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Cycling Is A Poor Form of Exercise :-(

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Cycling Is A Poor Form of Exercise :-(

Old 09-25-20, 02:10 PM
  #126  
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
The bigger th belly the faster the acceleration on downhills until terminal velocity. (Just taking to heart what was just said above)
Note also that terminal velocity will be higher, too, since it's a function of both mass and aerodynamic drag.
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Old 09-25-20, 06:27 PM
  #127  
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Originally Posted by djcookie View Post
I've gone to two local meetups with road cycling clubs. One was a social meet up, and the members seemed far more fit than the average person of their ages (most were older). At the second meet, everyone was ready for a ride in their gear. I was shocked by their appearance. In full lycra kit, they had comically oversized pot bellies, but with skinny noodly arms and legs.

Basically, cycling is just sitting. It is not weight bearing. Your bones become weaker as you sweat away minerals over long miles. Your muscles and bones don't become any stronger because they don't have to bear any weight. As a matter of fact, any additional weight is a liability, so additional muscle mass only penalizes you on climbs.

Even when I was riding many miles a week, I never lost any significant weight. In the past couple of weeks, I've been walking and hiking instead. I've lost more weight in these past couple of weeks than I did when I was riding upwards of 200 miles a week cycling!

Cycling for me is more about fun and recreation rather than "physical fitness." You become fit when you become stronger, and cycling may actually lead to the opposite.
You just joined this month and you're already trashing cycling? I think you should worry about yourself more and others less. Cycling can be a very good form of aerobic exercise; but to control weight there's this thing called DIET.
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Old 09-26-20, 03:23 AM
  #128  
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Originally Posted by djcookie View Post
Basically, cycling is just sitting. It is not weight bearing. Your bones become weaker as you sweat away minerals over long miles. Your muscles and bones don't become any stronger because they don't have to bear any weight. As a matter of fact, any additional weight is a liability, so additional muscle mass only penalizes you on climbs.

Even when I was riding many miles a week, I never lost any significant weight. In the past couple of weeks, I've been walking and hiking instead. I've lost more weight in these past couple of weeks than I did when I was riding upwards of 200 miles a week cycling!

Cycling for me is more about fun and recreation rather than "physical fitness." You become fit when you become stronger, and cycling may actually lead to the opposite.
Remove the saddle. Problem solved.
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Old 09-26-20, 08:28 AM
  #129  
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17 year old trolls get six pages?
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Old 09-26-20, 08:36 AM
  #130  
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this thread is now epic
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Old 09-26-20, 08:42 AM
  #131  
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I don't have an opinion on how much 'trolling' there's going on.
But some of the statements that have been called out are in fact not ridiculous.

Cycling is fantastic exercise, but at least road cycling is not particularly balanced. Strong heart, strong legs, spindly arms, and the belly is between the rider and his food... ask me how I know. I have a friend who has a big gut and started riding late in life, and within a year, he left me behind, except when climbing. No contest. Didn't affect his gut, though I bike 2-3 times a week because it keeps me healthy; I feel better, no back pain, it's just good for me. I don't know why, I just know it's true.

Counting calories is a waste of time, in my experience. As opposed to watching what you eat, as well as how much you eat, which is vital. 500 calories worth of butter affects me a lot differently than 500 calories worth of sugar. And like most of us, I love both. I've read quite a bit about this, including Taubes' "Why we get fat", and I remain more confused than enlightened.

Ten years ago, as an experiment, I went on a low-carb diet. HATED it after a couple days, but I ate as much cheese and veggies and butter as I liked, no sugar, little bread. I lost 15 lbs easily, and at the end of it, I had a physical and my doctor said, "blood values you could sell on the street" and no cholesterol issues. I happily went back to eating more normally, and gained half of the lbs back, then stayed there ever since (6' 185 lbs now). If I start eating ice cream like I want to, I'll balloon over 190 in a week.

The calories in/calories out model is not a scientific necessity. It works in physics, because there's nowhere for the energy to go in a weight-and-lever system. But there's no law that says your body has to use all the 'energy' you take in; any or all of it can go out as waste without violating any conservation law. The human body is a complex machine.

