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They say I have a problem
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys...

I just switched gyms and last night I went in for my physical assement and was surprised by a couple things. I've been riding a mountain bike for the last 6 years and have been focussing most of my training on that. I don't consider myself a racer, but more of an avid rider. During the spring/summer/fall I basically ride my bike and only hit the gym about once a week to do maintenance with weights. When I'm riding I'm not really focussing on training, but more on just having fun. I'd say that in the off season is where I focus more on a training routine, where I did lower body one night, upper body the next and then a 60 minute interval session on my trainer. This routine is reapeated with a rest day in between. This basically goes on all winter until the snow melts.

Anyways the things that surpised me were my body fat number (10.5%), BTW I weigh 140lbs, and my pushups in one minute (25). The thing that does not suprise me was the number of unassisted situps I could do with my arms crossed against me chest (0). If the assesor held my feet I could do them, but struggled....Total number I'm not sure...With all that he felt that I needed to improve my core strength...duh...I knew that one. He also felt I needed and could increase my lean muslce mass to the point where I get my weight up to 150lbs, but maintain the 10% BF. This is where I don't get it, he says I can do this over the next 12 weeks. I was always under the impression that with all the riding I do, 4-5 times a week...Now a mix of mountain and road...That the gaining of weight was a no go. Now I understand that if I really up the caloric intake I can do it, but I can't see myself consuming 5000cal's a day and 200g of protein, or something to that effect. He was also trying to push me to use a personal trainer over that 12 week period. Of course this does make sense if I had serious type goals, typical to what a racer would want. Myself what I would really like to achieve is the ability to do the damn situps without aid and to drop the little roll I have around the midsection. I know ab work will take care of that, but what's the best exercises to do and how much?? The other problem is time because my one day in the gym is an all body workout, minus the abs, and we are in there for almost 90 minutes already. I guess I could drop some exercises and add some ab work.

Geez this stuff never ends....

Rich
 

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Myself what I would really like to achieve is the ability to do the damn situps without aid and to drop the little roll I have around the midsection. I know ab work will take care of that, but what's the best exercises to do and how much??
Sit-ups won't get rid of the roll if thats what you mean.
 

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I've been very much involved in exercise physiology and the "scene" since I was 14 in the 1980's. I studied sports medicine in college, blah blah blah...

A few points:

1) the guy in the gym works in a gym. He's probably really into what he does, which involves the gym scene, which itself ultimately revolves around achieving that "ideal" athletic look. Most likely, from what you described, the guy at the gym saw you as you are and described what you should do to achieve his "ideal". Yes, having more muscle can help you control your bike, but such a drastic change in diet and exercise routine is... drastic! Especially to achieve goals which aren't even yours. If gaining muscle mass is something you deem as beneficial, and decide to invest in the process, do so with a realistic time frame so you: a) don't injure yourself, and b) don't burn out, both of which are almost guaranteed if you try a "rush" plan as described. Give yourself 12 months, not 12 weeks! Another point - the body will not build muscle, no matter what, if it has too little fat. The ratio is different for everyone, but in their bulk-gaining phase, ALL body builders gain a considerable amount of body fat, then work hard to loose it for the contests.

2) From someone who's studied, and used, a hell of a lot of ab programs, I can recommend above all others one book: Beyond Crunches by Pavel Tsatsouline. Get it. Do it. Enjoy the results. I'm speaking from experience.

3) Ab muscle tissue has peculiarities, so you must train your abs differently, especially at the start. Basically, because your abs work constantly to keep you upright, you have to stimulate them more frequently in order to get them to respond in the most efficient manner possible. For most serious athletes, ab work is done two days in a row, with one day off, then two days on, two days off . In other words, ab work Mon & Tue, off Wed, then on again Thur & Fri, with Sat & Sun off. Now I'm not talking about going for the "six-pack" here, I'm talking about achieving max athletic core strength - like fighters, climbers and gymnasts need. The six-pack comes from muscle "spinning" - "poofy" is a good description. One of the strongest men, pound for pound, whose ever lived is Bruce Lee. His core strength was unbelievable - freakish. Watch any of his films and you will NOT see on him the classic rolling, "poofy" muscle beach six pack.

Good luck!

Oh, and keep it fun ;)
 

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They say I have a problem
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the response....I know what he was saying was insane and not for me...

