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Need a game plan...

Old 08-04-20, 08:25 PM
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SeattleRider57
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Need a game plan...

After years of working to decrease mass, being a former 300lb+ football player, I've been hovering around the 200lb mark now for maybe 10 years and need some advice to get a bit lower. I definitely understand you can't outwork a crappy diet so I turn to the bike forums as you've been really helpful as I get educated on the bike mechanic stuff. I want to get down to the 180-185lb range, ideally maintaining the same muscle levels. When I had success back in my mid-20's, i was religious in following The Zone diet and have considered revisiting this, but I was lifting all the time then, whereas now I'm much more cardio focused. I understand in the end I need to run a calorie deficit, but I'm struggling to find a 'plan' that would be conducive to doing 10hrs+ cycling per week, mix in a couple of strength sessions too. Anyone have some ideas on where to start? I tend to do better with something that is a bit more regimented vs open-ended just so I don't have to think about it as much, like - 10am - eat X, 2pm - eat Z...Thanks all!
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Old 08-05-20, 06:36 AM
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headwind15
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My diet plan was going nowhere until I changed out a few things. I dropped processed food pretty much, sticking with more of a banana, apple and orange diet during the day.
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Old 08-05-20, 07:23 AM
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Try doing 100 kettlebell swings everyday for the next few weeks and see if that will help.
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Old 08-05-20, 10:00 AM
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For me long rides seem to do the most good. I don't seem to eat back the Calories I just road off.

A little over 10 years ago, I was 200 lb, which for me was bigger than I ever was. Switching to a vegetarian diet with fish and eggs let me get down to sub 160 weight. That is also when I think my cycling performance and feeling of health was the best.

I've not been true to that diet for some time now, and I hover between 165 and 180. 169 currently and I'm 5' 11". Still the weeks I have longer rides in them seem to do the most for me.
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Old 08-05-20, 10:07 AM
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SeattleRider57
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Yeah, that's the other thing I've slacked on lately - doing the long rides. At the beginning of the pandemic, I was doing random challenges on Zwift, and those 4-5hr rides really help. Lately I've been doing more Zwift racing and shorter outdoor rides, I like the idea of being more vegetarian too Good advice!
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Old 08-05-20, 10:17 AM
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Iride01
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My long rides have slacked off too. I have to carry all my drink. Two bottles in my back jersey pockets helps, but just barely gets me into anything I might think of as a long ride. I've got a camel back, but I just don't like the weight up that high on my back when in the drops. Some like them though.
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Old 08-05-20, 12:01 PM
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Intermittent fasting? Eat within an 8 hour window (or less), do not eat outside of that window. It's a nice structure that isn't too structured; just keeps you mindful of what and when you're eating.

I've lost about 12 lbs in the last four months while doing 10+ hours of riding a week.
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Old 08-05-20, 07:19 PM
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fasted riding and no eating at bedtime
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Old 08-05-20, 07:46 PM
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AdkMtnMonster
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Ask yourself, every time you're about to shove something in your mouth, "Will this make me faster or slower?" That's a pretty good plan for caloric intake, especially if you actually heed what you tell yourself and eat/do not eat what's in your hand.
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Old 08-05-20, 07:59 PM
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What worked for me and may or may not for anyone else was to use a calorie tracker. The one I’m using is MyFitnessPal but I’m sure they’re all pretty much the same. Combined with a power meter for a good approximation of calories spent riding, I targeted a minimum 500 Cal. per day deficit. It quickly became apparent which foods were best on a per calorie basis and which could be eliminated without noticing. I’ve been losing about a pound a week for six months now and have established better habits so it all comes naturally.
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Old 08-05-20, 08:01 PM
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Smaller portions works for me. Same thing I always eat, just less of it. Natural foods diet, nothing processed, no snacks in the house except fruit. I try to be a little hungry that last hour before I eat, stop eating when I'm not hungry.

I eat on the bike and think that cuts down on after-bike eating.
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Old 08-05-20, 08:08 PM
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limit carbs to breakfast, drink a whey shake after riding, have yogurt and walnuts for lunch and eat dinner before 8 pm. snack on seeds and nuts, no soda, drink skim milk and water

if you want pasta for dinner eat a lentil based one
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Old 08-05-20, 08:54 PM
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CyclingBK
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Iím similar. For the past few years, I have been mixing strength training and cardio within the main goals being:

Better cardio fitness, Build muscle mass while in a deficit (tricky), lose weight.

I alternate days. I strength train for about 30 minutes one day and ride about and hour and fifteen minutes the flowing day and just keep alternating.

What has worked for me for both strength and cycling is keeping a long term outlook, keeping my workouts intense but not too long.

