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Putting on weight during a long tour?

Old 09-11-16, 09:25 PM
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Inpd
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Putting on weight during a tour?

Hi,

I'm not on a tour right now, but I have a break at work so I've been riding 50-100 miles each day for the last 6 days. So far its been 55, 65, 85, 55, 100 and 68. I weighted myself at the beginning of this "tour" and I was 183.5 pounds in the morning before breakfast..

I haven't been eating poorly as I've been home each night. I anticipate I'm eating my daily caloric intake of 2200 and no more but I figured with all those miles I'd be in a caloric deficiency.

So low and behold I weight myself today before breakfast and I've put on 5.5 pounds and am now weight 189 pounds!

Clearly its not due to fat gain so what could it be? Has anyone else experienced this.

I'm sure it will go away in due course, but carrying and extra 5.5 pounds whilst riding is nothing to scoff at.
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Old 09-11-16, 09:38 PM
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The biggest factor in short term weight change is water. It's possible that you're riding at a level that strains your muscles, and like with other traumas you're body is holding more water during the recovery.

Years ago the simple act of crashing and accumulating multiple bruises cause me to gain a few pounds overnight. That added weight went away with the pain over the next few days.
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Old 09-11-16, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
The biggest factor in short term weight change is water. It's possible that you're riding at a level that strains your muscles, and like with other traumas you're body is holding more water during the recovery.

Years ago the simple act of crashing and accumulating multiple bruises cause me to gain a few pounds overnight. That added weight went away with the pain over the next few days.
Thanks. I am a new rider and only been riding for 18 months. I've ridden centuries before, but I've only done not more than half a dozen back to back days of long riding.

So where is the water retention? Stomach area, in the muscles themselves? Is there a way to stop it?
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Old 09-11-16, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
Thanks. I am a new rider and only been riding for 18 months. I've ridden centuries before, but I've only done not more than half a dozen back to back days of long riding.

So where is the water retention? Stomach area, in the muscles themselves? Is there a way to stop it?
If it's water, it would be in the affected areas, ie. the leg muscles. In any case, your body knows how to take care of itself, so let the process run it's course and you'll return to normal soon enough.

Weight swings of a few pounds over the short term are fairly normal, especially when you've made a significant change in routine, ie. riding much more than usual, drinking or not drinking as much as normal, sudden changes in diet, etc.

You can't micro manage your body, so give it time to adjust, and later readjust when you change back to your normal routine.
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Old 09-11-16, 11:57 PM
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I usually lose 5-10 lb on long tours, 1-3 months. I'm starting at 155 and very little to spare.

Last edited by Doug64; 09-12-16 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 09-12-16, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
Thanks. I am a new rider and only been riding for 18 months. I've ridden centuries before, but I've only done not more than half a dozen back to back days of long riding.

So where is the water retention? Stomach area, in the muscles themselves? Is there a way to stop it?
Yeah, water retention. Quite normal. Wait 3 days and you'll wear a path in the carpet to the toilet. Then you'll be back to your normal weight again. Nothing to worry about. Happens all the time.
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Old 09-12-16, 01:56 AM
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You gained 5.5lb in 6 days?

Each lb of fat is 3500 calories, so you ate 19,250 extra calories. That doesn't sound possible. It's probably a combination of water, difference in gut content, slightly more muscle, and slightly more fat. Perhaps you did not count your calories as carefully as you think.

On my last month long tour I lost almost all the fat in my body. My stomach was flat and my belt got looser. I thought I'd lost at least 10lb looking in the mirror, but when I got home I discovered I had lost only 2lb. It seems all the fat turned into thigh muscles.
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Old 09-12-16, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
I anticipate I'm eating my daily caloric intake of 2200 and no more but I figured with all those miles I'd be in a caloric deficiency.

...

but carrying and extra 5.5 pounds whilst riding is nothing to scoff at.
You anticipate, or you KNOW? As one who has in the past gone through exercises estimating what he was eating, then actually recording and comparing those numbers, what one anticipates can often not mirror reality.