I've known skinny people who eat whatever they want -- that used to be me until I turned 30 -- and I have at least one friend who's overweight and has to go to idiotic lengths to lose any weight at all. So none of this is simple, and it is poorly understood. We all accept that our body's reaction to eating lots of chocolate is different at age 50 than it was at age 15 -- if it's just energy in/energy out, why should it change with age?
cheers -mathias
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Old 09-26-20, 10:42 AM
  #132  
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You seem to be confused by some pretty basic concepts.

Calories in vs calories out does apply. You simply can't take in more calories than you expend long term without expecting to store some as fat.

What effects that are a couple of things.

Genetic differences in both the way some are predisposed to store fat and their base metabolic rate. That is why you see familial lines of thin or heavy people.

Added to that are health related issues. Two people, with either hypo or hyper thyroidism (for example), will gain weight differently. Aging, as a rule, slows the metabolic rate across the board so less calories are expended while intake remains constant.

Added to that is the fact that all calories are not created equal when processed by the body. Sugars and refined carbohydrates create fast, steep blood sugar spikes that can lead to insulin resistance or diabetes and can top up glycogen stores easily,. leaving the rest to be stored as fat. Starch breaks down with very little energy input and begins entering the bloodstream while still in the mouth so all calories go towards energy or fat storage. Proteins generally require more energy to break down so some calories ingested go toward that process instead of fat storage.

So... calories in vs out does matter. You can only track that if you count calories. Many people get away with not doing it because of genetics, metabolic rate, age, dietary consistency or basic energy output.

It's not always simple but the process are pretty well understood.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 09-26-20 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 09-26-20, 10:54 AM
  #133  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I was wondering about that myself. Chocolate has only traces of Vitamin C. However, Vitamin C is added to some foods to ****** oxidation and browning. Maybe that explains it.
I thought chocolate *was* Vitamin C.
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Old 09-26-20, 11:07 AM
  #134  
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Perfect storm scenario for weight gain.

Young man from a familial line of big stocky men takes up football in high school.
Gains muscle mass and strength easily and excels, becomes very athletic.

Eats high carb, high calorie meals because his high athletic output burns off everything he puts in. Becomes accustomed to eating large portions.

Leaves high school, gets married, has kids, gets a desk job. By thirty he is overweight.

The genetics that led towards large muscle mass now works against him. He gains weight easier than his life long skinny friend who seems to be able to eat whatever he wants.
His energy output has dropped dramatically but his calorie intake remains high. He still eats large portion meals, usually high carb.

Tries to lose weight by exercising but his mindset leads him to high intensity short duration workouts like weight lifting or pick up football on the weekend. Tries jogging but only for a mile or two. Exercise stimulates the ingrained desire to carb load after workouts.

Repetitive binge cycles and poor food choices (pizza, pasta, donuts, beer) lead to more weight gain and diabetes. By 50, the high school athlete is a wreck.

What needs to happen is a lot of mental work in recogzing calories in vs calories out, portion size and calorie consistency. A long term dietary plan (not fads like keto or protein shakes) that focuses on moderate carb, less refined foods that take longer to breakdown, leading to more level blood sugar levels and longer periods of satiation. Switch from high intensity, short duration exercise to more endurance / cardio work. One can still do resistance training but lifting weights never really helps one lose weight. Of everything, the bolded section is IMO the most important aspect for most young athletes who experience weight gain in later life. Almost all have a skewed sense of what they eat and what they burn off.
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Old 09-26-20, 11:23 AM
  #135  
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happyfeet

>> Calories in vs calories out does apply.
>> You simply can't take in more calories than you expend long term without expecting to store some as fat.
Well, sure. "The laws of physics are strictly enforced," as a former boss was fond of saying. You have to take in energy to expend it.

That does not mean calories in have only two ways out -- belly or crankset.
Calories consumed can be happily wasted and wind up in neither place. There's always the sewer.

Everything else you wrote I think is correct... I"m not an expert, just an observer and occasional experimenter with a sample size of 1.

>> It's not always simple [..]
Agreed!

>> but the process are pretty well understood.
Not by the General Population, to look at waist lines.
cheers -mathias
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Old 09-26-20, 01:45 PM
  #136  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Perfect storm scenario for weight gain.

Young man from a familial line of big stocky men takes up football in high school.
Gains muscle mass and strength easily and excels, becomes very athletic.

Eats high carb, high calorie meals because his high athletic output burns off everything he puts in. Becomes accustomed to eating large portions.

