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Weight loss and impact on Riding

Old 05-14-20, 11:12 AM
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kenshireen
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Weight loss and impact on Riding

I lost 10 pounds from last season.
Now when I ride the same trail as last season should this weight loss be comparable to riding a bike that is 10 pounds lighter (theoreticlly).
In otherwords is weight loss (less weight on the bike) the same as having a Bike weighing less.
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Old 05-14-20, 11:24 AM
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So they say (me too sometimes). But every time you stand on the pedals or shift your position it's 10 pounds less that you're moving than if the 10 pounds were on the bike. It's also 10 pounds less of flesh that needs base metabolism calories - that much more energy for cycling. I don't know how much that is though.
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Old 05-14-20, 11:44 AM
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10 pounds less interacting with gravity. Was improved conditioning in the off-season part of this equation?
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Old 05-14-20, 12:50 PM
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Old 05-14-20, 01:08 PM
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Really depends on how much of you is ten pounds. If you went from 250 to 240, not such a big deal. If you went from 150 to 140, you'll pick up a few seconds here and there. Maybe.
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Old 05-14-20, 01:11 PM
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not particularity just diet
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Old 05-14-20, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by kenshireen View Post
I lost 10 pounds from last season.
Now when I ride the same trail as last season should this weight loss be comparable to riding a bike that is 10 pounds lighter (theoreticlly).
In otherwords is weight loss (less weight on the bike) the same as having a Bike weighing less.

I think it matters what 10 pounds. Keep in mind you're the motor as well as the cargo. If you lost a bunch of leg muscle, not so good. Upper body muscle and fat, probably gonna be faster a tiny bit.
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Old 05-14-20, 01:43 PM
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the 10 pounds matters, but riding fast and hard (yikes) requires fitness and time in the saddle. Just dropping weight might not equate to faster time trials or whatever. Need better legs and lung capacity too
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Old 05-14-20, 01:58 PM
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I lost 80 pounds last year fasting and no it did not have a giant effect on my riding.
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Old 05-14-20, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kenshireen View Post
I lost 10 pounds from last season.
Now when I ride the same trail as last season should this weight loss be comparable to riding a bike that is 10 pounds lighter (theoreticlly).
In otherwords is weight loss (less weight on the bike) the same as having a Bike weighing less.
If you lost 10 pounds of fat then it is not the same as just decreasing bike weight by 10 pounds - it is much better and way more noticeable than 10 pounds reduced from bike. The trick is to lose fat and not muscle mass, something like "lost 80 pounds last year fasting" alone is very a good way to lose mostly muscle mass and become weak - physical activity is a must during weight loss. And it is actually very tricky to decrease weight and increase fitness simultaneously...
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Old 05-14-20, 11:54 PM
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I'm about 15 lbs heavier than before I had kids, and I'm definitely slower.

I'm also 5 years older, and I'm riding a lot less than I was, so it's difficult to isolate any one factor; but when I'm riding hills, I do definitely wish there was less of me to haul up. (Set some downhill PRs lately, though).
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Old 05-15-20, 04:12 AM
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Going up hills, the hills don't care if the weight is you or your bike - 10% less mass means you will be faster up hill, but it is not as dramatic as you might think.

You can go here and play with the numbers yourself, but going from 235 lbs to 225 lbs will reduce your time going up a 1 mile long 5% hill from 9.1 minutes to 8.75 minutes, assuming you are putting out 200 watts and your bike weighs 20 lbs. So, you were about 15 seconds faster going up that 1 mile hill.

Same parameters but on flat ground, you will save less than 1 second by being lighter!.

As others mentioned, where that 10% is a higher percentage of your total body plus bike weight, more benefit by reducing gravity's effect when going uphill, still not much on flat roads.

Now, the gravity doesn't care where the weight loss came from but related forces (like momentum) do care. On rides where you are starting and stopping, less force is required to get less mass moving again, in particular getting rotating things like wheels. up to speed again. If you made your wheels a few lbs lighter, it might be just as noticeable as that weight loss from your body.

