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  1. #16
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Central NJ
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    876

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    Cycling will do amazing things for your body (self esteem- and appearance- wise) over time. I started out as a mountain biker and got sucked into their post-ride beer culture right away. I definitely didn't lose weight until I started road biking. I quickly realized two things about weight gain. It's easy to consume too many calories through energy bars, gels, and drinks when you don't need them (rides less than 1.5 hours generally, except for extreme exertion or heat). I also added more protein into my diet, which helped stave off the constant hunger pangs.
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: http://mudandmanoloscycling.com/

  2. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    vancouver, bc / calgary, ab
    Posts
    6,473
    It's easy to consume too many calories through energy bars, gels, and drinks when you don't need them (rides less than 1.5 hours generally, except for extreme exertion or heat).
    Most definitely. After all these years of cycling, I still haven't had much energy bars, energy drinks nor gels. (never had the last one). This is another reason why I don't want to get hooked much the stuff and just stick to healthy, well-balanced foods.

    As far as cycling benefitting one's psychological positive equilibrium, yes most definitely. It probably saved me abit..more than I realize. I was unemployed for quite awhile and could have easily slid into a serious funk if it weren't for cycling. Cycling for me enhances general self-discipline and sustains personal motivation, psychological endurance for many other areas of my life. Of course, it cannot be the only psychological uplifter, but even simple, short rides can contribute alot for overall well-being.

    I credit cycling for keeping me slim, BUT I have made some major changes to my diet in last 4 yrs. due to need to keep my glucose /blood sugar levels normal. I believe it is the latter that is helping me from faster weight gain...cause I haven't cycled in past 4 weeks!! (snow, ice, etc.) I've just been walking alot.
    Last edited by shootingstar; 11-30-2010 at 04:53 PM.
    A Serious Cycling Blog and Cycle Write Blog
    遙知馬力日久見人心 Over a long distance, you learn about the strength of your horse; over a long period of time, you get to know whatís in a personís heart.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Top of Parrett Mountain, Oregon
    Posts
    453
    Quote Originally Posted by ny biker View Post
    I stopped training for centuries because I was gaining weight. The really long rides made me very hungry for days, and also too tired to do any exercise for days. So now I generally limit my long rides to 40-50 mile rides, with a few 60ish-mile rides each summer. This way I'm able to remain consistently active instead of seesawing between huge bursts of activity and couch potatodom.

    BTW, I highly recommend Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook. I really like her approach to eating for weight loss.

    http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/books/sportsnutrition.asp
    NY, thanks for the link.

    What you were saying about training for the centuries being hard on the body weight, I agree with you. What you say makes sense. I was thinking along the same lines for my 2011 cycling goals, to back off on the miles and keep the long rides to 40-50, with a few charity metric rides, and focus on shorter rides with some having difficult climbs, and get in more diversity of cardio with other activities, along with the core/weight workouts. Some people have no problem with body weight in training for the distance rides, however for some of us the training does something to how our bodies can burn fat, and we end up stalling on the weight loss or perhaps gaining a bit. I want to take 2011 and see if backing off on the miles will enable me to get rid of the last few percentage points of excess body fat that I have.

    However, I want to add to the discussion because the question was what does cycling do to our bodies, and what I was surprised to discover is how the cycling fitness translated over to other cardio activities for me, some good and some not-so-good. I guess the good is I found I can run, and if I don't mind going slow I can jog 10 miles and not even feel winded; this doesn't mean I am turning into a runner, just that I know I can run 10 miles to save my life if I had to do so. The bad is walking is no longer cardio for me, even hiking up steep mountains because it doesn't get my heart rate into the lowest cardio zone. The good is I can do amazing things on the elliptical at the gym, upper ramp levels only, resistance set higher, totally hands off the side rails and I can really go fast, for whatever it is worth. Essentially I love how cycling increased my fitness so that I am able to be good at other activities.

