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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 7:28 pm 
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I thought I would share a bit of a personal experience because every time we obsess about the weight of a component some smart ass comes along to explain how it would just be easier to lose weight on your body. The presumption seems to be that everyone is carrying around a spare tire on their gut, but some of us are already pretty darn lean.

That doesn't mean it can't go lower of course. I specialize in climbing mountain passes that take >20 minutes to crest, typically with a steepness of 7-10%. Last fall I was weighing about 68kg and I decided I would try get a little lighter. I've been that weight for a while and I was also just starting a build phase with some hard 2x20 and vo2max interval work on the indoor trainer so I had to proceed carefully.

I decided it would suffice if I created roughly a 4-6 thousand calorie deficit per month. I knew I was in stasis as I wasn't gaining or losing, so I did modest portion control and made a point of going to bed just a little bit hungry each evening. Notice that I wasn't trying to lose pounds per week or adopting a new diet. I overshot during a two week period and was probably acclimated to being hungry too much because my power numbers suffered (about 15 watts lower work on 2x20) so I dialed back a little and power numbers recovered likewise. Over the course of three months I got down to 63kg. This is actually a huge drop and reflected about a 10% increase in w/kg. I gained a little afterward and then reduced it easily. I stand 1.83m so this is pretty lean.

If you would have asked me last fall I would have said I was at rock bottom with no way to get lower. The key take away points I want to share are:

* Start with a good diet in the first place. I eat a lot of rice and beans and natural stuff. If it comes out of a box, generally avoid it because it isn't real food.
* What you put in your pie hole has more to do with your weight than how much you exercise. Your instincts will make you eat enough to counter any calorie deficit you create through exercise. Don't presume that you can just exercise your weight off.
* Make the change gradual. People who have generous extra amounts of fat can go all atkins and lose 10 pounds in a week. Skinny people will be a wreck trying this stuff. If you lose it too fast your body may metabolize muscle, which is really counter productive.
* Measure often. Studies show that people who step on the scale daily are more likely to lose weight. Treat it like any other metric you use to be an effective athlete.
* It can be dangerous to go too low. You can mess up your hormones and particularly if you are still young you can disrupt the process of maturation. Feeling hungry and irritable is part of the process, but feeling drained and foggy should not. When in doubt, eat a samwhich.


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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 10:07 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 5:09 pm
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Location: AZ, USA
Thanks for the advice. I've been trying to drop 5 pounds or so myself while being pretty lean (75kg, 185cm, muscular upper body), and wasn't really getting anywhere.
The gradual process may just do the trick, I'll give it a shot.


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Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 10:07 pm 


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PostPosted: Wed May 01, 2013 11:58 pm 
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I'm around 59 kg at 176 cm right now, which puts op and I at nearly the exact same BMI. I find if I go any lower my immune system starts to become very easily compromised and sexual desires become very suppressed. I agree entirely that it should be a very gradual reduction in calories over a good period of time in order to drop those crucial final kg's and not kill your power numbers. I always take them off the evening meal too and leave a full breakfast and lunch. Post-ride nutrition should *never* be reduced in my experience.


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 12:54 am 
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I'm like 56kg and I get dropped climbing by fit dudes who are 10-15kg more than me. It's only when things get to be 8+% that I can start to claw back an advantage. And then I get straight up murdered on the flats and downhills. Yeah, dropping weight is good, but building power seems to trump weight loss pretty much every time for skinny guys. W/kg is not the end all be all metric. I think if you put in some solid high-intensity workouts designed for building power and have a reasonable handle on your nutrition, you'll lean out anyway. Of course if you're lugging around a spare tire, then the whole situation changes.


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 9:46 am 
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dvincere wrote:
I'm around 59 kg at 176 cm right now, which puts op and I at nearly the exact same BMI. I find if I go any lower my immune system starts to become very easily compromised and sexual desires become very suppressed. I agree entirely that it should be a very gradual reduction in calories over a good period of time in order to drop those crucial final kg's and not kill your power numbers. I always take them off the evening meal too and leave a full breakfast and lunch. Post-ride nutrition should *never* be reduced in my experience.


this is not, i repeat NOT cycling specific nutrition advice, but martin at http://www.leangains.com/ has some interesting and well researched ideas on how to maintain low body fat percentages and high muscle mass (obviously not applicable in your case) on an ongoing basis without cut/bulk cycles and without all the problems that go with low body fat like anhedonia and hormone dysfunction. worth a read for some well written and well thought out articles explaining why it happens and detailing methods that you may be able to apply to your lifestyle to allow lower fat %ages without all the problems.

but yeah, as i said, it's a very long way from cycling specific nutrition advice, daily fasting is not particularly conducive to large volumes of aerobic exercise and maybe, just maybe, there's a good reason why your body doesn't want to let you sink below a certain bf%...


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 12:24 pm 
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dgran wrote:
* Start with a good diet in the first place. I eat a lot of rice and beans and natural stuff. If it comes out of a box, generally avoid it because it isn't real food.


Agree.

dgran wrote:
* What you put in your pie hole has more to do with your weight than how much you exercise. Your instincts will make you eat enough to counter any calorie deficit you create through exercise. Don't presume that you can just exercise your weight off.


