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The scale really can fluctuate a lot. My DH is training for an iron man and sweats alot. Our coach has him weighing before and after each workout to see if we can get him enough food and water during his working out. He has lost as much as 5 pounds in a run. I agree with weighing weekly at the same time of day.
"The education of a man is never completed until he dies." R.E.Lee
"She who laughs lasts" MaryPettibone Poole
Thanks to all who had such great ideas. I am really fascinated that there are so many opinions and ideas on how to compensate calorically when there are major calorie expenditures. I really thought there was a 'right answer' and that I just didn't know it. It seems that there are many good potential ways to approach this need. I now have lots of good ideas.
This was really helpful for me. Thanks again to all who took the time the think it through and add comment and advice.
My scales are down 2 lbs this morning - maybe all water - maybe not. I upped my intake from my normal 1350 or so to about 2000 yesterday. But I did go running last evening too, so I did spend a bunch of calories yesterday. And I feel really good.
If you're watching your cals, then the "secret" is to eat on the bike. Especially for rides over a couple of hours, you need to get the fuel in otherwise you start running on empty and that's when you come home and eat the fridge. And that's not good if you're trying to lose weight! However on your long ride days I'd aim for the top of your cal range (so 1550 for you).
A good rule of thumb (and the one I use religously) is 1 cal per lb of bodyweight per hour for anything over an hour. So for you this would be about 170 cals per hour. I prefer taking in the cals with gels and sports drink but you may find that real food works for you too.
If I get this strategy right, then I feel great off the bike even after long rides. I don't get depleted and while I'll eat a slightly bigger than normal meal and then eat normally for the rest of the day. Try it and see what you think.
In God we trust, all others bring data.
- W. Edwards Demings
If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.
Specificity, specificity, specificity.
The plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
- Frank Kotsonis
I understand what the original post is asking and this is correct advice.
Although I think the calories burned on SP for cycling might be a bit over estimated. Me personally, SP has me way off on the caloric intake and wants me to eat more calories ..... the amount I would have to consume seems a little high. Thus, I have been reluctant to increase the calories for fear of gaining weight.
Thus, this brings me to another dilema ..... if I do not eat enough calories well then my body will go into starvation mode and then whatever I eat will get stored as fat versus energy for my activities and not burning the already stored body fat I'm trying to lose.
No, I do not have a HR (yet)and I really do not want to adjust my calories until I do. I have been keeping track of calories burned by using a crude method of 40 cals burned for every mile I ride. My average speed is usually between 18-19 mph. My current weight is 195 lbs. After recording this for a while and recording my calories consumed .... I may then adjust accordingly.
Also, weighing yourself daily is not really such a great idea because you could have a 5 lb swing as indicated. But you should really concentrate on picking one day each week and use that as your basis point instead along with measuring different points on the body.
I would urge caution about using RMR calculations. The resting metabolic rate can fluctuate a lot from person to person. I had mine measured (looking at CO2 output) and mine is much less than the one I would get my using the formula on this site. Indeed I also find that the exercise calories burned are a lot higher here than I would get using a heart monitor and my coach said the heart monitor is not really accurate either - she has people in serious training using a power meter.
I have had the crazy hungries after a long bike ride. I do allow myself a little bit of extra calories (maybe 300 extra) after a ride of over 2 hours (my range is 1200 to 1400). If I am out for more than 2 hours I take a bottle of Hammer Heed along with a second bottle of water (and try to refill the bottles with water while I'm out - especially when it is very hot). I also eat a piece of fruit or lara bar. I try to eat good quality food that day.
Edited by: HEALTHYGAL01 at: 8/24/2008 (21:08)
"The education of a man is never completed until he dies." R.E.Lee
"She who laughs lasts" MaryPettibone Poole
when i do a big event, like today i did a sprint tri in the morning, my HR monitor says i burnt around 1200, may usual calorie intake plan is around 1550, so i eat my if i eat 1550, i will be at a net 350 calories eaten for today which is good, but i usually will eat more on days like today, but try to stay below a net intake of 1550 so i benefit from the great workout i had this morning, i also try to avoid eating junk after a race.(today i did have a chicken parm sandwich and french fries which was not really good! but i am still below my calorie range and not too high on protein/fats in my little pie graph)
i do like to have a recovery drink and i use some supplements during the ride to keep me energized and i of course add them into my total.
Here's some more help...
There's a calculator and some other stuff at this site that will enable you to determine your basal metabolic rate and adjust it for activity level to come up with a daily calorie requirement to maintain your weight at the current level... If you consume more calories than this, you will gain weight - less and you will lose weight.
As your weight and activity level change you can adjust the input values to see how your metabolic requirements are changing... and you can adjust your exercise and diet accordingly...
Calorie expenditure is unique per person as you would expect. One of the cheaper and more accurate ways to approximate how many calories you burned is to monitor your heart rate. I don't have any scientific proof to back this up, but my Polar heart-rate monitor and my bike's Garmin unit both measure calorie expenditure based on my heart rate. There is a formula that these devices apply to a few data points such as your maximum heart rate. HRmax, as it is more commonly known, is usually estimated based on age, but it can be determined experimentally. The formula also figures out which heart rate "zone" you are working in and applies a calorie burning rate for each zone. For example, my HRmax is approximately 190bpm, if my exercise was done at 160bpm I worked at about 85% HRmax. This percentage is one primary factor in the calculation, but other factors such as age, weight, and possibly even gender are also considered.
