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How to.. Lose leg muscle mass?

Old 03-28-21, 09:21 PM
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SapInMyBlood
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How to.. Lose leg muscle mass?

Edit : this wasn't in the context of getting better at cycling. It was to do with being lighter overall for rock climbing, calisthenics, trail running etc.

Original post : So I've got an unusual problem... I'd like to get lighter. Well, that part is normal. For climbing, saddle pressure, hand pressure, etc being leaner and lighter generally helps.

I'm muscular upper and lower body. 26 y/o, 72kg, 12-13% BF at 171cm. And I have some thicc hams for legs (aka Quadzilla..) . And yes, I'm working on shedding fat and still getting leaner

My question is, what kind of training would you encourage, that would promote leg endurance for long audax style rides without encouraging muscle growth? Long, steady state aerobic riding?

I don't want my legs getting any bigger 😂

Last edited by SapInMyBlood; 05-05-21 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 03-28-21, 09:28 PM
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If you are over 50, nature will relentlessly reduce your muscle mass for you.
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Old 03-28-21, 09:32 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
If you are over 50, nature will relentlessly reduce your muscle mass for you.
Edited the OP for clarity. Male, 26, healthy 👌
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Old 03-29-21, 06:54 AM
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Eating less and riding long will eventually start to strip the muscle off. You may regret this as you get older though. If you're not racing I don't see the point (this is coming from someone 170 cm who had been about 86 kg @ 10% bf in my 30s).
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Old 03-29-21, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by SapInMyBlood View Post
So I've got an unusual problem... I'd like to get lighter. Well, that part is normal. For climbing, saddle pressure, hand pressure, etc being leaner and lighter generally helps.

I'm muscular upper and lower body. 26 y/o, 72kg, 12-13% BF at 171cm. And I have some thicc hams for legs (aka Quadzilla..) . And yes, I'm working on shedding fat and still getting leaner

My question is, what kind of training would you encourage, that would promote leg endurance for long audax style rides without encouraging muscle growth? Long, steady state aerobic riding?

I don't want my legs getting any bigger 😂
Just ride and eat in a balanced manner. Ask the question: "will eating (or not eating) this help me be faster or slower?". Remember that not eating "that" could also make you slower if you can't fuel the work properly. For audax I'd assume you'd want to be really well fat adapted.

Most folks who train at bike stuff do enough KJ's work a week to hold an athletic body composition. It's the intake end that usually winds up dictating weight.
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Old 03-29-21, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by SapInMyBlood View Post
How to.. Lose leg muscle mass? I'd like to get lighter.
I'd suggest that, in general, longer stints of higher-cardio exercise involving the legs can help. Jogging on the flats at a good clip, for example; zippy rides on the flats for long periods. Even swimming, which is higher cardio but won't unduly demand much strength from the legs.

Strength exercises can help, as well, but leaning toward the higher-rep / lower-weight end of the spectrum.

Of course, everyone's genetics differ. What might trim me up might make your own leg muscles get more muscular. You'll have to toy with what seems to work best for you. But I'd try ~6mos+ of higher-cardio, higher-cadence, longer sessions. Then see how it goes.
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Old 03-29-21, 08:36 AM
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First time I ever heard of a person who has a problem with gaining too much muscle...Are you sure it's too much muscle and not too much fat ??...The best way to loose muscle would be to over train and reduce food intake, however that's not a good thing to do because if you loose muscle you will gain fat.
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Old 03-29-21, 11:10 AM
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I don't know of any randonneuring clubs in the US which practice audax riding. I've never heard of one anyway. I know some folks call it that because it's French and thus Exotic. In the US, randonneuring clubs put on brevets, populaires, flèches, and post lists of Permanents which can be ridden solo or in a small group. I think most clubs post finishing times for brevets and populaires. That does encourage a bit of competition. Audax riding was devised specifically to eliminate any competition, which is probably why it is seldom practiced in the USA. So that's one thing.

The other thing is that randonneuring, at least at 300k and up, is all about endurance. Like when you flat on a gravel road in the rain at 2am and haven't seen a car in 2 hours and all you want to do sit in a ditch and cry. Or when you hit that long 10% grade with 30,000' of climbing in your legs.

