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How can you accurately calculate how many calories you burn on a ride?

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How can you accurately calculate how many calories you burn on a ride?

Old 03-17-09, 06:14 AM
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How can you accurately calculate how many calories you burn on a ride?

I'm beginning to wonder if losing weight while cycling intensely is harder than if i just lifted some weights here and there. Problem is that that method doesn't really make you any faster. I'm at 175 and would like to drop to 165 but I'm finding that when i go for rides over 30 miles that for the rest of the day I'm constantly hungry. This is to be expected but it's tough to know how much is too much when you don't know how much you burned earlier.

So what's the jive digidy?
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Old 03-17-09, 06:27 AM
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Sounds psychosomatic. Thirty mile rides, unless they're at wicked intensity, or way over thirty miles, aren't really long enough to justify much of a change in eating habits.
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Old 03-17-09, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by timmyquest View Post
I'm beginning to wonder if losing weight while cycling intensely is harder than if i just lifted some weights here and there. Problem is that that method doesn't really make you any faster. I'm at 175 and would like to drop to 165 but I'm finding that when i go for rides over 30 miles that for the rest of the day I'm constantly hungry. This is to be expected but it's tough to know how much is too much when you don't know how much you burned earlier.

So what's the jive digidy?
The only ACCURATE (to my knowledge) way to do it is to go have your body tested. It still isn't perfect, but they can give you a pretty good estimation of your calories burned at various HR, as well as your average resting caloric burn. This will tell you about how much you need to eat per day, and then also based on what activities you do.

It can range a lot, but for a guy, at your size, you're probably burning around 600/hour on an easy ride, and about 1000/hour on a really hard ride.

So for a normal 2 hour SST session, for example, you'd probably burn about 1600 calories. Definitely need to eat to make up for that. Keep in mind that this is 1600 OVER your normal resting burn. So your resting burn is actually probably somewhere around 150 an hour, so you only need to eat about 1300 more, for that 2 hour ride, to maintain weight. Try eating about 1000 more, and you'll still get stronger, but lose weight at the same time.

Training rides aren't that great for losing weight though. The time of the season for losing weight has likely already gone. You need to be doing Zone 2, and lots of it, in order to burn fat and lose weight. On your training rides this time of your you're burning mostly glycogen (carbs), and you have to replenish most of it, or you'll get weak.
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Old 03-17-09, 06:54 AM
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If you're trying to lose weight, yes, you need to feel constantly hungry.
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Old 03-17-09, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Flatballer View Post
Training rides aren't that great for losing weight though. The time of the season for losing weight has likely already gone. You need to be doing Zone 2, and lots of it, in order to burn fat and lose weight. On your training rides this time of your you're burning mostly glycogen (carbs), and you have to replenish most of it, or you'll get weak.
True enough. I didn't lose much weight over the winter, but i also didn't gain any...which is a first.
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Old 03-17-09, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
If you're trying to lose weight, yes, you need to feel constantly hungry.
I don't believe in this. I've lost weight simply by riding lots of zone 2, watching what I eat, and eating a little less than I normally would. You don't have to feel hungry. In fact, if you feel hungry all the time your body will think you're starving, and it will start storing fat. This is the opposite of what you want.

A great tool is www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate. This site will estimate your caloric needs, and then you can set a weight lose goal, and it will tell you how many calories you should eat each day to hit that goal in however long.

This way you don't know how many calories you aren't getting to eat, because it hides them from you, and you don't starve yourself.

The key is to not chase the numbers. If you work hard one day, and take the next day off, you'll likely eat less than your target on the hard day, and more on the easy day. Just try to get in the ballpark with your weekly average, that's what counts.
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Old 03-17-09, 07:14 AM
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Ok, I have a sample size of 1, but I lost 12 lbs in 5.5 weeks, and felt hungry all the time. Got down to 171 at 6'4".

I used http://caloriecount.about.com/ to track burn and intake, and also tells you how much to eat. I was just using 1.1 * kJ burned for ride Calories.

EDIT: make that a sample size of two, because a training partner lost 15 lbs during the same diet period, and he was also hungry all the time.

