Fat loss

Discussion in 'Power Training' started by Meek One, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    I've developed a pretty good plan for upping my FTP which is my primary concern now and for many months ahead. Of course this requires most of my rides to be at L4 and L5 which use mostly glycogen for fuel. Obviously I need sufficient quality calories to meet training demands and in fact have cleaned up my diet quite a bit and currently feel strong.

    My question is how should I go about losing my excess bodyfat? I am thinking that my recovery rides (@ 52-60% FTP) which have been in the neighborhood of 40min should be increased to maybe 60min since they are right at fat burning intensity. Thoughts?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. robkit

    robkit New Member

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    in a nutshell you've got to burn more calories than you consume.
    count what you eat, and remember another couple of important constants... circa 3500 calories in a pound of fat, and basal metabolic rate for a male adult (a day when you dont cycle) is somewhere in the region of 2500 calories, on average. the rest is just maths...

    ...only it isnt that simple. because to have the right recovery and carbs for the higher intensity work, you cant just slash your diet randomly.

    i think the timing of what you eat is key. when i'm cutting calories i try to eat immediately after a hard workout, and get something in to provide an immediate source of sugar before a hard workout. the cutting down happens at all the other times.

    the other possibility is to eat normally aroudn the hard days, then on the low intensity days really strip down the calorie intake and concentrate on riding at L2 or lower. there is an intensity at which you are burning mostly fat, metabolic profiling (like a comprehensive VO2max test) can tell you where that is exactly, but you can pretty much ride for limitless durations at that level, burn loads of fat, and not deplete your carb stores for the harder workouts.

    this is at least where i'm at in terms of the practical side. good luck!
     
  3. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Good luck riding most of your rides at L4 and L5. That might work if you take a lot of rest days but that sure isn't the fastest way to raise your FTP. You definitely need some L4 and at some point need to introduce L5 work but you don't need to limit yourself to those two intensity levels to see FTP progress and you'll almost certainly do better with a more balanced program which includes lower intensity work including Tempo and or SST.
    You'll still burn some fat at L4 and quite a bit in the L3/SST range.
    Don't buy into the "fat burning zone" myths. Yes, you burn a higher percentage of fat at lower exercise intensities but you burn a higher total amount of calories and even a higher total amount of fat calories when you work out at the higher end of the aerobic range. Basically it's equivalent to asking whether you'd like 90% of $100 or 70% of $200, which is the better deal?

    Google "fat burning zone myth" to get an idea of why you don't have to nor want to limit your workouts to target fat burning. Get fitter, raise your FTP, burn more calories per hour as you ride harder for the same perceived exertion, watch your diet and the fat will come off. Yes, you have to replenish the glycogen you'll burn to fuel your future workouts so keep an eye on your overall caloric balance and maintain an overall deficit while you're trying to lose weight.

    It sounds hard, but it's not really all that difficult. The key is to get some carbs and a bit of protein on board immediately after you finish your rides but don't try to replenish everything you burned so that you stay hypocaloric over the long run. Don't fall into the common cyclists habit of gorging yourself after a long ride, be honest about your energy expenditures while training (a power meter is really helpful here, but even the online calories burned estimators are better than nothing) and refuel accordingly.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
    P.S. based on your post above I'd strongly recommend hiring a coach and or a dietician to help you plan your training and weight loss strategies. Not too many coaches are going to advocate that you do most of your training in L4 and L5 and not many dieticians still buy into the fat buring zone way of thinking, especially not for athletes who are working on gaining fitness.
     
  4. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    Dave and others,

    Here is my rationale for my training at L4 (which to me includes the SST if SST means sweet spot training) and L5 and occasionally L6:

    1. I am a bigger guy and don't have any desire to ride hours on end.

    2. I am quite strong physically (gym strength) and have already decent L7 power.

    3. I respond quickly to L6

    4. Never focused on FTP and it is low, but I am seeing regular gains right now and am motivated to continue to train.

    1 +2 +3 +my training = a decent crit rider and enjoy track nights.

