Reaching and Maintaining That Riding Weight

Guest poster Don Blount is back, with an item on getting back to his best weight — and staying there.

BlountOnBikingFor some, it may not be their thing to weigh, measure or tally just about everything they eat and drink.

But it works for me.

This system has helped me lose weight and keep it off for nearly two years.

And this philosophy has become more than a “diet” or “eating plan,” it has become part of my lifestyle. It works with my personality.

I watch what I eat, schedule my exercise and as a result I am able to maintain the weight that I want.

This was my Thursday dinner: chicken, green beans and red potatoes
This was my Thursday dinner: chicken, green beans and red potatoes

I have written previously about my weight loss, counting calories, etc.

I learned that for me to maintain a good cycling weight and a better weight overall than the 196 pounds I carried a few years ago that I need accountability.

It is not enough for me to go: “Oh, I will eat smaller portions and exercise more.” I need something to tell me what a portion size is and how much exercise I have done.

On most days for lunch I will take a salad. This has chicken, carrots and cheese in addition to lettuce and a balsamic vinegar/extra virgin olive oil dressing.
On most days for lunch I will take a salad. This has chicken, carrots and cheese in addition to lettuce and a balsamic vinegar/extra virgin olive oil dressing.

I learned that I cannot maintain a proper weight solely through diet or solely through exercise; that I need a combination of the two.

I learned that it is difficult for me to eat solely 1,750 calories a day I find that a normal day’s intake for me is about 2,600 calories. A normal day of movement for me – exercise, walking and the like – burns about 900 calories, which reduces my net calorie intake to that 1,750 range. And it also means the proper combination of protein, fat, carbs, etc. but that’s a topic for another post.

After the work is done, I have my day's meals prepared: lunch, dinner and snacks.
After the work is done, I have my day’s meals prepared: lunch, dinner and snacks.

Going into hip replacement surgery I knew that the level and intensity of my exercise would be greatly restricted, by my standards I basically sat for five weeks, and I expected to gain at least a few pounds. And have gained about five pounds.

Still, I am not sweating that weight gain, at least not yet, as I become more active I expect to get back to my normal riding weight.

 

Why I Bike

Maybe you’ve already seen this one. If so, my apologies. But I thought it nicely summed up why I bike. (Or why I like to think I bike.)

Noob Mistake: Not Replenishing Protein

There’s a plethora of material out there, both online and in print, about nutrition and exercise. For the most part, I have ignored it. That’s because I’m a procrastinator. I just don’t get around to reading up on stuff I know I should be up on.

Take tiredness after long rides. It’s a particular problem for me, one I’ve written about before. I just could never figure out why, after a couple of hours in the saddle, I would crash on my bed for a long nap. Those naps were more trouble than they were worth, because they threw off my sleep schedule for the next 24 hours, and I had a lot of trouble readjusting my internal clock.

My routine after a long ride is to settle in at a coffee shop or restaurant or even the living room at home, and have a large drink of something. Usually, it’s iced tea. That takes care of the liquids I lose on a ride through sweating, but doesn’t do much to refuel my body.

I remember riding once with an acquaintance — an experienced cyclist — who couldn’t wait to get some food after we’d finished the ride. “I have to have some protein within a half hour of the ride,” he said. I chalked it up to his personal idiosyncrasy.

Turns out, he was right on the money.

When you take a long bike ride, you’re using up branched chain amino acids. When these essential nutrients are depleted, that leads to the doubling of tryptophan, another amino acid. Once it’s in the brain, tryptophan converts to serotonin, which makes us drowsy.

That drowsiness can set in during the ride itself, as fatigue. If you overtrain, you’ve probably experienced it. But if you maintain adequate levels of branched chain amino acids, you should be able to ward off fatigue. So as my friend does, try to get some quality protein into your system immediately after a ride.

Where do you find quality proteins? Meat, dairy products, and legumes. That might be why cyclists are adopting chocolate milk as a recovery drink.

Today, after two and a half hours riding over rolling hills, I whipped up a ham sandwich right after getting out of the shower. Sure enough, although I felt my eyes get a little heavy while sitting in my chair watching football, I soon snapped out of it. Any other day, minus the sandwich, I would have been crashed on my bed.

It’s a simple solution, but one I’ve bypassed for far too long. I guess I’m still a noob.