Forever skinny fat?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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gurk700
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:40 pm

by gurk700

I bet there's a lot of cyclists out there like me, skinny fat. This post is searching ones that fixed this problem. Anyone fixed their skinny fat issue with just diet?

I've never corrected my eating habits (well I did to some extent) but lost the weight anyway 4 years ago when I picked up cycling. Went from 208lbs to 150lbs at 5'7". I do the usual -/+5lbs depending on season so I've been 150-155lbs for a good couple years and change now.
I know 150 lbs isn't super low for my height as someone who rides 10 hours a week with 2 interval sessions per week, 4+ hours weekend endurance with some threshold efforts and couple of recovery rides every week but my main goal is not that number. It's my body composition. If the number comes down, great. I'll climb faster :)

I've hit a point where for all that work, it is kind of annoying to not have at least a low double digit fat percentage. I never measured it but I still definitely don't have an athletic build. Legs are rock hard. Arms skinny. Flabby stomach. I mean not just flabby. I feel 90% of my fat is in my stomach and chest area.

I know one way to tackle it is weightlifting and upperbody work but I really, REALLY hate every minute I spend in a gym. I'm not looking to be a chiseled greek god (Dennis Reynolds? Anyone?). I'm also aware that my genes aren't helping me much here. Just wanna loose some of the flabby parts and have realistic expectations.

This is my day one of not necessarily calorie cutting but careful what and when you eat plan. I will be eating most of my foods 2-3 hours before rides and jels/bars/etc on the bike depending on length of ride. Rest of the day will be healthy snacks and meals in moderation with light dinners and nothing after 7pm. See where that takes me.

Chip in with your experiences. Have you been stuck in my position and made a breakthrough?

by Weenie


mattr
Posts: 4547
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 6:43 pm
Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

I just cut the carbs part of meals in half for a couple of weeks. Used to be able to shed ~5 kilos in a fortnight. Was basically my "end of winter" routine.
First two or three (road) races carrying a bit of winter weight, then drop the last 5 kilos before the first proper race. Once you're into the race season "proper" with at least one race a week, you can stuff whatever you want down your throat (within reason). The challenge is more getting enough food in.

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 3296
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

5'7" 150lbs is on the upper end of normal for the general population, but I don't think that ratio of height:weight could ever be mistaken for skinny or skinny fat. I'm 5'10" and have been <130lbs, generally try to stay ~136lbs, but will sometimes edge up to 140lbs. At 140lbs I feel flabby as an endurance cyclist.

When it comes down to it, it really is calories in vs calories out. If you can't control your snacking, eat less energy dense foods like greens and fruits with high water content. Drink more water. Fill up your stomach to quell hunger pangs.

Contrary to what mattr said, race season for me means less volume as my weekends are filled with crits/circuits and/or medium length road races rather than a couple of long endurance rides. Additionally some tapering must be done to combat training fatigue.

mattr
Posts: 4547
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 6:43 pm
Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

i didn't say anything about volume?
Just my calorie requirements during the season were always higher than during the off season.

User avatar
853guy
Posts: 205
Joined: Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:48 pm

by 853guy

My goal was longevity and mobility via body recomposition, rather than performance per se.

For me, that involved gradual, long-term introduction and adaptation to:

Eating between a 6-hour window (intermittent fasting)
Fat-adapted training (metabolic efficiency training*)
A whole-foods bio/organic diet comprised mostly of protein, fat, fibre, with medium/low amounts of veggies/fruit
Elimination of white carbs/processed sugars/sodas/“sports” drinks
One high-calorie meal per week comprised mostly of whole food carbs
Bulletproof-style coffee, herbal teas, water, wine (one glass per night)
Kettle bells at home - goblet squats, swings, over head press (haven’t stepped foot in a gym for 11 years)
Pull ups
A lesser percentage of static hangs, planks, bridges, etc
Cycling at a lower overall intensity, mostly for pleasure

I’m 45, 171 cm, and down from 90kg to 66 kg, with a very gradual (i.e. long-term, for the last six years) continuing trend in replacing body fat with muscle mass, and increasing joint health/mobility. Yes, I do have body fat (22%, currently - no surprise given a high percentage of my diet is foods with a naturally high(er) fat content), and yes, most serious cyclists are more lean than I am, especially in the upper body. However, all my critical risk factors (waistline, triglycerides, HDL, blood pressure and fasting blood glucose) are low. I also have more energy, sleep well and don't limit my lifestyle when eating out with friends.

If you’re interested, have a look at these threads here:

An hour at zone 3, is it useful?

Anyone lost a lot of weight, and kept it off?

Good luck!

853guy

*Metabolic efficiency training can be defined as the body's maximum ability to use fat as energy between 63 - 65% of maximal intensity, measured by VO2max or maximum heart rate.

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 3296
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

mattr wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 9:34 am
i didn't say anything about volume?
Just my calorie requirements during the season were always higher than during the off season.

If you’re eating more calories and doing less volume...