    My training is almost exclusively going to be 'exact' as i can stand long trainer sessions. I think I rode twice outside this month, every other session was on the trainer as I am trying to quantify and qualify everything. :rolleyes:

    The way I have scheduled my training is basically one on, one off (e.g L4, recovery, L5, recovery, SST, recovery.)

    How much L3 and L2 do I need if all of my rides will be 60min or less?

    FWIW my last coach told me that the recovering between my intervals actually develops a good aerobic engine....

    Thanks again for your thoughts. I am in no way stuck in my way, but I'd like to hear a good argument against it. My FTP and overall fitness is up just need to keep eating well and drop some BF.

    Thanks again for your thoughts about my possibly mis-guided attempt to have a HUGE FTP. :D

    Lastly, I am planning on hiring a coach and dietician as soon as I become gainfully employed again. Anybody need a 30-something employee w/ a recent MBA that wants to work and is willing to relocate? :)
     
  5. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Well at least it's not purely L4 and L5. Let us know how huge that FTP gets and how much weight you drop using 50% of your time to train and 50% to rest....

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  6. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    That's what I've been able to do and it has worked for me. You need to very careful with the calorie counting though. If you deplete your glycogen too much (too much of a caloric deficit), it will start to show up in L4 workouts - you won't be able to hold the same intensity for nearly as long and you will see a marked drop in power output after a few minutes of burning through what reserves you do have.

    I have found that I tend to lose more weight when I am training intensity (L5 and higher). I have seen some papers that suggest that higher intensities will keep your metabolism running a bit higher/longer at other parts of the day and you may burn more fat during sedentary times. If that's true, it seems to fit my experience.
     
  7. jD_Empath

    jD_Empath New Member

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    I have had a different experience. I have found that racing and hard training for shorter duration makes me a lot stronger, but the most calories have been burnt on long tempo and recovery rides. I am speaking of 60 mile solo rides and 75 mile group rides lasting over 3 hours.

    Even an all-out time trial of 40km was still not up to the calorie count of a two-hour training ride taken at a relatively low intensity.

    Various skinfold measurements are putting my fat percentage at around 9, whereas it was more like 12% at the beginning of the season.

    The skinniest fast guys that I know are all well-acquainted with long endurance rides.
     
  8. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    Sure, you will of course use more calories while doing a 4-hour endurance or tempo ride than you will in a 1.5 hour VO2 ride. However, I find that the longer rides make me so hungry afterwards that I don't seem to be able to keep a good deficit going.
     
  9. Meek One

    Meek One New Member

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    Anyone do their recovery rides on an empty stomach first thing in the morning?
     
  10. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

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    You seem very focused on the idea of burning fat during the ride itself. But even if you're an extremely dedicated athlete, you'll only spend about 10% of the week (17 hours) on a bike; 90% of the time, you're out here in the civilian world with the rest of us. In my experience, that 90% is a more important determinant of success with weight loss than anything you do on the bike.

    Train to get stronger. Eat to get leaner. You can look at a gigantic kJ number after a long ride and think, "wow, divide that by 3000 and that's how many pounds I'm gonna lose!", but it doesn't work that way. Your body has a very well-calibrated mechanism, called appetite, for keeping your energy levels in balance; over the next several meals, you put back the kCals you lose on the bike, all else being equal. To change your weight, you need to practice "fork control." This has the nice side effect of letting your training be about training, instead of about burning fat.
     
  11. robkit

    robkit New Member

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    something i found that also helped was doing the londer rides at the end of the day, literally finishing at 9 or 10 pm, then heading off to bed before i spent hours grazing to satisfy my hunger. ok i ocassionally woke up with the sort of agitation which i'm sure was a symptom of hypoglcemia, but as a tactic it seemed to work.

    also it doesnt need thousands of calories to stave off hunger, bulky vegetables, proteins, and pints of fizzy drinks are worth a try. 2 litres of diet coke does a grand job of filling the stomach at a cost of 2 calories!
     
