Forever skinny fat?

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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

by TobinHatesYou

gurk700 wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 7:06 am

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.

It all depends on what you want to excel at. I am 5'10" and currently in the low 140lb range. When I was mostly a solo climber chasing Strava PRs, I was as low as 130lbs. I put on weight because I started racing this year and frankly most races are flat crits or mostly flat road races. I needed those few extra pounds to make life easier. Eventually I will probably cut back down to the mid-high 130s as a happy medium, just with less body fat...11-12% at low 140s, hopefully 8-9% mid-high 130s.

And yes, it was naive of you to think 150lbs would be "normal" range for someone 5'7" ... That's what the obesity epidemic has done to our expectations. The average adult American male is something like 195lbs, 5'9" with a 40" waist. That is comfortably overweight and edging very close to obese.

If you really want to look normal at 5'7", like really really normal, your goal should be high 130lbs, not 140lbs.

gurk700
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:40 pm

by gurk700

TobinHatesYou wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 9:07 am
gurk700 wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 7:06 am

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.

It all depends on what you want to excel at. I am 5'10" and currently in the low 140lb range. When I was mostly a solo climber chasing Strava PRs, I was as low as 130lbs. I put on weight because I started racing this year and frankly most races are flat crits or mostly flat road races. I needed those few extra pounds to make life easier. Eventually I will probably cut back down to the mid-high 130s as a happy medium, just with less body fat...11-12% at low 140s, hopefully 8-9% mid-high 130s.

And yes, it was naive of you to think 150lbs would be "normal" range for someone 5'7" ... That's what the obesity epidemic has done to our expectations. The average adult American male is something like 195lbs, 5'9" with a 40" waist. That is comfortably overweight and edging very close to obese.

If you really want to look normal at 5'7", like really really normal, your goal should be high 130lbs, not 140lbs.
Let you know if I get there :) It's hard to imagine right now what sub 140's would look like as I was probably in highschool when I weighed that much. (36 now)
Mostly cause at 150 I look small but with disproportionate fat around my waist.

Anyway. Gotta get to 140's to get to 130's. Dipped down to 149 couple times this week. Hopefully will get there eventually.

by Weenie


mattr
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by mattr

Don't get so hung up on the weight, it's not healthy to focus on just that. Find some more realistic and achievable targets.
Then the weight will gravitate to what it *needs* to be. Rather than what some bloke on the internet says.

zefs
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:40 pm

by zefs

I think most people do the mistake and do more than required because they don't see results quickly enough. So they maybe add more exercise or skip meals which will probably make you more hungry, too. It's recommended to cut around 400-500 calories and keep your exercise schedule and monitor weight loss once a month instead of getting anxious about it and checking constantly.

Then it's the genes and metabolic rate/body type that is different for everyone.

spartacus
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Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:53 pm

by spartacus

If you’re skinny fat then the problem is your diet.

TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

zefs wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 10:07 am

Then it's the genes and metabolic rate/body type that is different for everyone.

96% of the population is within 10-15%, and 68% are within 6-8% of the average BMR. Adjust as necessary but this pretty much means most people are within a can of Coke of average daily calorie burn. Being fat for most of us is a lifestyle choice.
Last edited by TobinHatesYou on Thu May 23, 2019 3:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

RyanH
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by RyanH

Simply using height and weight can be very misleading. At 5'9, I look extremely gaunt when I dip into the high 140s and body fat is mid single digits. Muscle composition plays a large role. I'm working on cutting weight right now to get back into the low 150s and for me, it's simple, just be hungry all the time. If you're not hungry, I doubt you're losing weight. Eat less than you need, it's that simple.

KWalker
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by KWalker

I've been skinny fat for a lot of my life. I went from 135, up into the mid 200's weightlifting, then back down as low as 148 racing. Even at 148 and single digit bodyfat I looked less lean than I was. While I do not have a ton of time to put into responses these days, here is my advice:

1. You need to do some weight bearing activity. Mostly for general health (my bone density from riding and losing weight all the time was absolute trash by age 31), but also because part of skinny-fat syndrome comes from not naturally having much muscle mass AND usually having a fairly low metabolic rate. Find something, anything: crossfit, weight-lifting, bodyweight/gymnastic rings, shit even running is probably better than nothing. I personally found rock climbing to be the most enjoyable and it has both a cardiac and muscular component. Strength training also tends to speed up metabolic rate slightly

2. Related to 1, you're going to have to eat a high-er protein diet, likely at the upper end of the 1.6g/kg-1.8g/kg intake for athletes and likely higher than the 2.2g/kg recommended for cutting. Partially to build or hold on to some muscle mass, but also because protein is the most satiating macronutrient, has a high thermic cost, and will make any sort of deficit easier. If you get it from plants you might need a tad more to get the same amino balance.