False. You most certainly can.

dgran wrote:
* Make the change gradual. People who have generous extra amounts of fat can go all atkins and lose 10 pounds in a week. Skinny people will be a wreck trying this stuff. If you lose it too fast your body may metabolize muscle, which is really counter productive.


Agree.

dgran wrote:
* Measure often. Studies show that people who step on the scale daily are more likely to lose weight. Treat it like any other metric you use to be an effective athlete.


Yes, but not just for "motivation". Body weight can fluctuate up 2 kilos in a day easily. Readings first and last thing during the day and average for the week. Looking at the scales in isolation can give the wrong impression. Dexascan is a far better way to go, if you have one lying around.

dgran wrote:
* It can be dangerous to go too low. You can mess up your hormones and particularly if you are still young you can disrupt the process of maturation. Feeling hungry and irritable is part of the process, but feeling drained and foggy should not. When in doubt, eat a samwhich.


Agree with the first part, too low can be dangerous. Disagree with feeling hungry. Not for myself or those I coach is being hungry or irritable part of the process. Hungry ~30mins before a meal maybe. Hungry after the meal or hungry going to bed or hungry during a ride - nope.

As I have posted in the past there is no denying that in cycling weight is an important factor. But so is power. There is no point working your weight down and keeping the body fat low if your absolute power sucks. If power is good and you can slowly trim and keep that power then its all good.

But don't go hungry people.

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"Physiology is all just propaganda and lies... all waiting to be disproven by the next study."
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 1:23 pm 
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I gate up wheat (which seemed to solve some recurring digestive issues as well), inspired by Fitzgerald "Racing Weight" started drinking a protein-rich shake in the morning (mixed with black tea), and started eating apples. That got me from a slightly bloated yet not "fat" weight back to raceweight.

I agree "riding the weight off" doesn't work so well. I gained 7 lb when I was avging around 200 miles/week. Sure, I could have done 300 miles/week, but I just recently did Devil Mountain Double and there's plenty of fat mileage junkies.

That said, you don't want to be too thin. Your endocrine system will become suppressed and you'll get sick unless you're on a "program". I've read riders want to go into RAAM at least 5 lb over weight, so give themselves a buffer for the inevitable fat loss during the ride.

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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 1:44 pm 
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As a general follow up, I agree that raw power increase is more useful on balance than weight reduction. My advice is for people who are down to seeing very modest 1-3% gains in FTP year over year and are looking to affect the denominator in the w/kg ratio. I know people who are able to muscle through climbs with us skinny guys and once they recover they dish it out hard on people like me.

Regarding being hungry, the key is to make a modest change. Someone made a good point about post ride eating and recovery. I believe strongly in eating something with carb+protien in the first 30 minutes after riding. Being hungry on the bike or after exercise is counter productive. Being a little hungry before bed is the sweet spot in my experience.

Can you ride off the weight? At some point the answer is no. You can ride off a lot of weight in the 15-25% body fat range but once it gets below 10% your body is programmed to preserve that fat. It is a fine balance to achieve peak lean body mass and the strategies to lose extra weight are different from those to lose discretionary weight. the leangains.com link above is very good. Thanks for sharing this.

One other observation I would like to share is that people get a little freaked out when do this well. My wife is a bit perturbed and one of my cycling buddies joked (but maybe not really) that I must have undergone chemo over the winter. Any time you do something at the pointy end of an extreme you will have a lot of people who don't understand or relate to it. That goes with the territory because let's face it, trying to lose weight when you are already enviably thin isn't bound to make you many friends. I didn't discuss my weight loss plans with anyone because very few people would understand or relate.


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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 2:27 pm 
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Add me to the list of people who can't just exercise off weight. if i eat to hunger whether training or not i maintain or increase weight without fail. In almost 20 years of riding i have never lost a significant amount of weight while riding at volume. I have lost significant amounts of weight while weight training and adhering to fairly strict calorie restriction. I have gained weight while riding consistent 250-350km weeks.

When i say weight above, i mean weight not fat. in all cases listed above there may have been elements of re-composition at play.

bottom line, my body does everything within it's powers to maintain my weight when i'm eating between about 2000 and 3000 calories a day. i can gain very quickly above that and lose very slowly below it. without fairly strict caloric control (and i mean strict - 1800cals + heavy weight lifting for a 6'1" male) my body simply will not relinquish its fat stores.


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PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2013 3:59 pm 
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I also tend to lose weight when strength training. Some find this counterintuitive that strength training would be better for weight loss than big miles but it's a closed loop system where the endocrine system plays a large role and that responds differently to different types of exercise and diet.

Sent from my ADR6300 using Tapatalk 2

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Posted: Sat May 04, 2013 3:59 pm 


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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 3:10 am 
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i think one of the other things that makes it easier for some people to lose weight while weight training is that it's much easier to eat very small amounts but continue weight training at a reasonable volume than it is to restrict calories and ride at a reasonable volume. you can always just throw down a pre-WO coffee or heavily caffeinated drink to get you through, but there's really no hiding from poor recovery and low muscle glycogen on a long bike ride.

then there's macro breakdown - if you're doing weights, even if cutting, you're probably eating a higher proportion of protein which is going to help keep you satiated more than a carb dominant diet would for the same number of calories (generally speaking).


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