    For the comments on the calories, especially the calories consumed while on the bike, I have seen some strange things. I've learned to keep my mouth shut because cycling friends don't want to be told not to eat. But OMG, cycling with someone who is already up 20 pounds, and who has to stop at every rural grocery store on the route, and then comes out with a big bag containing nothing but sodium and fat over 2000 calories per stop, when the entire ride is no more than a 2000 calorie ride, so the person is consuming 6,000 to 8,000 calories and only burning 2,000, oh boy but I have to zip my lip. For some people, honestly, they get it into their heads that they are burning calories while cycling and so they can just eat whatever they want to eat, and there won't be any consequences. Now me, I record every #### calorie I consume in a food diary and that helps a lot. It is real hard to keep the calories down and under control on the rest days and I can't do it unless I keep the food diary.

  4. #19
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Little Egypt
    Posts
    1,886
    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    Perhaps an even more important question is, "How does cycling change your mind?"

    I think most here would agree that we are happier when we ride our bikes. And that happiness extends to the rest of our lives when we are off our bikes. We are more relaxed and generally have a better attitude.

    Wouldn't you agree, ladies?
    Absolutely!!! You definitely have to consider the WEEEEEEE factor! Even if I never lose a pound riding my bike, the enjoyment I get from riding is invigorating.
    __________________
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  5. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    9,640
    Quote Originally Posted by Bike Chick View Post
    Absolutely!!! You definitely have to consider the WEEEEEEE factor! Even if I never lose a pound riding my bike, the enjoyment I get from riding is invigorating.
    +10000 on this - for me the WEEEEEE factor is key There is something so joyful about being out on my bike in the country enjoying the weather, hearing the sound of my tires on the pavement, and feeling my body chugging along on the bike. I feel alive and connected to the world around me, and I CANNOT obsess/focus on stressful things while on the bike.

    I've other forms of stress relief, but none have the pure WEEEEEE factor that my bike has. It is amazing what this can do to one's budget though





    2011 Custom Gunnar

  6. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,816
    After many years of of poor body image, dieting, being emaciated but feeling fat, cycling has been a godsend for me. I finally have a strong body that I feel great in. I eat. I love my body. I never thought I'd be able to write that. So, the transformation has been both physical and mental for me as well.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
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    Slacker on wheels.

  7. #22
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    57
    Yes, I agree 110% with all the comments made here about the psychological and physical benefits of cycling!

    I have always been prone to depression and anxiety, particularly during grey cloudy weather (which we have now despite it officially being the beginning of summer here in Australia! ) and cycling really helps with that. Once those endorphins get going, wow it is just such an excellent feeling - calm, centred, relaxed yet more awake than before! Plus I think that mastering bike handling skills and achieving goals like to ride a certain distance or to beat a personal time, is SO good for one's self esteem. I feel really good about myself after most bike rides.

    On the physical side, I have lost about 5 kilos (not sure how many pounds this is...) in the last 6 months, since getting the stamina to start doing longer harder rides. Also, my leg and butt muscles rock (if I may be a little immodest ) and I feel so strong! I'm the happiest I've ever been with my body, I reckon! But I agree, it is a real danger to start thinking you can eat whatever you want. So hard limiting the eating damage after a long ride - usually right after I'm not so hungry, but the two days after, OMG get me away from the fridge!

    To sum up, just over a year after getting into bike riding, I love it, am completely addicted and never want to give up the amazing benefits!
    Go for it, you'll love it too I'm sure!
    2008 Giant Elwood hybrid/Crappy gel with big chunk out of it!
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  8. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Longmont, CO
    Posts
    568
    It depends. Get yourself a heart rate monitor and use it if weight loss is your primary goal. At a certain your body switches from burning fat to burning carbs. There's no real way of knowing exactly where that is, but I'm sure you've seen things that talk about your "fat burning zones." There are tons of good articles on training with heart rate that will give you information and tests to do to gauge where that point is for you.

    For me, I keep getting smaller but I don't lose weight. I'm more on the sprinter side of things so I'm probably bulkier than a lot girls and it's getting tricky to fit my thighs into pants, but not horribly. Depends on what your body tends to do. I started swimming again and WHAM! My man shoulders got out of control. That's just me. I also have hormonal imbalances that mean I have more testosterone than most women, which could be a factor.