Leaves high school, gets married, has kids, gets a desk job. By thirty he is overweight.

The genetics that led towards large muscle mass now works against him. He gains weight easier than his life long skinny friend who seems to be able to eat whatever he wants.
His energy output has dropped dramatically but his calorie intake remains high. He still eats large portion meals, usually high carb.

Tries to lose weight by exercising but his mindset leads him to high intensity short duration workouts like weight lifting or pick up football on the weekend. Tries jogging but only for a mile or two. Exercise stimulates the ingrained desire to carb load after workouts.

Repetitive binge cycles and poor food choices (pizza, pasta, donuts, beer) lead to more weight gain and diabetes. By 50, the high school athlete is a wreck.

What needs to happen is a lot of mental work in recogzing calories in vs calories out, portion size and calorie consistency. A long term dietary plan (not fads like keto or protein shakes) that focuses on moderate carb, less refined foods that take longer to breakdown, leading to more level blood sugar levels and longer periods of satiation. Switch from high intensity, short duration exercise to more endurance / cardio work. One can still do resistance training but lifting weights never really helps one lose weight. Of everything, the bolded section is IMO the most important aspect for most young athletes who experience weight gain in later life. Almost all have a skewed sense of what they eat and what they burn off.
I agree with most of what you say except the part which I bolded where you say that resistance training is not effective for weight loss....There are many different types of resistance training, some are designed for muscle gain, some are designed for strength gain and some can be programmed for fat loss, some are designed to do both cardio endurance and strength at the same time. To make a blanket statement and say that resistance training is not effective for weight loss is just plain wrong...Lifting weights is actually one of the most important things an overweight person can do, because it builds muscle and fires up you metabolism to burn fat like no other form of exercise can do. Muscle is metabolically active and burns calories even when at rest.

Last edited by wolfchild; 09-26-20 at 01:49 PM.
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Old 09-26-20, 01:58 PM
  #137  
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Originally Posted by Danhedonia View Post
17 year old trolls get six pages?
I've noticed that too....Some of the longest running most active threads are started by trolls who never even come back to reply or participate in the very thread which they started.
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Old 09-26-20, 02:02 PM
  #138  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
I've noticed that too....Some of the longest running most active threads are started by trolls who never even come back to reply or participate in the very thread which they started.
So who is/are the suckers? The "Thread Starter" who casts the chum, or the fish who repeatedly snap at the bait?
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Old 09-26-20, 03:58 PM
  #139  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
You seem to be confused by some pretty basic concepts.

Calories in vs calories out does apply. You simply can't take in more calories than you expend long term without expecting to store some as fat.

What effects that are a couple of things.

Genetic differences in both the way some are predisposed to store fat and their base metabolic rate. That is why you see familial lines of thin or heavy people.

Added to that are health related issues. Two people, with either hypo or hyper thyroidism (for example), will gain weight differently. Aging, as a rule, slows the metabolic rate across the board so less calories are expended while intake remains constant.

Added to that is the fact that all calories are not created equal when processed by the body. Sugars and refined carbohydrates create fast, steep blood sugar spikes that can lead to insulin resistance or diabetes and can top up glycogen stores easily,. leaving the rest to be stored as fat. Starch breaks down with very little energy input and begins entering the bloodstream while still in the mouth so all calories go towards energy or fat storage. Proteins generally require more energy to break down so some calories ingested go toward that process instead of fat storage.

So... calories in vs out does matter. You can only track that if you count calories. Many people get away with not doing it because of genetics, metabolic rate, age, dietary consistency or basic energy output.

It's not always simple but the process are pretty well understood.

i call BS on your last sentence. They are not well understood at all. No one actually metabolizes all the calories they take in. Some very significant amount is actually metabolized by microbes in the gut, then excreted. Those calories are never absorbed by the human "host." For reasons that are poorly understood at this point, the amount that goes out that way varies wildly from person to person. Also, foods vary by where they are digested. For example, carbs are 4 kcal to the gram if digested in the stomach, but less as the food goes further down the gut, eventually ending up at 2 kcal to the gram. People apparently vary in which part of the digestive system is actually digesting which food, so good luck with the simple math. If the label says it's 500 calories and it's a food I don't absorb efficiently, it's not the calorie equivalent for me to 500 calories of a food I do absorb efficiently. That means I might think I'm ok at one number of calories, but might be totally mystified when I start gaining weight at the "same number" of calories.