What all that comes down to is that many very experienced randonneurs are not particularly light, but they still get to the top of the last pass somewhere up in the standings just because they are so strong. So sure, lose fat, though many randonneurs carry a good bit extra, from all the eating on long rides, trying to keep the energy up. Like what you do instead of crying in a ditch is eat. Don't worry about your legs being strong. You'll need them.
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Old 03-30-21, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I don't know of any randonneuring clubs in the US which practice audax riding. I've never heard of one anyway. I know some folks call it that because it's French and thus Exotic. In the US, randonneuring clubs put on brevets, populaires, flèches, and post lists of Permanents which can be ridden solo or in a small group. I think most clubs post finishing times for brevets and populaires. That does encourage a bit of competition. Audax riding was devised specifically to eliminate any competition, which is probably why it is seldom practiced in the USA. So that's one thing.

The other thing is that randonneuring, at least at 300k and up, is all about endurance. Like when you flat on a gravel road in the rain at 2am and haven't seen a car in 2 hours and all you want to do sit in a ditch and cry. Or when you hit that long 10% grade with 30,000' of climbing in your legs.

What all that comes down to is that many very experienced randonneurs are not particularly light, but they still get to the top of the last pass somewhere up in the standings just because they are so strong. So sure, lose fat, though many randonneurs carry a good bit extra, from all the eating on long rides, trying to keep the energy up. Like what you do instead of crying in a ditch is eat. Don't worry about your legs being strong. You'll need them.
My bad, I may be using the audax / randonneur terms incorrectly. I like long rides.

I've done 300km + day rides. And rides up to 200km fasted. I know what I'm doing nutrition wise for long distance, as far as fuelling and pacing is concerned

I'm definitely not gaining muscle mass too fast, I just already have it!

I'm looking at athletes like boxers, or MMA fighters, gymnasts or dancers.. All very very strong legs but none of them have massive legs like cyclists. Even pro tour de France riders seem to have relatively small legs considering their power output. Maybe that's a function of protein restriction more than anything else

My main reason for diminishing leg size is I enjoy other sports where lightness is an advantage. Rock climbing, calisthenics, running.. Being lighter is generally helpful across disciplines
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Old 03-30-21, 06:33 AM
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Is this a serious thread?

1. You're not that muscular. At that height and bf%, you'd need to be 85-90 kg before I'd call you muscular.
2. As others have said, losing muscle now is something you'll likely regret when you're older.
3. Losing muscle likely will make you slower unless you're going up hill. Most of the top TT/Pursuit guys weigh more than you.

If you really want to lose muscle, eat less and don't do any short, intense work with your legs.
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Old 03-30-21, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I don't know of any randonneuring clubs in the US which practice audax riding. I've never heard of one anyway. I know some folks call it that because it's French and thus Exotic. In the US, randonneuring clubs put on brevets, populaires, flèches, and post lists of Permanents which can be ridden solo or in a small group. I think most clubs post finishing times for brevets and populaires. That does encourage a bit of competition. Audax riding was devised specifically to eliminate any competition, which is probably why it is seldom practiced in the USA. So that's one thing.

The other thing is that randonneuring, at least at 300k and up, is all about endurance. Like when you flat on a gravel road in the rain at 2am and haven't seen a car in 2 hours and all you want to do sit in a ditch and cry. Or when you hit that long 10% grade with 30,000' of climbing in your legs.

What all that comes down to is that many very experienced randonneurs are not particularly light, but they still get to the top of the last pass somewhere up in the standings just because they are so strong. So sure, lose fat, though many randonneurs carry a good bit extra, from all the eating on long rides, trying to keep the energy up. Like what you do instead of crying in a ditch is eat. Don't worry about your legs being strong. You'll need them.
He's in Australia.

What's known as Randonneuring in the US is called Audax here. Timed ultra-distance cycling.

Audax Australia: https://audax.org.au/
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Old 03-30-21, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by SapInMyBlood View Post
My bad, I may be using the audax / randonneur terms incorrectly. I like long rides.