    As others have said, you do need to work your core and such separately, but most of the female cyclists I know how pretty cute figures. Even the so close to pro she can taste it racer friend I have doesn't look all massive. Now, if you wanna race track like Chris Hoy who is dead to me because he married someone who isn't me, you'll get big legs:

    "True, but if you throw your panties into the middle of the peloton, someone's likely to get hurt."

  9. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    221
    I agree with everyone who said that it depends on body type, and how your body has historically responded to training.

    I, for one, am tall/thin and can eat pretty much anything and not gain weight (please don't hate me). I do a huge amount of on the bike training including a mix of long rides (100+ miles) and short intense interval training sessions. During short sessions, I don't eat on the bike and rely on water for hydration. However, I try to eat right after my workout to replenish what fuel I used and to jump-start the recovery process. I am not trying to lose weight, however. Nonetheless, it is important to eat something right after a workout because it really does aid in recovery.

    On long rides, I eat bars and gels and drink Gatorade. Even if you are trying to lose weight, it is important to stay on top nutrition on the bike, because if you don't, you run the risk of running out of glycogen stores and bonking - this is serious.

    How has my body changed? I have lost some weight even though I try not to. My legs are super toned although not massive (my quads are pretty defined, however). My core is stronger, but my arms are like sticks.

    Overall, I feel great. I feel strong and healthy, and this is the most important thing to me!

  10. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    23
    I've been biking since the end of the summer. I had to take some breaks due to grandbabies being born, sickness, etc. I can tell you that it has made a difference in the way I look and feel about myself. I feel more fit. I have always worked out with weights and am continuing doing that. I haven't lost any wieght....just maintaining!

  11. #26
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Antonio Heights, CA (Upland)
    Posts
    1,068
    I seemed to lose inches all over. After a few years of cycling, a friend of mine says to me out of the blue, "So, how much weight have you lost?" I was a little puzzled. I had just recently lost a few pounds that I had previously slowly put on, but pretty much weighed the same that I had been for a few years. When I said a few pounds, she said, "No! You've lost way more than that! You've lost like ten pounds!" I could hardly convince her otherwise, and couldn't believe she really thought I had lost ten pounds. I started thinking about it and realized that my clothes did fit looser and realized I might not have lost pounds, but had definitely lost inches. Among other areas, my butt was a noticeable difference.

    As for toning up other areas, you'd think your arms wouldn't get much of a workout on a bike, but I did find that when I was in more serious training mode last summer, my arms were looking much more toned. Standing on the bike makes you use your arm muscles, for one. My husband rides a ton, races and climbs way more than any human should. His arms have continually developed more muscles and gotten stronger and leaner. He is pretty muscular all over just from riding. His gut is his only trouble spot, yet they say a stronger core makes you a better rider. But that means doing exercises off the bike, and that just doesn't happen for me!
    GO RIDE YOUR BIKE!!!

    2009 Cannondale Super Six High Modulus / SRAM Red / Selle San Marco Mantra

  12. #27
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    San Antonio Heights, CA (Upland)
    Posts
    1,068
    By the way, I know a lot of female cyclists, and none of them have huge quads! Their bodies are proportionate. I think it depends some on your body type. Some people might bulk up more in some areas more than others, but even so, I still can't recall seeing a female cyclist with huge quads.
    GO RIDE YOUR BIKE!!!

    2009 Cannondale Super Six High Modulus / SRAM Red / Selle San Marco Mantra

  13. #28
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,251
    I know some female cyclists with big quads.... interestingly all of them came to cycling from skating sports - 2 did inline competitively and one did roller derby
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  14. #29
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    Quote Originally Posted by Eden View Post
    I know some female cyclists with big quads.... interestingly all of them came to cycling from skating sports - 2 did inline competitively and one did roller derby
    I bet they have trouble finding comfortable cycling shorts! I have muscular quads and many shorts are reeeally snug in the legs.
    Girl meets bike. Bike leads girl to a life of grime: http://mudandmanoloscycling.com/

  15. #30
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,251
    Quote Originally Posted by bluebug32 View Post
    I bet they have trouble finding comfortable cycling shorts! I have muscular quads and many shorts are reeeally snug in the legs.
    None of them are particularly petite overall.... I'd bet that they probably just order men's sizes
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

 

 

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