I have been monitoring my calorie expenditure using such a device (Garmin Edge) with a heart-rate monitor strap and I typically average about 1,000 calories an hour maintaining an average of 14mph and 160bpm. I am a 24 year old male weighing 193lbs. Here are links to some of my rides in the past few weeks which show all the details:
Your calorie rate estimated by SP seems a bit lower than I would expect but it probably isn't too far off. Perhaps my calorie burning rate is more rapid because I am somewhat new to road cycling. Another obvious reason is because I have been averaging a very low cadence. I realize that I need to bring this up from my current average of 70rpm to at least 80rpm to in order to salvage my knees in the long run.
You don't need an expensive cyclocomputer to get this kind of data, there are fairly inexpensive versions from vendors such as Cateye and Polar which can give you this information.
Even without this kind of data you should be able to lose weight fairly easily by cycling. A method I used prior to getting this equipment was just eating until I wasn't hungry. Sounds simple doesn't it? When making smart choices with food its pretty tough to intake too many calories when you cycle frequently. Plus remember that even while you are not exercising your metabolism will still be burning calories at a higher rate so your body will be ready for your next ride.
You could also monitor your body weight and waist measurement just to be extra sure that you have the right balance. Just make sure you look for trends rather than daily swings. After 20 mile rides my body weight has fluctuated as much as 8 lbs. I measure daily when I first get up in the morning just so I have consistent data points. In the past week I gained 6lbs even though I have been riding twice as frequently as I used to for a few weeks now. In the past few days I have already dropped 4 of the 6lbs. This is most likely explained by my heightened intake of food as well as muscle mass gain (remember I am new to road cycling).
Some people recommend only weighing in once a week but I feel that this can be even more misleading than weighing in daily. Remember your body can fluctuate in weight dramatically over a few days so if you happened to measure on a low point in week 1, but a high point in week 2 you could be mislead into thinking that you gained weight over the week. SP can graph your weight for you which is a pretty good way to find the actual trend. It will take at least a few weeks of measuring to get accurate results.
I got a little sidetracked there... now to answer your remaining questions.
To compensate for your calorie expenditure you should try to consume enough food to cover the calories burned within a few hours of the ride. Optimally you want to get at least half of the calories back as soon as possible, and the remaining half within the next few hours. If I understand your question correctly you said your normal calorie intake range is 1200-1550? If this is the case you will need to dramatically increase your intake if you plan to ride multiple times a week. Your body is constantly burning calories, especially when digesting food! If you burned 1250 calories and only eat 1550 then you have 350 calories left for your body just to survive. That is not enough to allow your body to recover in a healthy way and it will actually hurt your attempts at long term weight loss.
I quickly checked out my Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) here, www.shapeup.org/interactive/rmr1.php , but there are plenty of websites that can estimate this for you. It says I burn about 1,900 calories on a daily basis and this does not include my exercise! If I burn 5,000 calories a week cycling then I must eat 18,300 (1,900 * 7 + 5,000) calories a week or 2,614 calories per day just to maintain my current body weight. This calculation is actually lower than what I really need, because as I stated earlier an active body also burns more calories even at rest. I probably require about 2,900 calories per day to maintain my current weight.
You should use these tools and make sure you are not going too far negative or else you will start losing energy and motivation as your body starts to feel deprived of nutrition. I hope this helps!
I'm not a nutritionist, but I'll take a shot at this question anyway...
The key to answering this question lies in your metabolism. But - - your metabolism is not constant, particularly now that you have started cycling and eating a better diet. As you exercise and eat less, your body will become more muscular - a good thing, as muscle consumes more calories than that other un-named stuff... But as you lose weight, your body's basic requirement for calories will drop also. Eventually you should reach a balance point of weight, activity and diet that will be sustainable for your smaller self and somewhere in the neighborhood of the goal you've set for yourself.
I like cycling in events, myself... I enjoy the opportunity to meet and talk to and ride with others who share my interests. But I've noticed that whenever I ride in a significant event, that it sort of throws me "out of whack." Like you, I finish the event hungry and want to eat a lot. Worse yet, I sometimes finish very tired and just want to do the couch potato for the rest of the day and part of the next.
Some things that help are to make sure I stay well-hydrated and consume enough calories and salt during the ride to sustain myself. Your 2 hour +/- event is probably at the limit of what you should do without consuming some food. Try to find something that won't upset your system (energy bar, banana, etc.) and consume it halfway through...
Also, I've found that eating some "recovery food" (something with a balance of protein and carbs) right after the event will help. Some folks recommend chocolate milk, but it makes me queasy in hot weather... Doing this right away is supposed to help your body recover its glycogen... I try to discipline myself to not eat too much - but it's hard... My "gut feeling" is that it would probably be OK to consume part of your additional energy expenditure - but moderation is called for...
Sounds like you're doing well with the riding so far... Keep up the good work...!!
I am a newer cyclist, and about a month now with SP. (Which is going great. Thanks for all the support.) But here's my question: I did a 28 mile bike-race this morning. It really was over my capabilities, and I was near the end finishing (who knew there could be hills like that in Kansas). But I did it in 2 hours and 16 minutes. My normal calorie range is 1200-1550 per day. The cardio tool on SP says that I burned about 1250 on this ride. (and I feel like I burned a bunch - wow have I been hungry - even after eating a good healthy lunch). So how many calories do I eat so that I can still lose, but don't have problems by going too far negative? How do you compensate in calories when you've had a big expenditure? Or do I just eat by 1550? Thanks for the help.