You know how they calculate the calories in a food? They burn it. That isn't exactly an accurate representation of the chemical processes of metabolism.

I don't know why people insist on claiming this is simple. The ci/co math is going to vary a lot from person to person, and as you note, for everyone as they age.

Last edited by livedarklions; 09-26-20 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 09-26-20, 05:19 PM
  #140  
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Other than the original faulty premise of this thread, the discussion that has evolved is quite interesting. Most of us grew up with the CI/CO model but the complexity of metabolism, as others have so well illustrated, show that model is far outdated.

The football player analogy rang a personal bell. Back in my 30s with a higher rate of metabolism and riding 3-5K miles a year I would eat ridiculous amounts just to try and maintain my weight. Two full Thanksgiving dinners and two desserts, no problem and no gain. But after I remarried a non-cyclist and I became semi-sedentary in comparison, I had one hell of a time not eating at the same rate as I had for 10+ years. My brain said, this is insane, cut your portions, but it was almost like a conditioned addiction. Weight went from 150 (way too skinny) on a 6’2” frame to 178 lbs. it took me years to bring consumption down as pant sizes went up. Besides I felt gross. So I started riding more, hiking peaks, and running and with a bit of diet modification, no red meats, cut way back on sugar, I got to 168-172. Now really getting back into cycling thanks to Ma COVID I am down to what I consider my ideal weight 162-164. Just had my physical and a full panel done and everything came back in the normal range. Plus my BP came down 10 points into normal. I now can eat as I want within reason (still no red meat), feel good and have diet and exercise under control. Reading what I wrote, maybe I should just make cycling my religion.

cudos to those who posted above furthering my humble education.
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Old 09-26-20, 06:29 PM
  #141  
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People don't struggle with weight loss because basic dietary and exercise principles are not well understood, it's but because they choose other priorities and want simple solutions that circumvent basic metabolic science.

They want to lose weight but want delicious tasting, convenient food in large portions.
They want to be more fit but don' want to put in the time required to exercise.
And, they want to believe they are unique, so common sense basic ideas don't apply.. in their case. They are the exception for whatever reason and must continue looking for their own personal unicorn.

The ideas are not complicated. People, for any number of reasons, choose to complicate them. Or, conversely, most people can develop a healthy weight loss/maintenance program following basic dietary principles if they are willing to follow the basic science. There is rarely need for the extraordinary.

Make time to exercise or better yet, make physical activity a lifestyle choice.

Give up gimmicky fad diets and supplements. Eat a balanced diet of whole, non processed foods, low in sugars, moderate in carbohydrates and of those, choose the complex slow release variety. Match your calorie intake and portion size to your energy output and adjust for your genetic make up and metabolic rate, recognizing that, with age and decreased activity, that will slow down. Give up or decrease sugary drinks, calorie rich snacks and sweets - those are constantly "topping up the tank" so to speak and never allowing the body to use its fat reserves.

When I said resistance training was not used for weight loss, I did not mean that it could not be used for that. Any activity can be tailored to specific outputs. You can do moderate intensity, high rep workouts to tone and slim but at some point those begin to look more like cardio than traditional resistance workouts. I should have clarified, for the lawyer types, that weight lifting is generally not thought of in that way.

In a gym with serious weight lifters you do not usually see people slimming down. They are bulking up and gaining weight.

Endurance athletes like runners are generally thin, as are cross country skiers, as are long distance cyclists. As are triathletes, as are rowers.
Within those disciplines, you may see more bulky athletes. Track cycle sprinters are very muscular. 100 yard dash runners are muscular in comparison to marathoners. When you look at what they do though, it is high intensity, short duration work. More resistance in nature than cardio. Otherwise, cardio / endurance is well associated with weight loss.

I work in an extended care facility as a rehab assistant, daily with 90 - 100 year old people. Very few in that age bracket lifted weights, did high intensity workouts or were heavily muscled. All those things tend to tax the heart and wear it out prematurely. Those that are most active, in advanced years, walked a lot late into life and did moderate exercise in the form of work or as a lifestyle. Housework, farming etc...

