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Nutrition help: Mixing cycling and weight lifting

Old 08-20-15, 10:17 AM
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mikey_
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Nutrition help: Mixing cycling and weight lifting

Hi there, I've been mixing cycling and weightlifting for the last 8 months and I am having some issues.

My typical training week includes:
2 quite fast group rides (~40 miles 2:25 and ~30 miles ~1:30),
3 upper body + abs lifting sessions for strength,
1 or 0 HIIT ride/easy ride/or swim,
1 or 2 rest days.

I am overall happy with my progress on the bike but I feel like I am not gaining the muscle mass that I expected. I try to eat a typically healthy diet with a bit more protein and calories. I have 1-3 protein shakes each day. I have a 2-3 gels every ride. I always have a recovery drink. The problem is that I have the feeling that I am "cycling off" any strength/mass gains that I've been making. Can anyone suggest any general (or specific) strategies for mixing up these sports so that I can progress at both? Do I need to count calories better? Time my meals? Etc. My main concern is the lack of upper body strength gains.

Any help would be appreciated!
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Old 08-20-15, 11:04 AM
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It sounds like you may be confused about goals. If you're happy with the progress on the bike, what's the issue? You'd rather have less progress on the bike and bigger pecs? That'd be fairly easy to do. But both bigger pecs and faster on the bike goals don't play well together. That said, strength rather than size gains are somewhat another matter because the former involves fiber recruitment more directly. If you're doing sets of 4 more than once a week and failing the last set at least once a week and you're not seeing increases in your weights, then either you've been at it for too long and have maxed your strength at your current lean body mass, or something odd is going on and you'd need a live coach.

These links may give you additional insights:
https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycli...l#post17865790
https://www.hokksund-rehab.no/filarki...kins-Paper.pdf
Effects of low- vs. high-cadence interval training on cycling performance..
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Old 08-20-15, 11:21 AM
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you're over-training, not eating enough, and likely not sleeping enough. how old are you? what's your weight program look like?

Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
It sounds like you may be confused about goals. If you're happy with the progress on the bike, what's the issue? You'd rather have less progress on the bike and bigger pecs? That'd be fairly easy to do. But both bigger pecs and faster on the bike goals don't play well together.
believe it or not, not everyone's entire life revolves around being ultra-specialized on the bike.
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Old 08-20-15, 11:35 AM
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My usual training is:
3X8-10 Bench Press
3X8-10 Pull-up
3X8-10 Incline Bench Press
3X8-10 Dumbell Row
3X8-10 Dumbell Overhead Press
3X8-10 Curls
Some ab work

38 years old

definitely not sleeping enough

Last edited by mikey_; 08-20-15 at 11:35 AM. Reason: forgot to add something
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Old 08-20-15, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mikey_ View Post
My usual training is:
3X8-10 Bench Press
3X8-10 Pull-up
3X8-10 Incline Bench Press
3X8-10 Dumbell Row
3X8-10 Dumbell Overhead Press
3X8-10 Curls
Some ab work

38 years old

definitely not sleeping enough
you can't expect much from that at all. take a week off, get some damn sleep, then get with a good trainer and start at square one. be prepared to answer a lot of questions about diet.
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Old 08-20-15, 05:19 PM
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The only way to gain a lot of muscle mass while doing both weight lifting and cycling would be to eat massive amounts of food and get a lot of rest. If you want to gain mass then limit your bike rides to low intensity rides, avoid high-intensity cardio and avoid metabolic conditioning and most of all avoid long distance rides because those things will compromise your muscle recovery. In order to gain muscle you will need to gain some extra bodyweight and you need plenty of rest and plenty of food...Personally what I do is, I focus more on strength training then bodybuilding. Most of my workouts are very low reps and higher sets, I would much rather prefer to be stronger, more athletic and more functional then just look good without a shirt.... I've always had "skinny genes" and it's hard to gain mass, especially with all the bike riding and my physical labour job...But with a lot of hard lifting and dietary changes I managed to get my bodyweight from 155 pounds to 185 pounds in two years. My advice to you is to focus on getting stronger, increase your calories and the mass will come. And don't ignore squats and deadlifts because those two are the foundation for getting stronger and bigger.
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Old 08-20-15, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by mikey_ View Post
My usual training is:
3X8-10 Bench Press
3X8-10 Pull-up
3X8-10 Incline Bench Press
3X8-10 Dumbell Row
3X8-10 Dumbell Overhead Press
3X8-10 Curls
Some ab work

38 years old

definitely not sleeping enough
The routine looks good, but you need to add squats and deadlifts. Alternate between squats and deadlifts and don't do both of them in the same workout.
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Old 08-20-15, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mikey_ View Post
3 upper body + abs lifting sessions for strength,

I have 1-3 protein shakes each day. I have a 2-3 gels every ride. I always have a recovery drink.

