View Full Version : dieting question

01-13-2006, 10:58 AM
hi everyone, i'm new here, and very excited to find this site. I've been posting on cycling forums and ride monkey, but there women boards don't get too much action.

I am trying to figure out what the best way to get smaller is. I am 5'10" and pretty much solid muscle. (size 10 pants if that helps) But when i train i just seem to get bigger and bigger and I look more like I should be playing football than biking up hills. I don't know how to lose it all. I've stopped lifting weight, except for my arms, which I want to get a little bigger, but I'm still not loosing much. I do a lot of cardio... about an hours worth every other night. I vary it between running (outdoors when I can), the rowing machine, the stair master, and the elliptical. I've been trying to burn about 600-800 calories each workout and I've been trying to cut back on what I'm eating, so that there is a deficit. Is there anything else I could be or should be doing? I'd like to loose about 20 pounds. It's not about weight or being a certain size, I just don't want to carry those pounds up the hills anymore!! I think i'd be a lot better if I could shave those pounds off. any suggestions?

01-13-2006, 12:07 PM
hey justduckie,

20 pounds is a ton o'weight to try and shed. i'm wondering how you came up with your weight goal.

since you are muscular and in excellent cardio condition your weight actually represents a powerful engine that will motor you up those climbs!

if you don't want to get bigger you can try altering your weight lifting to go to lighter weights and more reps. i think that tends to tone muscles rather than build muscle mass.


01-13-2006, 03:20 PM
Hello Justduckie...

Warning: I ain't no doctor or nutritionist or in any kind of health profession, just a sociologist and caring person.

You don't say how much you weight right now, but by rule of thumb, you certainly shouldn't be under 145-150 lbs, and it would be very normal for you to weight much more if you're, as you say, mostly muscle. This is not a big scientific rule, just a general ball park: 100 lbs + 5 lbs per inch above 5', 6 lbs for a man. I trust it more as giving us a threshold we shouldn't be under than as an upper limit.

I am totally floored by what I head among the cycling/fitness community on the topic of weight. It's similar to the kind of things I'd hear earlier in my life in gymnastics and ballet. Both men and women are quite concerned, and sometimes obsessed, with weighting less. I can understand that, up to a point: carrying those pounds up hill on a bicycle or having your feet support them when running can be seen as impairing our performance. We also see all quite a few athletes that weight seemingly nothing and climb up hills so quickly... Sports magazine do not help much. This gives a totally new meaning to the title of this old book, "Being at 10 kg of happiness", which so many women (but more and more: men) always are.

But the truth is, it's not necessarily healthy for us to be like that (nor is it for these professional cyclists, mind you, but that's a different story), and if your body is resisting weight loss, it's maybe better for you, health-wise. Yes, maybe you'd climb faster, but you'd loose precious muscular power in other life circumstances, potentially increasing risk of injuries in other situations, etc. I imagine creating a deficit in your calorie intake also has consequences.

So my message is: try seeing a doctor or nutritionist before going further with your plan to loose 20 pounds. Maybe find someone who's sports oriented if you cann. If it is okay for you to loose them, a professional will give you cues that are certainly safer than home experimenting...

Good luck!

01-14-2006, 03:46 AM
Be REALLY careful about anything that's going to fool with your metabolism. And "diets" do - which is why dieters lose & then gain what they lost plus interest. Is there anything about your eating habits that you can just clean up a little, or shift in terms of eating smaller amounts, more often? More veggies, an earlier dinner?

Also, it won't take a 20 lb loss for you to feel lighter and leaner as you climb the hills. That is a great deal of weight, and you don't want to lose your strength or health (or peace of mind) with it! I bet even 4 or 5 lbs loss would feel quite different. As my favorite trainer says, "Eeeasy, princess!"

01-14-2006, 11:27 AM
OK... you sound like an extremely fit person, and weight is not necessarily a bad thing if you are strong... in fact, losing too much weight may mean you sacrifice valuable muscle. If you must lose muscle mass, then do as you suggest, simply stop weight training muscles you don't need, or move to low-weighted repitions which tones muscle, rather than heavy resistance which builds muscle

Duckie, when I read your post my first thought was "I wonder if she has heard of/understands 'power to weight ratio'...."

So I post some links to articles for you...

Power to weight ratio has two components: first, the ability to ride for long periods of time at a Maximum Sustainable (MS) power. Typically a top climber can ride at 10% or more above threshold power (or threshold heart rate) for 30-60 minutes.
Second, top climbers have a low enough body weight so that the MS power translates into an advantage going uphill. Having a high maximum sustainable power output will make an excellent time-trialist on flat roads where the main obstacle is wind drag.
To carry over this advantage to climbing, you need a low enough body weight in relation to your MS power. This is especially true on long and steep climbs.



This link also has an "aerodynamics calculator" which may be of interest...