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Can you lose fat with just biking

Old 08-02-08, 06:14 PM
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Sjared
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Can you lose fat with just biking

Hi all
To make a long story short: I'm at a point where I want to lose the extra fat I have put on (it's not much like 5% more than it should be but distributed in very unhealthy ways) and maybe if I don't like the result add some muscles through healthier balanced resistance training using smaller weights and calistenics.
Bulkiness: been there done that and I'm working hard to reverse all the damage done, expecially postural.

The point is that I keep reading that cardiovascular exercise or aerobics doesn't burn much fat as previously thought but actually burn mostly muscles making you a smaller version of the fat yourself. My goal instead right now it to prioritize fat burning expecially the fat accumulated in the waist, chest and thighs.

Can you share your experience with a pure "fat burning phase" and can you disprove the "cardio doesn't burn fat just your muscle" thesis (unless it is true, that's it)

Thanks a lot
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Old 08-02-08, 06:19 PM
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biking will burn fat.

don't worry about it; it does burn fat.

to be honest, i can't speak on experience 'cause i've been skinny all my life and so have my friends who ride with me.

you can't target weight loss. you won't, for example, only loose the belly; the fat on your thighs + back + wherever else will go as well. it'll be evenly shed (in theory).
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Old 08-02-08, 06:29 PM
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What I normally do when I get a little chubby is increase my cardio workouts (length and frequency) and tone down my weight training from a "building" phase to a "maintenance" phase.

Reason being is that your body is smart, it will only keep what is necessary (for the most part. Modern living has made us all fat and complacent). If you do cardio only your body will see the muscle as excess and consume it, giving you the half-starved XC runner look. The bits of weight training mixed in will tell your body that the muscle is still being used and it shouldn't be consumed.

That being said the more muscle you have the more calories you burn, so a little bit of weight training is always good.

note: I'm not an expert or anything this is just my personal experience.
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Old 08-02-08, 08:20 PM
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I've lost 80 lbs biking and gain muscle, but I need to incorporate different types of exercise in my routine to lose more. I have to work at keeping my riding in the prime fat burning HR zone which I've found can be hard to do.
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Old 08-02-08, 11:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Sjared View Post
Hi all
To make a long story short: I'm at a point where I want to lose the extra fat I have put on (it's not much like 5% more than it should be but distributed in very unhealthy ways) and maybe if I don't like the result add some muscles through healthier balanced resistance training using smaller weights and calistenics.
Bulkiness: been there done that and I'm working hard to reverse all the damage done, expecially postural.

The point is that I keep reading that cardiovascular exercise or aerobics doesn't burn much fat as previously thought but actually burn mostly muscles making you a smaller version of the fat yourself. My goal instead right now it to prioritize fat burning expecially the fat accumulated in the waist, chest and thighs.

Can you share your experience with a pure "fat burning phase" and can you disprove the "cardio doesn't burn fat just your muscle" thesis (unless it is true, that's it)

Thanks a lot
What you're reading is wrong. Aerobic exercise - especially in the "can still talk" range - burns mostly fat, and some carbs. As you go harder, you burn more carbs.

That's if you have ample supplies of carbs. If you don't, your body will tear down muscle. That means 200 cal/hour of mostly carbs (perhaps with a little protein) during your workout, and a recovery meal (or drink) asap after you stop exercising. That's the time when your body is most likey to tear down muscle.
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Old 08-02-08, 11:14 PM
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Yes,it burns fat,but it is only really effective on long rides(more than an hour)
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Old 08-02-08, 11:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ericgu View Post
What you're reading is wrong. Aerobic exercise - especially in the "can still talk" range - burns mostly fat, and some carbs. As you go harder, you burn more carbs.

