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Calories and cycling

Old 08-03-21, 07:31 AM
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Originally Posted by pgjackson
Careful, those kinds of absolute and non-inclusive statements are frowned upon here...even if it's correct.

No, what's frowned upon is saying that discussing any other considerations that make that complicated are "excuses" and lectures about how we shouldn't talk about that because it's simple and easy.

You really want to keep posting the stupid cheap shots?
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Old 08-03-21, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by SteveHopps
Medium intensity training is only really any good for building up stamina, for endurance events.
I wouldn't say that stamina is the only thing medium intensity training is good for.

Level 2 (Endurance) produces these adaptations, from Coggan:

Plasma volume: fair
Muscle mitochondrial enzymes: good
Lactate threshold: good
Glycogen storage: good
Slow twitch muscle fibers: fair
Muscle capillaries: fair
Fast twitch muscle fiber conversion: good
Increased stroke volume: fair
Increased VO2max: fair
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Old 08-03-21, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by gregf83
It is but Intensity Factor != Intensity.
Yup, it could have been more precise, but subsequent comments clarified that before you came in to flex your knowledge. Heaven forbid mild colloquialism.
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Old 08-08-21, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
He probably believes the freshmen college physics professors and hasn't figured out that we don't live in a vacuum or that the world is hardly linear and time-invariant (like....weather).
Did you actually read my post? Because it kind of seems like you didn't.
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Old 08-08-21, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce19
Speed of travel is definitely a factor from everything I've read.
If you're referring to the table in the cycling news article that you quoted in your next post, that's a tabulation of calories burned per hour versus speed. The trick is that that if you're cycling more slowly, you're cycling for longer to get to the same place so by the time you reach it, you've burned the same number of calories. Again, it's a gross simplification, but interesting nonetheless.
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Old 08-08-21, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by david101
If you're referring to the table in the cycling news article that you quoted in your next post, that's a tabulation of calories burned per hour versus speed. The trick is that that if you're cycling more slowly, you're cycling for longer to get to the same place so by the time you reach it, you've burned the same number of calories. Again, it's a gross simplification, but interesting nonetheless.
Yes, a gross simplification to the point, you are wrong.

Yes, I read your earlier post and was politely telling you were wrong.

You obviously did not read or understand what many wrote. Wind resistance/speed is a massive factor in energy required. Cubic.
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Old 08-08-21, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62
Yes, a gross simplification to the point, you are wrong.

Yes, I read your earlier post and was politely telling you were wrong.

You obviously did not read or understand what many wrote. Wind resistance/speed is a massive factor in energy required. Cubic.
You weren't very polite. And ignoring the caveats in my original post, and stating that I'm wrong because of those same caveats isn't very helpful.
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Old 08-08-21, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by david101
The trick is that that if you're cycling more slowly, you're cycling for longer to get to the same place so by the time you reach it, you've burned the same number of calories. Again, it's a gross simplification, but interesting nonetheless.
It's wrong in addition to being a gross simplification. As your speed ramps up linearly, resistance ramps up exponentially - the increased time in the saddle, over the same distance, doesn't make up for the increased energy necessary to cover that same distance faster. I see this in practice 3-4x per week on my short ride days. I'll cover the same, boring 18-mile loop, but I'll do it at different intensities, depending upon my cumulative training load at the time. Covering it at 20mph requires a lot more kj than doing so at 16mph.
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Old 08-08-21, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
It's wrong in addition to being a gross simplification. As your speed ramps up linearly, resistance ramps up exponentially - the increased time in the saddle, over the same distance, doesn't make up for the increased energy necessary to cover that same distance faster. I see this in practice 3-4x per week on my short ride days. I'll cover the same, boring 18-mile loop, but I'll do it at different intensities, depending upon my cumulative training load at the time. Covering it at 20mph requires a lot more kj than doing so at 16mph.
Yes. Because of air resistance, and other more minor factors, which I neglected in my 'gross simplification'. The spirit of my original post was merely to point out that doing something fast doesn't necessarily burn more calories than doing the same thing slowly. I thought I'd made that intent sufficiently clear in my original post. But obviously not. Sorry.
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Old 08-08-21, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by david101
Yes. Because of air resistance, and other more minor factors, which I neglected in my 'gross simplification'. The spirit of my original post was merely to point out that doing something fast doesn't necessarily burn more calories than doing the same thing slowly. I thought I'd made that intent sufficiently clear in my original post. But obviously not. Sorry.
But.... the spirit of your post is wrong, so I don't understand why you said it in the first place or why you keep repeating it.
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Old 08-08-21, 08:18 PM
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The amount of calories you burn while cycling is irrelevant.
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Old 08-08-21, 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
But.... the spirit of your post is wrong, so I don't understand why you said it in the first place or why you keep repeating it.
I wrote
The spirit of my original post was merely to point out that doing something fast doesn't necessarily burn more calories than doing the same thing slowly.
So are you saying that doing something fast does necessarily burn more calories than doing the same thing slowly?
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Old 08-08-21, 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by david101
I wrote

So are you saying that doing something fast does necessarily burn more calories than doing the same thing slowly?
Yes.
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Old 08-08-21, 08:43 PM
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So are you saying that doing something fast does necessarily burn more calories than doing the same thing slowly?
Originally Posted by WhyFi
Yes.
Then you are wrong.
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Old 08-08-21, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by david101
Then you are wrong.
Not within the context of riding a bike. Faster over the same course, all other things equal, necessarily requires more energy.
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Old 08-08-21, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
Not within the context of riding a bike. Faster over the same course, all other things equal, necessarily requires more energy.
Well now you're qualifying your original statement. But letting that pass, explain to me why ascending Alpe d'huez at 8 mph uses significantly more energy than ascending at 6 mph.
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Old 08-08-21, 09:10 PM
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setting all the complexities aside, my experience is that it's possible to burn SO MANY calories cycling (and in an enjoyable way) that in the short term it can overpower even a fairly poor diet.

