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Do you even lift bro (seriously, do I have to?)

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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

Do you even lift bro (seriously, do I have to?)

Old 12-07-21, 11:58 AM
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Do you even lift bro (seriously, do I have to?)

Sorry about the meme title there...but it's fitting. I bought a bike this summer but quickly realised that I could hardly move it without feeling I should die (also it's freezing outside now). I eat LCHF/Keto and have started taking yoga and spinning classes (well more like indoors cycling classes as there are no on-the-bike workouts like in spinning classes).

I'm seeing good progress but after around twenty years of basically moving from bed to couch and drying after showers were the hardest training I got I startede at an abysmal FTP. I can't remember what it was at but in the app I use I can see my average watt in the first class was 87! Well, it is now at 159 and FTP test@192 so.. progress!

My question is, do I need to do some strength training too to get a higher FTP or is cycling enough to keep progressing at an okay rate? My goal isn't really to chase FTP or watts but to be able to ride with a friend of mine that is very fit without being a complete embarrassment. I'd really like to just keep spinning as I have a hard time getting excited by lifting weights but there's a long way from the hole I dug myself into.

Oh, and I lost 15kg, so there's that!
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Old 12-07-21, 01:32 PM
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Cycle more to improve your cycling. Clearly the best cyclists don't spend much time in the weight room. That said, some weight training is supposed to be good for you as you age. I intend to start. Someday....
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Old 12-07-21, 01:33 PM
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Weights are a great overall body conditioner and a simple lifting program would be great for your health, but the answer is actually no. If you want to get better on the bike, ride and train on the bike. Steer away from spin classes IMO, 99% of them don’t transfer well to real world bike riding. I know I did spin for years before getting out on the road. They’re designed to keep non bike people engaged and fit.

You’d be far better off investing in a trainer and doing any of the plethora of trainer workouts out there. That will be a much better path to getting faster.
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Old 12-07-21, 03:13 PM
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Originally Posted by brawlo
If you want to get better on the bike, ride and train on the bike. Steer away from spin classes
Why does it not transfer well to the road? Just to be clear about the terminology, as I'm no expert, but as far as I understand "real" spinning includes all kind of exercises on (and maybe off) the bike. The classes I'm taking is only cycling. Just to get that out of the way.

Unfortunately I don't live in an area with great weather for cycling (snowy Scandinavia) so biking outside is mostly a summer thing.

Edit:.Okay so I'll answer my own question here. Searching tells me that there's differing opinions on indoor cycling. I see the point. Luckily my instructors are actual road cyclists with two having race experience. So I guess I'm in the 1% where it will translate at least somewhat to the road. If nothing else the fitness and better pedaling technique will.

Anyways, my takeaway is that strength training isn't really a thing I need to worry much about for cycling (of course it is healthy besides cycling but I get enough workout for that in yoga classes).

Last edited by Dahoon; 12-07-21 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 12-07-21, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahoon
Sorry about the meme title there...but it's fitting. I bought a bike this summer but quickly realised that I could hardly move it without feeling I should die (also it's freezing outside now). I eat LCHF/Keto and have started taking yoga and spinning classes (well more like indoors cycling classes as there are no on-the-bike workouts like in spinning classes).

I'm seeing good progress but after around twenty years of basically moving from bed to couch and drying after showers were the hardest training I got I startede at an abysmal FTP. I can't remember what it was at but in the app I use I can see my average watt in the first class was 87! Well, it is now at 159 and FTP test@192 so.. progress!

My question is, do I need to do some strength training too to get a higher FTP or is cycling enough to keep progressing at an okay rate? My goal isn't really to chase FTP or watts but to be able to ride with a friend of mine that is very fit without being a complete embarrassment. I'd really like to just keep spinning as I have a hard time getting excited by lifting weights but there's a long way from the hole I dug myself into.

