Weight loss/gain and building muscle
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  1. #1
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    Weight loss/gain and building muscle

    When I started riding I figured my "perfect riding weight" to be 122.5 to 125 pounds. I'm 5'5". I made it down to 120 pounds and mostly hold steady there with the occasional drop to 119 or gain to 121. I don't want to lose more but I don't want to gain either, especially if it's fat. I seem to have gained a pound the last few days (that is staying) and was wondering if since I'm working out harder now with cooler weather if it's possible I have used up all the fat and starting to gain a little muscle weight? I'm eating the same and working out more. I have also added some more weight training for my upper body and I have started training for two 5K runs in October and November. I'm taking in around 1600 to 1800 calories a day and working off a lot of that. I am also taking in more protein, so I shouldn't gain any weight, right?

    The weird thing is that my measurements are staying almost where they were when I hit 120 pounds and my jeans are looser now than they were when I hit 120. I'm SO scared of gaining anything after all the work to get it off but I know that gaining muscle is important. So, do I need to gain weight to gain muscle if the fat is mostly gone? Right now my upper thighs are only 20", lower thighs above knees are 15", calves are 12.5" and biceps are 10.5" so there is obviously NO fat left. Total inches lost on hips is about 10" and waist is about 6". I went from 162lbs. to 120lbs. and from size 14/16 to size 8 pants.
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  2. #2
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    Awesome! That is great! You are killing it!

    Yes, you added muscle mass. If measurements are staying the same, for a 1 lb increase, basically, then you added muscle which will add weight. Good job! You can always get a caliper and look online for instructions for measuring body fat %, it isn't hard. And they are pretty cheap. It isn't perfect either, but it's good and it will tell you that you just added muscle. If you want, just let me know and I'll send you some good reliable instructions. It's the upper body weights, I'd bet. Again, good job. Great addition for cycling since we can burn calories like crazy but lose bone density, running and lifting will fix that right up! Your calories are spot on, protein should be 85g minimum, better at 100g. Spread it out too, you will only take in about 30g every 2-3 hours.

    That is a good pound. It's a reward for all the hard work you are putting in after all the hard work in your regular day!
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by PBL450 View Post
    Awesome! That is great! You are killing it!

    Yes, you added muscle mass. If measurements are staying the same, for a 1 lb increase, basically, then you added muscle which will add weight. Good job! You can always get a caliper and look online for instructions for measuring body fat %, it isn't hard. And they are pretty cheap. It isn't perfect either, but it's good and it will tell you that you just added muscle. If you want, just let me know and I'll send you some good reliable instructions. It's the upper body weights, I'd bet. Again, good job. Great addition for cycling since we can burn calories like crazy but lose bone density, running and lifting will fix that right up! Your calories are spot on, protein should be 85g minimum, better at 100g. Spread it out too, you will only take in about 30g every 2-3 hours.

    That is a good pound. It's a reward for all the hard work you are putting in after all the hard work in your regular day!
    Thanks! Common sense says that it is muscle weight I'm gaining but I have worked so hard to lose fat that it messes with my head to see any weight gain. The online BMI calculator says I'm at 20% but I know that muscle weight gain will skew that quite a bit and make it less accurate.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shegens View Post
    Thanks! Common sense says that it is muscle weight I'm gaining but I have worked so hard to lose fat that it messes with my head to see any weight gain. The online BMI calculator says I'm at 20% but I know that muscle weight gain will skew that quite a bit and make it less accurate.
    Exactly! You really are killing it! Muscle mass is good. As we get older it decreases so you are reversing a trend, that's great! 20% is really good! If you check age, gender and the like and see how that's rated, it will be super IMO.
    To date, philosophers have merely interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it.

  5. #5
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    I could be wrong, especially without knowing you specifically, but it sounds like you have an unhealthy fixation with your body weight. It's common for body weight to fluctuation a percent or two day to day and even during the course of a day. You need to look at a long term average over weeks and preferable at the same time of day, like the first thing in the morning. Also, percentage body fat is a much better measure than weight. BMI is a measure that's reflective of an average over a population but is not of much use at all for individuals.

    Protein has the same calories per gram as carbohydrate, 4cal/gm. Fat has 9cal/gm.
    ... 'cuz that's how I roll.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    I could be wrong, especially without knowing you specifically, but it sounds like you have an unhealthy fixation with your body weight. It's common for body weight to fluctuation a percent or two day to day and even during the course of a day. You need to look at a long term average over weeks and preferable at the same time of day, like the first thing in the morning. Also, percentage body fat is a much better measure than weight. BMI is a measure that's reflective of an average over a population but is not of much use at all for individuals.