The problem is that I have the feeling that I am "cycling off" any strength/mass gains that I've been making.
You might well be "cycling off" the strength gains, depending how much each exercise hits your body and how your muscles respond to the various exercises.

It's definitely worth speaking with a well-qualified trainer, and perhaps a nutrition specialist that can evaluate your particular regimen given your body's requirements.

Generally speaking, I might suggest that with sufficient protein, with recovery time and recovery nutrition, a suitably hard and heavy strength workout in all the appropriate muscle areas should result in strength and mass gain. Just need to find what style of strength exercises can "blast" your muscle groups in the manner you need. Everyone's different, and everyone's regimen of overall fitness differs, so it's often not as easy as it seems.

Might look into this book: Men's Health Home Workout Bible, which is an illustrated guide to 400+ exercises on the floor, with weights, at gym stations that can be a solid help in figuring out which exercises and how to go about them. At the very least, it can give you good ideas about a variety of exercises that'll "confuse" the muscles in question and prompt them to grow in order to deal with the change-ups you're tossing them.

With your various exercises, definitely consider grouping them in a given workout and then staggering the next day and perhaps the day after with another group of muscles, providing recovery times for the given groups. Also consider a stair-step approach to sets, something like 5 sets of 8 reps, bumping up in weight each set. If the sets are completed without that last few of the last set being easily done, bump up the weight in each set until you're maxing-out on that last one or two reps in that final set. Then, on to the next muscle area.

Can also pump up the intensity with which you hit given muscles. Take a kettle bell, for example. You can lift one of a given weight, doing a "goblet" squat. But try that same motion with an explosive surge upward. Comparing the two, you'll find the "surge" variation hits your muscles harder.

As well, order your arrangement of muscle groups in a given workout such that you can hammer each exercise while still having something left in those other muscle groups. A good thing, if you're looking to maximize the amount of work you do across your body, as opposed to focusing on a given area heavily. What amount of this versus focusing will depend on how your given body responds.

None of these will give you body-builder type gains, but they're suitable for someone looking to boost average workouts to be "tougher" on the muscles in order to prompt a bit faster gain in strength.

As you find particular exercises or routines that seem to work, you can always head over to Bodybuilding.com in order to get some refinements ... either on intensity, or how to approach the given exercise, or how to combine it with others to get better results.

Definitely keep the protein up, along with other nutrition that helps "capture" the protein you do consume.

Some ideas, to add to what other things you find.
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Old 08-20-15, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
The routine looks good, but you need to add squats and deadlifts. Alternate between squats and deadlifts and don't do both of them in the same workout.
garbage routine. are you kidding or clueless?
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Old 08-20-15, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by double_stuf View Post
garbage routine. are you kidding or clueless?
That routine is not garbage, the problem is that his body has adapted to the routine and he needs to make few changes and do things a little differently for a few weeks...If you think you know what OP needs to break through their workout plateau then why don't you write out a perfect workout routine for OP and post it for everybody to see ??
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Old 11-11-15, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
The routine looks good, but you need to add squats and deadlifts. Alternate between squats and deadlifts and don't do both of them in the same workout.
Totally agree with this.

The heavier the exercise, the more stimulus for strength gain and muscle gain.
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Old 11-13-15, 12:23 AM
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My experience has been to limit the max movements to under 100 (eg 10-12 sets x8) and don't mix strength in at the same time as bike. For scheduling reasons strength in the morning and bike in evening works best for me, easier to plan nutrition, recovery and stay motivated.

Too much lifting in one session requires too much recovery, and will affect if you want to hop on the bike later. So for strength a few medium days (I do 5 mornings) of alternating muscle groups, works best and is easiest to integrate with cycling.

