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  1. #1
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    To cut weight for race or concentrate on power

    I have a 100km race on August 8th that I want to peak for. I am a 40yr old 98kg man (dropped 20kg's in the last 6mths) and the race has a climb about 1/3rd of the way into the race that goes gradually up at about 1 to 2% for about 23km's (sometimes with a few little flats or slight downhills, then has a 2 1/2km 4% to 5% gradient, then 3km's of 2 to 3% then 1.3km's at 6% followed by the KOM sprint..

    My fitness level is good and the distance isnt' a problem. If I keep up over the climb (with some of my power instore, I am as good as chance as anyone).

    I guess the climb isn't so steep or long that it is impossible to keep up with the mountain goats, but I am unsure what is the best method of preparing for it at this stage. These are my options

    Option 1: Concentrate on developing a little more power through hill repeats, intervals, etc. Shorter more intense training sessions. I already have a good base developed over the past year and currently ride between 300 to 350km's a week. However eat normally and lose say 1 to 2kg's in the next 3 to 4weeks (I love my food).

    Option 2: Use meal replacement shakes and drop about 5 to 8kg's and do the best I can on my hill repeats, intense efforts, etc. (won't feel as much strength due to lower energy). eat well on Friday nights so my Saturday rides/races can be semi effective and 1 week before the big race eat like normal so my body can be restored to normal functioning.

    I'm not sure which option will give me the best results. Also will eating normally for 1 week be long enough for my body to go back to normal so that I won't have any side effects on the day.

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Lose the weight.

    Chances are if you keep riding hard and doing your intervals you won't lose any power, but you can drop the weight which will make a bigger difference when it comes to power to weight ratio.

    If you just concentrate on power you might put on a little, but it won't raise your power to weight ratio nearly as much as losing the weight.

    In reality you might be able to drop the weight and put power on. It's not all that uncommon actually if you are doing hard interval training and have the weight to lose. It's only when you don't really have the weight to lose that you also lose power.

    So....drop the weight
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  3. #3
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    lose weight until you start losing power, stop there

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the tips. It is hard to know if your losing power because you don't have much energy to begin with when crash dieting. But I have found in the past when I refuel properly the power quickly returns. Maybe I can eat just a little more every 2nd day (power training day).

  5. #5
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    I see no real reasons you can't train and lose weight. It can be done, but requires time and extra effort to keep things well balanced. Sure, intervals will help, but the rapid glycogen depletion will make you very hungry. Logging "junk miles" at a fat burning HR still builds a little fitness, but will allow you to not be so hungry after your workout.

    I don't know what kind of time you have to train, but you can do both.

  6. #6
    but thinking about it
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    Quote Originally Posted by spade2you
    I see no real reasons you can't train and lose weight. It can be done, but requires time and extra effort to keep things well balanced. Sure, intervals will help, but the rapid glycogen depletion will make you very hungry. Logging "junk miles" at a fat burning HR still builds a little fitness, but will allow you to not be so hungry after your workout.

    I don't know what kind of time you have to train, but you can do both.
    You can do both if you have lots of extra weight, sure. If you just have a couple of % of weight to lose and are already well-trained, it's extremely difficult to do it during the core of the race season without adverse consequences.

  7. #7
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    Crash?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridgey
    Thanks for the tips. It is hard to know if your losing power because you don't have much energy to begin with when crash dieting.
    Nobody said anything about crash dieting. That is a bad practice no matter what you are trying to accomplish. Cut back on the calories and lose 0.5-1 kg per week, no more. You will be hungry, and at the higher rate of weight loss you will feel a little weaker, but keep up your training and eat well before the event.

  8. #8
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    Yeah, I am currently consuming about 1200 calories a day but ride about 50km's weekdays and up to 100 on weekends (will carry food for these rides). By day 2 of this diet my legs felt zapped of my normal strength within 12.5km's (had done a few power climbs). Feel like I am running on 70% power and 50% energy.