I've done 300km + day rides. And rides up to 200km fasted. I know what I'm doing nutrition wise for long distance, as far as fuelling and pacing is concerned
Do you ride with Audax WA? https://audax.org.au/western-australia/
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Old 03-30-21, 07:20 AM
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If you change your exercising from squats or speed skating to distance bike riding your body will change somewhat as well. Just ride in a manner that makes you happy and let nature take it's course. You'll see a difference in a couple years. Enjoy that your body is able to do what you want.
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Old 03-30-21, 08:57 AM
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No one has suggested flesh-eating bacteria?
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Old 03-30-21, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
He's in Australia.

What's known as Randonneuring in the US is called Audax here. Timed ultra-distance cycling.

Audax Australia: https://audax.org.au/
What, there are other countries?
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Old 03-30-21, 09:31 AM
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Short power exercises result in large muscle mass.

Long endurance exercises result in smaller muscle mass. Look at any athlete involved in endurance events.

Muscles actually contain two different kinds of muscle fibers. Short power exercise uses different muscle fibers from endurance exercise.
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Old 03-30-21, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Do you ride with Audax WA? https://audax.org.au/western-australia/
I havent so far.. I only just signed up for a membership a few weeks ago!
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Old 03-30-21, 03:47 PM
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Originally Posted by SapInMyBlood View Post
Edited the OP for clarity. Male, 26, healthy 👌
At low resolution, your avatar makes you (assuming that is you) look 60+. By contrast, you were 15 when I visited Perth, which somehow doesn't seem like that long ago.
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Old 04-09-21, 08:35 PM
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So at roughly 5’6 and 160 lbs you are worried about being too heavy?

Bring the 15% bf percentage down to 12 and you may find yourself having the proportions you want. I know you said it was already 12-13%, but internet forums allow a 2% sight unseen indiscretion. Its science
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Old 05-03-21, 12:52 PM
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I wouldn't do anything, you're fine. People are starting to realize they are causing problems with the emaciated Tour de France winner physique. But if you really were going to reduce muscle mass in the pursuit of cycling prowess, it should be upper body, not lower body.
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Old 05-03-21, 03:05 PM
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Unintentionally a long time ago, I went on a diet and lost a lot of weight. Quite a bit was muscle mass because I really wasn't doing any type of exercise other than walking then. Really regretted letting that happen.

If you are a masher, then become a spinner. Perhaps not having to use a lot of muscle for maintaining speed or climbing will give you thinner legs in five or six years. Essentially, if it feels like you are using muscle to pedal, then shift to a lower gear and if you need to maintain speed, then pedal faster. But I'm just guessing, so TIFWIW

You can generally tell the sprinters in a tour. They have the big thighs for putting out tons of torque into the cranks. But sprinters generally suffer in the stages with lots of mountains for the reasons you wrote of.


edit....

Oh never mind... old thread. Hopefully you figured something out by now.
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Old 05-05-21, 08:31 AM
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Your body will naturally adapt based on your genetics and what you do physically. I would just shoot for a healthy target weight and gradually increase the distance you ride.

Eric Heiden certainly was never held back by the muscle mass in his legs and neither will anyone else.
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Old 05-05-21, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by SapInMyBlood View Post
Even pro tour de France riders seem to have relatively small legs considering their power output.
Top GC contenders appear to have small legs because they tend to be ectomorphs (thin body type). Thin riders have an advantage, because their power-to-weight ratio is high.

Cycling is an aerobic sport, not a strength sport. Putting out lots of power doesn't require lots of muscle mass, but muscles that are efficient at taking in lots of oxygen+fuel and converting it to energy.

I have seen a few good climbers who have massive quads. They are rare, but they do exist. What matters is their aerobic fitness.
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Old 05-05-21, 11:16 AM
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To improve the efficiency of my workouts, I used the program compiled on this website. I was advised to do exercises that develop different muscle groups and help alternate loads. My program is designed for 12 weeks and includes various loads and intensities. Also, in the offseason, I recommend going to the gym and working with your own weight or light weight in a multiple repetition mode.

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Old 01-17-22, 08:10 AM
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those programs are great
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