As noted, to gain mass... keep eating!
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Old 11-13-15, 12:15 PM
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I think your weight training has too much volume and not enough intensity. You don't need to lift 3 times/week, in fact it can be detrimental if you're not getting enough recovery due to riding. Sleep and diet also need to be made a priority if you're going to try to do both.

Instead of BB-style sets of 8-10, maybe try some heavy triples. Recently I've been doing 4x4 for the compound lifts (except deadlift) and have been making nice gains despite riding 150-175 miles/week (usually 6-9 hours, 400-600 weekly TSS). I lift twice/week, full-body workouts. Typical weekly schedule right now (base period) looks something like this:

Sunday - endurance/base ride

Monday - squats, overhead press, bent-over rows, romanian deadlifts, dumbell incline press, dumbell rear lunge, single-leg deadlift.

Tuesday - easy ride, or rest day if I feel I need it.

Weds - threshold or sweetspot intervals

Thursday - bench press, bulgarian split squats, barbell deadlift, weighted dips, chest-supported row, leg press, curls

Friday - endurance/base ride

Saturday - fast group ride (mix of endurance, tempo, threshold)

as the start of racing season gets closer and I add more intensity on the bike, I'll cut back volume in the weight room (keeping intensity up though, since that's what's most important for holding onto strength). So instead of 4x4 I'll do 3x3 for the compound lifts, and cut back some of the accessory work.
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Old 11-13-15, 08:08 PM
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IME always bike first then lift soon after. Even an hour of intervals won't have any effect if you are in any kind of condition at all. By the time you get to the gym and do some upper body work, your legs should be ready for serious weight. As far as reps, have a look at this graph from a study I posted in the breakfast thread. 4-6 reps seems optimum for increasing strength. (HP & LP stand for high and low protein dosage.) I always do a 12 rep warmup set before the strength set, which should be heavy enough to fail or almost fail the last rep. Though from now until January, I'm doing sets of 12 than 10 reps to build endurance before the heavy stuff starts. Still failing that last rep. I only lift twice a week, each body part only once a week. In January, I'll start doing the same body parts twice a week, but fewer lifts, then go down to once a week when the season starts.



Those interested might want to take a look at these two studies:
https://www.hokksund-rehab.no/filarki...ES_CYCLING.pdf
In-season strength maintenance training increases well-trained cyclists? performance - ResearchGate
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Old 11-13-15, 11:33 PM
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Thanks CFB I'm partway through the first link. jsk I'm targeting the same TSS range but more hours/lots of z2 endurance. I agree the intensity on strength is low therefore more sessions on the week.

Some of it is habit too - wake up, stretch, lift... After a full day much easier to ride than lift IMO something I look forward too. Plus as I said so much easier to work in nutrition, hard to target both with the same meal.

I used to do x6 reps but over time felt it wasn't enough, but I see where 4-6 is the optimal range. Maybe I'll adjust my workout after thanksgiving recovery. Good input thanks
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Old 11-14-15, 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by HkC01 View Post
Thanks CFB I'm partway through the first link. jsk I'm targeting the same TSS range but more hours/lots of z2 endurance. I agree the intensity on strength is low therefore more sessions on the week.

Some of it is habit too - wake up, stretch, lift... After a full day much easier to ride than lift IMO something I look forward too. Plus as I said so much easier to work in nutrition, hard to target both with the same meal.

I used to do x6 reps but over time felt it wasn't enough, but I see where 4-6 is the optimal range. Maybe I'll adjust my workout after thanksgiving recovery. Good input thanks
There are a zillion ways to go at it. I used to do 3 sets of 30 in circuits, same weight each circuit, but enough weight that I couldn't quite do 30 on the last circuit. That worked too.

But I think the 4-6 rep range was more helpful. IME the most important thing was failing the last set, no matter how many reps you did. In another study I read, during the season competitors used either 20 or 30 reps as maintenance. The 20 rep folks did better.