Last edited by waterrockets; 03-17-09 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 03-17-09, 07:29 AM
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Power Meter
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Old 03-17-09, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
If you're trying to lose weight, yes, you need to feel constantly hungry.
I used to think this too but was incorrect
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Old 03-17-09, 07:44 AM
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Well, on the other hand, I can be gaining weight and be constantly hungry.
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Old 03-17-09, 07:45 AM
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Do you guys assumes X cal per mile or Z cal per hour at a given intensity?
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Old 03-17-09, 08:07 AM
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The power meter tells you how many kJ you burn, and kcal is ~110% of that.
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Old 03-17-09, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
The power meter tells you how many kJ you burn, and kcal is ~110% of that.

I was under the impression that this is the most accurate way. It doesn't care about crank weight.
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Old 03-17-09, 08:11 AM
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Crank definitely doesn't care about weight




It would probably be good for weight loss also.
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Old 03-17-09, 08:29 AM
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You would be lucky to burn 600 calories an hour if you are able to be very consistant in your upper aerobic zone. If you are in good condition herat rate somewhere around 140. You need to eat at least 200 calories an hour just to keep going without damaging your muscles. . The more fit you are the harder you have to work to stay in the optimum heart rate zone. It's a lot easier if you reduce daily caloric intake along with increased activity. Weight training alone is a very difficult way to lose weight since every time you work out you build muscle with very little aerobic activity.
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Old 03-17-09, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by curiouskid55 View Post
Weight training alone is a very difficult way to lose weight since every time you work out you build muscle with very little aerobic activity.
Yeah but muscle is useful. I was only saying that tongue in cheek. If i lose 10lbs of fat but gain 15lbs of cycling related muscle then i would be a happy guy. As it is, i've got a lot of useless weight in the form of fat on my body. I want it gone.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:00 AM
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An HRM can give a pretty good approximation of calories burned. But, some cycling computers with HRMs (Garmin) ignore it when calculating calories, and are inaccurate.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by flaco View Post
An HRM can give a pretty good approximation of calories burned. But, some cycling computers with HRMs (Garmin) ignore it when calculating calories, and are inaccurate.
My polar HRM is usually in line with the online calculators which many around here seem to think are inaccurate.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:03 AM
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What do you guys think of the mapmyride workout calculator?

It always seems a high to me
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Old 03-17-09, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by curiouskid55 View Post
Weight training alone is a very difficult way to lose weight since every time you work out you build muscle with very little aerobic activity.

You would be lucky to gain 1/4th a pound of muscle per month from lifting weights..... Real damn lucky.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Flatballer View Post
A great tool is www.livestrong.com/thedailyplate. This site will estimate your caloric needs, and then you can set a weight lose goal, and it will tell you how many calories you should eat each day to hit that goal in however long.
Started using this after I'd already eaten twice today...768cal before 10a.m., ouch.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
Well, on the other hand, I can be gaining weight and be constantly hungry.
You know, the more I think about this, how can you guys be bike racers and not be hungry when you're running a Calorie deficit?

I'm hungry after overeating. Seriously, I recently had two Chipotle burritos and went home and had a big bowl of cereal with a fist full of raisins and a banana. Then I started getting hungry.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:39 AM
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Originally Posted by euphoria View Post
Started using this after I'd already eaten twice today...768cal before 10a.m., ouch.
The best way to take in less food during the day is to start with a big breakfast, actually.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets View Post
You know, the more I think about this, how can you guys be bike racers and not be hungry when you're running a Calorie deficit?

I'm hungry after overeating. Seriously, I recently had two Chipotle burritos and went home and had a big bowl of cereal with a fist full of raisins and a banana. Then I started getting hungry.
Protein, with some fat. Keeps you full longer. You can also supplement with stuff like fruit (mostly water), lettuce (mostly water), water (completely water) that doesn't have many (any) calories, but still make you feel full.
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Old 03-17-09, 09:48 AM
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Ride more...eat smart. Sounds simple but it works. Just have to determine what caloric intake you need to sustain longer rides but keep your daily eating patterns healthy and consistent. I add lots of no/low calorie fluids to my diet to satiate my hunger. Binging after rides does not do the body a lot of good. IMO
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