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Upper body muscle loss

labarumlabarum Posts: 110
Three years ago I lost over 4 stone doing Atkins and I still maintain quite a low carb diet. > 18.5stone to <14.5stone. Height 6ft3in. Male. Present age almost 58. I took up cycling after a gap of over 30 years, and now ride for an hour a day in fairly hilly country on a custom made Robin Mather Audax.

My legs are fine, all the remaining podge is round my middle (44" waist down to 38", but should be 36" or less), but shoulders are quite bony and arms slender. I wonder if I have lost too much muscle from my upper body? Such a loss will not help me lose the last half stone or so - been stuck at my present weight for two years!

Cycling can't do much for the arms and shoulders, but how much of a workout does the torso get? Balancing on the bike much give the core muscles some tone. I ought to go swimming (Breast stroke is my style), but its time and timing. I have access to a small gym at work with those machines which I hate. Have I no alternative? Perhaps a stolen 20 minutes three times a week on a rowing machine? Would that refresh those parts the Audax bike don't reach?

So two questions. How much is cycling contributing to torso and upper body muscle mass and tone? What recommendations can any of you make for getting rid of the belly? I don't want the muscular look, and I don't necessarily want the six pack. I just want to be as slender and healthy as possible. I retire age 60 in a couple of years on a very handsome Army pension, and intend that you good people should pay it to me for a very long time!

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  • vernonlevyvernonlevy Posts: 969
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Labarum</i>

    Three years ago I lost over 4 stone doing Atkins and I still maintain quite a low carb diet. > 18.5stone to <14.5stone. Height 6ft3in. Male. Present age almost 58. I took up cycling after a gap of over 30 years, and now ride for an hour a day in fairly hilly country on a custom made Robin Mather Audax.

    My legs are fine, all the remaining podge is round my middle (44" waist down to 38", but should be 36" or less), but shoulders are quite bony and arms slender. I wonder if I have lost too much muscle from my upper body? Such a loss will not help me lose the last half stone or so - been stuck at my present weight for two years!

    Cycling can't do much for the arms and shoulders, but how much of a workout does the torso get? Balancing on the bike much give the core muscles some tone. I ought to go swimming (Breast stroke is my style), but its time and timing. I have access to a small gym at work with those machines which I hate. Have I no alternative? Perhaps a stolen 20 minutes three times a week on a rowing machine? Would that refresh those parts the Audax bike don't reach?

    So two questions. How much is cycling contributing to torso and upper body muscle mass and tone? What recommendations can any of you make for getting rid of the belly? I don't want the muscular look, and I don't necessarily want the six pack. I just want to be as slender and healthy as possible. I retire age 60 in a couple of years on a very handsome Army pension, and intend that you good people should pay it to me for a very long time!
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    You might consider mountain biking if you want upper body work outs on a bike else it's the gym....
  • piedwagtail91piedwagtail91 Posts: 781
    i would think the rowing machine if used corectly would keep your upper body toned , as much as you want it anyhow, though it can be more boring than using the gym machines and may not give the more balanced results of the weights. you don't say how much you eat, but if you're snacking as well as eating normal meals try drinking low calorie pop of some sort (pepsi max) when you feel peckish. this will give you the feeling of being "full" without the calories.it works.
  • labarumlabarum Posts: 110
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by piedwagtail91</i>

    you don't say how much you eat
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    About 2000 Kcals/day - sometimes up to 2500 - monitored from time to time with www.fitday.com

    I have wondered if that is not enough for my activity level and height, and if that explains the stalled weight loss. (And the possible muscle loss on the upper body.)

    I eat nothing sweet at all. No sugar and no simple carbs. Not a potato or a piece of wheat bread in three years. I do eat oats (porridge) and rye bread - pumpernickel.

    My diet is cleanly cooked meat, poultry and fish, eggs, olive oil, yoghurt and quark, mountains of green vegetables and salads, small quantities of unsalted nuts, linseed, lots of berries and low GI fruit.

    I drink lots of water, green and light black tea, caffeine free diet cola. I never ever drink alcohol.

