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Is it unhealthy to be too light

tommy_tommytommy_tommy Posts: 91
I changed my training over this winter from low intensity moderate mileage to higher intensity with lower mileage. I also improved my diet by reducing my carb intake and increasing my protein/fruit/veg intake. I use to eat about 3 or 4 bowls of meusli, jacket potatoes, and various cerial bars all day long. I have now replaced these carbs with low fat protein sources, fruit and veg. I tend to use carbs only whilst I train and immediately after training.

As a result, I have gradually lost weight since the end of last season. I raced for the last ten years at around 10st 12lbs but now weight in at 10 st 3lb at 5ft 10. I am feel fine in myself and cant wait to start racing as I riding and climbing really well. However, a few people have commented that I look too thin and that I should put weight back on. According the BMI charts I am classed as underweight. My weight has remained at this level for the last 3 months and I do not intend to lose more weight. However, these comments have made me consider if it healthy to be so thin? Are any riders here consider underweight compared to the general population?

Posts

  • BMI is a load of bollocks, if you're happy with the loss of weight and the resulting performance changes then screw them. Most riders are considered underweight, and their top halfs are very thin, there's a picture of a roadie without his shirt, cannot remember who, but he looks like a heroin addict...
  • BMI is tosh. At the hight of his career Jonah Lomu (sp) The New Zealand rugby player had a BMI in the low thirties (Fat censored ) I think not, fit as f**k I would say.


    Need I say more. :!: :!:
    Tail end Charlie

    The above post may contain traces of sarcasm or/and bullsh*t.
  • It's not unheard of for cyclists in their prime to die from heart attacks. being underweight can be as dangerous as being overweight.

    See a Doc and get your BP etc. checked just to be safe.
  • mclarentmclarent Posts: 784
    I also remember reading something about osteoparosis in cyclists - maybe in relation to Boardman? - due to being underweight. Also being "malnourished" can reduce low energy levels, can lead to emotional / psychological difficulties. Other things that might come up would be a reduced efficiency in your immune system and an increased risk of anemia

    I wouldn't worry about it too much, sounds like you're fine with it. Maybe see how you do during the season? One season ain't going to kill you! Hopefully! Certainly worth checking with a doctor if you notice any side-effects or are at all concerned.
    "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not: I dropped him on the climb up to the motorway bridge'."
    - eccolafilosofiadelpedale
  • phreakphreak Posts: 2,163
    It does sound on the thin side. I'm less than a stone lighter than you but am only 5'5". I think considering none of us are pro cyclists that it's important to be healthy first and foremost.
  • manick0de wrote:
    It's not unheard of for cyclists in their prime to die from heart attacks. being underweight can be as dangerous as being overweight.

    See a Doc and get your BP etc. checked just to be safe.

    This kind of thing only really happens with a serious amount of riding. Unless your on the bike all day everyday you should be fine.
  • andy_wrxandy_wrx Posts: 3,396
    If you want to see what being really underweight is, watch "supersize vs superskinny" on C4, one night midweek (Tues, Weds ?)
    - they have people on their with BMI's of 16, and conversely 35+

    If you look like that, eat that sort of diet, then you have a problem...
  • As long as you're not malnourished you have nothing to worry about. 10.3 at 5.10 isn't extreme.
  • Jonah Lomu wasn't very healthy: he had kidney disease resulting in failure
    and a transplant, cuttng short his career.
  • Thanks for the replies. Most of my non cycling friends and family tell me that I should eat "normal" food. That is fried foods, takeaways, chips and processed foods. I think they perceive anyone who eats anything other than this as quite strange. They also find it odd that some would choose to push themselves so hard on a bike for no apparent reason. Anyway, my daily diet is as follows:

    6.00 am
    1 haddock or 4 eggs scrambled, spinach, broccoli
    1/2 water melon
    1 peach
    Coffee

    10.30
    Handfull mixed nuts, grapes, kiwi fruit with Honey
    2 boiled eggs
    Apple
    Pear

    12.00
    1 chicken breast
    1 banana
    1 apple
    Handfull mixed nuts

    3.00
    750Ml H5 energy
    Peach
    Banana

    5.00
    Train 750ml H5 energy per hour training

    6.30
    Salmon Fillets, Spinach, brocooli, carrots
    Strawberies, kiwi fruit with honey

    I have found my energy levels improve greatly after a few weeks following this diet, I have also found my concentration levels improve during the day. My body fat levels and muscle definition also improved. However, this may also have been a result of the switch to high intensity training around FTP. The downside of this diet is that it costs a fortune. I am looking to replace some of the protein based meals with a whey protein. Is this diet a bit extreme?
  • What has Jonah Lomu got to do with this topic? He was a rugby player and hardly a stick insect!
  • I have found my energy levels improve greatly after a few weeks following this diet, I have also found my concentration levels improve during the day.

