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Monday
Aug012016

Maintaining my racing weight

 

A little less than a year ago I wrote about attaining my racing weight again. That was 154 lbs or 11 stone in the UK, the weight I was when I raced back in the 1960s and 1970s. Actually after writing that piece I continued to lose and my weight finally settled at 150 lb.

I have maintained that weight, within a pound or so either way, for a year now. Even through last winter when I wasn’t riding my bike as much. I weigh myself every morning the moment I get out of bed and log my weight with the date.

This may seem excessive to some people, but it does make it easier to maintain a target weight. If, for example, I eat out in a restaurant, I can practically guarantee I will be a pound or two over the next day. But ride a few extra miles on the bike the following day, or cut back on my food intake and I am right back where I need to be.

Without that daily log it would be all too easy to gain a pound a day, and be 10 lb. overweight before I know it. And quite honestly I don’t want to go back there again, not now that I have discovered how good it feels to be slim and fit again.

I will admit part of my initial motivation was vanity. I have always cared about my appearance.

And quite frankly a large belly and back fat handles hanging over my belt, I felt did not look good.

If vanity is a crime then I am guilty, but I look around me, and there is way too much “Visual Pollution” in this world without my adding to it.

All it takes to lose and then maintain a healthy weight is organization and discipline. And the discipline part gets easy after a very short time, as your body adjusts to the new food intake. I rarely feel hungry. Riding a bike has become so easy.

So often I hear from others my age that “Growing Old Sucks.” It doesn’t have to. I’m not saying everyone should do it, but I can recommend it.

 

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Reader Comments (7)

Prior to 2000, I weighed, at 188 pounds, about 30 pounds more than I do now. I lost about 16 pounds in a year and a half.

Then, beginning in late 2015, I took another year and a half to get below 160 pounds, my weight in the 1970s. I lost the weight the way you did, eating less and exercising more (and this last time around, eating more healthy foods, cutting back almost entirely on sweets). The feeling is amazing. I don't feel the weight of my body when walking. I can ride uphill faster and in lower gears.

That said, it's extremely difficult for most people to lose weight. Organization - a plan - might be easy (although we now know diets don't work). Discipline, though, is incredibly difficult for most people. So it is that very, very few people are able to keep off the weight they lose.

August 2, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDave Wyman

You look good Dave, How many mike a month are you doing on your boik mate.

August 2, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Love your sense of humor in your writing. Great job getting back to you race weight and maintaining it.

August 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPersonal trainer Brian

What is attractive about a bicyclist’s physique?
Look at the pros: bone-skinny arms with no shoulders, clavicles protruding like Halloween skeletons, paunchy stomachs from lack of abdominal muscles, backs (lower and upper) with the same lack of muscles. No wonder they break when they tumble. And they all work on the lowest possible body fat percentage, which is quite unhealthy. Not even considering the way-excessive amount of riding they do.

What I am talking about is balance. Yes I know, the skinny riders all love how good they feel on the bike. But, like an avid-cyclist friend, who is 54, is so weak in his arms a female neighbor has to open jars for him. As you age (starts about 40 years old), you are subject to “shrunken shank”, which is a loss of muscle mass. So, you have to do something to build and maintain mass and strength. Cycling alone ain’t gonna do it. Muscle training also helps your posture.

And, muscle weighs more than fat, so as you develop muscles, you will start to gain weight (even while losing some fat). Not a bad thing! Also, your internal organs need layers of fat to remain healthy. Therefore, a 5' 8" 165 pound cyclist that also works on non-cycling muscles, will be more healthy than that 5' 8" 145 pounder who can beat him by 1 minute up the 8-mile Palomar Mountain climb. And will also look better!

August 3, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

HI Dave,

following on from Steve’s excellent comment, there is often a difference between fitness and health. Cycling does not demand impact or weight bearing exercise which are crucial for muscular and skeletal health, many pros often have various levels of osteoporosis, which forced the early retirement of Chris Boardman.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/diets/article-1227777/CHRIS-BOARDMAN-I-cycling-32-I-bones-old-woman.html

Similarly, women that participate in endurance sports can suffer in varying degrees of oestrogen deficiency which can in some cases lead to bone degeneration.

Whether it be a pro. cyclist with 6%body fat, or an NFL 300 lb. lineman, neither extreme is good for the average person. As Rudi Altig remarked, “ we are professional cyclists, not athletes.”

For us mere mortals it does not pay to be overweight nor extremely under. Using you as an example, keeping ones weight at the level of a healthy amateur cyclist whilst keeping a decent level of muscular strength and skeletal integrity to me is an ideal balance.

Weighing yourself every day is a great way to keep tabs on one’s weight. I also use a heart rate monitor with a calorie counter, probably not accurate but gives a decent record of how you’re burning. I live on the east coast of Vancouver Island Canada, which always has a breeze/wind/gales in varying degrees for much of the year, with long drags and steep hills if you feel the need, so most of the time it’s pretty punchy stuff. I ride on my own so don’t have the benefit of sitting in, so the data from the calorie counter is straight up and gives an excellent overview. Generally on a geared bike I burn approx. 500 per hour is at a pretty decent clip which can be held as long as I want, when it’s up to the 630 plus it is getting a bit grippy and good for a max of 2 hours. Through the winter I often ride on flatter terrain a 42/18 fixed wheel which will at max. burn 400 per hour.

August 4, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKeith.

Dave, When you and I raced in England in the 1950's did we ever think about our weight or heart revs etc, We did not even have a bike computer, just the bloody tick tick of a Lucas mileage counter. Maybe IF we had all this we have today WOULD we have gone faster?

August 4, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

There is nothing more boring than a “health nut” trying to force their beliefs on those who are not interested, which is why I try to keep posts like these brief. However, the great thing about this blog is, those who are interested fill in what I left out in the comments section.

So yes I am aware of the importance of muscular and bone strength in old age, so as well as ride my bike 100 to 150 miles per week, I eat a healthy diet and lift weights. My goal is not simply longevity, because that is largely in the hands of fate and genetics. My goal is to remain active and independent until the end.

Dave.

August 5, 2016 | Registered CommenterDave Moulton

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