I made my self a deal 3 years ago: if I lost 20 lbs, I could go out and buy a bike that weighed 10 lbs less than my steel 1995 Trek 520. I lost the weight (245 to 225) and bought a carbon road bike - between 30 lbs overall reduction (around 12%) and much, much lighter wheels, I felt like I was on an e-bike!
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Old 05-15-20, 04:21 AM
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Over the last three years I have been working on weight loss and fitness. I am down 70lbs, I am defiantly faster. My average speed went up a lot or I think its a lot. My average power too has climbed BUT my short efforts to max power is less than it was. I am ok with that because losing fat makes it easier to climb no doubt.
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Old 05-15-20, 11:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
If you lost 10 pounds of fat then it is not the same as just decreasing bike weight by 10 pounds - it is much better and way more noticeable than 10 pounds reduced from bike. The trick is to lose fat and not muscle mass, something like "lost 80 pounds last year fasting" alone is very a good way to lose mostly muscle mass and become weak - physical activity is a must during weight loss. And it is actually very tricky to decrease weight and increase fitness simultaneously...
I gained strength while I lost the weight, bench press went back up to nearly 400. When you lose weight through fasting it actually increases your metabolism instead of killing it like when you go on a typical crash diet. When you typically lose weight at least 25% will be muscle but when you fast it is around 10%. When you bicycle it is more about how much you bicycle than anything else unless you are totally sedentary and lacking muscle.
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Old 05-17-20, 04:45 PM
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I struggle with my weight and go up and down by 20-30 pounds. It's simple. If I'm riding the same amount, if I weigh more, I go slower and climb with more difficulty. If I weigh less, I go faster and climb with more ease.
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Old 09-17-20, 05:21 AM
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My mates and I used to enjoy long bike rides. We used to go to the local and ride there for hours until I fell down, broke my leg, and as a result, I gained a lot of weight after. Obviously, when I was overweight, it was hard for me to ride a bike. Besides, my sugar level has increased. Later, I moved to the UAE for work and decided to ask a local doctor what can I do to lose weight and normalize my sugar level. He wrote me some recommendations regarding a balanced diet and exercise, he also sent me those recommendations https://kitodiet.me. My doctor assured me that it will help me and lose weight. I was skeptical about it and believed that only a bunch of pills can help, but decided to give it a try. The result was fascinating.

Last edited by Ace864; 09-24-20 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 09-17-20, 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Oneder View Post
I lost 80 pounds last year fasting and no it did not have a giant effect on my riding.
Great job!!

Having been there I can say that is it pretty much impossible to lose that kind of weight that fast and keep/gain strength. Keep the weight off and give it another year or two to build strength back and you'll def see improvements.
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Old 09-17-20, 07:19 AM
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I now have a bike that's about 10 lbs. lighter than my old bike, and yes, I can go a lot faster on it. Now if I could only get my body to become at least 10 lbs. lighter...
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Old 09-17-20, 09:04 PM
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It depends on where you lost that weight. I lost 12 lbs (went from 137 lbs to 125 lbs) but all of them in the upperbody. But I also gained more power in the process of training so my power-to-weigh ratio increased by a considerable degree.

The biggest impact to me is climbing performance in long uphill climbs. It practically doubled my average speed in long uphill climbs.
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Old 09-17-20, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
Going up hills, the hills don't care if the weight is you or your bike
Only if you climb seated.

- 10% less mass means you will be faster up hill, but it is not as dramatic as you might think.
Up hill It's proportional to total weight. Dropping 10 pounds from a light for normal people 145 pounds to climbing ready 135 pounds with 20 pounds of bike/water/shoes/helmet/spares will make you 6% faster, which is 3.5 minutes quicker up what was a one hour climb.

On flat ground it almost doesn't matter, although a bike with tires can save 20W at 20 MPH which is 10% of the total power.
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Old 09-18-20, 12:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Rides4Beer View Post
Great job!!

Having been there I can say that is it pretty much impossible to lose that kind of weight that fast and keep/gain strength. Keep the weight off and give it another year or two to build strength back and you'll def see improvements.
You can actually lose weight and gain strength in a short period with cycling.