On the diet side, also keep a long term outlook. I only lost 10-12 pounds a year but I only needed to lose about 35 pounds. So, I kept a moderate deficit that wouldnít keep me starving but also allowed be to build muscle mass. Not crazy mass building but pretty solid gains.

I think I run only about a 200 calorie deficit on lifting days but probably run like a 600 calorie deficit in cycling days. I can tend to eat about the same amount on cycling days and not really get much hungrier.


I basically eat a yogurt and banana for breakfast.

A chicken or tuna sandwich for lunch

An afternoon snack of an apple and a 120 calorie protein shake.

And a standard dinner of about 8 oz of lean protein, a potato, and a big green veg serving. I always have about 50 calories of dark chocolate for dessert.

Then, to fill in the snack gaps, Iíll munch about 100-150 calories of some type of carb snack.

Happily, I donít get bored of this diet and itís very easy to track what Iím eating. I actually look forward to each meal. I occasionally cheat, of course, with a burger or pasta meal but the diet keeps me satisfied since itís got plenty of carbs and protein and fat.

It varies for everyone, but youíll find a deficit that works for you and then just try to plan around that.,
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Old 08-05-20, 09:29 PM
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SeattleRider57
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Much appreciated everyone! All really good information. I will get through the end of this week(have social plans already - don't worry - very small gathering), and then commit to the pain that is a daily calorie deficit. It's been a while since I've cracked down on the diet side of things, though my workout habits have always remained steady. I may be back soon if I'm struggling in the evenings, which is my biggest concern.

Last edited by SeattleRider57; 08-06-20 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 08-11-20, 09:10 AM
  #15  
bruce19
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This is perhaps a bit off topic but....since the pandemic, I no longer eat out. And, strangely, I'm eating more cookies and sweets at home. I don't know why. I almost never ate them before. Also riding about 75 miles a week. Aside from cookies and a daily dose of bourbon, I am generally eating better and smaller portions. I have lost a bit over 10 lbs. And my waist is 1 1/2" smaller. I have no idea why.
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Old 08-11-20, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by SeattleRider57 View Post
When I had success back in my mid-20's, i was religious in following The Zone diet and have considered revisiting this, but I was lifting all the time then, whereas now I'm much more cardio focused ... I tend to do better with something that is a bit more regimented vs open-ended just so I don't have to think about it as much, like - 10am - eat X, 2pm - eat Z...Thanks all!
How about starting out with The Zone thing? It'll get you started with something roughly reasonable, in terms of proportions, will give you a simple guidepost for measuring amounts of the macro-nutrients, and it's something you're familiar with. If concerned it'd be too high-calorie for you, you could use it as a guide but cut out one-third of the amounts. A good place to start, if you know what it does and had good success.

Such as: three modest meals with suitable Zone-type macro-nutrient content and fairly nutrient-dense choices; with a half Zone bar and small piece of fruit for a snack between meals to keep you going.

One thing I've done over the years: cut up a wide range of decent fresh veggies, for a salad, placing them into an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Then, for several days I can take a cup of that, add a good amount of leafy greens, and I've got a nutritious salad. Sprinkle chopped nuts, half (or quarter) of an avocado, ground flax seeds, an ounce of cheese, or whatever else floats your boat. Switch to small amounts of a good extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar and light herbs/spices. Can cut the calories of that meal by half, from a typical meal at that time, yet get more nutrients. For 3-4 days, it makes it easy to get a salad anytime you're edging towards snacking. A good amount of fresh veggies, leafy greens and fiber can help to improve your body's ability to get back to, um, properly regulating itself.

Lots of good, nutritious veggies, seeds, nuts, herbs and spices out there. Such as: 56 Anti-Inflammatory Foods for a Healthier Body.

Some ideas.
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Old 08-11-20, 09:30 AM
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When I was racing I had sign on the door of the fridge.

"Nothing in here tastes as good as winning feels"

It's just numbers; take in less than you burn. Once you master that, you'll have it beat for life.
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Old 08-11-20, 02:36 PM
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At your weight, I'm guessing that cycling for 10 hours a week is about 8000 calories burned above your basal metabolic rate (depending on intensity, of course). That's a lot. If you ate a weight-maintenance diet for an inactive person, you'd lose 1 lb/week or more (going by the rule that there's 7500 calories in 1 lb of fat). I don't know how feasible it is to do that, but that's my back-of-envelope math. Seems like a healthy rate of weight loss.

I don't know if there's any low-hanging fruit you can cut out of your diet. I've cut almost all beer out of mine. You need some fat and protein in your diet, partly just for health reasons, but also to get a sense of satiety, which makes the diet easier to stick to. I tried cutting most cheese out of my diet for a while…and then I put it back.
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