3. Never take any diet advice from people who treat diet like politics or religion. Don't buy into dogma or dogmatic claims. Building off of 1 and 2 if you're a true skinny fat you are never going to be very muscular. How you look is all a number's game and it's more than the scale. Don't worry about bulking up from 1 and 2 if you can find a diet that works for you. Read a bunch of different opinions and diets and find whatever one is the most sustainable for your liftestyle. Make adequate protein the cornerstone and fill in the other 2 nutrients as you wish. Experiment, but never go ultra high in something unless it's sustainable. There are very few, if any studies in which active athletes are put under caloric restriction and one group loses more than another when protein intakem, caloric intake, and training load are matched. Lots of people will try to claim otherwise, but if you read the citations and research there is ALWAYS a catch or scenario that makes it impossible to generalize that one diet is better than another.

For example- one of my good climbing partners works at an anti-aging lab with a lot of post docs that are doing fasting and ketosis experiments on mice. He is constantly venting about how people, often very credentialed public figures, misinterpret research or over extrapolate findings to humans. Rhonda Patrick is a great example- she often reports on research from fields that she has no firsthand expertise, but sounds really smart (and is really knowledgeable about her own areas) and has misquoted his research several times. Or you go read a study and find that it showed a huge difference in some elderly, insulin resistant, sedentary population or the control was actually terrible.

The "best" diets for weight loss all seem to have a high protein component. And by best I mean diets that maintain what little muscle mass you have AND show an even or greater loss of body fat. If you lose 10lbs and half is muscle, you will still look skinny fat. If you lose 5lbs, but only because you gained 5lbs of muscle and lost 10lbs of fat you will look far less skinny fat.

5. Just riding more is a piss poor way to lose weight unless the only thing you can do is ride. Protein turnover rates are higher during fasted endurance exercise and studies that compare fasted to fed training and fat oxidation from adipose tissue show no net difference across a day (usually you burn more fat during the initial part of exercise from blood lipids, but also more amino acids and after the ride end it ends up balancing out pretty well). Also, a ton of endurance exercise plus a caloric deficit is a great way to spike a lot of catabolic hormones. It will also increase relative feelings of hunger when in a deficit. Lastly, it's not *f##k* sustainable. You cannot rely on your riding volume for health and well-being. It must compliment your lifestyle and body comp, not determine it. Have you ever seen a cyclist with a really good body comp and balance of health, mobility, and musculature? Most pros resemble drug addicts and snap bones whenever they fall. There's zero advantage for the general population.

6. If you're not racing, you should be focused on good overall habits. If you are racing, you should still be focused on good habits, but occasionally employ more drastic efforts only if they are necessary. This reinforces everything above. If all you do is ride chances are you will not be very mobile or balanced and at some point you will suffer some sort of injury or pain because of it. Doing whatever strength training or weight bearing activity you can will go a long way to preventing this. Same with finding a diet that works for you. Keto is the current rage, some people love fasting, but if eating 3 meals a day works from you and they're from a well-rounded range of whole foods, then that's what matters FOR YOU.

7. Try tracking your intake for 2 weeks. It will suck. Measure and weigh everything you can. Get an idea of what you even eat now. It will almost always surprise you. You have to learn proper portion control.

8. Never be in too big of a deficit. Fat loss doesn't take any tricks. If you're a few hundred calories shy on a ride day, that's fine. If you strength train and are a few hundred over, that's also fine. Studies on athletes and food intake show that athletes that habitually limit intake often have higher bodyfat percentages than those that do not. They're also athletes who often have teams of people telling them what to do and when OR are very used to what is required to do their work. You will likely end up skinnier, but still skinny fat if you are truly skinny fat to start with. Others tend to lean out really well and preserve mass, but this is not a hallmark trait of a true skinny fat.

9. Most cyclists eat way too much on the bike. If you're not riding a lot of long rides, high weekly volume, or super intense rides without adequate overall dietary CHO, you don't need to slam so much food. Maybe some drink mix per the standard Skratch/Osmo guidelines. If your macronutrients are somewhat balanced throughout a day or week you do not need convoluted post workout shakes or other strategies. You aren't churning through enough glycogen to matter.
Last edited by KWalker on Thu May 23, 2019 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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AeroObsessive
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by AeroObsessive

^ for someone who doesn't have time to put in a detailed response there's some pretty solid advice there
:thumbup:

On point 2 - protein intake also seems to become more critical as we get older too.