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 3296
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

Training the body to use more fat as an energy source has the consequence of slightly deemphasizing the utilization of glycogen as an energy source. This is fine if your primary goal is weight loss and ultra-endurance, low-intensity riding. It’s not great for high-intensity, type 2 fun, getting faster.

For a while I did occasional fasted morning rides since I’m not a breakfast person anyway. I would basically ride hard until I bonked, then ride some more at low intensity. Making a habit out of leveraging ketosis? Not for me. I’d rather eat smaller quantities of the foods I like than change the composition of my diet.

mattr
Posts: 4547
Joined: Fri May 25, 2007 6:43 pm
Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

TobinHatesYou wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:33 am
If you’re eating more calories and doing less volume...
And racing, instead of training. It becomes a struggle to eat enough to maintain weight/fitness.

rudye9mr
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 12:01 pm

by rudye9mr

Try intermittent fasting...16hrs fast, 8hr feed period....

look it up and work it around your cycling / life schedule...

boots2000
Posts: 1528
Joined: Mon Oct 15, 2007 9:28 pm

by boots2000

How old are you?

I know you say that you hate the gym- But I can't recommend it enough.

Time to try some more dieatary tweaks.
Ride fasted and no food for rides of z2 ~2 hours or less.
Try to time your carbs for only when you need them.
Eat lower glycemic carbs like beans and legumes.

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dgasmd
Posts: 1655
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:10 am
Location: South Florida

by dgasmd

I always laugh when I hear people say they hate the gym but need it. Nonsense. I hate it too!!

Get 1 of the 10 lb and 20 lb dumb bells for home. Cheapest you can find. Buy a cheap sit up bench. 5x/week before you ride do 4 sets of 40 sit ups (work your way to it), 3 sets of as many push ups as you can, and 3 sets of 50 reps with the 10 lb dumb bell for shoulder work out. 6 months in, add an extra set with the 20 lb one.

bikeboy1tr
Posts: 342
Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 3:19 am
Location: Southern Ontario Canada

by bikeboy1tr

When I started out years ago I was 100kg at 183cm medium frame build and I was mostly belly and back flab which is always the last place I lose the weight. Started out with the MTB and went to Road and as I learned more about how to train and my diet got cleaner the weight came off eventually. While racing the road I got to 82kg but always had some belly fat but also had more muscle back then. Now I have not raced for the last 10 years or so but still tweak my diet and train as though I was racing cause I enjoy that type of training and I cant just go out and do miles upon miles without purpose. I have also cut down the alcohol considerably and at the moment I am weighing 79.6kg which is good but there is still some belly flab and I likely have a little less muscle at 55 compared to when I was 40. I do still have weights in the basement (Nautilus gym) with a nice bench I use all the time and a good collection of dumbells. I have been doing a 30-45min session of core three times a week for my lower back which is improving slowly and I am sure I will need to do this for many years to come. So for me the bike has done wonders for my overall health physically and mentally. I am not fussy about weights but I am glad to have the Nautilus system at my disposal whenever I need it. As I get older I find I need it more and more but its the bike that helps me keep the weight down to a minimum.
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving"-Albert Einstein
2018 Colnago V2R Rim Brake
2014 Norco Threshold Disc Brake
2012 Time RXRS Ulteam Rim Brake
2008 Time VXR Rim Brake
2006 Ridley Crosswind Rim Brake

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Lewn777
Posts: 692
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:35 am

by Lewn777

I think diets are pretty useless, but lifestyle is the thing that matters. Avoid processed food, latest research says it makes you overeat massively and stick to natural, organic wholefoods where possible. You don't need to go vegan, even though that could help, but just go for high end outdoor meats like vension or unfarmed salmon and backyard eggs, copying 'blue zones'.

The problem comes because we're all human and all make mistakes so to quickly knock off 2-4kg is to try Professor Valter Longos Fast Mimicking Diet a few times a year. For 1 day you eat 1090 calories, and four days on 725 calories, you have to watch your fat, carb and protein intake balance carefully. It's not easy but you can supposedly burn off bad stem cells and other bad cells as it's designed for chemo patients.

Other than that if you hate gyms like I do, how about some spirtual yoga? Some yoga teachers are into the exercise element (usually but not always female teachers), but others are into a much deeper spiritual yoga (usually but not always male teachers). Those teachers can put you into a trance like meditative state where you don't even realize the core strength development and flexibility gains you're making. You don't get so much of the mild cardio gains that the old ladies like, but you don't need those because you ride for that.

Not saying I know it all, just some ideas that I find appealing.

AeroObsessive
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:42 am

by AeroObsessive

gurk700 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:13 am
I bet there's a lot of cyclists out there like me, skinny fat. This post is searching ones that fixed this problem. Anyone fixed their skinny fat issue with just diet?

