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Weight Loss from riding

Old 10-11-19, 08:26 PM
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Raptor1956
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Weight Loss from riding

I stepped on a bathroom scale for the first time in a few years back in the middle of June and was, well, disappointed with what it said. I knew I was in pretty crappy shape and had developed a Homer Simpson gut and, most distressing of all, jowls. I've been around 225 pounds (102kg) for some years and that was bad enough but when the scale responded with 105.7kg (233 pounds) I knew I had to do something about it. So, the next day I began a conservative exercise program of fast walking 3-6 miles a day 3-4 times a week -- I found I was suffering with muscle pump in my calf, particularly the outside-front muscles. I continued the fast walking for a month to get some baseline cardio condition and then I brought my bike (Trek Madone 4.7) out of retirement and began to ride again. At first I found it difficult to ride more than a few miles before my neck muscles were aching from the strain of looking up to see but after a few weeks that issue subsided.


OK, now almost 3 months after getting back on the bike my weight is down to 201 pounds (91.1kg) and I should make the milestone of getting below 200 pounds before the end of October -- weather permitting. The temps have really turned to the cold side here in the SLC are of Utah so riding weather is getting harder to come by -- hopefully I can adjust and be able to continue riding until December when it's too cold and ice is a threat.


My pace when I first got back on the bike was barely 12mph but I'm now pretty reliably over 16mph unless the wind or other factors conspire to lower it and even then I seldom drop below 15mph average over the 20 miles or so of my ride.


The first month of fast walking didn't have much effect on my weight, maybe a couple pounds, but less than three months of riding an average of 3 times a week has knocked an average 10 pounds per month of my weight. My goal is to continue until 180-190 pounds so I'm not that far from my goal and should make that within a couple months if the weather cooperates. The next thing I need to do is work on strength and flexibility.



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Old 10-11-19, 09:09 PM
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Congratulations! It is a great workout, there is no doubt. One thing I have noticed, though, as I have also lost quite a bit of weight, is that I now have this ability to eat virtually anything at any time and still not gain weight. This is encouraging me to eat badly more often than I would like as the little voice inside me keeps saying: "Go for it. You're not going to gain an ounce."

It seems counterintuitive, but it is something I have had to really keep an eye on. That ability to easily keep off the weight can at times be a bit of a headache.
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Old 10-11-19, 10:12 PM
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Raptor1956
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
Congratulations! It is a great workout, there is no doubt. One thing I have noticed, though, as I have also lost quite a bit of weight, is that I now have this ability to eat virtually anything at any time and still not gain weight. This is encouraging me to eat badly more often than I would like as the little voice inside me keeps saying: "Go for it. You're not going to gain an ounce."

It seems counterintuitive, but it is something I have had to really keep an eye on. That ability to easily keep off the weight can at times be a bit of a headache.
My 32 pound weight loss isn't 100% do to the bike as I've also been much more careful with my diet for the last couple months. I'd guess the bike is responsible for 65% and diet the other 35% of the loss.

Now my problem is that my pants don't fit so well, but fortunately I still have pants from before my Homer Simpson phase.


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Old 10-12-19, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Raptor1956 View Post
I'd guess the bike is responsible for 65% and diet the other 35% of the loss.
Probably more like the other way around, with possibly even a higher percentage attributable to diet change. There have been many studies showing that diet change is the driving factor when it comes to weight loss.

It's hard to outride a bad diet. Take it from me. Not did I only lose 90 lbs. in 9 months back in the day I also gained weight during part of a 3 month, unsupported cross country tour where averaged 6 days of riding in a row then 1 rest day. Daily average was probably around 55-60 miles. What happened was that when we got out of the western mountains and hit the flatter plains, etc., I was still eating like I was riding in the mountains. My belly actually got larger and my two jerseys felt noticeably tighter. Had to put the brakes on that. Once I did, the weight I put on in the midwest came back off again.
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Old 10-12-19, 06:18 PM
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Awesome to hear! Before cycling I hated cardio. I was miserable doing 30 minutes on the elliptical. Now, I canít wait to go ride for an hour or more.

And you just eat better. But, you donít feel terrible if you eat a little extra ; )
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Old 10-12-19, 07:40 PM
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Weight loss? 90% diet, 10% everything else. My weight has been essentially static for 2 years, and I've averaged 200 miles a week for those two years.

Because I eat like a human garbage disposal. Maintaining my weight requires ~3,500 calories a day. No problem.
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Old 10-12-19, 10:02 PM
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Ditto, the above.

Personally, I wouldn't ride bikes to lose weight. I ride bikes to have fun. Any other benefits are side effects.

I was up to 205 lbs 15 years ago. My optimal weight is 145. I'm at 150 now, close enough. I lost the first 30 lbs just by modifying my diet: less beer, less sugar.

From 2001-2014 I could barely get any meaningful exercise -- my neck and back were broken in a car wreck and I walked with a cane until 2014. I lost 30 lbs just by changing my diet. I ate all I wanted, but less beer and sugar.

In 2015 I resumed cycling. I dropped from 175 to 160 over the next few years. But I was drinking more beer because I was socializing more and casual cycling groups revolved around the active local brewpub scene -- which is fine.