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CarolynDenton
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by CarolynDenton

The only way to get rid of fat that I know is by combining exercises and diet. It turns out that cycling is not enough for you so I think you have no other option than go to the gym and work with weights. And you probably need to limit the calories in your food, especially carbohydrates. There are a lot of good diet suggestions online but if you want to tailor it to your needs, better ask a professional for a consultation. I got mine from a coach in the gym I was visiting for some time. But, there are some great tips in this thread already.
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guyc
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by guyc

Also. Food is there to be enjoyed. Unless you’re making a living from racing bikes try to remember that.

gurk700
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by gurk700

KWalker wrote:
Thu May 23, 2019 4:39 am
I've been skinny fat for a lot of my life. I went from 135, up into the mid 200's weightlifting, then back down as low as 148 racing. Even at 148 and single digit bodyfat I looked less lean than I was. While I do not have a ton of time to put into responses these days, here is my advice:

1. You need to do some weight bearing activity. Mostly for general health (my bone density from riding and losing weight all the time was absolute trash by age 31), but also because part of skinny-fat syndrome comes from not naturally having much muscle mass AND usually having a fairly low metabolic rate. Find something, anything: crossfit, weight-lifting, bodyweight/gymnastic rings, shit even running is probably better than nothing. I personally found rock climbing to be the most enjoyable and it has both a cardiac and muscular component. Strength training also tends to speed up metabolic rate slightly

2. Related to 1, you're going to have to eat a high-er protein diet, likely at the upper end of the 1.6g/kg-1.8g/kg intake for athletes and likely higher than the 2.2g/kg recommended for cutting. Partially to build or hold on to some muscle mass, but also because protein is the most satiating macronutrient, has a high thermic cost, and will make any sort of deficit easier. If you get it from plants you might need a tad more to get the same amino balance.

3. Never take any diet advice from people who treat diet like politics or religion. Don't buy into dogma or dogmatic claims. Building off of 1 and 2 if you're a true skinny fat you are never going to be very muscular. How you look is all a number's game and it's more than the scale. Don't worry about bulking up from 1 and 2 if you can find a diet that works for you. Read a bunch of different opinions and diets and find whatever one is the most sustainable for your liftestyle. Make adequate protein the cornerstone and fill in the other 2 nutrients as you wish. Experiment, but never go ultra high in something unless it's sustainable. There are very few, if any studies in which active athletes are put under caloric restriction and one group loses more than another when protein intakem, caloric intake, and training load are matched. Lots of people will try to claim otherwise, but if you read the citations and research there is ALWAYS a catch or scenario that makes it impossible to generalize that one diet is better than another.

For example- one of my good climbing partners works at an anti-aging lab with a lot of post docs that are doing fasting and ketosis experiments on mice. He is constantly venting about how people, often very credentialed public figures, misinterpret research or over extrapolate findings to humans. Rhonda Patrick is a great example- she often reports on research from fields that she has no firsthand expertise, but sounds really smart (and is really knowledgeable about her own areas) and has misquoted his research several times. Or you go read a study and find that it showed a huge difference in some elderly, insulin resistant, sedentary population or the control was actually terrible.

The "best" diets for weight loss all seem to have a high protein component. And by best I mean diets that maintain what little muscle mass you have AND show an even or greater loss of body fat. If you lose 10lbs and half is muscle, you will still look skinny fat. If you lose 5lbs, but only because you gained 5lbs of muscle and lost 10lbs of fat you will look far less skinny fat.

5. Just riding more is a piss poor way to lose weight unless the only thing you can do is ride. Protein turnover rates are higher during fasted endurance exercise and studies that compare fasted to fed training and fat oxidation from adipose tissue show no net difference across a day (usually you burn more fat during the initial part of exercise from blood lipids, but also more amino acids and after the ride end it ends up balancing out pretty well). Also, a ton of endurance exercise plus a caloric deficit is a great way to spike a lot of catabolic hormones. It will also increase relative feelings of hunger when in a deficit. Lastly, it's not *f##k* sustainable. You cannot rely on your riding volume for health and well-being. It must compliment your lifestyle and body comp, not determine it. Have you ever seen a cyclist with a really good body comp and balance of health, mobility, and musculature? Most pros resemble drug addicts and snap bones whenever they fall. There's zero advantage for the general population.

6. If you're not racing, you should be focused on good overall habits. If you are racing, you should still be focused on good habits, but occasionally employ more drastic efforts only if they are necessary. This reinforces everything above. If all you do is ride chances are you will not be very mobile or balanced and at some point you will suffer some sort of injury or pain because of it. Doing whatever strength training or weight bearing activity you can will go a long way to preventing this. Same with finding a diet that works for you. Keto is the current rage, some people love fasting, but if eating 3 meals a day works from you and they're from a well-rounded range of whole foods, then that's what matters FOR YOU.

