Localized Muscle Loss???

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by wilmar13, Apr 30, 2006.

  1. wilmar13

    wilmar13 New Member

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    This is a question for those physiologists out there:

    It is my understanding that when you run out of glycogen, your body begins to consume protein(muscle) if you are burning more than you can obtain through fat stores (~300cal/hr). My question is if you totally bonk and keep going to burn off the slightly remaining fat, does your body burn local muscle stores (legs) or all over your entire body, scavenging indiscriminately?

    The reason I ask is that I do not want to lose much leg muscle mass, but I do have excess upper body muscle that does me no good on the bike, and since I have almost no body fat(~6%), I was wondering about the feasibility of slowly burning it off without losing leg muscle (or rather mostly leg muscle). To be blunt, how can you reduce your upper body muscle mass without a large detrimental effect on cycling performance? Oh and at 6’4”, 190 lbs, I am no gym rat. I already have a long very lean body, but I would like to reshape my body closer to someone like say Tom Boonen, who is my size but 15 lbs lighter… and I can’t lose any (much) more fat to get there. Is it possible or am I stuck with what my parents set me up with?
     
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  2. andoli

    andoli New Member

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    If you deplete glycogen stores to the point where your body fat is as you say 'scavenged', then at that point, there is no discrimination as to where it is used first, and if there is a slight propensity towards the adipose tissue surrounding muscles, the effect on muscle size will be negligible.


    The fact is that you can't reshape your body radically, muscle mass increases through use, and with lack of use, atrophy occurs naturally.

    Why on earth would you want to change your body shape ? look at the different morphology of the Tour de France riders, I grant you that climbers are stick insect types generally, but the rouleurs, and certainly the sprinters have a far different body shape.

    Be happy with what you've got Identify your strengths and build on them !

    :)
     
  3. wilmar13

    wilmar13 New Member

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    Sweet! OK I am off to do a 200 mile ride powered by pec muscles!

    Yeah, I know, I set a goal of 185lbs but it looks like I will need to lose 5lbs of muscle to get there.
    Ha I sound like a 13 year old girl with body image problems.

    Not really trying to change shape, just looking to get as lean as possible. And have my best season ever. Looking at some other riders with similar builds they achieved some pretty spectacular results after dropping 5-10 more lbs.
    Indurain was a good rider at 185lbs, but when he got himself down to 176 he could hang in the mountains and became a TdF contender
    Hincapie has had much better results after going from 185lbs to 175.
    Boonene is about 175lbs and he can SPRINT.

    Basically just trying to get my power to weight level to a Cat 2 competitive level, and dropping 5-10 lbs while maintaining my current power will get me there.
     
  4. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Recently saw some remarks from Hincaple that he dropped another 10 lbs (to 165) this season. He said he worked with a motivational coach who convinced him that his 6'3" height was no real barrier to becoming a great climber.

    If you continue to ride and restrict your diet to lose weight, you'll lose that upper body muscle mass. You'll get that coveted sunken chest and pipe-cleaner arms that all the greats seem to have...remember the photos of Lance with his shirt off? :)
     
  5. AmpedCycle

    AmpedCycle New Member

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    Localized muscle loss only occurs in muscles you don't use. If you're not using your upper body muscles currently, and still have them, then there is some kind of genetic reason for why the muscle stays there. The only way to reduce muscle size is to have a consistent calorie deficit... but when this happens, you'll lose muscle everywhere else, too. In your legs, particularly, I don't think that losses will be extreme, since you're still actively using them. I suggest finding ways to limit the activities you participate in with upper body muscles, and diet.
    I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum from you, for a comparison. I workout in the gym and weigh 170 (at 6'2''), and find this to be the only way to maintain my upper body size and strength. When I don't workout, however, I shrink down to about 155. Leg size and stength, however, doesn't seem to be affected... since cycling promotes muscle hypertrophy on it's own, and physiologically, active muscle use will help prevent muscle loss. So long as you're not losing a ton of weight, your body will not canabilize your leg muscles. Me, for example, I maintain my upper body muscle mass while cycling 200+ miles per week. The same would apply to you... you would keep your leg muscles through consitent use. So, you can make your own inference about this whole issue, but I think that you will lose upper body muscle and keep leg size and strength if you diet and limit your upper body exercises.
     
  6. Doctor Morbius

    Doctor Morbius New Member

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    Amped summed it up pretty well. You'll atrophy in the muscles that aren't being used as they are not deemed essential.
     
  7. dm69

    dm69 New Member

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    Ok here is my theory, run a calorie deficit for a whole year...you will atrophy all of your upper body muscle and still a lot of leg muscle but maybe not as much if your preffered way of burning calories is cycling. Note that you will probably lose more muscle than fat but atleast you will be lighter. After a year of atrophying (dunno if thats a word) yourself do some gym work on your legs only, do calf raises, hamstring curls, squats, leg presses, step ups, leg drops, lunges, stiff legged deadlift. Maybe a few very light exercises on your abs and back using your own body weight.

    Its all about calories in calories out an dfor the most part we dont get to decide where the weight we lose comes from.

    After you finish losing weight to a point where you would like to be for your height start the muscle building and only after that will you be able to train hard. In the meantime while you are losing weight you could build up a "dream" base by working on your endurance.

    It could take a year to start training again but you will have sculpted your body in a different way which could be easier to build on for your cycling.

    I know this sounds very dramatic but it's the only way I can see that someone can keep leg mass and lose upper body mass drastically.
     
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