That's if you have ample supplies of carbs. If you don't, your body will tear down muscle. That means 200 cal/hour of mostly carbs (perhaps with a little protein) during your workout, and a recovery meal (or drink) asap after you stop exercising. That's the time when your body is most likey to tear down muscle.
Confusion here. If I want to lose my fat (more in the belly) I was under the assumption if I just ate less I would burn more calories and lose all over. But if I do that I may burn the muscle that I worked for years to build? So you're saying that the recovery drink/meal is the most important or you tear down your muscle? I'd assume you want a reasonably sized recovery meal, nothing gluttonous?
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Old 08-02-08, 11:46 PM
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Here is what I have most recently read, from several sources. I think I have this right: exercise in the fat burning zone targets a heart rate that is 80% or lower of maximum heart rate. Over 80% is more of a cardio workout, which has it's benefits....You will burn more calories with a heart rate over 80%, but some of those calories consumed will be from your own muscle tissue, not just fat and carbs. And, after a work-out, your metabolism is still working at a higher rate, whic is why something like a carb/protein shake is very good afterwards, to supply energy so your body isn't reaching into it's reserve (muscle) for fuel to burn.
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Old 08-03-08, 04:51 AM
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I think everyone is different in their metabolism and make up and body shape. So you have to adjust things to what your goals are. Even without any cardio, some people can lose fat with dieting, and others seem not to lose weight.

The carbs spoken of above, are stored already in the body as glycogen so you don't usually have to consume carbs during the workout unless you deplete all your glycogen such as in an endurance run or triathelon etc. If you eat constantly during your workout don't be surprised if you don't lose weight.

Muscle mass I've observed is very individual and for me it's predetermined that I'm thin like an ectomorph. I've tried body building but with only limited success, but on the other hand with resistance training I look more toned and leaner. After beginning a very modest cycling routine (mostly commuting 3.5 miles 2x daily) I've lost 8 to 10 pounds but feel great. I'm sure some of it was fat and some was muscle but it must have been muscle that was "hard gained" and not supposed to be there anyway.

For you have to decide what % of your calories are from carbs (usually about 40%), protein (20 to 40%) and fat (the rest). Try to get good fats, i.e. ones with omega 3's and fewer of the trans-fats and omega 6 FA's which might tend to be "inflammatory." No benchmark research has proven that reducing the inflammatory FA intake will change anything, but I think it's better. Saturated fats, from animal products, in moderation, can be OK but a lot of beef and chicken has these omega 6's in high quantity (due to techniques of food mass production). If possible, try to get organic / range fed / grass fed meat products and eggs.

I have adopted cycling for my cardio and am not in an endurance mode right now. It seems to me that cycling, compared to running, does not increase my heart rate as much and keeps me relatively cool and sweat free, therefore I think I'm more likely to be in a fat burning zone. I am keeping with the weight training 3x weekly for 30 to 45 minutes. I just do the exercises that I enjoy because if it was a burden or caused bodily pain or injury I'd quickly lose interest.

Someone on another thread posted amazing changes in body composition from cycling, losing 60 lbs of fat and then with weight training, while still keeping up a pretty ambitious cycling routine, gained 18 lbs (of mostly muscle by report). However, you cannot assume you can do the same thing since your body may not respond to exercise and diet in the same way.

Good luck and if you or anyone finds any further information on the subject that's one of my interests I'd like to hear from you.
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Old 08-03-08, 06:59 AM
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Thank you!
How do I consume less calories so as to lose weight?
Should I count everything I eat and if I just eat without counting what will prevent overconsuming calories?
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Old 08-03-08, 02:15 PM
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You could count calories for awhile to get a feel for what you are getting now. If you usually eat until you feel full you might be more likely to overeat. Drinking a little more water, and increasing the fiber intake can help reduce calories.

For me, I avoid empty calories like softdrinks that are sweetened with sugar. I try to avoid sugar in general like donuts, cake, pie etc. Avoid high glycemic index carbs like white bread, biscuits, pasta. instead, eat more complex carbs like fiber 1 cereal and whole grain / high fiber bread and cereal.

Is hunger good or bad? Try to take a negative and turn it into a positive. If you are hungry you are usually more alert right. If you are serious about losing weight, somewhere along the line you'll have to be in negative energy balance. That means you'll be hungry. But don't settle for poor nutrition, if you have a choice. That's not the same thing -- nutrition is how you satisfy your body's true needs for basic macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs) and vitamins and trace elements. Hunger is merely your body's stimulus to prompt you to eat to maintain your CURRENT weight and / or gain. Gotta outsmart it. Most people who are dieting, are using some vitamin supplements. GOOD IDEA!