7. Try tracking your intake for 2 weeks. It will suck. Measure and weigh everything you can. Get an idea of what you even eat now. It will almost always surprise you. You have to learn proper portion control.

8. Never be in too big of a deficit. Fat loss doesn't take any tricks. If you're a few hundred calories shy on a ride day, that's fine. If you strength train and are a few hundred over, that's also fine. Studies on athletes and food intake show that athletes that habitually limit intake often have higher bodyfat percentages than those that do not. They're also athletes who often have teams of people telling them what to do and when OR are very used to what is required to do their work. You will likely end up skinnier, but still skinny fat if you are truly skinny fat to start with. Others tend to lean out really well and preserve mass, but this is not a hallmark trait of a true skinny fat.

9. Most cyclists eat way too much on the bike. If you're not riding a lot of long rides, high weekly volume, or super intense rides without adequate overall dietary CHO, you don't need to slam so much food. Maybe some drink mix per the standard Skratch/Osmo guidelines. If your macronutrients are somewhat balanced throughout a day or week you do not need convoluted post workout shakes or other strategies. You aren't churning through enough glycogen to matter.
Kinda deserted my own thread here for a bit but thanks a lot for taking the time to write that.

I have often found that the answer to all my problems have been going the opposite direction of what I'm doing.
When I was 208lbs overweight, I told myself I'm unhappy and have no room right now to worry about exercise. I then bit the bullet and went into cycling. Lost the weight and got down to where I am right now.

The whole body composition thing is shaping up to be the same kind of issue. I keep telling myself I hate the gym and look for answers elsewhere. But I think I realize more and more that avoiding it got me here.

There's a reason my legs are much leaner than rest of my body. Cause I use them. My upperbody however is just being carried around. I barely lift anything in my life or use my core in any kind of activity. I either bike or sit around.

So I think I really need to find my cycling equivalent for upperbody. Something I can be really passionate about and will help me on the bike too inevitably.

I'm sure I can do more in nutrition too. I really don't think I over eat but when and what I eat might need some work.

Thanks again!

AJS914
Posts: 3481
Joined: Tue Jan 28, 2014 6:52 pm

by AJS914

I can kind of pedal fast for an old geezer but the rest of my body hasn't been keeping up!

At 53 I'm getting more and more old man aches and pains which are all remedied by going to the gym or working out. I had sciatica that lasted for a year and it was ultimately due to a muscle imbalance caused by sitting at a computer, flabby abs, and over developed quads from cyclist. I started a strengthening / core / stretching program and I fixed that sciatica in a week. I've been getting neck pain on/off pain this year during rides. I started doing some rhomboid, upper back and arm exercises with dumbells and my neck is now 95% better after a few weeks of that.

I've also been reading Friel (Fast After 50) and other things. They all point to weight training as offering a large boost in performance for aging atheletes but I haven't really wanted to go to the gym 2-3X per week. One problem is that we don't have a good gym that I like in town and the other problem is having to go somewhere for an hour. Setting up an in-home gym isn't possible right now. The gym work is on my list though!

mattr
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Location: The Grim North.

by mattr

gurk700 wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:41 pm
So I think I really need to find my cycling equivalent for upperbody. Something I can be really passionate about and will help me on the bike too inevitably.
Mountainbiking.
Something a bit on the traily side of XC. I used to put on 1-1,5" round my neck and about 3-4 kilos of upperbody muscle if i was gearing up for an MTB season Vs a road season (59kg Vs 62/63kg). Just swapped one ride a week for MTB technical training. (2 or so hours out of 12-14.)

Plus it give you the chance to buy another shiny bike.
And it'll help with aspects of road cycling as well.

gurk700
Posts: 305
Joined: Fri Jan 20, 2017 7:40 pm

by gurk700

mattr wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 8:20 pm
gurk700 wrote:
Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:41 pm
So I think I really need to find my cycling equivalent for upperbody. Something I can be really passionate about and will help me on the bike too inevitably.
Mountainbiking.
Something a bit on the traily side of XC. I used to put on 1-1,5" round my neck and about 3-4 kilos of upperbody muscle if i was gearing up for an MTB season Vs a road season (59kg Vs 62/63kg). Just swapped one ride a week for MTB technical training. (2 or so hours out of 12-14.)

Plus it give you the chance to buy another shiny bike.
And it'll help with aspects of road cycling as well.
Haha the shiny bike and it still being riding is DEEEEFINITELY a good reason and I've definitely been thinking about it.
I live 0.2 miles away from a trailhead too. Just up the street. It's a crime not to ride MTB as well at this point.

by Weenie


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