Riding Away the Weight
Cycling is a sport focused on weight, whether that weight lives on the bike or on the rider, any excess will impede forward (and upward) progress. We have talked about the best ways to lighten up the bike, primarily with lighter wheels, but now the attention is turned to slimming down the organic bit between the wheels: the rider!
One of the most important aspects to losing weight in cycling is establishing what your “race weight” should be and then developing a plan to lose it. Losses that are too large, too fast will lead to decreased performance on the bike and sluggishness throughout the day. Conversely, progress that is too slow will impede your plans for the rest of the season and may cause you to lose motivation. So, we will focus on a plan to help both enthusiasts and veterans alike shed pounds without sacrificing performance or energy.
Once you have figured out your ideal race weight, you need to decide what time-frame you wish to lose that weight in. Divide the number of pounds you wish to lose by the number of weeks you want it gone by, if that number is more than 2 pounds per week then you should lengthen your timeframe. Any more and you will suffer consequences of decreased energy, poor performance on the bike, as well as (long-term) decreased desire to lose weight.
LSD: Riding, not the Drug:
A type of ride that is frequently used to shed unwanted pounds in the professional ranks, generally from mid-winter pastry binges, is called Long Slow Distance (LSD) Rides. This type of ride is one completed, traditionally, before breakfast and will last anywhere between 1 and 3 hours depending on the ability level of the rider. These rides are incredibly low intensity (active recovery type wattage or heart rate) as they are intended to be fueled by the slow burning fat molecules instead of the fast burning glycogen.
Stave Off Starvation:
One of the techniques I have used to drop weight before involves the universal solvent: water, and lots of it. Though this is not one of the best techniques, as it is basically just tricking one’s body into starving itself, drinking large amounts of water will curb your appetite by keeping your stomach exceedingly full. When really trying to lose weight I would down well over a gallon of water a day, but that number will be different for everyone. This is because body mass, temperature, and local humidity all play into proper hydration. Secondary benefits, on top of minimizing appetite, of proper hydration are increased fat metabolism, improved brain function, and also decreased toxin levels.
Pick up a Scale:
Though the act of procuring a scale will not immediately cause you to lose weight, using it to track your progress will help you shed those pounds more consistently. It is important to remember that your weight will vary throughout the day. As a result you must weigh yourself at the same time every day, to get a more accurate measure of your actual progress. Again, losing more than a couple pounds per week is not advised, as it may have negative repercussions on your health. However, do not be alarmed if you see large changes over the course of a week, this is because your weight may fluctuate over 5 pounds depending on your hydration level, amount of stress, and training regimen.
The most important thing to remember when attempting to lose weight is to not get discouraged if you do not see the progress you expected. The process of cutting weight (through burning only excess fat) is a relatively dramatic change for the body to undertake and as a result it should be expected that it will take some time. So, enjoy the process of self-improvement and set aside a little time to shop for a wardrobe of slightly smaller clothes!