without even trying, i lost 15lb in ±3 months, knowingly eating more/whatever i wanted to on a ride day. 2,000 miles ridden, 93,000 calories burned, the grossly oversimplified chemistry/physics would suggest i ate an extra 40k (400-500 a day), and the other 53k came from burning fat. went from 6'2 200 to 6'2 185, again, without any real "effort" other than riding a lot and having fun doing it - and never allowing my heart rate to exceed 130 or have an average of more than 105 on any given ride.

i've never found a form of exercise that was so easy to burn so many calories. swimming, soccer, running, walking, hiking, free weights, yoga...

ymmv, this is merely my experience, but the numbers pretty much line up with the physics.
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Old 08-08-21, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by david101
Well now you're qualifying your original statement.
How am I qualifying anything differently than you did?

Originally Posted by david101
The trick is that that if you're cycling more slowly, you're cycling for longer to get to the same place so by the time you reach it, you've burned the same number of calories.
Originally Posted by david101
The spirit of my original post was merely to point out that doing something fast doesn't necessarily burn more calories than doing the same thing slowly.


Originally Posted by david101
But letting that pass, explain to me why ascending Alpe d'huez at 8 mph uses significantly more energy than ascending at 6 mph.
At those kinds of speeds, it isn't significantly more, but it is still more. Cycling exclusively at those kinds of speeds isn't very typical though, is it? That you have to cherry pick your scenarios in an effort to negate the dominant form of resistance that cyclists experience is telling.
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Old 08-08-21, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
How am I qualifying anything differently than you did?









At those kinds of speeds, it isn't significantly more, but it is still more. Cycling exclusively at those kinds of speeds isn't very typical though, is it? That you have to cherry pick your scenarios in an effort to negate the dominant form of resistance that cyclists experience is telling.

The spirit of my original post was merely to point out that doing something fast doesn't necessarily burn more calories than doing the same thing slowly.
I think we're now agreed that the spirit of my original post was in fact not 'wrong' as you claimed.
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Old 08-08-21, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett
setting all the complexities aside, my experience is that it's possible to burn SO MANY calories cycling (and in an enjoyable way) that in the short term it can overpower even a fairly poor diet.

without even trying, i lost 15lb in ±3 months, knowingly eating more/whatever i wanted to on a ride day. 2,000 miles ridden, 93,000 calories burned, the grossly oversimplified chemistry/physics would suggest i ate an extra 40k (400-500 a day), and the other 53k came from burning fat. went from 6'2 200 to 6'2 185, again, without any real "effort" other than riding a lot and having fun doing it - and never allowing my heart rate to exceed 130 or have an average of more than 105 on any given ride.

i've never found a form of exercise that was so easy to burn so many calories. swimming, soccer, running, walking, hiking, free weights, yoga...

ymmv, this is merely my experience, but the numbers pretty much line up with the physics.

Have to agree. In Jan 2021 at 6’1” I weighed 175 lbs. Have ridden about 2500 miles this year and stepped on the scale this week and to my surprise saw 159.6 lbs which I have not weighed in 30 years. My wife has has changed our diet to mostly vegetables with some chicken and fish, but I have also ramped up my eating to maintain weight to a ‘healthy” level. When on my bike, I don’t noodle or cruise but always push speed and distances, always hunting PRs and a top 10 in KOMs but keep in mind I am in my mid 60s and don’t have a training plan. Just cycling with some effort has melted the weight off, while I am eating more. Cycling with intensity does pay off.
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Old 08-08-21, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by david101
I think we're now agreed that the spirit of my original post was in fact not 'wrong' as you claimed.
No. The spirit of your post was wrong. Simple example from a ride a few days ago. 37.16km at 18.6 kph. Average 60 Watts. Total time 2 hrs riding the hoods. Total energy 430 kJ.

If I bike at 200W on the same course I've averaged 33.7 kph on aerobars. That's 793 kJ.

That's a huge difference in energy to cover the same distance.
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Old 08-08-21, 11:56 PM
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Originally Posted by david101
So are you saying that doing something fast does necessarily burn more calories than doing the same thing slowly?
Depends what you’re doing. Running or riding up steep hills burn a fixed number of calories per distance independent of speed. Cycling on the flat or normal rolling terrain and speed makes a significant difference due to the aero losses. I can commute to work using anywhere from 600 to 800 calories even with no wind. Riding faster becomes less efficient. Going 5% faster takes roughly 15% more power.
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Old 08-09-21, 02:31 AM
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Restarting training after a nearly two month break and consequently lugging a couple of extra kilos around, I found it rather helpful to ride long distance in the higher end of zone 1 (in a three zone model; below the first ventillatory threshold, or that is, at conversational pace), at about 60-65% of FTP; at this intensity I can do about 150km on just coffee and a croissant, and a couple of electrolyte tablets. If I go harder I have to eat to do long distance, or I fall apart. Works best on relatively flat ground, where you can go easy and still ride reasonably quickly.

Doing a bit of high intensity is really helpful from a training point of view, but you've got to eat well doing it.
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Old 08-09-21, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by david101
I think we're now agreed that the spirit of my original post was in fact not 'wrong' as you claimed.

No, you're just playing with the word "fast" by choosing an example where other factors don't allow anyone to ride anything we'd consider fast.

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Old 08-09-21, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by david101
You weren't very polite. And ignoring the caveats in my original post, and stating that I'm wrong because of those same caveats isn't very helpful.
Not reading what others wrote and explained in great detail and then repeating your feeling that going faster does not increase energy expenditure is not polite.
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