Can't lose weight ;-( HELP [TRIGGER WARNING] - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-03-2016, 07:25 PM
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Can't lose weight ;-( HELP [TRIGGER WARNING]

Hi.
My name is Paul
I was a Vegetarian for 17 years.
I've now been (basically) Vegan for about 6 years.
I'm 53 and a competitive road cyclist. I'm 180cm and slim.

For hilly races the less weight I carry - the faster I go + I hate having a small gut.

I ride most days - from say 20kms to 108kms

I have recorded the food I eat each day for about 8 years.
Daily this is almost always what I eat -
1 banana for breakfast
If I ride I have about 4 scoops of sports drink powder / hour and if I ride say 2 hours I'll have a muesli bar.
Lunch - 1/2 can baked beans and the rest of the bowl of boiled mixed vegetables.
Dinner - same as lunch.

Sometimes I'll have another piece of fruit or muesli bar during the day.

That's it.

My weight is currently just on 70kgs.
I just can't get it lower.
It sounds pathetic but losing 2kgs would make a big difference.

Please don't say eat heaps more because my body is in starvation mode. I have tried that and - yep, I just end up weighing more.

This will play a big part;
I have cronic Insomnia - for the last 13 years.
Its now not helping but I take 5 25mg capsules of Quetapel a night.

Any good ideas?
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#2 Old 02-03-2016, 08:06 PM
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Paul, at your height of 180 cm and weight of 70 kg, your BMI is 21.6: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educ.../BMI/bmi-m.htm

This is considered a very healthy weight.

This forum does not serve to help people lose weight unless they are overweight.

On your non-ride days, it looks like you're only eating about 1100 calories per day. A banana is about 100 calories. One-half can of baked beans is about 400 calories. A bowl of boiled vegetables is probably 100 calories, at most.

1100 calories per day is dangerously low. Even on days that you don't ride, you should be eating about 2100 calories per day in order to maintain your energy and health: http://caloriecontrol.org/healthy-we...nt-calculator/

Please read this article: http://www.bicycling.com/food/thin-man

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/

Last edited by David3; 02-03-2016 at 08:19 PM.
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#3 Old 02-03-2016, 08:42 PM
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Hi David.
Thanks for your reply.
BMI – I don’t think it’s a good guage of someone’s health or not. It’s a very imprecise tool. Here in NZ we have top level rugby players who would be considered overweight according to the BMI but really – they’re mostly muscle and are very fit.
I have very slim bones so could weigh less and still be healthy according to BMI charts.
Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nebali is 1 cm taller than me and when racing weights 66kgs.
“This forum does not serve to help people lose weight unless they are overweight.” This needs to be put as a proviso header.
I do consume very few calories but there are many people who eat much more who don’t have the good balance of nutrients my meals have. As I said above – if I ate more calories I would gain weight. I’ve got up to 80kgs (most ever) and felt fat, had less breath capacity etc – just for doing normal things let alone riding fast.
Interesting comment in the Bicycling article “Dale Smith, a 52-year-old Austin, Texas, rider who raced for more than a decade and continues to ride hard eight years later. Smith recently dropped the five pounds he'd gained since he stopped racing—and then some—by following a low-fat vegan diet. Does he have an eating disorder? Unlikely. "I just kicked it up a notch and I feel great," he says.
To feel better he lost weight and ate a “low-fat vegan diet.”
I feel better at 67/68kgs.
I’d like to know what to change to get there.
Paul.
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#4 Old 02-03-2016, 10:02 PM
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Paul,

I'm trying to shock some reality into you. 1100 calories per day is not healthy, regardless of how many vitamins and minerals you pack into that 1100 calories.

See my post above. Look at the website with the calorie recommendation calculator. You need to be eating about 2100 calories per day on your non-ride days, and you are eating way less than that.

Please see a physician. Ask them to refer you to a Registered Dietitian who specializes in eating disorders.

_________

Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#5 Old 02-03-2016, 10:09 PM
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I don't mean to sound rude but as a fellow vegan who uses a bike for my only transport how do you bike around eating so little? My bmi is technically underweight because I have really thin bones from my 4'9" mother. I stay lean just by eating mostly whole foods low fat high carb. Starches for my base with lots of vegetables and fruit.

Typically, large amounts of
Rice(white or brown)
Potatoes(any variety including sweet potatoes)
Bananas
Mandarins
Apples
Lentils
Black beans
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Mushrooms
Carrots
Peppers
Avocado
Peanutbutter
Ezekial bread.