After being hit by a car -- again -- in May 2018 and a bout with thyroid cancer, I cut out the beer almost completely for a year and cut way back on the sugar. That's what got me down to 150. Not riding alone. Diet.

I still eat all I want. Sometimes I'll eat a whole large pizza after a 20-50 mile bike ride. But I eat far less sugary stuff. Usually the only time I eat anything with sugar is during a bike ride. And I drink maybe six beers a month now.

I'm already riding about 500 miles a month, harder and faster than any time since I was in my teens and 20s decades ago. That alone isn't enough to pare down that last 5 lbs of pudge around my belly and lower back. I'd need to completely cut out all sugar (other than as fuel during rides) and all beer. I'm not worried enough about 5 lbs to sacrifice every guilty pleasure.

Keep riding but do it for fun or whatever goals you have *other than* weight loss. Otherwise it'll suck all the fun out of the activity.

Cut out as much sugar as you can. Use it only for fuel for bike rides or other physical activities. Cut back on the alcohol if you drink. Don't get hungry -- eat all the other stuff you like. That'll pare down the weight more effectively than anything else.
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Old 10-12-19, 10:41 PM
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Great story...Great job!

My story is similar. I stepped on the scale at 230. A few yers ago I had exercised my way down to 170. Damn. 60 pounds. So I wondered what would motivate me to change my eating habits (I refuse to call it a diet) and exercise more regularly. I hate the gym. I hate running. When I lost before it was eating better and running 3 miles a day, religiously. Rain or shine. Took me about 4 months and it came off. I didnt want to go back to running as I hated it...so I decided a mountain bike would give me some motivation. It worked. On 9/1 I weighed in at 230. On 10/1, I was 205. I have hit a wall around 203, but I am pushing through it...looking forward to getting under 200 soon. I bike 2-3 times a week and the other days power walking, or treadmill at the gym with some weights mixed in. All this to help with the fitness to get better on the bike. Day 1 on the bike and 5 miles KILLED me. I'm up to 16 miles now and its a breeze. Hills and climbing though are difficult so I am motivated keep working on fitness to get better. Biking has truly lit a fire under me!
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Old 10-13-19, 08:07 AM
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@Raptor1956 I ride for fitness and cardio. Target weights are okay as a ball-park goal, but they don't tell the whole fitness story. Assuming you feel good and strong, I would keep doing what you've been doing for another three months and then figure on where ever you are as your new normal.

Congrats on your weight loss, improved fitness and newfound joy!

P.S. Visit the "Winter Cycling" forums for tips on riding year round...I did and it changed my life for the better.
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Old 10-13-19, 11:18 AM
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I agree with the comments about diet more than exercise controls weight. And plus one to getting the sugar out of your diet. I'll also add that IMO the more fiber you eat, the better your body will handle sugar (i.e. use it for energy vs creating fat).
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Old 10-13-19, 11:28 AM
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Yeah, from a purely energy standpoint diet probably outweighs exercise by quite a margin, but here's the problem -- millions of people diet and don't lose weight so dieting alone is often useless. The combination of continuous exercise like cycling along with dieting just seems to magnify the results. It may be as simple as the discipline of cycling encourages the discipline of dieting in a symbiotic way that diet alone can't match.


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Old 10-13-19, 11:35 AM
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I find that when I'm active I don't get hungry as frequently. If I'm sitting at a desk working all day, I have a continuous urge to snack. So exercise helps a lot.
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Old 10-13-19, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Raptor1956 View Post
Now my problem is that my pants don't fit so well, but fortunately I still have pants from before my Homer Simpson phase.
This is is a good problem to have. One I had a few years ago and was really happy to have. Keep at it.
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Old 10-14-19, 07:15 AM
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I'm not sure what my exact percentage between exercise and diet would be but I do know that diet plays a huge part in my case. I (regrettably) tell other people that if I was to clean up my diet, that resulting diet would be the worst diet most people could ever imagine.
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Old 10-14-19, 04:43 PM
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Riding is a very adjustable and flexible “make it fit” activity. Intense hillclimbs and headwinds can easily add the anaerobic factor very quickly. Your total metabolism is cranked up during recovery which can help weight loss but with intensified appetite.

Congrats on the good work!
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Old 10-14-19, 09:38 PM
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I agree on diet being a larger factor in losing weight. With that being said, riding (exercise) inspire me to eat better.
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Old 10-15-19, 07:15 AM
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https://getpocket.com/explore/item/t...=pocket-newtab

I struggle with weight loss once I get anywhere near 185 lbs. For me it's not the exercising but the moderation of eating/drinking and the quality of what I consume. I thought this article was interesting.
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Old 10-15-19, 02:19 PM
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I can attest to cycling being a very good weight reduction plan. I was always skinny when I was riding. I need to get back into it.
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Old 10-15-19, 07:10 PM
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Thanks, @Ballenxj. I was beginning to think there was something terribly wrong with me. When I am riding a lot, I am super skinny, like, Tour rider skinny. And when I am not riding much, I am not super skinny. To each his or her own, I guess.
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