Eating your Calories burned

mattward1979 Posts: 692
edited September 2011 in Road beginners
Ive been trying to find some definitive answers out there in t'interweb land, but so far its all been quasi scientific hokum or gym rat opinions, so I figured I would ask the (clearly!) more intelligent and well read Cyclist for their advice :twisted:

So I am on a calorie restrictive diet consisting of 40% carbs, 40% protein, 20% fat, and aim for around 1750 per day to lose 1.5-2lb per week.

Now this is fine, but gets more complicated when I factor in Cycling and gym work...

So for example my daily routine (although it changes drastically to keep my body guessing!) could be 30 mins cardio on a cycling machine + 30 mins weights, and the next day 1 hour heavier weights with a 1 hour ride in the evening (about 15 miles, variable gradient route), so even being very conservative with my energy expenditure, say 300c on day 1 and 600c on day 2....

Should I consider these "Bonus" energy burns and still go for 1750c, or maintain the 1750c net by eating my exercise?!

Currently its a bit of a struggle actually eating 1750c of good quality nutrition as I just dont ever feel hungry with 5-6 meals a day consisting of mainly lean cuts of meat, veg etc, so the thought of cramming another 600c of food into my face just to NOT hit starvation seems a painful prospect!


TL;DR - Im fat but eating less. Should I eat what I burn to not starve my wobbly body?


  • merak
    merak Posts: 323
    My view is that you don't need to eat what you burn and in fact this is why a reaonable amount of cycling is so great at reducing weight. Many club cyclists eat what they want and look like sticks because a fast 65 mile club run will burn more than 2000 calories and we don't eat 4000 in the day to make up. As long as you are getting a healthy variable diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, then you don't need to match calories. If you are not hungry then you should be fine. Make sure you eat breakfast though, particularly before riding.
  • Firstly, if you are on a specific diet you should consult your nutritionist or doctor who set this in the first place, they would have the better answer.

    However, i'm neither of these but in my opinion an answer would be;

    If you consume 1750 calories and burn an extra 600 from exercise then you should be using the fat in your body as a fuel for the extra 600 - 850 calories (based on an average using 2000 calories per day depending on what you do during the day).

    If however you eat an extra 600 calories per day to make up for your gym work you may never start burning your body's reserves and may not lose weight

    For me, I do an hours cycle on a flat ish route with two medium ascent and that burns 580 calories, I am 10.5 stone, you are estimating 600 calories for an hours cycle plus an hours weights training - depending on your physicality this could be more than 1000 calories?? Do you have an HR monitor to check how much you are burning.

    Also you say you would struggle to eat more than your current diet... so why eat more if this is what your body needs. Of course you will need to monitor your weight closely to see what is happening and if you feel ill at any point stop and go to your doctor!
  • Alibran
    Alibran Posts: 370
    From personal experience of losing around 6 stone by cutting calories, I would say you do need to eat the extra calories you burn through exercise, or your weight loss will gradually slow down and stall. I'm not quite sure how you'd struggle to eat more than 1750 cals a day, to be honest. I eat a healthy diet, and struggle to eat less than 2000 (fortunately, cycling burns enough that I can average around 2200 a day).

    Can I ask why you've been told to eat the ratios of protein/carb/fat that you are currently on? It differs quite drastically from the "standard".
  • Secteur
    Secteur Posts: 1,971
    edited September 2011
    I have lost over 20kg since April by cycling (around 70-100 miles a week, spread over 5 rides) and dieting.

    My diet is simply no cake / chocolate / cat - I just eat;

    fruit 'n' fibre for breakfast
    fruit for lunch
    grilled chicken & veg for tea
    fruit 'n' fibre & fruit for evening snack
    occasional "treat" and "days off" where I eat anything
    zero alcohol

    On average it's about 1000 - 1500 calories per day with very little fat (<10g/day)

    I burn 700 - 1000 cal per cycle, which I do 5 times a week.

    I take various standard off-the-shelf supplements such as cod liver oil, multivits, vit C.

    If I do a big cycle (for me 40 miles as I dont like long rides) then I might have pasta.

    I find with this regimen (which has just become part of my normal life, so I dont have to try), the weight is falling off. The key is that I have adjusted my actual life to this, so it doesnt feel like any effort.

    Another 4 months and I reckon I will be at my target weight.
  • Thanks for the responses! Good to have polar views so I can formulate my own opinion!

    The 40/40/20 is usually used for people doing regular weight training during a cutting phase to drop fat and show the muscles through the skin.. I opted for this split as the overall benefits were the closest to what I was hoping to achieve..

    Weight loss, toning, strength and endurance..

    Lifting (strength) makes use of the high protein in the diet, where the relatively low carb/fat side of it aids weight loss... Toning is a by product of these factors. Endurance is a problem as my long term energy reserves are lower than a higher carb diet, but I can swallow that for the short term as I lose weight and improve my physique in general.... I figure dropping 2 stone over a few months then adjusting for a more traditional carb heavy split will give me a better net benefit.

    I did some more research last night and people that have achieved the greatest weight loss (albeit anecdotal accounts) seemed to eat back around half of the calories burned in exercise.

    Ive dropped 4lb in two weeks so far and can see a definite improvement in my top half, so I will continue with this and see if I plateau!

    ps, Yesterdays meals consisted of:

    Protein shake with a banana blended in
    200g chicken with soy sauce in a wholemeal pitta (Pre-Workout)
    300g Rump steak, egg, mushrooms, cherry toms
    Banana (Pre-ride)
    Protein shake with a banana blended in (Post-Ride)
    3 egg ham Omelet
    LOADS of water/coffee....

    All in all just over 2k cals.. Had to force the Omelet down hehe =)
  • Alibran
    Alibran Posts: 370
    Well, 2lb a week isn't drastic weight loss (depending on how heavy you are to start with, of course), so it sounds like you're doing OK. And the protein/carb/fat ratio makes sense in the context you've put it - just make sure you're getting a good balance of healthy fats because 20% doesn't give you much room for error.

    I followed a lot of posts on another forum a few years back by a bloke who was a weight trainer/PT, and had also made a thorough study of nutrition. His recommendation for the cutting phase was about 1.5g protein and 1g fat per kg of lean body mass, and the rest of the daily calories made up by carbs. He basically said there's no such thing as an essential carbohydrate (whereas there are a number of essential proteins and fats to include in your diet), but if you're not getting enough carbs cardio exercise is going to be a struggle.

    Personally, I'd try to vary things a bit depending on my exercise pattern. You shouldn't have any problems doing a 1hr ride on the food you're eating - your glycogen stores won't be much depleted by eating 40% carbs - but if you're planning a longer ride, you could make the meal before that ride a bit more carb-heavy to give you an extra energy boost.
  • mrbez
    mrbez Posts: 113
    Secteur wrote:
    chocolate / cat - I just eat;

    I have always wanted to try cat, what does it taste like?
  • Pokerface
    Pokerface Posts: 7,960
    mrbez wrote:
    Secteur wrote:
    chocolate / cat - I just eat;

    I have always wanted to try cat, what does it taste like?

    Tastes like chicken
  • Secteur
    Secteur Posts: 1,971
    oops! that should obviously say "fat" !!