Weight loss through cycling

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Weight loss through cycling

Postby michelle_s » Mon May 06, 2013 9:18 pm

Helloo all!

I've been cycling about 150 to 200kms a week sometimes more and I can't seem to lose any weight. In fact I'm gaining. I understand I'd gain muscle in the beginning but its been months now and not a kilo down :( I've even cut down alcohol considerably and limited my calories to about 1400 a day. Someone also mentioned my legs are getting bigger which is what I definitely do not want.

I see all the cyclists out there and they all have skinny arms and legs so what am I doing wrong? Anyone have any ideas?
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by BNA » Mon May 06, 2013 9:21 pm

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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby singlespeedscott » Mon May 06, 2013 9:21 pm

You will probably find that they are probably doing closer to 400km a week. I have found in the distant past that once I started doing over 300km a week I started to lose weight.

Why would you want puny cyclist arms and legs for?
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby michelle_s » Mon May 06, 2013 9:26 pm

Because I'm female and butch is not attractive. So longer distances is the go? I don't want to lose a huge amount but I certainly don't want to get big legs.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby singlespeedscott » Mon May 06, 2013 9:32 pm

Sorry. I didn't notice your name.

Yep long distance and lower consumption of refined carbs is the go.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby michelle_s » Mon May 06, 2013 9:33 pm

No worries. Ill try do more kms on the bike
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby Bob_TAS » Mon May 06, 2013 9:33 pm

Try and keep your cadence up too, lower gears at higher speeds. Twelve months of 100km a week at as close to 90rpm as possible and I lost 14 kegs.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby michelle_s » Mon May 06, 2013 9:41 pm

Yeah I heard that but when I'm in a low gear I feel like I'm pedaling like crazy and getting no where at a snails pace.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby ZepinAtor » Mon May 06, 2013 9:44 pm

Limiting calories is not always the answer to weight loss although the origin of the calories could have considerable impact. (e.g.-1400 calories of chocolate & alcohol compared to 1400 calories of complex carbohydrates & lean protein)

Cycling long distances is not required to lose weight although if you're not committed to a strict diet more km's could be beneficial, but that's a backward type of reasoning.

queue popcorn (only because the title of your thread includes the words "weight loss") a very passionate subject on this forum.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby Bob_TAS » Mon May 06, 2013 9:44 pm

Find the compromise; the lowest gear that still provides enough resistance to keep you at a decent speed. If you have to push the pedals then you're working strength which will produce more bulk rather than lean lean, stringy muscle.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby michelle_s » Mon May 06, 2013 9:53 pm

Zepinator I've generally eaten pretty healthy however just enjoyed the snack choc biscuits and Lollies and every now and then a choc milk and generally any crap I could snack on.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby biker jk » Mon May 06, 2013 9:55 pm

My experience and that of cycling friends is that riding on its own will not lead to weight loss unless you look at your diet as well. From when I started cycling again in 2004 to now I have lost 12kg but cut out sugary soft drinks and other bad foods.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby michelle_s » Mon May 06, 2013 10:01 pm

Yeah I'm slowly cutting out sugar and bad foods. It's just so hard!
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby brett.hooker » Mon May 06, 2013 10:07 pm

26 kg lost so far... Cycling is my primary exercise... Now and then I throw in something different, and every time I do, I lose a little more weight; apparently shocking your body is a good thing.

Seriously though, it is only when I get the food right AND I cycle does the weight drop off. Calories in and calories out. Pretty simple in theory, but mental toughness to avoid the non-food items is really hard.

Also, alcohol kills fat burn; so avoid during times when you really want to shed the weight.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby michelle_s » Mon May 06, 2013 10:08 pm

Alcohol is the worst especially on the weekend.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby kunalraiker » Mon May 06, 2013 10:20 pm

michelle_s wrote:Alcohol is the worst especially on the weekend.

I know, but then I say to myself, why cycle if I cannot have a few beers! and some good red wine :)
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby QuangVuong » Mon May 06, 2013 10:27 pm

Once you run out of glucose energy(from food), then your body will move onto the stored energy(fats). So as long as you can use up the amount of energy intake, then you will start burning fat to create the energy.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby Venus62 » Tue May 07, 2013 8:23 am

QuangVuong wrote:Once you run out of glucose energy(from food), then your body will move onto the stored energy(fats). So as long as you can use up the amount of energy intake, then you will start burning fat to create the energy.


This is a bit simplistic. You can't make glucose from fat, and glucose is what your brain needs (or at least prefers). Your muscles and heart can use fatty acids as fuel but if you run out of glucose and glycogen stores, you will breakdown proteins to maintain glucose levels.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby Tony6463 » Tue May 07, 2013 11:08 am

The other thing to look at is not distance but intensity. Remembering I don't know how you are training. Do you have a heart rate monitor? If not they are a good guide to how hard your body is working regardless of how fast you are going. I don't your age but do the maths and a bit of experimenting to work out what you heart rate is when you are working hard and use that as a guide. I usually sit at around 130 bpm when cruising and try and keep my cadence between 80 - 100. The other tools you can look at is "my fitness Pal" and "Runtastic" They work together to monitor diet and exercise.

Mix up your training. Have days where you look for distance, and therefore work at a lower intensity for longer, and other days when you do a short course, say 20 km, as hard as you can, therefore working a lot harder but for less time.

