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Overall Fitness Balance??

Old 04-20-16, 11:13 AM
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customsound79
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Overall Fitness Balance??

I just joined the gym yesterday and started this morning. My tendency is to stick with what I know about strength training and at the same time keep up my 100+ miles per week on the bike. The problem with losing so much weight without strength training is that I'm going to be a skeleton in a bag of skin. Naturally I want to use muscle to help fill it in. Is it possible to add mass in my upper body and ride as much as I am so there is a happy medium somewhere at the end? Should I scale back to the advised 60 min of cardio a day?
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Old 04-20-16, 11:38 AM
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I've been doing the same thing lately and finding it tough to strike a balance in terms of energy.

Last year, I rode 6-7 days a week but I was losing a lot of muscle. I was fast on the bike, but didn't realize I kind of felt bad off the bike.

This year, I've changed it up to where I'm lifting in the mornings and trying to ride in the evenings and on the weekends.

I'm also doing a lower carb (no grains/processed sugar) diet at the same time and I've run into some issues. I've actually bonked a couple of times recently and that is something that never happened with I was eating tons of grains and sugars and riding 6-7 days a week.

So lately, I've been doing weight training (Cross Fit type stuff) on Monday-Thursday mornings only. Then I try to ride Tuesday evening, sometimes Thursday evening, definitely big group rides on Saturday mornings and sometimes a slow solo ride on Sunday if I'm feeling up to it. This routine has been working for me. I've really dialed back the intensity in which I ride the bike now and focus more on intensity during interval training in the weight room.

Overall, this is working for me. I'm gaining muscle, losing fat but not weight so much. The main difference is in how I feel. I feel way better doing this than when I was eating tons of grains and sugar and riding constantly. Across the board, I feel much better. More even energy, less ups and downs with energy levels. No bouts of being "hangry" when I miss a meal. My flexibility and functional mobility are all much better. I went from having a lot of aches and pains that I associated with being 45 to basically none. Also, my functional strength is increasing quickly.

Bottom line, I'm probably a worse performing cyclist due to this change, but I feel much better and seem to be a much healthier person overall due to these changes. I remembered my goal was to be healthier/lose weight and not a wannabe Tour De France racer

Last edited by Jarrett2; 04-20-16 at 11:41 AM.
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Old 04-20-16, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Jarrett2 View Post
Bottom line, I'm probably a worse performing cyclist due to this change, but I feel much better and seem to be a much healthier person overall due to these changes. I remembered my goal was to be healthier/lose weight and not a wannabe Tour De France racer
Excellent point!
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Old 04-20-16, 12:40 PM
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I started the weight training at the gym in late Feb. Yes you can add upper body muscles and sustain energy on the bike, cost was adding 3-400cals of food a day and more proteins. I'm also new to lifting so needed a guide sheet to help.

I used this to guide me for the first month. Week 3 was hard to mix in bikes and amount of gym time though. I logged everything into my phone including the work out + weight lifted + reps and note about how it felt if needed
The 4-Week Beginner's Workout Routine | Muscle & Fitness

Now I lift 2-3 days a week, still do full body work outs types vs targeting one set of groups heavy. Zero cardo in the gym, I have the bike for that

Overall, I feel fitter than I did last yr at this time though I only have about half the miles on the bike going into my waffle ride. But a bit slower, can't replace speed without group ride miles on the bike.
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Old 04-20-16, 02:51 PM
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I started my road back to fitness at the gym and then added the bike. A few insights from that perspective and my mistakes along the way.

1 - smaller muscles recover faster than larger ones. Ones you use more in daily activity also recover faster too. I make the last workout (usually 8 hours to a day) before a ride concentrate on smaller muscle groups.
2 - don't neglect your lower and upper back. Adding deadlift-to-row to my workouts really helped me on and off the bike.
3 - understand muscle repair is how muscles grow. Done properly a workout damages the muscle and recovery repairs it to come back stronger. To do that you need time and protein. Also workouts burn out muscle stored glycogen that needs to be replaced. So within 45 minutes of a workouts end get some protein and carbs in you to start recovery, but don't over do the carbs.
4- Think of your rides as workouts and realize which muscles are getting hit hard, and give them recovery time.
5 - you can also do recovery workouts which hit (lightly) muscles that aren't fully recovered, but keep the intensity in check, this is when injury becomes more likely.
6 - general diet tips if trying to add more muscle: get plenty of quality protein, and don't neglect good fats, just keep them in moderation.
7 - Sleep: getting enough quality sleep is essential to recovery.