Relying mostly on the starches for my calories. I eat over 3000 calories often. I actually leaned out after switching to this. I've always been slim, but most of my body fat is gone. Eating so little all the time is probably why you gain weight every time you eat closer to a normal amount cause you starve your body, and run off sports drink powder.
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#6 Old 02-04-2016, 04:12 AM
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You have several factors that are probably making it harder for you to lose weight.

1. Your body is happy where it is and is holding on to every calorie because going lower is unnatural for you.

2. Your age

In order to go lower, you'd have to go to a greater extreme in some regard, whether it be eating less or physically working harder or some other drastic measure like fasting to keep pushing the weight loss. Trust me on this. I got to a very low weight (bmi under 15) for a long period of time when I was 40-41 years old (and also when I was 35-37) but the only way to get my weight down from a healthier weight like yours to lower was to to do something extreme, and my body fought me every step of the way because it was not natural for me. I had to continuously work hard at it to stay there and could never take a break. Even one day of eating more would cause me to regain weight because my body became used to eating less and my metabolism was lowered not only from being middle aged, in surgical menopause, and having hypothyroidism but from under eating long term. I would eat a very similar calorie amount as you, even slightly more, but exercise several hours intensively each day as well. When that stopped working the fasting started. Because I pushed my body (like you are doing) on so few calories for so long, I lost a tremendous amount of bone density (I have had several DEXA scans done over the years due to being in an unnatural menopausal state and already have osteoporosis, and it was an eye opener to see how weight loss and starving myself long term affected my bones as I was far smaller and eating less on my last DEXA scan than my first years ago and there was a significant decline in my bone density). I also began to have heart issues, as my body was beginning to consume heart muscle tissue because I was not providing it enough fuel. I didn't notice these things on a daily basis because I was so focused on exercising, dieting, work etc. I felt fine, did all the things everyone else does, but silently my body was a mess.

You absolutely have to give your body the fuel it needs when exercising that hard, or you will pay the price later (or sooner). I am surprised you haven't suffered strains and injuries. That was a norm for me. I will admit (as a cyclist myself but more the mountain bike off-trail variety), I loved how light I felt and how much easier it was to climb hills when I was so tiny, but having to sit out due to a pelvic stress fracture, and Achilles tendinitis (I also pushed my body with running), and constant shoulder strains from lifting weights when I was starving myself and a lower weight was not fun and hurt my "performance". I had to sit out when the injuries made it literally impossible to exercise the way I wanted (and I still exercised with injuries and wearing wraps and splints until the pelvic fracture forced me to stop for a short period), and guess what that means? weight gain or more drastic measures.

So if you want to lose a few more lbs at your age and when you are already slim, and find it harder to do than others, be willing and prepared to make sacrifices, and accept the consequences. I say this as someone who would love to lose five lbs myself as i struggle to like my body where it is now. I work very hard but there are people who "look" thinner than I do at normal weights because they carry it differently, or they are younger and it's easier for them to burn off fat. Sometimes I "forget" what it was like to eat so little and work so hard and all the injuries, the fatigue, the obsessions with food and body weight as my weight got lower. It's easy to forget that stuff and only remember how good I felt in tiny clothes or how much lighter I felt cycling or running. I am so much stronger now, I carry more muscle (which also burns more fat by the way), I can put my younger slimmer self to shame with what I can do now. Weight isn't everything, and not the only way to make yourself faster.

I'm not sure if you have ever read the book "Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life " by Brendan Brazier. He is a distance athlete and ironman competitor. His style of nutrient dense eating has worked very well for himself and other athletes. It's something to consider. He probably eats triple what you do and is in pretty excellent shape.
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#7 Old 02-04-2016, 04:47 AM
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I'll echo what the others have said: you're already at a healthy weight, you're not eating enough, and any further weight loss would be detrimental to your health. It wouldn't be morally responsible to encourage you to drop even more weight at this point.
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#8 Old 02-04-2016, 06:01 AM
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Hi Paul

I'm going to make myself unpopular with the following .... and I'm probably going to get a bit evangelical about eating properly.

I live with a keen cyclist (he's a bit taller than you - 183cm and a couple of years younger) and when he's at peak racing weight he's probably just under 70kg. Yes people - I know that's very very skinny at that height but it's only for a brief period during the summer, because it's the racing weight not his normal (training) weight. Every year around April I start the big diet for him (i.e. all junk foods are out and I ban him from microwave meals - because this type of endurance exercise needs feeding)- and I read up on racing nutrition. A couple of years ago he did the Haute Route, I know how important every kilo is when you're racing and also how important it is to eat.