Try taking the take one day at a time. You can adopt new eating habits just like any other habit but it takes awhile -- 4 to 6 weeks or so.
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Old 08-03-08, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by jaxgtr View Post
I've lost 80 lbs biking and gain muscle, but I need to incorporate different types of exercise in my routine to lose more. I have to work at keeping my riding in the prime fat burning HR zone which I've found can be hard to do.

Trainer.
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Old 08-04-08, 02:21 AM
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You could count calories for awhile to get a feel for what you are getting now. If you usually eat until you feel full you might be more likely to overeat. Drinking a little more water, and increasing the fiber intake can help reduce calories.

For me, I avoid empty calories like softdrinks that are sweetened with sugar. I try to avoid sugar in general like donuts, cake, pie etc. Avoid high glycemic index carbs like white bread, biscuits, pasta. instead, eat more complex carbs like fiber 1 cereal and whole grain / high fiber bread and cereal.
Can anyone suggest meals that are nutritious and balanced both non-vegetarian and vegeterian/vegan? (I don't like to meat or fish everyday)

I don't like to just cook a carb and a protein because it's also hard to control portion
(i.e. steak and potatoes)

I think complete meals are ways better, you get more combined flavours and once you do it you always can use the general recipe.
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Old 08-04-08, 10:45 AM
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Sure cycling will burn fat. But for any activity, it takes a whole bunch to lose 1 lb of fat. I think in cycling, losing a lb of fat takes about 70 miles for a guy (small riders and most women have to ride even farther.

So you can go out and ride 70 miles and instantly lost 1 lb? Well maybe. The problem is that most people eat before a ride. They snack during a ride. They eat a post ride meal. Plus they eat their normal diet on top of all that and usually up their portions some to make up for all their hard work. It does not take much extra eating to offset your work out. It takes discipline and awareness to avoid eating too much to get any weight loss benefit from exercise.
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Old 08-04-08, 06:42 PM
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Can you steam broccoli? fix about 1/2 lb of that, it's supposed to be good for you. There're some carbs in there and various nutrients. I'd avoid potatoes and apples. They are carbs in the purest sense with not too much else. Some people, like lumberjacks and other very active sorts, have to eat these for energy but this thread is about losing weight, right. I have been eating a lot of chicken lately and like ground beef myself, and try to avoid soy protein (supposedly has phytoestrogens, aka man boob fodder).

You've asked very good question, exactly what should you eat? Generally lots of different things is good. Try lower calorie, higher fiber things and get plenty of protein. Toward that end I've been drinking a protein shake made with oatmeal powder and 1 to 2 tbs of olive oil every morning sometimes with banana like a smoothie. It checked and it has about 600 or so calories. It ensures I get good quality protein (from whey) at least once a day.

Lunch is catered in our office (by pharmaceutical reps, who usually are trying to please our somewhat corpulent staff) so I eat what they bring (very gratefully I'd add) but try to limit the amount. That's the art of avoiding obesity (though I'm lucky to have been thin all my life and can't really take full credit for it since I agree lot of it's genetic). Very rich desserts are the mode and I just try to avoid them completely.

For supper I like to hang out with the family (grateful for that too) and often we have chicken, ground beef, sometimes fish. There's a very good Mexican Restaurant called Qdoba where you can get these huge burrito's. I try to order the vegetarian and they contain beans and rice, said to be a complete source of the essential amino acids that one needs (they use white rice, though). They really are good and this is a cool place.

I found your previous thread about debulking. Since that's your actual goal I don't think you'll have a hard time accomplishing that if you cut out heavy weight training (talking 300 lb dead lift, 300+ bench etc) in favor or more cardio or a balanced workout. By doing so I think you will regain some of the basically "good" feeling, or if you never felt that physically (like "it feels good to walk down the hall," or "my joints really feel good") you might have that to look forward to. Good luck.
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Old 08-04-08, 06:50 PM
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Thanks a lot for your detailed reply

That's the art of avoiding obesity (though I'm lucky to have been thin all my life and can't really take full credit for it since I agree lot of it's genetic).
The sad part is that's not genetic for me.
I have always been thin and everyone in my family is thin.
I was brainwashed by bodybuilding practices like fat bulking (eating a lot, not matter if you're feeling you're going to throw up, and accept all the fat gain because you will eventually burn it but will have in the meantime build big muscles) and made my body a fat gaining machines and probably increased forever the number of fat cells in my body.
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Old 08-04-08, 09:04 PM
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Yes cycling burns fat. As long as you stay in the oxidative system you will eventually start burning fat. The more you do it the more efficient your body becomes at it. I would also suggest resistance training, so you dont become "skinny fat". Your caloric intake is also key. You can ride all you want, but if you arent in a caloric deficient you probably wont tap into your body stores of fat.
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Old 08-05-08, 12:30 AM
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Just get out and ride. If you don't think you look and feel better after your first 1500 miles, stop immediately and never touch a bike again.