There may not be one thing that's best for everyone. One's conditioning level makes a lot of difference as well as "conditioning for what?"
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Old 12-15-15, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by mikey_ View Post
3X8-10 Bench Press
etc
what does the 10 represent? when I see a workout such as (n)x(n) I take it to mean (n)sets of (n)reps so I don't understand what the additional number means.
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Old 12-15-15, 05:31 PM
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Mixing an endurance sport like cycling and weight-lifting usually doesn't work. That's why you never seen elite endurance athletes with the muscle mass of a competitive bodybuilder or a powerlifter (yes, it's a different sport than bodybuilding).

Depending on how (un)reasonable your goals regarding muscle mass may be, you may have to choose between the two sooner or later. Do you want bulky muscle like Arnold in his prime or do you want to be an elite cyclist?

Last edited by GovernorSilver; 12-15-15 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 12-15-15, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
Mixing an endurance sport like cycling and weight-lifting usually doesn't work.
Endurance athletes can benefit a lot from strength training...Who says that endurance and strength training shouldn't be mixed ??

Originally Posted by GovernorSilver View Post
Do you want bulky muscle like Arnold in his prime or do you want to be an elite cyclist?
I don't want to be neither one...I just want to be myself and fully express my own genetic potential.
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Old 12-15-15, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
what does the 10 represent? when I see a workout such as (n)x(n) I take it to mean (n)sets of (n)reps so I don't understand what the additional number means.
He means 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps....10 reps being the maximum amount of reps he can do with the given weight. I assume his first set is 10 reps and his last set is 8 reps.
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Old 12-16-15, 04:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mikey_ View Post
Hi there, I've been mixing cycling and weightlifting for the last 8 months and I am having some issues.

My typical training week includes:
2 quite fast group rides (~40 miles 2:25 and ~30 miles ~1:30),
3 upper body + abs lifting sessions for strength,
1 or 0 HIIT ride/easy ride/or swim,
1 or 2 rest days.

I am overall happy with my progress on the bike but I feel like I am not gaining the muscle mass that I expected. I try to eat a typically healthy diet with a bit more protein and calories. I have 1-3 protein shakes each day. I have a 2-3 gels every ride. I always have a recovery drink. The problem is that I have the feeling that I am "cycling off" any strength/mass gains that I've been making. Can anyone suggest any general (or specific) strategies for mixing up these sports so that I can progress at both? Do I need to count calories better? Time my meals? Etc. My main concern is the lack of upper body strength gains.

Any help would be appreciated!
Muscle Mass? As in visual size of muscles? Yes, it is possible that the cycling is burning off the fat that often gives size to muscles... That is: you may look smaller but be stronger.

If you can find one: You may be better off measuring from one of the scales that can calculate lean mass vs fat mass and use that as a criteria. I understand that the home scales are not overly accurate because they only measure lower body where the commercial variety measure both upper and lower body.

It's hard to believe that you are not developing your upper body musculature with that routine (unless it is a long time routine and you are now just maintaining rather than building) -- so that is the reason for the scale rather than just a visual reference.

Also, think about adding lower body strength training as well for two reasons: First, cycling only develops cycling specific muscles -- it may be helpful to balance that out with some cross training. Plus, the strength training could also benefit your cycling -- especially where power is needed.
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Old 12-16-15, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Endurance athletes can benefit a lot from strength training...Who says that endurance and strength training shouldn't be mixed ??



I don't want to be neither one...I just want to be myself and fully express my own genetic potential.
My post wasn't directed towards you - you look like you know what you're doing, based on your past posts.

It's directed at the OP - I to get a better read on his expectations - how far he wants to take both cycling and adding muscle mass. If cycling is his higher priority, he can certainly use strength training to increase his upper body strength - he'd be adding a mdest amount of muscle mass as opposed to blowing up like a balloon. If huge muscles is the higher priority, it will cost him in cycling performance.

When I say "elite endurance athlete", I'm not talking about the guy at Golds Gym who lifts weights then finishes his workout with 20 min. run on the treadmill. I'm talking about elite marathon runners, cyclists who ride all-day races, etc. - the athletes who compete in long distance running, cycling, etc. at the national and international levels. Did you ever see a marathon winner or Tour De France winner who is built like the Hulk? Of course not.

Last edited by GovernorSilver; 12-16-15 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 12-16-15, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
He means 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps....10 reps being the maximum amount of reps he can do with the given weight. I assume his first set is 10 reps and his last set is 8 reps.
oh ok, duh. makes sense now and I see the "-" thank you
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