I personally bounce around in weight quite a bit. I don't pay attention to any fluctuations til they get past the 5# or so mark. Remember, if you weight yourself, drink three pints of beer, and immediately weight yourself again, you are going to weight three pounds more!

But in any case, I have a hard time believing anyone but a high level athlete notices any practicable difference on a ride with an extra 5.5# on them.
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Old 09-12-16, 07:48 AM
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Male and female bodies tend to react differently to long term athletic stress. There's a saying on the Appalachian Trail that at the end of the hike, men look like concentration camp survivors and women look like aerobics instructors.
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Old 09-12-16, 07:48 AM
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I measure my caloric intake and it was no more than 2200

Hi,

Since I was at home, I could easily measure my caloric intake (i.e. no restaurant meals). So I know I didn't eat more than my daily allotment of 2200 which is my dietitians estimate for me for a "sedentary life style".

If you add up the miles (about 400) and multiply it by say 30 calories per mile (not unreasonable for a big guy like me) we come at 12,000 calories. So I should have lost more than 3 pounds.

Thank you for letting me know its probably water retention. I guess there is nothing I can do about it? 5.5 pounds is 5.5 pounds more to carry up those hills!
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Old 09-12-16, 07:54 AM
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Some body (or some places you visit) has great Cooks..


Some Bodies Go into storage Mode at a Certain Age.. it's in your Genes.
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Old 09-12-16, 07:56 AM
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I rode singlespeed for an entire tour this summer, about 30 days of riding and lots of climbing. I'm now consistently ~10 pounds heavier than I used to be, and I think it's actually muscle mass. You could be getting some riding quads!
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Old 09-12-16, 08:03 AM
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Eating 2200 Cals when riding 50-100mi/day is not enough. I would aim for a net deficit of 500-1000 Cals/day.

It's possible you were dehydrated when you took your starting measurement and overhydrated at the end. Also watch sodium intake. It's easy to gain a couple extra lbs after a high salt meal.
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Old 09-12-16, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Inpd View Post
Hi,

Since I was at home, I could easily measure my caloric intake (i.e. no restaurant meals). So I know I didn't eat more than my daily allotment of 2200 which is my dietitians estimate for me for a "sedentary life style".

If you add up the miles (about 400) and multiply it by say 30 calories per mile (not unreasonable for a big guy like me) we come at 12,000 calories. So I should have lost more than 3 pounds.

Thank you for letting me know its probably water retention. I guess there is nothing I can do about it? 5.5 pounds is 5.5 pounds more to carry up those hills!
You could try a large cup of tea (no milk or sugar, of course) ... occasionally that seems to speed up the process a little.
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Old 09-12-16, 03:37 PM
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Sure it isn't your scales. I haven't found a decent pair of scales I trust yet. I can weight myself one day and then weight myself the next and my weight can change, increase, by 10 pounds. In the same respect I can weigh myself one hour and then the next hour weight myself and see my body weight change 5-10 pounds. Unless your using the old fashion scales, teeter totter with known weight on one end and you on the other...I wouldn't trust them. It seems like atmospheric pressure can have quite an effect on performance of scales and how accurately the measure...at least mine do. I don't pay any attention to them for much of anything anymore as they are just darn unreliable. Keep riding and don't fret over weight gain or weight loss. You'll be fine.
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Old 09-12-16, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
Sure it isn't your scales. I haven't found a decent pair of scales I trust yet.... .
The newer digital scales that are built into a heavy piece of glass can give odd readings if you do not have them on a perfectly flat surface. And since almost nobody has a perfectly flat surface, they often give odd readings. If I moved my old one a quarter inch to a slightly different spot on the floor, it would give a reading several pounds different.

My old digital scale died and when I bought a new one, I put it on top of the old scale thinking that the old scale being a very solid glass flat surface was better than putting the new scale on the floor. The new one works great with very consistent readings which I largely credit the good flat surface provided by the old scale. You do have to stand very still while it reads your weight, that is another key. I can consistently get readings within 0.2 pounds, reading after reading if I try several readings a few minutes apart from each other.
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Old 09-12-16, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
Sure it isn't your scales. I haven't found a decent pair of scales I trust yet.
If the accuracy of your scale is really important to you, it's possible to get commercial ones that are calibrated and certified. I ended up inheriting one from a relative that sold a lot of fish, I use it for checking luggage weights...once in a while I'll lie on it to how heavy I am.

