard part about being self-coached: you only have the one data point. As you go on, you'll accumulate data points and start to have some idea about what works for you and what doesn't.

    This forum primarily deals with helping athletes resolve problems, rather than giving general advice which may not be right for you, or even make much sense.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    Since you are posting here, the question you are really asking is, "How do I become a self-coached athlete?" You start by informing yourself.
    That is a great question and a great answer.

    That will get me to the next step.


    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    Ride more. You'll figure it out.
    That doesn't really work.


    BTW, What I am doing is working, slowly and at times painfully. What I am looking to do is do it smarter, faster, and avoid doing some serious harm (soreness is ok).

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    Quote Originally Posted by RWBlue01 View Post

    That doesn't really work.
    Yes, it pretty much does. After a year or so of riding more you'll have some more focussed questions.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    Yes, it pretty much does. After a year or so of riding more you'll have some more focused questions.
    After basic build up of miles for my commute, I was trying to ride every day. I was not having a recovery time. I was getting weaker every day. So the advice of just "ride more", doesn't work.

    This is what lead me to start asking more questions, but having no background in this subject, I need some base knowledge so I can ask intelligent questions. And I plan on asking lots of intelligent questions. Getting in shape is my number one goal/hobby.

  10. #10
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWBlue01 View Post
    After basic build up of miles for my commute, I was trying to ride every day. I was not having a recovery time. I was getting weaker every day. So the advice of just "ride more", doesn't work.

    This is what lead me to start asking more questions, but having no background in this subject, I need some base knowledge so I can ask intelligent questions. And I plan on asking lots of intelligent questions. Getting in shape is my number one goal/hobby.
    How far is your commute? What type of bike is it?
    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RWBlue01 View Post
    After basic build up of miles for my commute, I was trying to ride every day. I was not having a recovery time. I was getting weaker every day. So the advice of just "ride more", doesn't work.
    Well now you're starting to focus in on a problem. How far is your commute and how hard are you riding? Did you go from zero riding to commuting every day?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    Well now you're starting to focus in on a problem. How far is your commute and how hard are you riding? Did you go from zero riding to commuting every day?
    I will ask about this in another thread. Let this one stand as just basics. I have to get some terms and knowledge under my belt before I can really discuss it intelligently.

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    Senior Member ericm979's Avatar
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    You need to ask more specific questions in order to get useful responses. "Tell me everything I need to know about cycling" is too broad. Most people don't have time to write big posts in the hope that they'll contain information you find useful. It takes less time to answer specific questions.


    Amend Greg's recommendation to "ride more but rest when you need to". That's what I did for the first couple years when I came back to cycling after getting very out of shape. It worked for me.

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    Carbonfiberboy,

    Friel's The Cyclist's Training Bible, Is this good for me? One of the reviewers on Amazon says, I expected a training book to get me from a beginner to a good cyclist. This book is to take you from a good cyclist to a racer. This should have racing in the title. The book is useless for beginners who just want to complete a century while working and having a family, in other words real people. Thoughts?


    Cycling Past 50, I think this might be the best place for me to start. My only doubt is the one person on amazon who says it didn't help him get back in shape.


    Brzycki's A Practical Approach to Strength Training, how does this compare to Starting Strength, 3rd edition by Mark Rippetoe and/or Weight Training for Cyclists: A Total Body Program for Power & Endurance


    Sally Edwards has a number of books on training with a heart rate monitor: Any recomendation as where to begin on this? I don't normally watch my speed I watch my heartrate, so this seems like a logical starting place.


    I am also looking for a glosssery of useful cycling, getting fit terms.

  15. #15
    Senior Member LeeRoySD's Avatar
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    I started my journey back to health and fitness with the realization that I didn't really have much of an understanding of food from a nutritional standpoint nor a good working knowledge of how the body uses it. I started with

    http://www.amazon.com/Nutrition-Dummies-Carol-Ann-Rinzler/product-reviews/0470932317/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?
    ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1


    and

    http://www.amazon.com/Glycemic-Index...+glycemic+diet

    Both are rather good treatments of the subjects that got me started with a basic understanding and helped steer me to other resources and questions. The second title might not seem that helpful at first but once you start to understand how the body processes carbs, it really helps to understand how different foods affect the blood sugar/insulin response relationship. It is a great aid in knowing what carbs to try and avoid or minimize, which work better for recovery, or for in-ride fuel, and more importantly WHY.

    A basic understanding of the body's three energy systems is another good essential. You can google some good explanations of this.

    There is a good document on training peaks that describes what physiological adaptations can be expected for work performed in what zones.

    My suggestions is if you really want to get fit and healthy, start with the nutrition side of the equation. Get plenty of exercise and if that's on the bike do a bit of everything. One or two longer rides a week at a moderate pace mixed in with some shorter more intense efforts on the other days. Make sure you take in some higher GI post workout carbs as close to the completion of exercise as possible(recovery). Get more sleep than usual if at all possible. This is much more important than most people realize.