PS, I'm confident that if you do ever quit biking, it won't be for the reason listed above.


Seriously, start by riding 30 to 50 miles a week. Within a month or two, build up to 100 miles per week. And if you can find the time, build up to 200 miles per week. (I never have that kind of time). About the time you find yourself regularly riding 75 to 120 miles per week, you'll discover that your legs look stronger than they ever have before (because they ARE). You may not even remember the last time your gut was so small. You will be healthier. You will find that your daily activities no longer wear you out. You will look at everyone around you and think, "I know HE can't ride as far as I rode yesterday."

Just get out and ride.

Last edited by daoswald; 08-05-08 at 12:34 AM.
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Old 08-05-08, 05:47 AM
  #19  
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One of the hardest things about burning fat when it comes to cycling is the hill-factor. A lot of people will get to the top of the hill, working themselves hard - that's good. However, once they reach the top, many will allow the force of gravity to take them down without peddling - that's bad. Sitting on your bike not peddling isn't going to help burn fat at all.

So, if you're able to, keep trying to peddle. You just have to keep your heartrate up to lose fat - and biking helps builds muscles.

If it wasn't for cross-training between cycling and kickboxing, I'd never have gone from 370 to 275 and dropping, so it's possible. Just work your hardest and make sure to diet as well.


EDIT:

In regards to eating, there are a multitude of tricks I used.

I eat a lot of protein,since I have a large-build and want to keep my muscle mass as high as possible. Lean meats like Chicken and Fish are extreamly good to help out in this regard. Avoid eating salty things - popcorn and the like - as they force your body to retain the water it takes in.

Furthermore, if part of your issue is hunger, you should do 5 meals a day.

Breakfast - Snack - Lunch - Snack - Dinner

Try and lower how much you eat for Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner. The snacks are there to give you a sort of "Full" feeling at all times, so that when you reach the meal you aren't starving.

Protein bars make excellent snacks, but so do fresh fruits and vegetables.


As an example, here's how I generally tend to eat on a college day:

Breakfast:
Two eggs, two pieces of toast (Whole wheat)

Snack:
- Apple or Protein Bar

Lunch:
Usually, I grill a piece of chicken, slice it up, and throw it in a wrap. You can add lettuce and tomatoes to this, but I try not to over-stuff it.

Snack:
- Again, apple or protein bar.

Dinner:
Tends to vary. Since dinner is always a slightly larger meal for me, I have to be very concious of the amount I get and try to keep it in-line with the other meals. Also, meals at the end of the day vary depending on what I'm cooking for the family.



You can also have a snack between dinner and going to bed. I hear that a piece of plain toast is best for this - but I would not suggest eating something like lean meat before going to bed. Supposedly, lean meat will mess with your ability to sleep soundly, while something like carbs will at least help out a bit.



Lastly, you can also get plain sugar-free popsicles. While you may be thinking "That's sort of strange", they serve a two-fold purpose. First, they give you something to munch on that is more or less like drinking flavored water - they are very effective. Second, you can use them as a "treat" if you did well throughout the day. Both uses are plausible.



On the note of water, try and drink a bit before eating. It'll help fill you up a little bit more, and curve your appetite.

Last edited by Katosu - Sotaka; 08-05-08 at 05:57 AM.
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Old 08-05-08, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Laminarman View Post
Confusion here. If I want to lose my fat (more in the belly) I was under the assumption if I just ate less I would burn more calories and lose all over. But if I do that I may burn the muscle that I worked for years to build? So you're saying that the recovery drink/meal is the most important or you tear down your muscle? I'd assume you want a reasonably sized recovery meal, nothing gluttonous?
For most people, it's hard to lose weight on diets and keep it off. If they add in exercise, they have better success. It's not uncommon for people to lose muscle as well, which, of course, drops their calorie burn and makes it easier to put weight back on.