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Old 09-12-16, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by manapua_man View Post
If the accuracy of your scale is really important to you, it's possible to get commercial ones that are calibrated and certified. I ended up inheriting one from a relative that sold a lot of fish, I use it for checking luggage weights...once in a while I'll lie on it to how heavy I am.
My scale is accurate. I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic and my health insurance invested in some fancy expensive scales to track my weight. Thanks to biking I am in great shape now but I kept the scales!
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Old 09-12-16, 09:07 PM
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I weighted 155 before I left on my tour this year on May 1. I was at 158 when I returned home on August 9 after 5,200 miles. My weight stays pretty consistent though. I could eat a cow a day or not eat for a few days and my weight wouldn't fluctuate that much. Knowing your metabolic type is important. Everyone has a unique metabolic type.
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Old 09-12-16, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
Male and female bodies tend to react differently to long term athletic stress. There's a saying on the Appalachian Trail that at the end of the hike, men look like concentration camp survivors and women look like aerobics instructors.
Any thin man who doesn't shave or cut his hair for a while looks like a concentration camp survivor. What happens when a woman doesn't shave or cut her hair? Nothing.
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Old 09-12-16, 09:47 PM
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At least half the time, I gain weight while on tour. The most I've ever weighed was after my first tour, 4,500 miles long. It wasn't just muscle; when I got home, I couldn't close my jeans, and if you look at pictures, my face was a lot rounder. When you don't weigh much to begin with (65 kg), you're more likely to go up than down. And when your necessary intake is "a lot," it's hard to be exact.

Think again about that 2,200 calories you're supposedly eating. You're sure you're not pouring a larger bowl of cereal, helping yourself to another handful of raisins, finishing your chicken breast instead of saving half for leftovers? Are you counting the calories you drink? It's easy to say "I only had _____" when you don't count the things you ate without even thinking about it.
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Old 09-12-16, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
I rode singlespeed for an entire tour this summer, about 30 days of riding and lots of climbing. I'm now consistently ~10 pounds heavier than I used to be, and I think it's actually muscle mass. You could be getting some riding quads!
Yes, a week of 70 mile days will add some muscle. Also IMO one should be dubious about std calculated caloric needs. When one is training and/or dieting the digestion can become more efficient so one doesn't automatically lose weight. Some of the best pro racers have to pay strict attention to diet despite supposedly massive caloric needs. Interesting that in 2016 TdF commentary the team dieticians are including less pasta/wheat to reduce muscle inflammation.
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Old 09-13-16, 07:34 AM
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Weight Management on Tour

When I began my first multi-week tour, down the west coast, I had a little pot belly I wanted to get rid of. I weighed myself before and after and I gained a few pounds, even after riding 1500 miles. My pot belly may have shrunk a bit, but the amount was small. I concluded that the weight gain was increased muscle mass, and the reason my pot belly didn't shrink was due to the massive amounts of food I was eating (and enjoying!) I was also in the best shape of my life, in spite of the pot belly.

Now I don't worry. I enjoy the good shape I achieve on tour, enjoy the food, and that's it.

P. S. Since that first big tour I've contracted type 2 diabetes. Touring is the best therapy I've found.
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Old 09-13-16, 08:38 AM
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Of course it depends on the type, location, and length of your tour, but I usually drop quite a bit of weight on my tours, especially if I encounter prolonged cool weather, in the mountains, or both. Not only are you riding and burning calories all day, but you probably snack less and don't eat as much junk as you would in a more sedimentary lifestyle (ya know, when ya put on layers of fat. ) I tell people in cool mountai weather you must east three times as much as normal: once to eat, once to power the bike, and once to stay stay warm.

I find a summer touring is better than joint medicine.

Love the other stories above.
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