Oh, and I lost 15kg, so there's that!
87 to 159 watts is a really good improvement. The only strength training I do for cycling off the bike is for my core, both abdominals and lowerback/glutes. Google "active bridge exercise" and "abdominal side plank exercise" and "abdominal bicycle crunches" , but of course there are many many more to choose from, or do them ALL.
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Old 12-07-21, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahoon
Why does it not transfer well to the road? Just to be clear about the terminology, as I'm no expert, but as far as I understand "real" spinning includes all kind of exercises on (and maybe off) the bike. The classes I'm taking is only cycling. Just to get that out of the way.

Unfortunately I don't live in an area with great weather for cycling (snowy Scandinavia) so biking outside is mostly a summer thing.
Well to be fair, it's been many years since I did a spin class so things may have changed, but a couple of the standard spin components:
  • Sprints - these were my favourites as I could carry decent leg speed which transferred later to my track riding. You would be doing 5+ sprints in a track. But a proper sprint, you cannot do multiples of them in one music track if you do them so they work to give cycling benefit. If you can then they're sub optimal and not giving much if any cycling benefit
  • Climbing - we were encouraged to punch up the resistance and grind it out. If you ever really climb on the road, then that is a recipe for disaster. Real climbing is done running a smaller gear and spinning it out in a higher rev range. Grinding a climb out in reality leads to a premature death
At one stage we had an instructor that ran a totally different show. She didn't play to the tracks, just ran her own routine. I thought it was poo. Later on I found out she was a cyclist and her workouts were actually really good for a transfer to cycling.

Keep doing the spinning if it's fun for you. Regardless of how well it might transfer to your cycling, you will get a fitness benefit. Maybe look at it as more cross training than cycling. As you get more and more cycling experience, the deficiencies in the spin classes should show. Think about how you do or should be riding various aspects of road riding and then look at how they do those same components in a spin class. They were very different when I was doing them. The main reason I stopped doing spin classes was the instructor kept singling me out when I would change the exercise up a little to make it more road relevant, even though I told him what I was doing and he said he thought it was cool. He was a d!(k trying to score points with the ladies in the class so I stopped. Then as I was still going to that gym doing weights he would ask me when I was coming back to class......never on his watch. Then I bought a trainer and never looked back. If you live in Scandinavia, a trainer would be a must in my book

** Edit after your edit - sounds like your spin is a good thing so carry on. Onwards and upwards! The trouble comes when gyms are signed up to programs like Les Mills etc and the instructors have to play that game
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Old 12-07-21, 04:33 PM
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Your body needs carbs for fuel so a low carb and high protein diet is not going to give you the energy for riding. It is a matter of balance.
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Old 12-07-21, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
Your body needs carbs for fuel so a low carb and high protein diet is not going to give you the energy for riding. It is a matter of balance.
Only if you want high sustained output, otherwise HFLC is fine. If you want higher outputs at times, just supplement with something like a gel to give you the boost you need. Lower level JRA rides are easy on HFLC, as are short duration high output things like track sprinting
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Old 12-07-21, 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
Your body needs carbs for fuel so a low carb and high protein diet is not going to give you the energy for riding. It is a matter of balance.
I'm no nutrition expert but I do believe I have found something that fits me, my lifestyle and my training. I hardly never burn out because of a lack of glucose except a few times on mondays where I have a two hour workout. I have tried supplements (carbs) but if they help it is too little to see in my averages. There's also no boost in avg. watts when I'm not eating keto - actually I'd say it is worse than when I do. If my body have the amount of glucose available it needs (seems so) and it is in fat burning mode / ketosis then fat is more readily available for energy than when not in ketosis. Since we need both I see no downsides. I do add a tiny amount (5 grams maybe) of Bodylab Carbs (Maltodextrin 14-17) to every water bottle, mixed with electrolytes. I also eat one banana per hour of workout. I'm rambling but I'm just saying I have thought of it and found a seemingly working solution.
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Old 12-07-21, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by brawlo
** Edit after your edit - sounds like your spin is a good thing so carry on. Onwards and upwards! The trouble comes when gyms are signed up to programs like Les Mills etc and the instructors have to play that game
It seems I'm in luck since I have no idea what these programs even are about. But I will keep your post in mind when I talk to them again. We have already discussed changing some workouts in a way I now see fits road cycling better (though I had not thought about it in that light at the time). Namely longer intervals in longer workouts (90 and 120 minutes) and more specific training (I mentioned some programs I found on a seemingly pro website. Can't remember the name though...).