  12. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    It's probably not a good idea to do this. I'd get at least 100-200 high-glycemic-index calories (~400-800 kJ) in you after something like that. I've done the post-ride bonk thing and it sucks. I have enough trouble sleeping as it is. :)

    Yup.
     
  13. YMCA

    YMCA New Member

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    Almost impossible to lose chunks of weight whilst training hard.

    Wait for winter and ride twice a day, everyday. Even if it's on the trainer. As much L1-3 as you can handle. Eat just enought to stave off dizziness and avoid burning muscle. I could drop 15-20lbs in one month that way, but have to be very careful about destroying muscle. Then get back on your regular regimine.

    I call it the Ullrich method.
     
  14. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    +1, intentionally depleting your blood sugar and glycogen stores is a bad idea both from a weight loss and training continuity standpoint. Limiting calories and avoiding the temptation to overeat after training or throughout the day makes a lot of sense. Starvation dieting by skipping meals, training on an empty stomach or by intentionally failing to top up your glycogen stores is a recipe for chronic glycogen depletion, poor workouts and a path to overtraining.

    When I set out to regain race weight a few years ago I made a bunch of small easy changes to my daily habits, but the single biggest thing I did to shave pounds was to make sure to eat a reasonable but healthy breakfast every morning. I'm not talking bacon and eggs every day, but a bowl of oatmeal or some cereal and yogurt help prop up my metabolism, give me energy for my morning whether training or going to work and help me avoid big hunger and over eating later in the day. I credit that along with consistent SST/L4 style training and small but frequent healthy snacks throughout the day with dropping from a sedentary 88kg to my 70kg race weight over six to eight months. That was two years ago but once those things became habits my weight stabilized and hasn't changed by more than a few kilos from peak of race season to low of offseason. The trick is to make small but sustainable changes that will take the weight off in a steady slow manner and still leave you with enough energy to train. Quick fixes like riding hungry, avoiding post ride refueling or going to bed half bonked generally aren't healthy in the short term nor sustainable for the long term.

    Good luck,
    -Dave
     
  15. frost

    frost New Member

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    If something I'd do exactly the opposite. In addition to the points already mentioned, when you fall asleep your metabolism quickly slows down and you lose the fat burning effect of post exercise high metabolism.

    No matter how much you exercise, eating is the key. Eat as often as possible and eat so much that hunger never really strikes, but eat quality. Müsli, low fat yoghurt, chicken, lean meat, whole grain bread.
     
  16. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    I was coming at it mostly from the glycogen depletion route (see my earlier comments about L4 quality when depleted) however what I find is that doing things like being bonked for long periods of time makes it more likely that I will overeat later. For one thing, my sense of normalcy gets altered due to low blood glucose and I start doing out-of-the-ordinary things (that is, I find it to be mind altering). The other thing is that it seems to just make me very, very hungry later and it's hard to exercise "fork control" when I'm ravenous. I think we can all relate to that.

    I know that you are supposed to do a long ride and then only eat a cheese sandwich - because, you know, the pros do it - but long term, it just doesn't work for me.
     
  17. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    I'm currently trying something a little different for me. I'm eating mostly low-glycemic index foods most of time. There are occasional exceptions but the only firm one is during and after exercise when I need high glycemic index foods to replace my glycogen stores. As an example, my breakfast used to be composed of a lot of high index stuff like sweet cereals, jams, high index breads, etc. Now, I'm eating non-fat yogurt, fruits, whole-grain breads (whole rye, pumpernickel, etc.), almond/cashew/peanut butter (lots of fat there!). I'm also laying off the high index snacks during the day and in the evening as I suspect they were affecting my metabolism and making it harder for me to sleep at night. So far, so good but it's only been 2 weeks. I feel really good, sleep quality has been consistently good (that's new for me) and I'm overall eating less than I used to with less need to snack.

