Anorexia in the peleton
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    Anorexia in the peleton

    I know these guys have enough issues but I was reading one of the other threads on how skinny George and Lance looked in "real life." It got me thinking because my wife is a dietician and she sees a lot college girls with eating disorders and nobody is under more pressure to be thin than cyclists. Does anyone have any source info or articles addressing this in pro cycling?

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    I could easily see that...

    happening. I got that way one year preparing for cross season. I lost 30lbs., but also alot of power. My wife told my parents and we had the family sit down and that was that.
    Get this thing off my head!!!!!
    www.augustacrosscoalition.blogspot.com

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by incahoots
    I know these guys have enough issues but I was reading one of the other threads on how skinny George and Lance looked in "real life." It got me thinking because my wife is a dietician and she sees a lot college girls with eating disorders and nobody is under more pressure to be thin than cyclists. Does anyone have any source info or articles addressing this in pro cycling?

    http://forums.roadbikereview.com/sho...ighlight=janez

  4. #4
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    Cycling News did a feature a few years ago.

    http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/...tingdisorders1

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    In this months "Runner's World" they did a story on Lance Armstrong in his preparation for the NYC Marathon. In the interview they talked about the difference between runners bodies and cyclists. He mentioned how there were many cyclists that never ate to lose weight. I was kinda shocked by that. I figured the shear amount of miles tended to make some of these guys so skinny.

    They also asked him about his weight. He said he doesn't know how much he has gained but he has been eating a lot and doing a lot of upper body work. He said when he was training for the Tours he wouldn't even do a pushup, for fear he would gain too much upper body weight.

    I guess thats why after a cyclist retires and actually has a normal bodyweight we all think they look "fat" and out of shape. Even though they are probably still leaner than we are and would kick our ass riding a unicycle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianmcg
    I figured the shear amount of miles tended to make some of these guys so skinny.
    Yeah but it's not hard at all to eat what you've burned off. You figure the vast majority of training (even racing for pros) is done at a relatively moderate aerobic intensity. Maybe a pro is burning 800 or so calories, your average joe maybe 500-600 calories an hour. That's not that many fig newtons to replace what you've burned

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne Barry
    Yeah but it's not hard at all to eat what you've burned off. You figure the vast majority of training (even racing for pros) is done at a relatively moderate aerobic intensity. Maybe a pro is burning 800 or so calories, your average joe maybe 500-600 calories an hour. That's not that many fig newtons to replace what you've burned
    I'm not sure what you are saying here.

    Are you saying that a typical training ride for a pro only burns 800 calories?If so,I don't believe that.They may be a lot more effecient than us but most of those guys keep their training rides at 4 hours and up.Even if they were doing base mileage that would have to be 2k calories.Do this five times a week,factor in that their resting metabolism is probably really high and you have to eat a hell of a lot of food to replace what you have burned.

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    I think he was talking per hour. A big mac and supersized fries and a 32oz coke could easily make up for a 4hr training ride at 800 calories per hour.

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.Rice
    I'm not sure what you are saying here.

    Are you saying that a typical training ride for a pro only burns 800 calories?If so,I don't believe that.They may be a lot more effecient than us but most of those guys keep their training rides at 4 hours and up.Even if they were doing base mileage that would have to be 2k calories.Do this five times a week,factor in that their resting metabolism is probably really high and you have to eat a hell of a lot of food to replace what you have burned.
    Just to disabuse one common myth, pros are not more efficient, they simply have a higher capacity to perform work. Thus, they probably burn more like 800 cal per hour, whereas a less accomplished cyclist burns 500 or so on an easy ride. Sure they ride a lot. My point was that even for a pro, eating enough to replace what you burn is easily accomplished. Not to mention, my experience has been that when training a lot, especially if it includes a good bit of intensity, you get real hungry.

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    I think w/ the widespread use of powermeters, pro's will be a lot less likely (if they were prone to it before) to eat to lose weight to the point where it might hinder/hurt performance - because w/ the powermeter, you can quantify any changes made on/off the bike and how it affects performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by incahoots
    I know these guys have enough issues but I was reading one of the other threads on how skinny George and Lance looked in "real life." It got me thinking because my wife is a dietician and she sees a lot college girls with eating disorders and nobody is under more pressure to be thin than cyclists. Does anyone have any source info or articles addressing this in pro cycling?

    Seems counterintuitive. Wouldn't anorexia make someone weak and ill, doesn't sound like something a pro cyclist would have much use for. Maybe they obsess about body weight a little but it's pretty clear when they retire most have no problem getting up to normal weight, which incidentally isn't over 200lbs if your under 6'2". Seems like a strange and insignificant thing to worry about in a country where 1 in 3 is obese and our health care system in crumbling because of it.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by OnTheRivet
    Seems like a strange and insignificant thing to worry about in a country where 1 in 3 is obese and our health care system in crumbling because of it.

    WOW. What country do you live in?

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianmcg
    WOW. What country do you live in?
    Sounds like the U.S. to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tomakit
    I think w/ the widespread use of powermeters, pro's will be a lot less likely (if they were prone to it before) to eat to lose weight to the point where it might hinder/hurt performance - because w/ the powermeter, you can quantify any changes made on/off the bike and how it affects performance.

    I guess it all depends on how one defines anorexia. Most pro's (elite endurance athletes in general) are incredibly lean. Unless you're really lucky, you only get that they way by restricting what you eat.

    Is someone who needs 1500 cal to maintain weight but only eats 500 anorexic whereas somone who needs 4000 but only eats 3000 not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne Barry
    I guess it all depends on how one defines anorexia. Most pro's (elite endurance athletes in general) are incredibly lean. Unless you're really lucky, you only get that they way by restricting what you eat.