The big difference between the two of you is that he eats approximately 3x to 4x what you are eating and he still looses weight. He's loosing weight while eating pretty much everything in sight (frequently stealing my food from my plate while I'm eating) - because of the amount of exercise that he's doing. I think you're stressing your body too much and it's in a sort of protest mode. You will never lose weight eating as you do now - because your body is trying to survive. Forcing your body into ketosis is not a healthy way to loose weight. At this level of exercise you should be aiming to lose weight through calories out rather than restricting calories in.

The Book Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald covers why you need to eat more rather than less. (Not a vegan book but very interesting for any endurance athlete)

You will absolutely gain weight when you start eating more but that will even out. Use these winter months before the racing season to get the diet right. Right now you're not getting the right nutrients to sustain this type of exercise. Baked beans - that's the only protein I can see - is not enough. You need to start eating a much wider variety of beans (not in gunky sweet tomato sauce) and add some tofu or quinoa for extra protein. I cannot see where you are getting enough protein to build lean muscle - your body must be in torment! Where are the carbs? You need loads of carbs to fuel your engine. Also the protein shakes - they are not a full substitute for actual food.

Please, please for the sake of your body try the following as a starter and then make an appointment with a nutritionist who specialises in sports nutrition (pm me if you're near southwest london I have an excellent recommendation she's helped the beloved with his sports nutrition)!

Breakfast - Bowl of porridge (made with oats & almond milk) with a chopped banana (this will give you a combo of slow and fast sugars for the morning)
Mid morning snack - fruit/soy yogurt (unsweetened) with chia seeds (protein!!)
Lunch - steamed veggies with beans (more protein - any type you want but not baked beans every day) add some nutritional yeast flakes (vitamin B6!) and some sort of grain (barley, brown rice etc.)
Mid afternoon snack - cereal bar (if you must - personally I'd go for one of the raw protein bars)
Dinner - Quinoa with steamed veggies or salad or roasted veggies. Have a banana for dessert

I realise this is not what you want to hear.
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#9 Old 02-04-2016, 08:10 AM
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Hi paul,
The first question that comes into my mind after reading your post is to wonder how you feel generally in life.
The high anxiety you seem to be expressing around food and around your physique make me wonder if there are other things in your life that may be making you feel not so great. Your post is not that of a happy man.
Maybe consider seeing a counsellor or somebody that can help you explore why you feel so anxious and unhappy about food and your body. If the problem and solution resides in another area in your life, then it might be worth exploring that, and not just looking for a solution in food/ getting thinner.
Maybe just increase your calories a little at a time so you don't scare yourself off. For example, add 100 calories extra every day this week, and when you see that your weight has not changed by the end of the week, add 100 calories more.
Your body is like every other human body on the planet- you need as much food as every other person does.
Take some time and try to work out why this is causing you so much distress- the answer possibly is more complex than just BMI and calories.
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#10 Old 02-04-2016, 03:10 PM
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Thanks Naturebound for you thoughtful answer.
It was interesting to read your story.
I also thank you for not jumping to condemn my lack of calories which for me has been a sustainable amount for years now.

I agree my age is a big factor as my metabolism has certainly slowed in the last 10 years or so.

I'll look up that book.

Paul
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#11 Old 02-04-2016, 03:16 PM
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Hi Singh Kaur
I don’t have “high anxiety” around food. I have a post about food / weight loss which doesn’t mean it’s the biggest bad issue in my life.
“wonder if there are other things in your life that may be making you feel not so great. Your post is not that of a happy man.” Please don’t impose thoughts of your own making on to me when you have no good reason to.
There is no good reason for me to increase my calories. I have been eating this amount for years. I have had blood tests done, I have enengy (I’m a completive road cyclist who trains most days and races at least once a week).
“Your body is like every other human body on the planet- you need as much food as every other person does.” This is rubbish. Every one is unique. Sure there are general guidelines – but that’s what they are “general”.
“Take some time and try to work out why this is causing you so much distress- the answer possibly is more complex than just BMI and calories. “ Again don’t speak into my life things you know nothing about.
Paul
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#12 Old 02-04-2016, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by no whey jose View Post
I'll echo what the others have said: you're already at a healthy weight, you're not eating enough, and any further weight loss would be detrimental to your health. It wouldn't be morally responsible to encourage you to drop even more weight at this point.
There is no good reason for me to increase my calories. I have been eating this amount for years. I have had blood tests done, I have enengy (I’m a completive road cyclist who trains most days and races at least once a week).
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#13 Old 02-04-2016, 03:21 PM
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Paul,

I'm trying to shock some reality into you. 1100 calories per day is not healthy, regardless of how many vitamins and minerals you pack into that 1100 calories.