    I measure that I lose about 1500 calories on my 50km ride alone (Heart Rate average is about 135 to 145. Max 183). But will my loss of quality miles counter the extra power I will gain from losing 5kg's to 7kg's in 3 weeks (last week before race I eat normally).

    Thanks for advice.

  9. #9
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    If you are really only consuming 1200 calories a day, I think there is a high risk you are hampering your training due to lack of nutrition already. If you are 98 kg, and riding that much, you could probably eat twice as many calories and still lose significant weight.

    Losing weight is certainly your best bet for long-term success, but trying to drop 5-7 kg in such a short time is not the best way in my assessment. I think you need to follow KerryIron's advice and aim for the .5-1 kg a week weight loss.

    For comparison, I'm 41 and weigh less than 61 kg. Riding 8-10 hours a week, I probably eat 2-3x as many calories a day on average just to keep from losing weight. (I don't have the option of losing much weight to increase performance, maybe a kilo at most, or I'd hit an unhealthy weight. I'm stuck with just working the power side.)

  10. #10
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    Consuming only 1200 calories isn't going to increase power.

  11. #11
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    Do I have this right? You're currently consuming 1200 calories a day while riding 300ish KMs a week and are thinking of using meal replacements? Replace what? You're already eating practically nothing. WTF?

    It sounds like you want to do for a month what I sometimes did for a few days when I was wrestling and had to go down a weight class. Everyone is different but I don't see how any male could live on 1200 calories of not real food for a month while training hard and not lose some serious strength.

  12. #12
    but thinking about it
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Stamper
    Do I have this right? You're currently consuming 1200 calories a day while riding 300ish KMs a week and are thinking of using meal replacements? Replace what? You're already eating practically nothing. WTF?

    It sounds like you want to do for a month what I sometimes did for a few days when I was wrestling and had to go down a weight class. Everyone is different but I don't see how any male could live on 1200 calories of not real food for a month while training hard and not lose some serious strength.
    I'm convinced that the internet's endless supply of 100-kilo guys eating 1,200 calories/day consists of guys who are either kidding themselves about how much they're eating or who have only been doing it for a very short while (and many of those will put in a couple of 5,000 calorie days after their "big ride"). In any event, if the point is to maximize weight loss, then sure, eat as little as you can, but extreme caloric deficits seem ludicrous for long-term, large-scale weight loss planning by someone who's also trying to achieve athletic performance goals. The OP has already seen it, running at what he sees as 70% power and 50% energy, so I'm not sure why he even thinks it's defensible if a performance goal is really part of his equation.

  13. #13
    I ride in circles..
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    As I've gotten more serious about training and continue to work harder and harder I find that I am not losing weight. I'm eating better now and by all rights I should be losing some weight.. When I look in the mirror I see less body though. Instead of losing weight I'm gaining muscle and maintaining a balance. I'm sure the muscle gain will slow sooner or later and I'll continue to lose more weight. Just takes time. If I cut back on food I feel weak.. Feeling weak doesn't help my cycling..

    As for losing weight over increasing power.. Shoot for Losing a few pounds and you'll automatically see a better power to weight ratio..
    ~ Long Live Long Rides~

  14. #14
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    Insane

    Quote Originally Posted by Bridgey
    Yeah, I am currently consuming about 1200 calories a day but ride about 50km's weekdays and up to 100 on weekends (will carry food for these rides).
    There is virtually no circumstance under which this kind of program 1) make sense, 2) is productive for your training, 3) is productive for weight loss. You should run no more than a 1,000 calorie daily deficit. At your weight and suggested level of exercise, this means you should be consuming close to 3,000 calories per day to be in the 1,000 deficit range. 1,200 calories per day for you is nucking futs.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bridgey
    I have a 100km race on August 8th that I want to peak for. I am a 40yr old 98kg man (dropped 20kg's in the last 6mths) and the race has a climb about 1/3rd of the way into the race that goes gradually up at about 1 to 2% for about 23km's (sometimes with a few little flats or slight downhills, then has a 2 1/2km 4% to 5% gradient, then 3km's of 2 to 3% then 1.3km's at 6% followed by the KOM sprint..