You simply need to do long high intensity efforts on the bike and eat more. High intensity cycling requires lots of carbs and protein.
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Old 09-18-20, 04:13 AM
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For most riders (included racers, it seems) most climbing time is not done standing - on the way up weight is not your friend climbing for the vast majority of people the vast majority of the time.

Similarly, very few people are doing hour long climbs as a high percentage of their riding and will never be able to lose 10% of their total weight very often! A lot of bike weight savings are in the 1-2% of total bike+rider weight, or lower.

Using bikecalculator.com, for my weight (220) on a 60 mile ride with a 1% overall average grade (about 3000 ft of climbing) at an overall average of about 16mph works out to be a 3:44 ride. If I drop 20 lbs, that time goes down to 3:38 - I saved 6 minutes in an almost 4 hour ride. Very meaningful in a race, not very meaningful outside of a race.

From that point, taking 2 lbs off my bike saves about 30 seconds.
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Old 09-18-20, 05:02 AM
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Originally Posted by jpescatore View Post
For most riders (included racers, it seems) most climbing time is not done standing - on the way up weight is not your friend climbing for the vast majority of people the vast majority of the time.

Similarly, very few people are doing hour long climbs as a high percentage of their riding and will never be able to lose 10% of their total weight very often! A lot of bike weight savings are in the 1-2% of total bike+rider weight, or lower.

Using bikecalculator.com, for my weight (220) on a 60 mile ride with a 1% overall average grade (about 3000 ft of climbing) at an overall average of about 16mph works out to be a 3:44 ride. If I drop 20 lbs, that time goes down to 3:38 - I saved 6 minutes in an almost 4 hour ride. Very meaningful in a race, not very meaningful outside of a race.

From that point, taking 2 lbs off my bike saves about 30 seconds.
Not that I have any numbers to support this, but I suspect as you move further north in the US to places with relatively harsh winters, you find a lot more people who have an annual weight fluctuation of about 10%.

Also, because the effects of weight are not evenly distributed over the route, you have to consider how that 1% grade is distributed as well. If I have a big climb at the beginning of the ride, I'm going to be a lot more tired at the top of it with the extra weight than when I'm lighter. That might affect my speed on the remainder of the ride. Unlike other motors we use, our legs get tired.

For me, the hills get a lot smaller in August and September than they are in March, and that's with about a 5% winter vs. summer weight fluctuation.
BTW, I stand on the pedals a lot, when you do long-distance riding, there's a lot of good reasons to do so.

Last edited by livedarklions; 09-18-20 at 05:06 AM.
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Old 09-18-20, 05:21 AM
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It makes a bigger difference than you realize. The amount of effort needed to carry around extra weight is considerable, and when that weight is removed, the energy savings goes a long way to improving your speed and endurance. I used to live in a place where I could ride all year, and my weight stayed consistent. Then I moved to a country which has 4 seasons, and winter riding is impractical. During the winter months I invariably put on weight, and as I get older, the weight packs more quickly. When I start riding I can feel the extra effort needed to move that weight around. As the weight comes off, everything becomes easier, and when I get back to my optimum weight, I find things like stairs, hikes, and long dog walks much more pleasant.
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Old 09-18-20, 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by 50PlusCycling View Post
It makes a bigger difference than you realize. The amount of effort needed to carry around extra weight is considerable, and when that weight is removed, the energy savings goes a long way to improving your speed and endurance. I used to live in a place where I could ride all year, and my weight stayed consistent. Then I moved to a country which has 4 seasons, and winter riding is impractical. During the winter months I invariably put on weight, and as I get older, the weight packs more quickly. When I start riding I can feel the extra effort needed to move that weight around. As the weight comes off, everything becomes easier, and when I get back to my optimum weight, I find things like stairs, hikes, and long dog walks much more pleasant.

I have, though, gone too far the other way, working out a lot while not eating enough to maintain muscle mass. I did that before I went back to cycling so I don't know what effects it would have on my speed, but I generally found myself looking muscular because of the lack of fat, but actually lacking strength to push open heavy doors easily, etc.
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