What low % Body Fat level is easy to maintain?

Discussion in 'Cycling Training' started by JTE83, May 14, 2006.

  1. JTE83

    JTE83 Member

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    In 2.5 years I went from obese at 205 lbs to as low as 139.2 lbs (for 1 day). Then my weight just hovered around the 142 lbs (about 12% body fat) level from continuos training and just regular eating. Right now, I just bike to maintain my weight and for transportation, as I quit racing because I wasn't born with speed (ended up last place in my last race). I'm 149.2 lbs 16.2% body fat right now. So I should just be happy with this weight and body fat level as it might be easy to maintain my weight from overeating with just one 54 mile workout?

    I'd like to be 140 lbs but I just don't want to train much anymore, as I've mostly acheived my weight loss goals from cycling.

    What are other's experiences with maintaining a certain body fat level and the amount of training involved?

    I'm guessing at this ---

    8% - lots of training with continous dieting to maintain this level?
    12% - takes continual training to maintain this level?
    16% - you can eat well and not continuosly diet and sometimes overeat and just burn it off from 1 long distance workout?

    Well, I wouldn't waste a nice afternoon doing nothing, and I'd rather go for a workout especially since I'm unemployed now.
     
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  2. kmavm

    kmavm New Member

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    This is going to be completely individual and idiosyncratic. There are people who naturally dwell under 10% body fat without being particularly fit or careful with their diet. However, almost all people who've had success with weight loss beyond the "general health" level have found that diet, not exercise, is the key. I spent many years at about 14% body fat hammering out 200-300 mile weeks. When I cut back to 150-200 mile weeks, and paid attention to what I ate, I got my body fat down to around 4% for a month or so before rebounding up to about 8%, where it's been for the last six months.

    This is about where I'm at. I don't consider myself "continuously dieting," but this body composition has required some permanent lifestyle modifications, and your average American would probably not consider my eating behavior "normal." Never the less, I find my food satisfying, and am rarely hungry.

    I train a good deal, but much less than, say, many amateur racers. I train between 11-15 hours and between 180 and 275 miles in a typical week (600-1000 TSS points, for those so inclined). As I said, though, training doesn't mean a thing for weight loss. Your body and mind have evolved an exquisitely tuned mechanism for maintaining a neutral-to-slightly-positive caloric balance, called your "appetite." Any deficits you rack up on the bike are quickly washed away with increased appetite.

    Let me ask you though: if you don't race, aren't interested in racing at all, and are already at a healthy BF% (which you are), why do you care? Losing body fat is stressful and hard, requiring lots of mental energy. It will, to some extent, compromise your on-bike training, and will greatly compromise your enjoyment of your time on the bike, since hard riding in a caloric deficit is a really easy way to bonk. So, again, why?
     
  3. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    I hope I don't make a mistake by reading into your post and perhaps speculate a little more than I should.

    First, I agree with kmavm's response.
    Body composition is something that will vary from person to person based on genetic makeup. If you were once at 205 (your height not stated) and your weight fluctuated all the way down to 139 you definately have the propensity to creep right back up to 205.

    I am guessing that you will have to work to keep your levels lower or it will continue to creep back up over a period of time as it reads that it has been creeping up since you have lowered training.

    Since you have mentioned that you are unemployed I would suggest to make an effort to continue to work at keeping your body compostition balanced so that it doesn't creep all the way back up. Why? because I believe it will give you a more positive outlook of yourself and that carries forward to those around you as they will see you as a positive person. This is apart from cycling. This more about keeping a positive outlook about yourself. Now some people are quite comfortable with their physical stature, but as a trainer of trainers I generally see more depression and discouragement among those who are out of shape.

    I hope I am not stepping beyond the goals of your question and by the way I too have to work daily for achieving goals. I am more mesomorphic and I have to work hard to stay in shape. I have allowed my bodyfat to creep up during the off season so that I can train heavy, but I never let it get out of control. For me I don't want to get above 15% and now that I am into cycling I hope to go down below 6% and try to keep it lower than 12% in the off season.

    Best wishes
     
  4. dot

    dot New Member

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    It's very personal. I've got bulky body with big legs.
    I went down from 205 to stable 175lbs in 2 years. Ever reached minimum was 171, to maintain this weight was like torture I had to limit myself everywhere counting every calorie eaten let alone big training volume.
    I think I have about 15-16% of fat at 175 lbs, never measured it.
    I'm happy at 175 lbs but anyway I have to watch my eating very carefully.

    PS Height is 179 cm. 175lbs == 79.3 kg
     
  5. JTE83

    JTE83 Member

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    I'm 5' 3.5" tall, and I want to keep below 150lbs so that my light weight would keep me fast on a bike. I also bought a lot more new tight fitting size small and medium shirts that I don't want to overgrow, and I went from size 36 pants to size 30. Probably I'm a 28 but that size is hard to find.

    I would like to occassionally overate like going to a nice buffet, and then just burn it off the next day. I rarely go to buffets, and if I do then sometimes I eat light or not for my next meal.

    During 4 months of winter / no training / almost no trainer use I gained 5 lbs, and I watched what I ate every day. So I look forward to training to maintain my weight when the weather gets good.

    I only did 3080 miles last year and went from 162 to 139.2 at the lowest.
     
  6. Felt_Rider

    Felt_Rider Active Member

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    Sounds like you have done a really good job.
    Keep up the good work.
     
  7. xxbackhillxx

    xxbackhillxx New Member

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    Like others have said it's more what you eat and how you eat than how much you train. Eating smaller portions in shorter intervals (I eat every 4 hours) instead of eating 2-3 big meals a day is my biggest key. I eat a bagel with yogurt for breakfast with a glass of skim milk within 30 minutes of waking up (or 2 eggs and some toast). 4 hours later I'll snack on 2 apples. 4 hours later I'll grill up a small 8 oz chicken breast. In another 4 hours I'll find some more fruit to snack on or get some oatmeal, etc. When I find myself hungry between meals I have a stash of raspberries to snack on to hold me over. Drink water in place of all of your daily drinks.

    ^using that eating schedule and keeping the portions small I went from 185lbs at 5'8" to 162lbs in roughly 6 weeks and nearly no training. I did about 100 jumping jacks, 100 pushups and 200 situps a day, which anyone will tell you is nearly nothing.

    Eating smaller portions over shorter intervals helps maintain a faster metabolism than your body is usually used to. Eating a huge meal every 6-7 hours makes it tougher for your stomach to properly digest all of the food quickly.
     
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