    My fitness level is good and the distance isnt' a problem. If I keep up over the climb (with some of my power instore, I am as good as chance as anyone).

    I guess the climb isn't so steep or long that it is impossible to keep up with the mountain goats, but I am unsure what is the best method of preparing for it at this stage. These are my options

    Option 1: Concentrate on developing a little more power through hill repeats, intervals, etc. Shorter more intense training sessions. I already have a good base developed over the past year and currently ride between 300 to 350km's a week. However eat normally and lose say 1 to 2kg's in the next 3 to 4weeks (I love my food).

    Option 2: Use meal replacement shakes and drop about 5 to 8kg's and do the best I can on my hill repeats, intense efforts, etc. (won't feel as much strength due to lower energy). eat well on Friday nights so my Saturday rides/races can be semi effective and 1 week before the big race eat like normal so my body can be restored to normal functioning.

    I'm not sure which option will give me the best results. Also will eating normally for 1 week be long enough for my body to go back to normal so that I won't have any side effects on the day.

    Thanks in advance
    Having just gone through this very issue, I'd say it depends on how much time you can devote to training. If you can get in both LSD rides (replace steady with slow) and interval training and not overtrain, I'd say "do both". If you only have time for those high intensity days, perhaps now is a good time to focus on power and just not gain any weight. Here's the place to do the calculations. http://bikecalculator.com/veloUS.html

  16. #16
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    Wow, thanks for the advice guys. Yes I have been doing 1200 calories a day for about a week now. I did it successfully 6mths ago and loss 11kg's in the 1st month but felt like crap (ate more on weekends for my 100k + base training rides) How the hell do the Biggest losers do it, I think they do about 1500 a day.

    Anyway I have 1x optifast (140 calories) in morn, piece of fruit (70c), mid-morn, optifast lunch (140c), piece of fruit mid afternoon (70c), normal dinner, small dessert (approx. 800calories).

    Like I mentioned I feel like crap but have already loss about 2.5kg in first week, but my question was what would make the most difference in power (crash diet or normal intense training).
    Based on your advice and the way I feel, I am going to add enough calories so that I don't feel so larthargic and so I feel I can get some proper power training in. I guess, I'll do my best to keep up over the climb, enjoy the race (whether I lose the main pack or not). Over the next year I will lose my extra 20kg's and then kick butt next year. This is my first season back (starting late) after 5 odd years so I guess I shouldn't take it so seriously. Only been riding seriously for the past 7mths (350km's wk) and adhoc about 5mths before then (about 150km week). But found I had a lot of power and extra endurance due to carrying 120kg's around for about the last 5 years and dropping about 23 kg's in 4mths.

    Thanks again.

  17. #17
    I ride in circles..
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    Phew man... Don't rush it. Crashing your body like this might make you lighter but hurts in the long wrong. As soon as you go back to a normal diet you'll balloon up and get fat fast. Slow down and make it permanent. Don't waste the effort.
    ~ Long Live Long Rides~

  18. #18
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    If you're goal is to get lean, then you'd better cancel all your races.

    Training for racing requires calories. There's nothing wrong with losing weight, but it's best to do it during the off season, or if you feel like it, cut your season short and focus on stripping your body fat and coming back next season lean and mean.

    Other wise the hammer is going to get laid down and the stong guys are going to run you into the ground.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by heathb
    If you're goal is to get lean, then you'd better cancel all your races.

    Training for racing requires calories. There's nothing wrong with losing weight, but it's best to do it during the off season, or if you feel like it, cut your season short and focus on stripping your body fat and coming back next season lean and mean.

    Other wise the hammer is going to get laid down and the stong guys are going to run you into the ground.

    What he said..

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