    It will be interesting to see what comes of this.
     
  18. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all your observations Steve. FWIW, my wife is a registered dietician and does quite a bit of work related to eating disorders (including the athlete subpopulation which tends to get ignored relative to the more common teenage anorexics and bulimics) and what you describe is classic in eating disorders.

    Our brain feeds soley on glucose, if we don't keep our sugars appropriately topped up our body responds by metabolizing proteins through ketoacidosis to feed our brains. Anyone that's bonked on a long ride knows a bit about the tunnel vision, lack of focus, irratability and basic compromised brain function that comes from dropping into this state.

    Anyway, the point is that eating disorder patients who chronically starve themselves often reach a point where they're not capable of making rational choices and suffer from impaired decision making, particularly in subjects related to food. So your experience is pretty typical and a good reason to avoid starvation weight loss strategies.

    Another one is a really interesting study I first came across in Dan Bernadot's Advanced Sports Nutrition book. Basically the study took two groups of athletes and put them on isocaloric diets for an extended period (6 to 8 weeks IIRC) both groups were exercising and eating in a calorically balanced way so there's no surprise that at the end of the study their scale weights were very similar. The big difference is that one group ate 3 large meals per day to get those calories on board and the other group ate small meals and snacks much more frequently but with the same number of total calories.

    At the end of the study even though scale weight was roughly the same for both groups, the 3 meal per day group had higher percent body fat and lower lean muscle mass. The frequent eaters had lower body fat and higher lean muscle mass. This is kinda obvious but a really interesting outcome for athletes. If you buy into these results then eating smaller meals throughout the day will lead to lower body fat and higher lean muscle mass for the same caloric intake.

    The hypothesis is that the 3 meal per day strategy basically puts our body through mini caloric boom bust cycles or mini starvation-binge cycles. Our bodies metabolize muscle mass to get through the mini starvation periods then store excess calories as fat during the mini binge periods. Over time it leads to the results observed in this study.

    Like any study it's open to criticism and debate but it encouraged me to avoid bonking whenever possible and to redistribute my eating in a way that avoids big meals and includes frequent healthy snacks throughout the day. I try to eat something at least every two hours throughout the day and have cut back a bit on portion sizes during the main meals. I haven't done a body fat test in many years, but I certainly have maintained weight using this approach and have felt great on and off the bike.

    -Dave
     
  19. daveryanwyoming

    daveryanwyoming Well-Known Member

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    Agreed again.

    I'm sure you know this, but the high vs. low glycemic index of individual foods ignores what happens when you combine foods. For instance a baked potato is high GI if you eat it in total isolation and don't eat the skin. Add some fat, protein or even the fiber in the skin of the potato and the insulin response is much lower.

    A lot of the discussion of high GI vs. low GI foods ignores the effect of combining during real world meals. Anyway, not arguing your choice to avoid high GI foods, just pointing out that the GI of the individual foods isn't nearly as important as the total meal and you can lower the resulting insulin response by smart food combining. Usually all it takes is a bit of fat, protein or fiber to substantially reduce the insulin response and effective GI of the meal.

    So a rice cake eaten alone as a mid day snack is relatively high GI, add a bit of peanut butter and the effective GI of the combined snack is lower plus it will tend to stay with you longer.

    -Dave
     
  20. Steve_B

    Steve_B New Member

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    That's partially why they came up with glycemic load.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glycemic_load

    Yeah, I got really strict about GI for a while just to see if it made any difference. Maybe it's psycological but it seems to have made some. Combining doesn't seem to be a total no-no. BTW - I went back to the multiple smaller meals per day approach to living at the same time and I know that this has some positive benefits. I already proved that once. I lost some weight doing that before.

    The contrarian view on GI (or really GL) and weight loss from the Wikipedia article:

    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/full/85/4/1023

    I didn't get into the low GI/GL thing necessarily for weight loss reasons but if it comes anyway (despite the research paper's findings), I'll take it. :)
     
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