    Treats. Lindt 70% Dark Chocolate, Moevenpick Vanilla Ice Cream, Dried Figs and Mejadul (spelling?) dates. (O how I love those!)

    This is the "unhealthy" Atkins Diet that gets so much bad press!

    But can I get rid of the last 10 lbs and the belly? No!
  • I know it sounds obvious but if you want to build muscle do some strength training! Buy a dumbell set and do it at home. 2/3 sets of 8-12 reps three times a week, do a little research and make sure you work every upper body muscle group, you should be struggling by the last rep. And make sure you eat enough protein.
  • johnnyscpjohnnyscp Posts: 34
    Yoga.

    ________________________

    I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. See, my mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughing at him.
    ________________________

    I don\'t think it\'s nice, you laughin\'. See, my elephant don\'t like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you\'re laughing at him.
  • labarumlabarum Posts: 110
    <i>Originally posted by johnnys</i>

    Yoga.

    Is that something like Yoghurt?

    [:D]
  • labarumlabarum Posts: 110
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by rede</i>

    Make sure you eat enough protein.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Eat lots of that!
  • johnnyscpjohnnyscp Posts: 34
    yeah like yoghurt only the view tends to be better

    ________________________

    I don't think it's nice, you laughin'. See, my mule don't like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you're laughing at him.
    ________________________

    I don\'t think it\'s nice, you laughin\'. See, my elephant don\'t like people laughing. He gets the crazy idea you\'re laughing at him.
  • andrewgturnbullandrewgturnbull Posts: 3,861
    Hi there.

    I hate to burst your bubble... but if you've lost 4 stone recently, then it's highly likely that the bulk you've lost from your upper body was mostly fat, and not muscle. Ask yourself this: Do you feel weaker, and are suddenly struggling to open a paper bag, or do you just look less bulked up?

    However, as you move past middle-age it is recognised that muscle wastage does occur naturally. The response to this is to do some strength training - nothing drastic, just a few arm curls and fly presses with a weight you could easily complete a sets of 12 reps with.

    There is definatley an element of use-it or lose-it for your muscles as you age, but it doesn't dissappear over night.

    Cheers, Andy

    ps Congrats on your weight loss - and welcome back to the cycling fold!

    http://www.stirlingtri.co.uk
  • labarumlabarum Posts: 110
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by andrewgturnbull</i>
    I hate to burst your bubble...
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    OK. No bubble to burst. I am entirely happy with my arms and shoulders. I have never been fitter or stronger; but as I said, I don't want to look like a body builder, not do I necessarily want to see my abs. Having completely re-educated myself on how to eat, I have this ambition to have an entirely flat abdomen for the first time in my life. No health problems remain, it's entirely vanity, but it would give me some satisfaction to have the figure at 60 that I didn't have when I was 16. I was always overweight, but I am now confident that if I could (even at 58) loose the extra few pounds I could keep myself there and continue to enjoy the healthy diet I now eat.

    My concern was that I might have been starving myself and loosing muscle rather than fat. Maybe my only way forward is to convert that fat to muscle and end up trimmer at the same weight. I am just thrashing around for a way to complete the project begun three years ago, but they do say the last few pounds are the hardest, and my age cannot help.
  • Unfortunately converting fat to muscle is impossible. That's one of the main reasons many people do badly in the gym, they are trying to lose fat and build muscle at the same time when they should concentrate on one or the other.

    The best way to build your upper body is resistance exercises like weights. Cycling won't really do anything.
  • Rich HcpRich Hcp Posts: 1,355
    Swimming?

    Front crawl, that will help.

