Ok, so I should start this off with: I'm new at this, I don't know what I don't know.
I started biking a year ago, after being a fat couch potatoe for 20 years. I just did a 50 mile group ride with 3900 feet of elevation yesterday (not at a quick rate, was a bit too much for my skill level, did about 10.5 mph average). I have an entry level endurance carbon road bike (Specialized Roubaix) if its relevant.
Have some questions about general nutrition, muscle development, and what I should expect, and where to set my goals.
Since starting, I've dropped over 50 lbs of fat, had to donate most of my clothes and buy new ones. I'm one waist size away from where I was in high school. Have been able to drop my reflux medicine, blood pressure medicine, and am closing in on ditching my cholesterol medicine
With my newfound fitness has come a lot more muscle definition than I've ever had. Legs are really defined (by my standards), shoulders have always had good definition, and arms actually getting a bit too. I've started doing push-ups to work on my chest a bit. So far, so good here.
My concern: When I look at the cyclists that are better than me, there are a shocking number of them that have the legs and waist of a prepubescent teenager (the skinny kind, not today's unfortunately growing pre diabetes teenagers).
I actually find I like my new muscles, and am worried that if I get too into cycling, I'll start to lose my muscle as well as my remaining fat (have likely 20 lbs of midsection fat I still need to work off, I'm 5'10 for the relevant BMI viewpoint, I still call myself fat, but most people laugh at me like I just said I look like Brad Pitt). Part of my "makeover" involved huge diet change to "un-potatoe" myself. I've cut out a lot of the empty carbs, focusing on a blend of lean protein, good fats, and lots of low GI carbs (mostly veggies and beans, but minor amounts of fruit). I do still drift into quicker hitting carbs on cycle days, but try to limit myself and reign this in more and more as my fitness gets better. I used to need a huge amount of junk to get in a 20 mile 750 FT elevation ride 9 months ago, but now do that on just water with no perceived exertion.
Are the people with no visible fat and no visible muscle simply ones that are using their aerobic systems for the bulk of their cycling, and don't place significant stress on their muscles? Or individuals who for various reasons may not be eating enough protein to maintain their muscles? Or people who are focused on endurance, and intentionally don't cultivate muscle growth, as it runs counter to their goals?
Right now, I'm doing almost all hill work in my solo training rides, and then doing mixed courses in my group rides. Its primarily social and fitness, enjoyment and stress relief. I'm never going to be a racer, I lack enough natural athletic ability there. I actually do enjoy hill climbing. As I said, I also enjoy my newfound muscle, and find myself shockingly motivated to get more for the first time in my life.
Any thoughts, pointers, advice?