Last edited by Happy Feet; 09-26-20 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 09-26-20, 06:34 PM
  #142  
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Itís all mechanics. Your gauge is the scale. Food and exercise are the levers that control the gauge.
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Old 09-26-20, 07:30 PM
  #143  
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Originally Posted by raceboy View Post
Itís all mechanics. Your gauge is the scale. Food and exercise are the levers that control the gauge.
Probably for most people the best device for checking for proper form is a full length mirror. It shows what most people are really interested in improving with exercise/diet regimens.
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Old 09-26-20, 09:09 PM
  #144  
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I’d put forth that your brain can distort its perception of what it sees in the mirror. The number is the number—and it never lies. At least that’s my experience as a lifelong fighter of heavy weight.
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Old 09-26-20, 09:20 PM
  #145  
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
People don't struggle with weight loss because basic dietary and exercise principles are not well understood, it's but because they choose other priorities and want simple solutions that circumvent basic metabolic science.

They want to lose weight but want delicious tasting, convenient food in large portions.
They want to be more fit but don' want to put in the time required to exercise.
And, they want to believe they are unique, so common sense basic ideas don't apply.. in their case. They are the exception for whatever reason and must continue looking for their own personal unicorn.

The ideas are not complicated. People, for any number of reasons, choose to complicate them. Or, conversely, most people can develop a healthy weight loss/maintenance program following basic dietary principles if they are willing to follow the basic science. There is rarely need for the extraordinary.

Make time to exercise or better yet, make physical activity a lifestyle choice.

Give up gimmicky fad diets and supplements. Eat a balanced diet of whole, non processed foods, low in sugars, moderate in carbohydrates and of those, choose the complex slow release variety. Match your calorie intake and portion size to your energy output and adjust for your genetic make up and metabolic rate, recognizing that, with age and decreased activity, that will slow down. Give up or decrease sugary drinks, calorie rich snacks and sweets - those are constantly "topping up the tank" so to speak and never allowing the body to use its fat reserves.

When I said resistance training was not used for weight loss, I did not mean that it could not be used for that. Any activity can be tailored to specific outputs. You can do moderate intensity, high rep workouts to tone and slim but at some point those begin to look more like cardio than traditional resistance workouts. I should have clarified, for the lawyer types, that weight lifting is generally not thought of in that way.

In a gym with serious weight lifters you do not usually see people slimming down. They are bulking up and gaining weight.

Endurance athletes like runners are generally thin, as are cross country skiers, as are long distance cyclists. As are triathletes, as are rowers.
Within those disciplines, you may see more bulky athletes. Track cycle sprinters are very muscular. 100 yard dash runners are muscular in comparison to marathoners. When you look at what they do though, it is high intensity, short duration work. More resistance in nature than cardio. Otherwise, cardio / endurance is well associated with weight loss.

I work in an extended care facility as a rehab assistant, daily with 90 - 100 year old people. Very few in that age bracket lifted weights, did high intensity workouts or were heavily muscled. All those things tend to tax the heart and wear it out prematurely. Those that are most active, in advanced years, walked a lot late into life and did moderate exercise in the form of work or as a lifestyle. Housework, farming etc...

Sorry, but I know too many people for whom these "simple principles" just don't work. I realize that frustrates attempts to turn this into a morality play where everyone is equally responsible for their outcomes, but genetics, epigenetics and a whole lot of really poorly understood mechanisms make this a completely unequal playing field.
And, sorry, but what kind of sample is that? Residents in a long term rehab? Is that supposed to be an example of good or bad? I can't speak for anyone but myself, but living in a long-term institution is not one of my fitness goals.
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Old 09-26-20, 09:46 PM
  #146  
Danhedonia
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
i call BS on your last sentence. They are not well understood at all. No one actually metabolizes all the calories they take in. Some very significant amount is actually metabolized by microbes in the gut, then excreted. Those calories are never absorbed by the human "host." For reasons that are poorly understood at this point, the amount that goes out that way varies wildly from person to person. Also, foods vary by where they are digested. For example, carbs are 4 kcal to the gram if digested in the stomach, but less as the food goes further down the gut, eventually ending up at 2 kcal to the gram. People apparently vary in which part of the digestive system is actually digesting which food, so good luck with the simple math. If the label says it's 500 calories and it's a food I don't absorb efficiently, it's not the calorie equivalent for me to 500 calories of a food I do absorb efficiently. That means I might think I'm ok at one number of calories, but might be totally mystified when I start gaining weight at the "same number" of calories.