See my post above. Look at the website with the calorie recommendation calculator. You need to be eating about 2100 calories per day on your non-ride days, and you are eating way less than that.

Please see a physician. Ask them to refer you to a Registered Dietitian who specializes in eating disorders.

David
- its the best answer I can come up with for the above.

Paul
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#14 Old 02-04-2016, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by VEGANCYCLIST View Post
David
- its the best answer I can come up with for the above.

Paul
I wouldn't roll my eyes if I were you. You are getting truthful answers from people who are taking time out of their day to help a stranger who is thin, not eating a balanced or adequate diet, but wants to lose a few pounds to bicycle faster...

We get a lot of questions here from people who have or have had eating disorders, so when we read about your food, activity level, size, and desire to lose a few kilos, alarm bells sound. You look fit and very slim in your photo.

Do you think it is at all peculiar to write down your daily food intake for eight years? I can't see how you can competitively cycle on what looks like 1000ish calories a day.

I wouldn't compare yourself with younger guys who win the Tour de France. (Plus many of them are taking unhealthy supplements like HGH.) I am 57 years old and an RN, so don't think I'm picking on your age, but neither will I sugarcoat things.

If you have shrunken in height, that will give you a little belly that isn't going anywhere, because your spine is where the bone shrinkage commonly occurs. (I would be concerned about bone density if you've lost more than a few cms in height, though.)

So, no advice from me about losing weight (that you want to hear, anyway). I would recommend eating a varied, colorful plant based diet of fruits, vegetables, pulses, and grains. And lots of it.

As the Allman Brothers would say, Eat A Peach! And good luck with your cycling!!

Last edited by LedBoots; 02-04-2016 at 06:14 PM.
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#15 Old 02-04-2016, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by VEGANCYCLIST View Post
Thanks Naturebound for you thoughtful answer.
It was interesting to read your story.
I also thank you for not jumping to condemn my lack of calories which for me has been a sustainable amount for years now.

I agree my age is a big factor as my metabolism has certainly slowed in the last 10 years or so.

I'll look up that book.

Paul

Hi Paul,

@Naturebound IS suggesting that you eat more. Please re-read her post.

I'm sorry if my post came across as a condemnation. If you talk more with some of the people here, you'll hear about the harm that calorie-restriction did to their bodies.
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Specific recommendations for a healthy diet include: eating more fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and grains; cutting down on salt, sugar and fats. It is also advisable to choose unsaturated fats, instead of saturated fats and towards the elimination of trans-fatty acids."
- United Nations' World Health Organization
http://www.who.int/topics/diet/en/
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#16 Old 02-05-2016, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by VEGANCYCLIST View Post
Hi Singh Kaur
I don’t have “high anxiety” around food. I have a post about food / weight loss which doesn’t mean it’s the biggest bad issue in my life.
“wonder if there are other things in your life that may be making you feel not so great. Your post is not that of a happy man.” Please don’t impose thoughts of your own making on to me when you have no good reason to.
There is no good reason for me to increase my calories. I have been eating this amount for years. I have had blood tests done, I have enengy (I’m a completive road cyclist who trains most days and races at least once a week).
“Your body is like every other human body on the planet- you need as much food as every other person does.” This is rubbish. Every one is unique. Sure there are general guidelines – but that’s what they are “general”.
“Take some time and try to work out why this is causing you so much distress- the answer possibly is more complex than just BMI and calories. “ Again don’t speak into my life things you know nothing about.
Paul
Why did you link to a 2009 thread with Singh Kaur's name?
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#17 Old 02-05-2016, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by VEGANCYCLIST View Post
There is no good reason for me to increase my calories. I have been eating this amount for years. I have had blood tests done, I have enengy (I’m a completive road cyclist who trains most days and races at least once a week).
Paul
If you have been eating like this for many years and you are not seeing any different results perhaps it's time to change things. Your way is not shifting the weight.