I think the recovery meal is the most important, but it's only a few hundred calories, and it's only really important if you get above 90 minutes of length for moderate intensities. A good recovery meal will mean you don't get as hungry a few hours after the exercise, which is the point.

I'm getting ready for a ride tonight, so I had a cliff bar (200 calories). On the ride, I'll have about 300 calories of accelerade, and after I'll have some endurox (about 250 calories). Then I'll have a small snack, perhaps another 500 calories, and then go to bed. I'm probably a few calories over what I'll eat on a normal night, but I'll burn around 1200 calories during the ride, so I probably have a 500 calorie deficit for the night.

Generally, the longer the ride the better. If you can ride for 4 hours, you can keep a 400 cal/hour deficit if you take in 200 cal/hour, and I'm generally not very hungry after such rides.
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Old 08-05-08, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
Just get out and ride. If you don't think you look and feel better after your first 1500 miles, stop immediately and never touch a bike again.

PS, I'm confident that if you do ever quit biking, it won't be for the reason listed above.


Seriously, start by riding 30 to 50 miles a week. Within a month or two, build up to 100 miles per week. And if you can find the time, build up to 200 miles per week. (I never have that kind of time). About the time you find yourself regularly riding 75 to 120 miles per week, you'll discover that your legs look stronger than they ever have before (because they ARE). You may not even remember the last time your gut was so small. You will be healthier. You will find that your daily activities no longer wear you out. You will look at everyone around you and think, "I know HE can't ride as far as I rode yesterday."

Just get out and ride.
Amen! Keep it simple!
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Old 08-05-08, 07:33 PM
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+1. Need to put in a few more miles mine own self.
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Old 08-05-08, 08:05 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by C_Heath View Post
Trainer.
I think I would rather gouge my eyes out that ride a trainer. I have one, but can't do more that 30 mins on it. I just use it if the weather is bad or uber cold.
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you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.
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Old 08-05-08, 09:14 PM
  #24  
talleymonster
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Originally Posted by daoswald View Post
Just get out and ride.
I agree completely, as this has been my method so far. I don't bother counting calories. I know I eat healthy. Several small meals throughout the day, loaded with veggies, protein and complex carbs. Little to no sugar as I am hypoglycemic. Recovery drink after both my morning and afternoon rides. I log a minimum of 75 miles a week on my bike commuting to and from work, plus weekend rides.

I am continually losing weight and my pants are getting looser and looser around the waist. In the future If I start to plateau and stop losing weight, I will put my diet and exercise under a microscope and make needed adjustments. Keep It Simple. Just hop on the bike for now and let nature take it's course.
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Old 08-05-08, 11:15 PM
  #25  
daoswald
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Originally Posted by talleymonster View Post
I agree completely, as this has been my method so far. I don't bother counting calories. I know I eat healthy. Several small meals throughout the day, loaded with veggies, protein and complex carbs. Little to no sugar as I am hypoglycemic. Recovery drink after both my morning and afternoon rides. I log a minimum of 75 miles a week on my bike commuting to and from work, plus weekend rides.

I am continually losing weight and my pants are getting looser and looser around the waist. In the future If I start to plateau and stop losing weight, I will put my diet and exercise under a microscope and make needed adjustments. Keep It Simple. Just hop on the bike for now and let nature take it's course.
This advice ("just get out and ride") works because it involves a lifestyle change. It assumes the individual is now spending less time on the sofa, less time in bed, less time in restaurants, less time sitting in front of the computer... more time on the bike, more time working and tinkering on the bike, more time "doing SOMETHING" instead of doing nothing. It's a lifestyle change, from being a sedentary individual, to being an active individual. Along the way, this newly active individual will begin making better nutritional decisions too, to support his fitness and riding progress. Just getting out to ride regularly helps to develop a habit that results in a healthier lifestyle.

So don't worry for now about this pound or that food. Get out and ride almost every day. Develop a lifestyle shift from sitting around doing what most people do (nothing) to actually doing something (riding, and any other activity).

Get out and ride.
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