Appropriate recovery time depends on fitness, age, and how accustomed to working out you body is. I try to give small muscles at least 36 hours and large muscles at least 48 before really challenging them again. I have been short changing that lately and can feel fatigue building. I will be addressing that with an extended full body recovery of 3 days with no workouts.
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Old 04-20-16, 04:24 PM
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I posted elsewhere here about doing crossfit vs the bike.

I am now in week 8 of crossfit and have a real love hate relationship going with it. I have scaled back from 5 days a week in the gym to 3 and added in 3 days of cardio only.

Just this week I scaled up my crossfit workouts. I was so dead when I got home yesterday I just sat on the couch till bedtime, but I would not trade it for anything. I admit I just do cardio that is a basic level on my off gym days, so walking at a 3mph pace.

I found like J that doing all that, I had to eat more. I was actually stalled at weight loss around week 6 and I started eating more in week 7 and started losing weight again....go figure.

I still limit my starchy carbs, they are about .5 to 1 cup of rice 2-3 times per day along with lots of protein and lots of veggies and some very moderate fat. I tend to lay off the carbs on walk days and use them more on workout days.

All this is to say I am sold that cycling alone is no longer enough for me. I have seen significant muscle gain in 8 weeks as well as strength gains. I can do 100 air squats now without thinking...I couldn't do 20 when I started without dying.
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Old 04-20-16, 05:28 PM
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The thing to remember as riders, any non cycling functional muscle is going to hold you back, especially when the roads go up. But (I may be wrong in assuming this) none of us here are professional riders, and so conditioning the whole body is going to assist us in life in general. Just bear in mind that you will reach a point where your newfound strength may have negative effects to some aspects of your cycling, but the tradeoff is generally worth it.

Happy cycling..... and weightlifting
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Old 04-21-16, 08:28 AM
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The cycling vs muscle weight issue...It of course is true, but I see absolutely no reason it applies to anyone on this board. I use to believe that and used that as a reason that I only ran or cycled.

The issue is I had no idea what I was missing in mobility and strength. in other words I thought what I was, equaled NORMAL. I thought the effort it took to do x each day was normal. What i have found is that the new strength training has added a lot to my life. I am able to move in ways I could not before. I am able to do things I could not before. I also think I actually run better with more leg strength.

I think if you compare the total time your awake and all the actions you do, to the 5-10 hours a week you may be putting in on a bike, you will see the overall fitness far outweighs the cardio endurance.

Just my opinions.
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Old 04-21-16, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
The cycling vs muscle weight issue...It of course is true, but I see absolutely no reason it applies to anyone on this board. I use to believe that and used that as a reason that I only ran or cycled.

The issue is I had no idea what I was missing in mobility and strength. in other words I thought what I was, equaled NORMAL. I thought the effort it took to do x each day was normal. What i have found is that the new strength training has added a lot to my life. I am able to move in ways I could not before. I am able to do things I could not before. I also think I actually run better with more leg strength.

I think if you compare the total time your awake and all the actions you do, to the 5-10 hours a week you may be putting in on a bike, you will see the overall fitness far outweighs the cardio endurance.

Just my opinions.
That's a good perspective as well. I love the bike because it makes me move and feel great. But if I can branch out, ease back on pure cycling goals, and end up better off overall then I'm all for it
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Old 04-21-16, 05:28 PM
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I don't exercise. At all. Because I've erected a mental barrier behind which I don't consider cycling exercise. Exercise is boring and I hate it, cycling is fun and I like it. So I don't know nothing about no balance. I eat whatever looks good, I ride every day (~225 miles per week) and I'm doing alright. Weight is still coming off, albeit slowly-- but I'm already 5lbs under my previously set arbitrary weight goal. I can't seem to eat enough to keep the weight level, because the more I ride the easier it gets to go fast. So I ride more and don't eat more.

So what if supposedly my bones are getting all fragile or whatever. Balance is for gymnasts.
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Old 04-21-16, 07:49 PM
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I tried the gym thing in the past, and while I could trick my mind into it for about half an hour with music, it's just not something I could consistently get myself to do. However, early this year my sister gave me a membership to the bouldering gym that she teaches yoga at, and I've been hooked.

It is definitely building some functional upper body strength that cycling doesn't touch (picking up my own body weight is HARD!). There's also a mental side to it trying to figure out the problems that are just a series of brightly colored tiny holds on a vertical (or, eek, inverted) walls. I love it, and go about twice a week, along with my two to three times cycling. I find it's a good mix that works out opposite ends of my being.
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Old 04-21-16, 08:24 PM
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I get paid to weight lift during the week and I bicycle on the weekends. It seems to balance out fine for me, but YMMV.
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