    Good luck. It is possible to make a change. Knowledge is power.

  16. #16
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    The usefulness of Friel's training bible to a beginner is highly questionable, to say the least. Friel himself says, at the outset, that his principal audience is racing cyclists who wish to progress to the next level. His advice to beginners is to just ride steadily for a year before returning to his book.

    His "cycling past fifty" is going to be more helpful but is still aimed at those who wish to be, or remain, fairly competitive.

    OP, if you want useful advice you are going to have to ask useful questions. FWIW, I got back into cycling aged 49, about 40lbs overweight. I started by commuting, a round trip of 32 miles per day. I was unable to manage that five days per week at first, so to start with I commuted every other day. That lasted maybe three months, by the end of which five days a week was fine. I rode at a pace that challenged me, but didn't exhaust me, going hard enough to feel I was working but not so hard as to get out of breath.

    That went on for about a year. I then started getting more interested in what I could achieve on the bike and began to do things that could be described as "training" as opposed to just riding to work. But there really isn't much point in talking about them until you've been riding much longer than the month or so that you have currently been at it.

    At this stage I have only three pieces of advice.

    1. Try to be progressive, building distance (first) and speed (later) by increasing your time on the bike gradually week-by-week. Key to this will be recovery. Rest long enough to recover ccompletely from each effort before making the next one. Riding every other day is probably ideal but don't be afraid to take two days off if your muscles are sore.

    2. Sleep longer than you do now. When one returns to higher levels of physical activity one's need for sleep increases.

    3. Sort out your diet. Just riding to and from work won't make much impact on your weight, you'll just eat more because the riding makes you hungry. So you need to be aware of what you are eating and drinking, and make sure you get your calories from nutritionally-dense foods. No "empty calories" like sugary drinks, careful limits on very high-fat stuff like pizza. The cliche runs "you can't out-exercise a bad diet " and it's not far from the truth.
    Last edited by chasm54; 07-05-12 at 08:46 AM. Reason: Typo
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeeRoySD View Post
    I started my journey back to health and fitness with the realization that I didn't really have much of an understanding of food from a nutritional standpoint nor a good working knowledge of how the body uses it. I started with

    http://www.amazon.com/Nutrition-Dummies-Carol-Ann-Rinzler/product-reviews/0470932317/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?
    ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1


    and

    http://www.amazon.com/Glycemic-Index...+glycemic+diet

    Both are rather good treatments of the subjects that got me started with a basic understanding and helped steer me to other resources and questions. The second title might not seem that helpful at first but once you start to understand how the body processes carbs, it really helps to understand how different foods affect the blood sugar/insulin response relationship. It is a great aid in knowing what carbs to try and avoid or minimize, which work better for recovery, or for in-ride fuel, and more importantly WHY.

    A basic understanding of the body's three energy systems is another good essential. You can google some good explanations of this.

    There is a good document on training peaks that describes what physiological adaptations can be expected for work performed in what zones.

    My suggestions is if you really want to get fit and healthy, start with the nutrition side of the equation. Get plenty of exercise and if that's on the bike do a bit of everything. One or two longer rides a week at a moderate pace mixed in with some shorter more intense efforts on the other days. Make sure you take in some higher GI post workout carbs as close to the completion of exercise as possible(recovery). Get more sleep than usual if at all possible. This is much more important than most people realize.

    Good luck. It is possible to make a change. Knowledge is power.
    What are high GI carbs?

  18. #18
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    Bicycling Science also has some insight into weight loss. Your better off riding longer distances at a slower pace if you are trying to lose weight. If you're riding so hard and intensely that you're famished at the end of the ride, you're not doing yourself any good, because your body isn't even trying to burn stored fat, it's looking for a fresh source of caloric intake. It's pretty complex to explain on a internet forum, but it has to do with how you body processes glycogen and gluclose as energy.
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  19. #19
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteamingAlong View Post
    Bicycling Science also has some insight into weight loss. Your better off riding longer distances at a slower pace if you are trying to lose weight. If you're riding so hard and intensely that you're famished at the end of the ride, you're not doing yourself any good, because your body isn't even trying to burn stored fat, it's looking for a fresh source of caloric intake. It's pretty complex to explain on a internet forum, but it has to do with how you body processes glycogen and gluclose as energy.
    This is very true. I don't need to understand the science, particularly, because I know from experience that managing my appetite is easier if I'm doing long, steady distance rides than if I'm burning similar numbers of calories in more intense sessions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by moppeddler View Post
    What are high GI carbs?
    High glycemic index.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregf83 View Post
    High glycemic index.
    Can you give examples?

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    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by moppeddler View Post
    Can you give examples?
    google it.

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