Edit: it was trainerroad.com
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Old 12-07-21, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Riveting
87 to 159 watts is a really good improvement. The only strength training I do for cycling off the bike is for my core, both abdominals and lowerback/glutes. Google "active bridge exercise" and "abdominal side plank exercise" and "abdominal bicycle crunches" , but of course there are many many more to choose from, or do them ALL.
On one hand it's a big improvement and I'm very happy with it but on the other it is still lower than most new participants start at which is no fun. But I dug the hole so I gotta crawl out of it before I can run, or eh, ride. The two FTP tests I've had so far was 177 on October 12 and 191 November 30.

I googled the exercises and I can see that the first two are in some form included in my yoga class. I had no idea how hard a workout yoga was going to be. Especially for someone big. Lots of bodyweight to work with!

(I seem to have forgotten to add my weight which is currently down to 109kg from.... somewhere north of 125kg.)

Last edited by Dahoon; 12-07-21 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 03-07-22, 11:33 PM
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Hi Dahoon,

I have on my computer wieght loss charts I have started every years in January since 2007.... Im 63, on Jan 1st tthis year I was 102.5KG, and im 5'9", so that is at least 20KG over weight and im just in the obese category of BMI... a picture taken on NY Eve shacked me a little and push me into action... as I done that many times i was kand of thinking "here we go again..".. I like cycling and had been doing 30 mile rides 2 or 3 times a month... But obviously I needed more. So I stopped driving to work and walke the 3 miles each way, and also went for a walk at lunche times. I stated to be careful with eating, and limited beer to twice a month...

The walking i do come rain or shine, target is 10k steps a day, but im avaraging 14K a day and have only missed the 10k 4 times since Jan 1st (1st and 2nd Jan I was still hung over from NY Eve...). I made a plan, first month just be careful with food and do the 10k steps a day, bike ride are a bonus but still have to do the steps. secont stage is to do another type of workout at home, and start yoga for flexibility... again at home... third stage is to change my eating habits to a more healthy style... then consolidate all that in a sustanable way. I want to be 80KG at the end of 2022.. last saturday (March 5th) i was just under 97KG... and I've lost more than 8 inches of combine: Chest, Gutt and Butt measurments....

I dont eat breakfast, and have lunch only after my lunchtime walk, that is the scientific part, basicall means im beaning stored calories in the mornings not the ones I had for breakfast.

There is no magic formula, weight loss = eating less than you work off. Staying on the couch you can lose weight... just cant eat anything. I like eating, so some how I have to burn calories, walking daily does it for me, cycling an enjoyable bonus. Not eating in the morning is important for me... seems to work. I do not have any will power around food, so I just have to avoid it, and tell every one around me not to feed the bear.

Best of luck Dahoon, work out what works for you and progress will spur progress.
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Old 03-08-22, 08:19 PM
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Picking heavy things up and putting them back down again is good for all sorts of reasons. Strength is inversely correlated with all cause mortality as we age; heavy, load bearing exercise increases bone density; increased muscle mass raises your resting metabolic rate; picking the big thing up or jumping on top of/over the tall thing is a good party trick … It does not necessarily help with your ftp though. That’s much more about how efficiently you turn oxygen and hydrocarbons into work. I’ve got a 390lb squat but my FTP is still only in the 160s.

Definitely go lift, there’s lots a benefits. A higher FTP probably isn’t one. At least not directly.
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