But most of all enjoy what you are doing.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby clackers » Tue May 07, 2013 11:50 am

Unfortunately, calories out minus calories in, over the course of the week, is the weight loss or gain, Michelle.

A high intensity exercise may require you to stop too quickly, where you would have been better off with low or medium intensity for a longer time. You just have to do the math - walking is a great way to lose weight for this very reason.

And one gram of protein has the same fat making potential as one gram of sugar - four calories. Again, your calculations can inform your exercise and dietary habits.

Obvious disclaimer: All of this advice is only related to weight loss, of course, not building muscles, increasing aerobic endurance or even general good health.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby mikesbytes » Tue May 07, 2013 12:13 pm

Hi Michelle, sorry but from your posts I'd say that its your overall diet that is the primary problem. You need to feed your body and not your fat cells.

Do the research on food, you will find that many products that are pitched at us as been healthy are laced with sugar and other crimes.

My diet is a long way from being perfect, but one of things I implemented was eating vegetables with my breakfast. It means that no matter what crimes I commit over the day, at least I got the vege's in. It's up to you to work out what strategies will work for you.

How about setting yourself a chalange. For example;
  • One month duration from a selected start date
  • No exceptions to your rules
  • No Alcohol
  • No snack food, No junk food
  • No eating out, all food made by yourself including at the office
  • No drinks that contain calories, so that would limit you to Water, Black Coffee and Black Tea probably

Its up to you to set the boundaries of the challenge.

Hope this helps
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby Apple » Tue May 07, 2013 12:26 pm

michelle_s wrote:Helloo all!

I've been cycling about 150 to 200kms a week sometimes more and I can't seem to lose any weight. In fact I'm gaining. I understand I'd gain muscle in the beginning but its been months now and not a kilo down :( I've even cut down alcohol considerably and limited my calories to about 1400 a day. Someone also mentioned my legs are getting bigger which is what I definitely do not want.

I see all the cyclists out there and they all have skinny arms and legs so what am I doing wrong? Anyone have any ideas?

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
welcome to the female world :mrgreen:
I ride the same as you and my weight is still too high. :evil:
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby Pravda » Tue May 07, 2013 1:55 pm

I was riding about the same distance as you Michelle and very steadily lost about 15kg over a year or so. That's with no calorie counting and no giving up of alcohol though my diet is reasonably good.
However in April I rode the Specialized Classics Challenge on Strava (1319km in April) I think I totaled about 1400km, effectively doubling my km per week and lost 5kg in the process. I'm a bloke so it probably wouldn't translate to you directly but the increase in Km over that time was pretty noticeable.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby Summernight » Tue May 07, 2013 2:22 pm

Apple wrote:
michelle_s wrote:Helloo all!

I've been cycling about 150 to 200kms a week sometimes more and I can't seem to lose any weight. In fact I'm gaining. I understand I'd gain muscle in the beginning but its been months now and not a kilo down :( I've even cut down alcohol considerably and limited my calories to about 1400 a day. Someone also mentioned my legs are getting bigger which is what I definitely do not want.

I see all the cyclists out there and they all have skinny arms and legs so what am I doing wrong? Anyone have any ideas?

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
welcome to the female world :mrgreen:
I ride the same as you and my weight is still too high. :evil:


I ride less than you two (but also run and swim and ride horses which is surprisingly good core exercise, especially sitting trot :P ). I know it is a big thing for some girls about gaining muscle and 'looking butch' but I read somewhere that it is bloody hard to gain too much muscle to look butch unless you are weight training in the gym.

I like being strong. I would like to lose weight (even though my partner says he thinks I'm gorgeous as I am) but I know that to do so would be through a diet change for me and not an exercise change. I don't want to give up my chocolate! I don't drink alcohol anyway so at least I don't have that factor to worry about.

Try the diet change and see what it does. I don't think you're going to get Anna Meares legs from just cycling those amount of kms a week. And remember - some guys think strong is hot, skinny (unfit skinny) is not! :D
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby winstonw » Tue May 07, 2013 3:32 pm

michelle_s wrote:Yeah I'm slowly cutting out sugar and bad foods. It's just so hard!


Without exception, everyone I know who hasn't met weight loss expectations, deceives themselves re Calories consumed.
And those who find it hard to stick to a Calorie deficit typically crave energy dense foods, and evade nutrient dense foods.
It's worth learning the diff between the two.

The science says those who track their Calorie intake via a food diary, have much more success at losing weight, primarily because they quickly learn when they are deluding themselves about energy consumed.

BTW, I once rode 700+km in a week, and 1500k in a month, and lost no weight during either.

FWIW, I work in the field and have heard every excuse under the sun for why "dieting doesn't work for me".
At the end of the day, there's only two excuses for most people - nutritional illiteracy and lack of commitment. The first is the easiest to get on top of (by keeping a food diary). If that sounds like too much trouble, then your will to learn and change needs confronting.
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Re: Weight loss through cycling

Postby Apple » Tue May 07, 2013 4:38 pm

Here I am reading this, just ate 2 white bread rolls with jam and a bar of chocolate. :mrgreen:
I am strong looking also. But heavy. :(
I took a photo of my naked body yesterday just to remind me how fat I am, but when I looked at it I thought, ok heavy but not saggy, looking tone. :D
But seriously, I lost my will power. When I was younger I could live on just green apples, today I need the pie with it :twisted:
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