    Is someone who needs 1500 cal to maintain weight but only eats 500 anorexic whereas somone who needs 4000 but only eats 3000 not?
    Isn't anorexia a mental disorder where people don't actually see themselves as too thin? Man when I was thin...really thin (5'11" 147lbs race weight), I knew it, but damn I was sure faster than when I weighed 30 lbs more. I think that's the difference, anerexics have distorted views of themselves whereas the average pro knows they are frickin skinny and can't wait to retire so they can eat something.

    EDIT.
    Check out them pipe cleaners. I'm a fat and happy 160lbs these days.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by OnTheRivet
    Isn't anorexia a mental disorder where people don't actually see themselves as too thin? Man when I was thin...really thin (5'11" 147lbs race weight), I knew it, but damn I was sure faster than when I weighed 30 lbs more. I think that's the difference, anerexics have distorted views of themselves whereas the average pro knows they are frickin skinny and can't wait to retire so they can eat something.
    That sounds about right to me. Most people would look at me and say I'm skinny(ish) at 5'10" and 155 lbs (maybe more like lower 150s now). But realistically to maximize my power/weight ratio, I'd probably need to get down to the 140-145 lb area. I'm heading down now for cross, just starting to see the abs clearly.

    I think you're right though. The definition of anorexia has as much to do with perception of self as how much you eat. It's one thing if you're as skinny as Iggy Pop (and you know it) because you recognize that's what is necessary to maximize performance and another if you like like him and think you're fat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noël
    Sounds like the U.S. to me.
    Sorry, 1 out of 3 in the U.S. are not obese. Nothing I have ever seen even comes close to that. Are there a lot of obese, sure, overweight, yep, just like everywhere else in the industrialized world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianmcg
    Sorry, 1 out of 3 in the U.S. are not obese. Nothing I have ever seen even comes close to that. Are there a lot of obese, sure, overweight, yep, just like everywhere else in the industrialized world.

    I just did a speech on this today.

    60 Million adults (20+) are obese.
    65% of adults are overweight and/or obese.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brianmcg
    Sorry, 1 out of 3 in the U.S. are not obese. Nothing I have ever seen even comes close to that. Are there a lot of obese, sure, overweight, yep, just like everywhere else in the industrialized world.
    I get the impression that we are being hit particularly hard by the obesity epidemic even for industrialized nations? Should be easy enough to find out.

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    I am 6'2" and 160 with ~6% body fat. Raced for several years and ridden since I was a wee tot, lots! I do 250+ miles per week in season. When the days get short, I run ~40 miles per week and ride maybe once or twice per week.

    I gauge any days workout on resting heart rate of that day and HR response to the first big effort. If the HR is elastic, I do high intensity intervals, or go hard with the group. If HR is not elastic or it is difficult to reach LT, I chill. During hard days, I regularly burn 1200+ kcal/hour. Add up five hours for a long ride and it's hard to replace, especially if you don't eat junk. I only eat whole food and few supplements.

    What I am trying to say is, if you go hard, ride lots and eat correctly, then you will be skinny. I am no pro (Cat. 3) but if I rode more I might get "pro skinny", which is not that far away from my current dimension.

    These guys aren't anorexic. They eat well and ride hard, alot. I know from experience that if I don't eat well (and lots) I will be dropped. I suspect the same for the pros.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianmcg
    Sorry, 1 out of 3 in the U.S. are not obese. Nothing I have ever seen even comes close to that. Are there a lot of obese, sure, overweight, yep, just like everywhere else in the industrialized world.
    i guess i should have use the sarcasim icon. I wasn't being literate. This my way of saying the average american is overweight compared to rest of the world and not really 1 of 3 is obese.

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    it's all statistics

    everyone knows statistics are all fun and games until you actually dig deeper and look where the numbers are from and who got them.

    If doctors collect the numbers and submit them you are only going to get weights from people who...wait for it...go to doctors

    Via telephone...which is most common...people can tell you whatever they want

    And if we are talking about the body mass index scale that is normally used for this stuff with the general population...then anyone who is short and works out a considerable amount can be obese very easily...I became obese during my freshman year of college...Why...I was a wrestler and I weighed 210 and was 5'7...that put me around a 30.5 on a scale where 30 and greater is obese...and I had a body fat percentage of something like 10% and a RHR of 45ish...

    as for numbers....25% of the states in the US have more than 25% of their population that is obese...YEAH

  23. #23
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    I hear tales about local cyclists going over to Belgium to cut it on the Kermesse circuit and the first nickname they earn is 'fattie' usually.

    I'm 6.0 and 150lbs at racing weight. Have been as high as 195. I eat comfortably but not excessive. No junk food, no fried food, nothing that comes in a package.

  24. #24
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    yes, they are. From CDC.gov:

    "Percent of noninstitutionalized adults age 20 years and over who are overweight or obese: 66.3
    Percent of noninstitutionalized adults age 20 years and over who are obese: 32
    Source: NHANES data on the Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity Among Adults-United States, 2003-2004."

    Obesity / non-obesity is "just a number," simply some height / weight math, of course, but it's still a rather disturbing number.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Argentius
    Obesity / non-obesity is "just a number," simply some height / weight math, of course, but it's still a rather disturbing number.
    And of course, the real significance isn't some sort of generalized distaste of people becoming fat, it's the fact that all kinds of negative health consequences are much, much more common in the overweight and obese categories as compared to normal weight people.

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