    Protein has the same calories per gram as carbohydrate, 4cal/gm. Fat has 9cal/gm.
    And especially for very athletic type bodies.
    "Refreshingly Unconcerned With The Vulgar Exigencies Of Veracity "

  7. #7
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    I do focus too much on what the scale says and I know I shouldn't but I was so unhealthy a year ago that I'm terrified of each pound. I went from not being able to walk to the end of the driveway without severe pain to being able to ride the bike and compete in 5K's without pain. I never want to go back there. I'm aware enough of my fear to know I still have to keep my calorie intake up but it really depresses me to gain a pound. I suppose that if enough time goes by and I see I can keep it near my goal that the fear will go away. At my age (60 next month) and the fact that I have hypothyroidism, I don't feel that I can let my guard down for a second. I am gaining good lean muscle mass that shows that it can be done but the fear is still there.

    I have stayed at 120 pounds for almost two months now with the occasional gain of a pound or two that always disappears in a day or two, except for this time. This one has been hanging on for a week and I can't see where it is. I know I'm not eating it on because I log everything I eat and all of my exercise and nothing has changed except for the increase in exercise. I even go so far as to weigh my meat on a food scale and measure my portion sizes so that I can log it as accurately as possible. I'm not at that age where I can depend on a teenagers fast metabolism to keep it off.
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  8. #8
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    Your azz looks really big in your Avatar...

    1 lb doesn't mean anything at all. Unless you are a pro I would quit worrying so much about your weight and just eat healthy and have a good time riding your bike. Heck, I would even try to gain 5-8 lbs of muscle so you look better. Have a beer every once in a while and quit logging your food intake daily. Life is too short to live that way.

    I weigh between 189 and 201 depending if I am racing hard or just jacking around. I can climb like a scalded ape too yet I look like a normal, athletic man.

  9. #9
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    Congrats on the weight loss! Now that you're fit, you need to start thinking like a fit person. Total body weight is only part of the story.

    Since you are working out in the gym you will probaly gain muscle.
    Go by measurements (or clothes fit) instead of weight. Muscle is denser than fat. You can also measure body fat. The two common home methods- skin fold calipers and impedance scales- are not very accurate. But they can be consistent (if the calipers are used the same way every time by the same person). By this I mean that the scale may say you're 15% when you are actually 12% or 18% but if you lose or gain 1% it will indicate 14% or 16%.

    Also as pointed out by others don't sweat a 1lb gain/loss. Normal variations due to hydration, gut contents etc will be at least that.

    You might want to read the book "Race Weight".

  10. #10
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    LOL, not my azz. My husband emailed me that to use as an avatar for motivation. It works.

    My husband also thinks I'm getting too thin but I can't see it. All I know is that I feel good. My blood pressure is averaging 118/68 most days and my resting heart rate is between 58 and 65. It's usually in the mid 50's when I first wake up. I just ride for pleasure and fitness and don't have anybody to compete against except for myself.

    I probably need to stop weighing myself as often and start measuring instead. I currently use the scale once a week and always first thing after getting up and visiting the bathroom but before coffee or breakfast.
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  11. #11
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    Heh, your husband may have, shall we say, other priorities...

    Seriously, though, as has been said above, one pound is in the noise, and means pretty much nothing. Among other things, for myself I notice that my weight seems to be somewhat correlated with outside temperatures: I tend to weigh less in hot summers, but that may just mean that I am less hydrated then. Conversely, my weight starts to go up slightly in the fall, despite still identical exercise regimen. And of course, with a lot less exercise in the winter, my weight oscillates significantly over the year, by more than ten pounds, typically.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shegens View Post
    I am also taking in more protein, so I shouldn't gain any weight, right?

    The weird thing is that my measurements are staying almost where they were when I hit 120 pounds and my jeans are looser now than they were when I hit 120. I'm SO scared of gaining anything after all the work to get it off but I know that gaining muscle is important. So, do I need to gain weight to gain muscle if the fat is mostly gone?
    Muscle weighs more than fat per cubic inch because it's denser. Don't worry about the weight scale at this point. Focus on the body measurements.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirx View Post
    Heh, your husband may have, shall we say, other priorities...

    Seriously, though, as has been said above, one pound is in the noise, and means pretty much nothing. Among other things, for myself I notice that my weight seems to be somewhat correlated with outside temperatures: I tend to weigh less in hot summers, but that may just mean that I am less hydrated then. Conversely, my weight starts to go up slightly in the fall, despite still identical exercise regimen. And of course, with a lot less exercise in the winter, my weight oscillates significantly over the year, by more than ten pounds, typically.
    Yep, he has always been a butt man and I have pedaled most of mine off.