If you are training most days and you are racing more than once a week you are putting your body under a huge amount of strain for any age. What sort of races are you doing? My concern is that part of your problem here is that you are not allowing enough recovery time for your age - as we age we all need to take a bit more care of ourselves lest we damage something crucial. What sort of training are you doing? Is it all cycling? Are you cross training? Also have you considered Yoga (I know an odd one but it does wonders for core stability and keeps those hamstrings from seizing up)?
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#18 Old 02-28-2016, 08:54 PM
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Paul
If you have been eating like this for many years and you are not seeing any different results perhaps it's time to change things. Your way is not shifting the weight.

If you are training most days and you are racing more than once a week you are putting your body under a huge amount of strain for any age. What sort of races are you doing? My concern is that part of your problem here is that you are not allowing enough recovery time for your age - as we age we all need to take a bit more care of ourselves lest we damage something crucial. What sort of training are you doing? Is it all cycling? Are you cross training? Also have you considered Yoga (I know an odd one but it does wonders for core stability and keeps those hamstrings from seizing up)?

Hi.
Thanks for your reply.
At the moment I'm only racing once a week and its only a 42kms group TT. The other club I've raced with previously has started the season and I'll probably race with them (up to 80kms) and also do the occasional 'fun' race.
I only do cycling training and a couple of other exercises each day (walking backwards for 3 mins and hanging from a roof bar for stability / an old back injury).

I don't train on Wednesdays or Thursdays so I come to the Thursday night TT feeling fresh - which I do.

I should be doing a range of weight exercises but my gear is in a very full garage!

How do you think I could change my diet?

Regards, Paul
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#19 Old 02-28-2016, 08:55 PM
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The Allman Brothers got Eric Clapton into drugs!

Paul
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#20 Old 02-28-2016, 08:56 PM
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"calorie-restriction" isn't much of a problem but nutrient restriction is.

Paul
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#21 Old 02-28-2016, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by VEGANCYCLIST View Post
The Allman Brothers got Eric Clapton into drugs!

Paul
This is what you took out of my post? I was saying "Eat a Peach" to lighten the mood.

You seem to be ignoring all the posts that tell you that you are not eating enough food. You are thin, yet want to lose weight.

You are not eating enough food.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/42...k-of-calories/
"A calorie is a term for the energy content of food, with most people needing between 1,000 and 2,000 calories every day for breathing, heart function, kidney function, cell metabolism and muscle activity. The calories you consume fall into one of two groups, those you need to stay alive and those needed for physical activity. The first group makes up your basal metabolic rate, or BMR, and varies according to your gender, age, height and weight. To determine your BMR, multiply your ideal body weight by 10, meaning that a woman weighting 150 lbs. would need 1,500 calories per day. Add 200 to 400 calories per hour of exercise, depending upon intensity."

Last edited by LedBoots; 02-28-2016 at 10:32 PM.
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#22 Old 02-28-2016, 10:36 PM
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#23 Old 02-29-2016, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by VEGANCYCLIST View Post
Hi.
Thanks for your reply.
At the moment I'm only racing once a week and its only a 42kms group TT. The other club I've raced with previously has started the season and I'll probably race with them (up to 80kms) and also do the occasional 'fun' race.
I only do cycling training and a couple of other exercises each day (walking backwards for 3 mins and hanging from a roof bar for stability / an old back injury).

I don't train on Wednesdays or Thursdays so I come to the Thursday night TT feeling fresh - which I do.

I should be doing a range of weight exercises but my gear is in a very full garage!

How do you think I could change my diet?

Regards, Paul
Hi Paul

If you scroll up there's a longer answer from me on diet whilst cycle training.

My main concern when I read your diet can be summed up with - not enough protein & carbs. I just can't see where you're getting the building blocks for muscles and where you're getting enough fuel to power your exercise.
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#24 Old 02-29-2016, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by VEGANCYCLIST View Post
Hi.
Thanks for your reply.
At the moment I'm only racing once a week and its only a 42kms group TT. The other club I've raced with previously has started the season and I'll probably race with them (up to 80kms) and also do the occasional 'fun' race.
I only do cycling training and a couple of other exercises each day (walking backwards for 3 mins and hanging from a roof bar for stability / an old back injury).

I don't train on Wednesdays or Thursdays so I come to the Thursday night TT feeling fresh - which I do.

I should be doing a range of weight exercises but my gear is in a very full garage!

How do you think I could change my diet?

Regards, Paul
I'm confused because in your original post and a later one, you described riding daily for many kms.
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