    I think you have answered your own question in regards to whether your diet is sufficient for your demands.
  • Try adding weetabix, cornflakes and skimmed milk powder to your diet. This will give you carbohydrate from the cereal and calcium from the milk powder. 60 grams of milk powder and 200 grams of cereal will be about right. Also, add 100 grams of raisins as these give you iron.
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    Don't think you have much to worry about but I'd add some carbohydrates back in, especially if training a lot.
  • Thanks for the replies. Most of my non cycling friends and family tell me that I should eat "normal" food. That is fried foods, takeaways, chips and processed foods. I think they perceive anyone who eats anything other than this as quite strange. They also find it odd that some would choose to push themselves so hard on a bike for no apparent reason. Anyway, my daily diet is as follows:

    6.00 am
    1 haddock or 4 eggs scrambled, spinach, broccoli
    1/2 water melon
    1 peach
    Coffee

    10.30
    Handfull mixed nuts, grapes, kiwi fruit with Honey
    2 boiled eggs
    Apple
    Pear

    12.00
    1 chicken breast
    1 banana
    1 apple
    Handfull mixed nuts

    3.00
    750Ml H5 energy
    Peach
    Banana

    5.00
    Train 750ml H5 energy per hour training

    6.30
    Salmon Fillets, Spinach, brocooli, carrots
    Strawberies, kiwi fruit with honey

    I have found my energy levels improve greatly after a few weeks following this diet, I have also found my concentration levels improve during the day. My body fat levels and muscle definition also improved. However, this may also have been a result of the switch to high intensity training around FTP. The downside of this diet is that it costs a fortune. I am looking to replace some of the protein based meals with a whey protein. Is this diet a bit extreme?

    Your diet looks very healthy, but infact is not. You eat too little carbohydrates, things like starch (rice, pasta, bread) and way too many proteins (6 eggs a day? Isn't it a bit too many?) No wonder you're underweight.

    I would replace the chicken lunch with rice or pasta, to give it a good balance. Maybe some slow burner for dinner or breakfast, things like beans, lentils...

    Plus, fat is important, use olive oil here and there, maybe some cheese and more milk, which will help with calcium, where you're probably depleted.

    All in all, your diet is a disaster, definitely no good for an athlete
  • mclarentmclarent Posts: 784
    I agree the balance is skewed a bit too much to protein, but think you're going over the top a bit there! All the fruit and veg and the Hi5 have carbs in them. Personally I would add some pasta / rice in there to at the 6.30 meal to help rebuild glycogen. Also, don't think I'd fancy drinking sports drinks pre-training like you do, but can't see why it wouldn't be ok - just not the way I would choose to get my carbs!
    "And the Lord said unto Cain, 'where is Abel thy brother?' And he said, 'I know not: I dropped him on the climb up to the motorway bridge'."
    - eccolafilosofiadelpedale
  • Can't comment on your diet, but I'm the same height as you and a hair under 10 stone. I don't consider myself skinny, and eat "normally" (probably too much carb, not enough fruit/veg in my case).

    According to my cheapo bodyfat scales I'm around 18% lard, which I'm not impressed with. Don't know where it's hiding though... I'd like to lose about 1/2 of that, but it's a bit too much like effort, and that would take me down to 9st. which probably ain't healthy...

    If it feels like you're doing the right thing, then stick with it. Your body will soon tell you if it's really not happy. Your appearance has probably changed somewhat which is what's worrying your friends, but they'll get used to it.
  • JonEdwards wrote:
    Can't comment on your diet, but I'm the same height as you and a hair under 10 stone. I don't consider myself skinny, and eat "normally" (probably too much carb, not enough fruit/veg in my case).

    According to my cheapo bodyfat scales I'm around 18% lard, which I'm not impressed with. Don't know where it's hiding though... I'd like to lose about 1/2 of that, but it's a bit too much like effort, and that would take me down to 9st. which probably ain't healthy...

    If it feels like you're doing the right thing, then stick with it. Your body will soon tell you if it's really not happy. Your appearance has probably changed somewhat which is what's worrying your friends, but they'll get used to it.

    I think we've got the same scale, I'm 5.10 and 69 kg (just shy of 11 stones) and it says 20.5% lard. I think the number per se is meaningless, it's the trend that matters. Probably the real % of fat is just over half that... 12% or so.
  • eheh Posts: 4,854
    You need more fat than in that diet.

    Also bin the energy drink for water and replace with a decent slow release carb eaten at lunch and dinner/supper.

    Crazy amount of fruit, but it is probably OK. Bit dubious about the amount of eggs though whats that all about?
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