I've never corrected my eating habits (well I did to some extent) but lost the weight anyway 4 years ago when I picked up cycling. Went from 208lbs to 150lbs at 5'7". I do the usual -/+5lbs depending on season so I've been 150-155lbs for a good couple years and change now.
I know 150 lbs isn't super low for my height as someone who rides 10 hours a week with 2 interval sessions per week, 4+ hours weekend endurance with some threshold efforts and couple of recovery rides every week but my main goal is not that number. It's my body composition. If the number comes down, great. I'll climb faster :)

I've hit a point where for all that work, it is kind of annoying to not have at least a low double digit fat percentage. I never measured it but I still definitely don't have an athletic build. Legs are rock hard. Arms skinny. Flabby stomach. I mean not just flabby. I feel 90% of my fat is in my stomach and chest area.

I know one way to tackle it is weightlifting and upperbody work but I really, REALLY hate every minute I spend in a gym. I'm not looking to be a chiseled greek god (Dennis Reynolds? Anyone?). I'm also aware that my genes aren't helping me much here. Just wanna loose some of the flabby parts and have realistic expectations.

This is my day one of not necessarily calorie cutting but careful what and when you eat plan. I will be eating most of my foods 2-3 hours before rides and jels/bars/etc on the bike depending on length of ride. Rest of the day will be healthy snacks and meals in moderation with light dinners and nothing after 7pm. See where that takes me.

Chip in with your experiences. Have you been stuck in my position and made a breakthrough?
ALL, and I stress ALL, weight loss is through expending more calories than you put out. Simple in concept, hard in execution, because there are number of factors that effect the balance.

1) pay attention to what you're eating is a good step. 2) generally people grossly overestimate how much they put out in terms of calories, and gross underestimate how much they take in. 3) If making changes, do so gradually. Cutting calories AND piling on the volume will have bad results. 4) gym work is NOT necessary, though it can have benefits in a more holistic sense (quality of life, injury prevention etc). In this vein - bodyweight exercises (gymnastic/calisthenic based) can be exceptionally effective and require very little equipment. This will help with the output. 5) Diets, methods of eating can all help lose weight through the same mechanism - cutting the calories IN. Don't believe the hype. 6) I'll repeat point 1, pay attention.

gurk700
Posts: 217
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:40 pm

by gurk700

AeroObsessive wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 5:13 am
gurk700 wrote:
Thu Apr 18, 2019 7:13 am
I bet there's a lot of cyclists out there like me, skinny fat. This post is searching ones that fixed this problem. Anyone fixed their skinny fat issue with just diet?

I've never corrected my eating habits (well I did to some extent) but lost the weight anyway 4 years ago when I picked up cycling. Went from 208lbs to 150lbs at 5'7". I do the usual -/+5lbs depending on season so I've been 150-155lbs for a good couple years and change now.
I know 150 lbs isn't super low for my height as someone who rides 10 hours a week with 2 interval sessions per week, 4+ hours weekend endurance with some threshold efforts and couple of recovery rides every week but my main goal is not that number. It's my body composition. If the number comes down, great. I'll climb faster :)

I've hit a point where for all that work, it is kind of annoying to not have at least a low double digit fat percentage. I never measured it but I still definitely don't have an athletic build. Legs are rock hard. Arms skinny. Flabby stomach. I mean not just flabby. I feel 90% of my fat is in my stomach and chest area.

I know one way to tackle it is weightlifting and upperbody work but I really, REALLY hate every minute I spend in a gym. I'm not looking to be a chiseled greek god (Dennis Reynolds? Anyone?). I'm also aware that my genes aren't helping me much here. Just wanna loose some of the flabby parts and have realistic expectations.

This is my day one of not necessarily calorie cutting but careful what and when you eat plan. I will be eating most of my foods 2-3 hours before rides and jels/bars/etc on the bike depending on length of ride. Rest of the day will be healthy snacks and meals in moderation with light dinners and nothing after 7pm. See where that takes me.

Chip in with your experiences. Have you been stuck in my position and made a breakthrough?
ALL, and I stress ALL, weight loss is through expending more calories than you put out. Simple in concept, hard in execution, because there are number of factors that effect the balance.

1) pay attention to what you're eating is a good step. 2) generally people grossly overestimate how much they put out in terms of calories, and gross underestimate how much they take in. 3) If making changes, do so gradually. Cutting calories AND piling on the volume will have bad results. 4) gym work is NOT necessary, though it can have benefits in a more holistic sense (quality of life, injury prevention etc). In this vein - bodyweight exercises (gymnastic/calisthenic based) can be exceptionally effective and require very little equipment. This will help with the output. 5) Diets, methods of eating can all help lose weight through the same mechanism - cutting the calories IN. Don't believe the hype. 6) I'll repeat point 1, pay attention.
I think for my body type and height, I just assumed 150-152lbs would be in the normal range. I havepretty much stopped paying too much attention to what I eat once I hit 150 not realizing I can go much further down to perhaps low 140's without losing health or power. Just have to be more careful with what and when I eat. Since I don't have much upper body muscle, I don't think low 140's will be too light/small for my 5"7 small frame. I know how to lose weight, I really do. Came here from 208lbs. Kept it off for 3 years and counting too. I just falsely assumed 150lbs at might height would look different than what it is. It just means I gotta keep going, which is fine.

by Weenie


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