    My plan was to go into winter weighing less because I know there will be a lot of days I can't ride and will need to use the indoor bike. It is better than nothing but the outside bike works me harder and makes it easier to keep the weight off. It's been so much cooler lately that I barely work up a sweat when riding so it could be like you mentioned. I definitely want to gain muscle and if that requires gaining a few pounds then I won't panic. I just don't want to get complacent and let the fat come back.
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  14. #14
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    My suggestion is to put away the scale and instead regularly inspect your body. You can see if fat is returning. If it isn't, then all is good. If it is, then take appropriate measures.
    Life is short... enjoy the ride.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bvber View Post
    Muscle weighs more than fat per cubic inch; i.e., it's denser.
    Just in the interest of scientific and linguistic accuracy, I wanted to fix that. The definition of "denser" is "having more mass per unit volume."
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Just in the interest of scientific and linguistic accuracy, I wanted to fix that. The definition of "denser" is "having more mass per unit volume."
    Ahh, you're treading on treacherous ground here: Causal forms are quite commonly used in every day languages to refer to what really are tautologies. For example, many statements referring to mathematical truths are often in the form "A has property B because of theorem C", despite the fact that (virtually) all fields of mathematics can be reduced to tautologies based on a typically small number of axioms.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    Just in the interest of scientific and linguistic accuracy, I wanted to fix that. The definition of "denser" is "having more mass per unit volume."
    Ok, I meant to say, because muscle having the component parts more closely compacted together than fat.

  18. #18
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    I agree, it is hard to worry about +/- a pound, especially if you are gaining muscle. My weight can vary by as much as 5 lbs in a few hours.

    A "pinch test" is probably a better way to judge fat. There used to be a device that would actually measure a pinch of fat, but I doubt that it had an accuracy to a pound. Another thing that can be done is to measure the specific gravity using a swimming pool, but again, one pound is probably pushing the accuracy, but it would certainly be interesting to watch trends. In fact, if you are training, you might see that you are converting fat to muscle.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirx View Post
    Ahh, you're treading on treacherous ground here: Causal forms are quite commonly used in every day languages to refer to what really are tautologies. For example, many statements referring to mathematical truths are often in the form "A has property B because of theorem C", despite the fact that (virtually) all fields of mathematics can be reduced to tautologies based on a typically small number of axioms.
    Well said, Pirx. And I'm shorter than you because my head is closer to the floor. But you're heavier because you weigh more.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
    In fact, if you are training, you might see that you are converting fat to muscle.
    That is what I'm hoping is happening.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    And I'm shorter than you because my head is closer to the floor.
    Hah, caught in a non-sequitur: You're not shorter than me, you're just kneeling in front of my awesomeness.

    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia View Post
    But you're heavier because you weigh more.
    You callin' me fat now?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shegens View Post
    That is what I'm hoping is happening.
    Something else to consider is simply water weight. When the weather cools down your body tends to hold more water because you are not sweating as heavily. Remember Chris Horner's comments during the cold, wet days of the Tour de France this summer: he wanted hot weather so he could sweat off some weight before the big climbs.

    I often see my weight tick up by 1% or so when the weather takes a turn to colder temps, and then it drops back when things warm up. In a sense this is "noise" but it actually is driven by a known mechanism. It definitely is not "weight gain."

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericm979 View Post
    Congrats on the weight loss! Now that you're fit, you need to start thinking like a fit person. Total body weight is only part of the story.
    This is excellent advice. Your doing great just accept it. The scale at this point doesn't matter much.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pirx View Post
    Hah, caught in a non-sequitur: You're not shorter than me, you're just kneeling in front of my awesomeness.

    That's not a non-sequitur; it's an unstated condition (we're both standing).

    You callin' me fat now?
    Obviously not; you just have more muscles.
    "None of us knows for sure what's out there; that's why we keep looking. Keep your faith; travel hopefully. The universe will surprise you, constantly." The 13th Doctor.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    Something else to consider is simply water weight. When the weather cools down your body tends to hold more water because you are not sweating as heavily. Remember Chris Horner's comments during the cold, wet days of the Tour de France this summer: he wanted hot weather so he could sweat off some weight before the big climbs.

    I often see my weight tick up by 1% or so when the weather takes a turn to colder temps, and then it drops back when things warm up. In a sense this is "noise" but it actually is driven by a known mechanism. It definitely is not "weight gain."
    consuming more salt in your diet will also cause your cells to retain more water... or something like that. so the more salt you eat, the more water-weight you will carry.

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