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Handling calories on rest days vs. ride days for weight loss

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Handling calories on rest days vs. ride days for weight loss

Old 08-07-15, 10:12 AM
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Handling calories on rest days vs. ride days for weight loss

I'm trying to get closer to an ideal cycling weight - I've managed to keep a steady weight for almost two years now after dropping 85lbs I'd been carrying around since I was a teenager. With my frame (medium-large) I think 2.2 pounds per inch is probably about right, and at 6'2" that would be 163lbs. I've set a new goal for 165, slightly above that, and want to get there from 182 in time for the beginning of March next year. There's still plenty of bodyfat that can go. Adding raw power is getting to be a slower process and while my current numbers aren't anything earth shattering (3.25W/Kg FTP) they're a huge leap from anything I could have imagined before I turned 40... Just getting back to the same level at that goal weight brings it to 3.6, and the lower weight will help with the fact that once the grade goes past about 6% I'm not competitive with the guys I ride with.

At less than a pound each week that shouldn't hurt other goals too bad, my power curve is really flat and I need to work on short intervals...

The problem I am having is balancing out how much to eat day-to-day at this time of year. Most of my rides are longer, moderately hilly rides that burn a ton of calories just from the amount of time in the saddle. It's pretty trivial to keep a 500 calorie deficit on ride days, but rest days are an issue. I just eat and eat. I'm not adding weight, but not losing anything, and if I don't eat as much as my body demands I end up feeling sluggish on the next ride. Is it a good idea to run bigger deficits on long days until the season ends and just keep listening to my body on rest days? It's tough to have 2-3 days each week keeping below 2000 calories when some days are more than double that. It's different than when I was losing weight to not be obese, now I have fitness to keep up.

Over the winter, I think it will be easier just to keep up a 300-ish daily calorie deficit because there won't be wild swings in calories burned every day of the week, so it'll just be willpower. I just can't seem to figure out how to handle what's going on now....
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Old 08-07-15, 12:53 PM
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I'd probably enjoy the remainder of the season and manage with intake in Oct-Feb.

If it were me (I'm right at your size and I'm 43), it's be nearly impossible to get down to 165. That was high school for me, and the caloric deficit I'd have to do would 1) excommunicate me from my married Italian family and 2) be no fun.

A ravenous appetite on rest days might be what you're eating rather than how much. I really amp up protein on rest days, seems to help keep me from gorging (until my mother-in-law throws down one of her desserts. then it's all over)...
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Old 08-07-15, 01:04 PM
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Here's what works for me. I usually ride every other day depending on what else I'm doing.

First, try to determine as accurately as possible what you are burning and consuming during your rides. I have a PowerTap, so I know pretty closely. Some computers way overestimate calories burned. If your computer says you're burning more than 600 calories an hour, it is probably lying to you.

Second, keep carb/sugar nutrition during the ride to less than half of your calories consumed during the ride.

Once the ride is over, restore most of the rest of the calories with protein, meat, protein bars, muscle milk. Check everything and make sure "added sugar" is low. 5g is OK. 30g is bad, find something else.

I'm at about 15% body fat now down from 20%.
I had to go buy a bunch of new size 32 pants.

I'm about where I want to be, so I will start returning all my ride calories and eat just my BMR calories on days I don't ride.

You can also "save" some ride day calories for off days when you get a hunger pang.
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Old 08-07-15, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by kc0bbq
The problem I am having is balancing out how much to eat day-to-day at this time of year.
At 205 pounds with a sweaty crease between man boobs and belly I started eating intuitively. Almost 2 years later I'm 5'9" according to my doctor (I thought I was 5'10"), weigh 137 pounds which is 1.99 pounds/inch, have a 26" waist, and made 3.5W/kg before my crash.

1. Only eat when hungry

2. Only eat enough to be sated 30 minutes after the last bite, going back for seconds or even thirds as necessary. This is necessary because appetite lags consumption by about half an hour.

3. Always eat when hungry so rule 2 isn't too hard to follow.

and forget about trying to fit that into a fixed number of meal slots.

After getting used to being fit I decided the scary thin line for me is between vascularity on my oblique abs only and getting some on my rectus abdominis; when I go there I compensate with dark chocolate and nuts when I'm not hungry.

That involves very different amounts of food even at the same energy output comparing VO2max Mondays, threshold Thursdays, long ride Saturdays, my short endurance ride Tuesday, two rest days on the bike, and Sunday off but keeps me feeling good at an ideal riding size.

I'm on a polarized plan apart from 1-1:15 aiming for 95% of FTP on Thursdays which feels too good to skip, was riding 14 hours a week so I had a good aerobic base this season, eat fewer carbs than I used to, am down to 0-1 beers once a week, and am somewhat fat adapted so I don't get hungry or otherwise need to eat on rides under 4 hours.

OTOH when I added hard days, turned my easy rides into tempo, and neglected Z1/Z2 my weight plateaued at 180.

More protein sticks with me longer so I eat less, although riding a lot in 1997 without eating better I got to about the same size. OTOH, I was 24 not 42.

