Mountain biking is a game of numbers; how far, how fast, how light, etc. In this world of numbers, few remember the most important - your body weight. Now we all come in a verity of different weights, sizes, and shapes; my self am a Clyde Cyclists for sure - but the one thing we seem to forget is that our weight can have a significant impact on your ride! While there are places on a bike to lose weight that will have a significant impact, that NOT what this post is about. Let’s talk about dropping pounds not grams!
Note: As I do mention several companies & products, this is NOT an endorsement for any of them. I use the companies and products that best fit my needs at the time, and while I may change form company to company, once I find something I like - I am very loyal to the brand (sometimes to a fault).
We have all heard “fewer calories consumed vs calories burned = weight loss” well that’s not exactly true! Where the calories come from can make a huge difference. As well as what weight is being lost or gained; weight is a tricky thing, as we ride we burn calories, sweat out water and build muscle. We all hear that muscle weighs more than fat (per volume) and that’s a very true statement:
All by Volume
Quart of Water weights 2.1 pounds
1 Quart of Fat weights 2.1 pounds
1 Quart of Muscle weights 2.5 pounds
Who am I - I’m a 5’ 8” - 51-year-old 220-pound active cyclists that still like his beer, Dr. Pepper, a good fat cheeseburger and is not too partial to vegetables! A total mess if you ask any trainer - but it’s not all bad - I do eat a lot of raw greens and fruits and I try to keep portions reasonable (to me).
For my age - my “ideal” weight is supposed to be between 125 & 165 HA! that’s not likely… But striving for a goal between 180-190 doesn’t seem to be too unreasonable? That's 30-40 pounds - a WHOLE bike and then some!
So what’s my plan - well after a lot of homework this is what I think is going to do the trick:
- My diet is not too bad - but lowering the number of simple sugars (Dr. Pepper) and carbs from bread & pastas are going to help a lot. I am also trying meal replacement shakes for breakfast and sometimes lunch during the week. As a software engineer, I sit in front of a computer a lot and that is part of my issue! Consuming 200 calories a meal instead of 500 to a 1,000 has GOT to help!
- Changing my mid-week cycling intensity and duration. Here in Colorado, it seems that every ride starts and ends on a stinking hill - and power cycling (while good for muscle) is not necessarily good for weight loss.
- Scott Saifer (Wenzel Coaching) says (in part): To start the base on which your performances will stand. The plan will start with a couple of months of aerobic base training. Training at these low heart rates improves endurance and aerobic power, so you can ride faster with less effort, and eventually keep up with people with whom you can’t keep up today. It also burns fat and trains your body to burn even more fat and from there we’ll ramp up the intensity as the better weather approaches. So what does this mean - based on Scott’s training plan, he wants to see me stay in Z2 with a cadence of 90rpm twice a week for the next months (continue riding hard on the weekends). After looking at some of my hardest rides on Strava Cycling I see that my Max HR is 174 so that makes my zones per Strava’s automated calculations for my Max HR & Age as follows:
Z1 Recovery = 102 or Less
Z2 Endurance = 102 - 135
Z3 Stamina = 135 - 152
Z4 Economy = 152 - 168
Z5 Speed = 168 and above
Ok - road bike, the cadence of 90rpm and Max HR of 135 - we’ll see how that goes!
- Motoring what weight I am actually loosing? This one has me perplexed! There are a number of smart scales out there that will break down the metrics for you (Garmin, Fitbit, Weight Gurus) but what is all this data and what does it really mean? I tried the Garmin at first and at one of the highest priced ($150) scales were very limited in what it could do - so back it went? After some more research, I have settled on Weight Gurus Smart BT Scale. At $60 bucks it had everything that I was looking for and was actually rated one of the most accurate.
- I mentioned I was a bit perplexed, and that mostly has to do with what do all these numbers mean? Body fat, muscle mass, water, bone, BMI - seriously! So I called WG and spoke to one of the owners… I didn’t get the response I was expecting, my question, I thought, was simple “Now that I have your scale, how should I use all this data to lose weight?” and I got an unexpected answer - “we build the scales, we don’t know how to use them in that capacity.” - hugh, really? A bit disappointing to say the least, but I continue to use it and it’s been nearly a month now - hopefully it will start to show some patterns so that I can figure out what to do with all this data!
- Meal Replacement Shakes - I know I mentioned this above and you are going to ask about it so let’s just talk about it now. I did a little homework on the subject and it came down to two different products: IdealShape's IdealSkake & Shakeology® - and while Shakeology was way more than double the price per serving ($4.35 vs $1.67) it seemed that Shakeology had a much better following from the athletic world vs any of the others.
- My experience - First, I ordered the 30 Serving Bags of Vanilla & Chocolate (my wife is trying it with me) and the Energy Power Booster and that was 11 days ago. I received the Vanilla and Power Booster right on time - but the Chocolate was MIA in the initial delivery? After 11 days and 3 additional (yes three) calls and orders later - I am told that the Chocolate will be here Monday per FedEx - we will see? Their support team is out of Malaysia and while their English is kind of ok - they still have a hard time understanding simple questions. They are polite but based on my experience not very bright in handling simple tasks - proven by the fact that it took 3 additional orders just to get what was supposed to be in the first. I am at the point that I don’t know if I will continue with them - the frustration is just not worth it and the lack of confidence that future orders will be correct weighs heavy. The only thing keeping me with them right now is that fact that their shakes taste very good and after the first week “seem” to be providing very desirable results! For breakfast, the shake keeps me satisfied through to lunch, no problem. When I do use the sake for lunch I also have a KIND Protein Bar - all natural, low sugar, gluten free and low sodium and they taste awesome - this helps to have something solid for the stomach to work with. Look at the graph image for the results form the past week.
I’m not exactly sure how all this is going to play out - but I intend to post an update each week. If you’ll comment even with just your name - as I write these posts - I’ll make sure to add a link at the end of the previous week's post for you so that you can easily follow to the next. If you have any experiences to share - please feel free - others may get something form you that I may have missed!