Outdoor biking as a source of exercise - need tips and suggestions!

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Samantha10791, Jun 13, 2012.

  1. Samantha10791

    Samantha10791 New Member

    Jun 13, 2012
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    Hello! I joined this forum because I need advice on what to do to get the best out of a workout through bike riding. I'm a 20 year old female, and severly overweight. I gained weight due to a medication I was on for headaches, and I gained 80 pounds in 2 years. Being taken off of it, Its better. I've always been overweight my whole life but I'm tipping the scale at 280. (I know I know, horrible)

    I already have lost 30 pounds since October, without any exercise. Any type of work out seemed to stressful on my knees, so I decided to just focus on my diet before stressing my body in exercise. I developed shin splints as well. My posture sucks, and I have knee and ankle problems..and I feel like this is due to a weak core. I want to strengthen my core so I can work out alittle easier. I can only bike ride for about 20 minutes, and that's when I start to feel the muscle burn in my knees and shins. My questions are how long should I warm up for, and what do I do in order to warm up? Do I set intervals where I bike strenuously, and then have intervals where I ride easily? What's a good plan to help burn fat and develop lean muscle?

    I need helps on this, and any advice is greatly appreciated. I want to lose 20 pounds by the first week of August! Thanks

    P.S. I don't know what RPM's are or anything like it. Sorry. :/

  2. Dave Cutter

    Dave Cutter Active Member

    Jan 15, 2012
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    Welcome to cycling and the forum! Many of us found or returned to cycling after weight and/or health issues. You are not alone or unusual with your problems.

    Cycling isn't much of a core builder... and because cycling is very low impact it doesn't do much for bone building ether. I little light weight lifting might be helpful... but I prefer my wii fitness.

    That "burn in your knees" is likely your seat height adjustment. If your saddle [bike seat] is too low you will have too much pressure on the knee and will feel a burning just above the knee cap. Check YouTube for videos on how to adjust your bicycle to fit you best.

    If you want my advice... [and you must because you posted here] I should point out I am no expert. Hopefully an expert will post... but meanwhile here is what I did... with good results.

    Setup your bike so it fits you the best it can. Wear a helmet, be safe, and avoid injuries. Enjoy the bicycling! There will be many many years ahead of you to train and become proficient... for now just enjoy your time on the bicycle... just as if you were still an eight year old. And while you have fun... you'll also be burning calories. Cycling doesn't require much "warming up". Just keep air in the tires and oil on the chain.

    I use a android app I downloaded from amazon (for free) called "lose it" (I only use the free version). It takes my body info and diet desires and calculates the number of calories I should eat to lose the amount of weight I want to lose in the desired amount of time. It also accepts the time and speed I enter for cycling (and/or other exercises). The calories burnt while cycling would ether allow me to eat more... or lose more weight while eating the same amount of food. As I've lost weight it recalculates how much I should eat and so forth. There are MANY such programs on line. Eat a healthy diet, no drugs, pills or fad stuff. I discussed my diet and exercise plan with my doctor.

    Today was a beautiful day here. But for whatever reason.... I just didn't feel like getting out and riding my bicycle. I cycled anyway. I forced myself to "stay with the program" and once out on the bicycle I really had a good time. I think you may share the same experience.

    Have fun... eat little... and ride lots.
  3. Nukuhiva

    Nukuhiva Member

    Jul 14, 2004
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    Nothing burns calories like running.
    You may want to start out with walking, though.
    Walk or bike to work/school/the store whenever possible.
    +1 on the seat adjustment, which may be the cause of your knee pain, many people have their seat set too low.
    3500 calories = 1 pound, so eating less and doing more are the 'magic' formula.
    Don't buy anything with the words 'corn syrup' or 'hydrogenated' on the label.
    Plan on losing about 1-2 lbs. per week.
    If you feel just a little bit hungry when you go to bed, but are too tired to get up and go to the fridge, you're on the right track.
  4. jhuskey

    jhuskey Moderator

    Oct 6, 2003
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    Do lots of rolling miles, get plenty of sleep and be consistent in your habits. Try and watch what you eat as in types of food and amount.
    Weight training is also good since muscle will burn fat even when you sleep.
  5. jpwkeeper

    jpwkeeper Member

    Jul 25, 2004
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    +1 on Seat adjustment here as well. It's easy to do and makes a huge difference in comfort.

    As a fat guy, I can also offer this advice: Use easier gears and spin a little more (in other words, make the pedaling easier, but pedal a bit faster). You'll get more winded earlier in your ride, but winded goes away really fast when you stop, while pain in the knees,quads, shins, and calfs (it can even spread to your lower back) can last for days. Pain for days will equal not biking, and that's a recipe for failure. Note that you might not go as fast overall doing this, at least at first.

    When I started riding, it messed up my back within a few weeks from using gears that were too hard (I thought it was beneficial, building up my leg muscles and whatnot, and I was able to go faster when doing it, so I had feedback that it was good). Once I came back to the bike (3 painful weeks later), I rode with a "No Leg Pain, Mouth Closed (so not panting)" policy for a few weeks. If my legs started to hurt even a little, I shifted to an easier gear. Once I started recovering from the back issue, if I wanted to go faster I pedaled faster, not harder. It made me suck wind at the beginning of the ride, but I found that it really didn't get worse even 40-50 minutes later, where pushing the hard gear felt good at first but near the end of the ride I just couldn't breathe fast enough.

    It may have been the best thing I ever did for keeping up with cycling (it took me 3 tries over 5 years to stick with it). Now when I'm sore or tired, I actually use that as an excuse to take a potentially unscheduled ride in order to work out the kinks or perk up. Now I'm almost 9 months and 700 miles into it and if I can't bike at least a few times a week I miss it like mad.

    Full Disclosuer, I never lost weight but that wasn't my goal. Beware because I did notice that once I started taking longer rides (40-50 minutes is long for me FYI), I got a lot hungrier very quickly.

    Warmup: Just start a little easier than you intend to ride overall. Once the blood starts pumping through your legs, your cadence (how fast you pedal) will start to come up on its own. Keep in mind that in other sports they ride an exercise bike to warm up.

    My Chiropractor, who is an avid cyclist, tells me that stretching before a ride doesn't really do a whole lot, but stretching afterwords does a lot.

    Last tip: A lot of people will tell you to listen to your body when riding. These people are probably in shape. My body and I...we don't talk much. I found that using a Heart Monitor helps strengthen those lines of communication. Don't pay attention to zones and don't use any of the calculators, but having a number that tells you that you're pushing too hard (you'll learn what that number is fairly quickly) really helped me a lot. When I started the first time, I rode 5 miles and was torched. Adding a heart monitor I was able to ride 10 miles the very next day and actually felt less tired. Maybe that's just me, though.