Friel wrote that more fat and less carb got him back to racing weight (he's 70 something, and considers that to be 154 pounds like at age 18) without being hungry

https://www.joefrielsblog.com/2013/08...ce-weight.html

I also swapped all but two of my pile of daily Diet Cokes for carbonated mineral water.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 08-07-15 at 07:24 PM.
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Old 08-07-15, 11:19 PM
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In general I find it easier to eat a little below maintenance calories on my ride days so that I can eat over maintenance on rest days. At a ~200 mile per week volume I don't personally like consuming under 2500 calories even on my rest days. I'm using myfitness pal BMR numbers for a sedentary activity level and I add the Kj number from my rides to get my maintenance calories. Diet-wise I shoot for at least 1.2g of protein per Kg of weight and get plenty of healthy fats from avocados, almonds and walnuts. Lately I've been limiting my sugar and processed carbs and replacing them with fruit in the morning.
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Old 08-08-15, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by kc0bbq
It's pretty trivial to keep a 500 calorie deficit on ride days, but rest days are an issue. I just eat and eat.
You could rest a little less on rest days, maybe short low intensity ride, go for a long walk, do something with the upper body, etc. Although you didn't say exactly what you ate and ate, upping the protein and fiber intake on rest days will leave you less hungry between meals.
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Old 08-10-15, 02:37 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

Originally Posted by sprince
You could rest a little less on rest days, maybe short low intensity ride, go for a long walk, do something with the upper body, etc. Although you didn't say exactly what you ate and ate, upping the protein and fiber intake on rest days will leave you less hungry between meals.
It's probably a bit more carbs than I need, and thinking about it and the responses kind of reinforce that. I tried it over the weekend and it seems to be better, especially with more protein in the morning. I'm going to cut back on carbs in the evening, then, and replace them with things like braised cabbage and some of the healthy fat ideas.

Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt
I'm on a polarized plan apart from 1-1:15 aiming for 95% of FTP on Thursdays which feels too good to skip, was riding 14 hours a week so I had a good aerobic base this season, eat fewer carbs than I used to, am down to 0-1 beers once a week, and am somewhat fat adapted so I don't get hungry or otherwise need to eat on rides under 4 hours.

OTOH when I added hard days, turned my easy rides into tempo, and neglected Z1/Z2 my weight plateaued at 180.

More protein sticks with me longer so I eat less, although riding a lot in 1997 without eating better I got to about the same size. OTOH, I was 24 not 42.

Friel wrote that more fat and less carb got him back to racing weight (he's 70 something, and considers that to be 154 pounds like at age 18) without being hungry

Joe Friel - Aging: My Race Weight
I'm starting to see that I'm more fat adapted than I thought, which is nice, but I still end up eating when I know there will be hills. That's most rides, since I ride with cruel, sadistic people... Or at least what passes for hills in this area. I wish my 8 hour power was reflected in my FTP. Even with going with a more conservative estimate of it being 50% of FTP = 8 hour I'm underachieving by 20%. My 1 second to 1 minute numbers are 40% low. Complete neglect of any intervals less than 5 minutes and lots of long, moderately fast rides or hill repeats.

A coach I know offers 12 week tailored plans at a pretty reasonable price, which includes nutritional advice. I'm starting to think that's probably what I should do. I don't think I need in-person coaching and he runs the hill repeat ride I do so I've gotten to know him fairly well. Everyone I ride with that has used him either with the tailored plan or more intensive coaching has had really good results. I think that if I do that overwinter and the spring racing skills clinics offered by one of the local clubs I'll be confident enough to dip my toes into some races.
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Old 08-10-15, 03:45 PM
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In the three seasons I was racing (I was an old man, started racing at 57) I found it impossible to lose weight during the season. When I tried to cut calories I found I couldn't handle the intensity required for intervals and races. I lost weight during the winter when in base training, doing big miles at low intensities.
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Old 08-10-15, 08:24 PM
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You might try a calorie tracking website to keep things in check

https://www.bikeforums.net/training-n...-websites.html
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Old 08-11-15, 04:50 PM
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Alternate between lower and higher carb intake...Decrease your carb intake on rest days or very low intensity days and increase your carb intake on training days or when you're doing higher intensity workout.
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Old 08-12-15, 07:26 AM
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Another vote for difficulty in losing weight during season or when doing a lot of intensity. I'm 6'3''' and 185 lbs at 12% body fat. Had wanted to be 7 lbs lighter but keto and fat adapted has been difficult since dialing more Intensity into my plan and in fact I have gained weight. Yuck
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Old 08-12-15, 09:46 AM
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I've been using the mobile app LoseIt! for keeping control of my weight; down from 198# to between 160 and 165 and have been there for about 5 years. I'm trying, for the first time, to push my weight below 160 to improve my strength to weight ratio.

I take a medication that makes gaining weight very easy and losing it harder, so I've currently got LoseIt! set to calculate the calories needed to lose 1-1/2 pounds a week, and I try to follow the calories-in limit as closely as possible (regardless of whether I exercise or not).

I've noticed that I don't lose much weight at all (if any) when I "eat the exercise calories."

I generally ride 6 days a week and rest on Sunday.
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Old 08-12-15, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild
Alternate between lower and higher carb intake...Decrease your carb intake on rest days or very low intensity days and increase your carb intake on training days or when you're doing higher intensity workout.
this!
high fat/paleo diet on rest/recovery days. oatmeal, rice and gels on training days.
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