You know how they calculate the calories in a food? They burn it. That isn't exactly an accurate representation of the chemical processes of metabolism.

I don't know why people insist on claiming this is simple. The ci/co math is going to vary a lot from person to person, and as you note, for everyone as they age.
If I am to understand this correctly, I could be gobbling cake and farting my way to skinniness? With the right gut bacteria?
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Old 09-26-20, 09:55 PM
  #147  
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Originally Posted by Danhedonia View Post
If I am to understand this correctly, I could be gobbling cake and farting my way to skinniness?
Farting can also increase your average speed by 0.2-0.3 mph. A true win-win scenario.
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Old 09-26-20, 10:29 PM
  #148  
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AND it builds enjoyment of the activity! :: high fives you ::
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Old 09-26-20, 10:51 PM
  #149  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
Sorry, but I know too many people for whom these "simple principles" just don't work. I realize that frustrates attempts to turn this into a morality play where everyone is equally responsible for their outcomes, but genetics, epigenetics and a whole lot of really poorly understood mechanisms make this a completely unequal playing field.
And, sorry, but what kind of sample is that? Residents in a long term rehab? Is that supposed to be an example of good or bad? I can't speak for anyone but myself, but living in a long-term institution is not one of my fitness goals.
What you say makes no sense in relation to what I wrote. No one is turning anything into a morality play.

Those simple principles work if they are worked because they are somewhat universal - it would appear you didn't even read the parts that suggest variation based on individual characteristics. One size does not fit all in terms of coming up with a specific diet of set calories but the basic premise of calories in vs out, adjusted to the individual in terms of genetics, age, health and activity level does. In most cases where diet is a struggle, people either do not understand their own physiology in terms of metabolism, overestimate their energy output or underestimate their calorie intake, either by caloric volume or consistancy. The error is in the data collection - not the formula perse.

Are we really to say some people are responsible for their outcomes while others are not? That realm is usually reserved for minors and the insane. What you mean perhaps, is that it is easier for some to achieve favourable outcomes while it is harder for others. Of course that is true but not the same as saying some have control while others do not. As with most pursuits, some have a natural proclivity while others have to work harder.

And the sample is that, taking diet and exercise to it's logical conclusion, the oldest people have not, as a rule, engaged in intensive resistance training earlier in life. It would appear more moderate but integrated exercise pays a larger role in extended lifespan and mobility. Your fitness goal currently may not be to live in an extended care facility - FWIW, almost none of the residents I work with though they would wind up there either. It comes as a shock and some people even try to leave. But, if you do survive long enough, you probably will be there too and when you are there you will probably want to be mobile and independent. What you do today effects tomorrow, and if you string enough tomorrows together you wind up old and being cared for. I cannot imagine one hopes to be old and unhealthy.

In the sense of this discussion, fitness is the ability to engage in the tasks you wish to do without undue hardship. That task may be biking to the store or for a century, running a mile or a marathon, or walking a block or the length of the AT. As you get older it may be the activities of daily living such as climbing the stairs in your home or walking to the mailbox. Your fitness goals are not static, they are dynamic and change as you age.

Some people are currently championing resistance training as the new secret to long healthy life. Meh. What I am saying is that people who are currently living the longest with the best mobility appear not to have engaged in that as a primary exercise model. It appears they did moderate cardio that was incorporated into a lifestyle regime. Personally, for me that means I don't really do diets but strive to make basic healthy eating a lifestyle choice and exercise activity based as part of a similar outdoor lifestyle. I am always active but rarely hit a gym to workout. I ride my bikes a lot, run in the woods with my dog, kayak or paddleboard and hike.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 09-26-20 at 11:08 PM.
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Old 09-27-20, 06:12 AM
  #150  
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Originally Posted by Danhedonia View Post
If I am to understand this correctly, I could be gobbling cake and farting my way to skinniness? With the right gut bacteria?
No, but it does mean that a piece of cake could be a disaster for one person and for another it could be, well, a piece of cake.

If you really want to judge this by the extremes, yes a 7000 calorie a day diet is going to likely make you fat and eating nothing will reduce your weight until you die. Now if you want to discuss the options within the range where people actually live, it gets a whole lot more complicated.
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