    Don't do breast stroke, it hurts the back

    Richard

    Best thing I ever bought for a bike?
    Padded shorts![:D]
    Richard

    Giving it Large
  • lloyd_bowerlloyd_bower Posts: 664
    Pilates is supposed to be good for core body strength
  • popettepopette Posts: 2,089
    Hiya, As lloyd bower says, pilates is good for core strength - I follow a DVD when I do my pilates stuff. I also like doing exercises on a gym ball - the instability makes your core work harder. I've read your mid-section strength can deteriorate through cycling alone so have been doing extra pilates and other core work to make up for it.
    I think press-ups are a great exercise for the upper body and always stick a few of them onto my pilates work. If you do a narrow pressup, it's good for your tricpes. If you did a set of press ups, bent over rows for your back, and some shoulder presses and upright rows, that would be a good start to building a bit of muscle up top. If you want to build muscle, it has to be with a weight heavy enough so that by the end of your set, you can feel it hard. Go slow & keep good form though.
    You've done really well to lose 4 stone and your regime is very disciplined (no alcohol - phew!) but do you really need to lose any more weight? My husband is 6ft 3in and 17 stone and looks perfect to me. I'm not personally a fan of Atkins as I couldn't live without carbs and everything I read about cycling nutrition says that carbs should form the bulk of the diet, but its obviously worked for you. Congratulations!!!
  • I'n naturally fairly slender, but cycling still causes me to lose upper body muscle mass. I dont have the genetics to ever have an impressive muscular torso, but have found that doing at least some resistance training helps my upper body shape and posture. Your bod will do the most work on recovery where youve exerted yourself the most, so if your upper body (muscles) isnt being stressed, it'll be ignored to concentrate on recovery where needed. You might find that simply doing even some light work will pull your stomach in if youre not doing any at the moment.

    Even if youre not trying to change your appearance, doing some kind of exercise involving resistance (even lugging compost bags round the garden)goes a long way to maintaining bone strength in older people.

    The only prob might be that the more time/energy you devote to weights to balance out your physique, may cost in performance, or the amount of time you spend cycling, as recovery is VERY important and slows as you get older. Im only 44 and have already found that out!

    I thought I saw your name on a loaf of bread this morning, but when I looked again it said thick cut

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • When you were fat, where was the fat you were carrying around?

    You may be like me, I was well over 16 stone, now down to 11 stone 8, but because I used have such a blubbery belly it knackered the skin so no matter when I do now I will still be carrying around a little paunch of flabby skin that doesnt seem to be connected to the muscle very well so doesnt hold in. Surgery is probably the only real solution if your just worried for vanities sake.

    For toning the upper body, as others have said, free weights will be your best option. I always found machines boring too, but since switching to free weights I have found things a lot more interesting, I think removing the support of the machine makes you appreaciate the difficulty far more.

    One last thing you could possibly try is changing your diet and I speak fully from personal experience and not any actual scientific viewpoint, but I think the body adapts to any diet over a few years and does perfectly well with it, to lose the weight I had to change things every now and again.
  • labarumlabarum Posts: 110
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by popette</i>though.
    You've done really well to lose 4 stone and your regime is very disciplined (no alcohol - phew!) but do you really need to lose any more weight? My husband is 6ft 3in and 17 stone and looks perfect to me.
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    No alcohol is no problem for me - I find the stuff distasteful, disgusting and highly offensive - I have the same opinion of cheese.

    I used to kid myself I had a large frame - not true - the wrist test makes me only just medium. I am at the top acceptable weight now - BMI = 25

    What fat I have left is all on my belly - they say it's the last to go.

    I did Atkins under medical direction, and I did it "by the book", but I am coming to the conclusion its principles only work for the obese, and I am now only just "overweight". I am going to up my carbs and reduce my fat, but slowly or I will be ill. I am confident if I can loose those few extra pounds to flatten my abdomen, I can maintain the lower weight indefinitely.

    This is an interesting sight for setting your goal weight:

    http://www.halls.md/ideal-weight/body.htm
  • Something I never thought of in my last post, but if youre getting a large percentage of your calories from fat rather than carbs, then your body might be concentrating on storing this rather than glycogen?


    I thought I saw your name on a loaf of bread this morning, but when I looked again it said thick cut

    Jam butties, officially endorsed by the Diddymen Olympic Squad
  • labarumlabarum Posts: 110
    I am experimenting with lowering the fat % and raising the carbs. I will have to do it slowly or I will be ill. Some have found that Atkins fails as you cease to be obese - and I have plateaued at BMI=25 for a very long time.
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