After sitting back and thinking about all this I've set some realistic goals for myself and those are to a) be able to do unassisted situps and, b) not lose lean muscle mass over this summer. I think these two things are attainable and won't require a great change in diet or routine. I will just need to focus on my abs, which I never have done, and to increase my daily caloric intake with a balanced diet. It seems that ever summer I spend a good chunk of it fighting the urge not to eat. You see, I was a bigger guy at one point....185lbs...and it's been about 7 years since I lost the weight and I always worry about gaining weight. So eating more goes against what has become ingrained in me. Now it's just a matter of re-teaching my mind that it does need more food during the riding season to keep everything working smoothly. You know, I can only imagine what serious racers go through.

It's funny because I'm sitting here this morning type this while I've been going through a major morning grazing session...I just can't seem to get full...And I have a group road ride to go on, luckily it's an easy ride because a number of the guys are racing tomorrow.

I guess it's very easy for a person to fall into the trap of wanting to change for someone else's sake. I definitely know that if I did attempt doing what the trainer adviced that my cycling would suffer and in the end I wouldn't be happy. I just had to sit back and think about it.

Rich
 

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Metalheadbikerider
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From what I've read....

the single best ab exercise is the bicycle. It works all of the ab muscles in one exercise. Of course you should equally focus on your lower back, maybe use the superman in addition to the bicycle.
What are your goals? Are they cycling related? If so, why the need to gain 10# of muscle mass? Does the person that assessed you have any knowledge about cycling? Remember, he is also working in a business that is trying to get money from you and getting you to buy into building muscle mass is his/her way to do that. If you are looking into putting more muscle mass on I highly recommend a personal trainer to show you the proper way to lift. I see WAY too many people in the gym going for broke with the amount of weight they lift, not paying attention to HOW they lift. Form is very important for making gains.
 

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bang
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i would run from that gym, or at least get a second opinion from someone that knows what they're talking about. not only is it unrealistic, but it's impossible without drugs to gain that much lean musscle mass in that short amount of time. during a year of training, the typical person would gain about 4-6 pounds of lean muscle mass.

next, why take in more calories if you're trying to lose fat? you need to burn more calories than you take in to do that. also, being full is your body's way of saying "stop eating dummy". be like...6 or 7 on the full-o-meter at most. try smaller snack-sized portions several times a day rather than 3 huge meals.

ride more, eat healthy food (whole grains, oats, fruits-n-veggies, stay away from soda, greasy foods and candy, etc), and throw in a few ab exercises and you'll be a lot better off. no expensive gym or crazy 12-week plans needed.
 

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They say I have a problem
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I understand what you are saying about cutting calories to lose fat, but my problem is that I probably don't up my calorie intake enough in the riding season to compensate for the increased burning of calores with the riding I do. Because of this have a tendency to run into problems with feeling lightheaded and groggy at times. I went out yesterday and bought a jug of Endurox R4 recovery drink powder, after reading about it here, and it seemed to help after yesterdays 75km road ride.

I'm working on increasing the amount of smaller meals I have. I've been doing that for a few years, but still probably don't consume enough during the day because by the time evening rolls around I'm always looking for food after a ride. I want to be able to have that "6 on the full-o-meter" feeling when 8pm rolls around. I know that will help me in the long run. I've already cut most of the bad stuff out and eat a lot of whole grain, veggies, and lean meat (no beef). I eat a lot of rice and have switched to whole wheat pasta. I try to keep most things low fat, or at least pay attention to the fat content. One thing I know I probably need is more fuit in my diet, since I rarely eat fresh fruit...I have at least two glasses of fruit juice a day...I guess that is my one bad habit....Oh yea and coffee...I'm addicted to coffee...

I guess this all comes down to a delicate balancing act of calories in versus calories out...It's easy to fill my body with crap calories, the trick is filling it with good ones...

BTW...I took what the guy said with a grain of salt and actually had a chuckle about it. I know he's just trying to sell me personal training sessions. I just wanted to get a second opinion from the people here. He did get me thinking, however on ways to improve my health and cycling perfomance without doing anything to drastic.

Rich
 

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They say I have a problem
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Really, I had read and heard that cycling does nothing for your abs because they aren't really being used while cycling....

Either way, like I said above my real goals are to improve cycling performance...Speed and Endurance...I guess speed more then endurance because most of my riding so far has been geared more towards endurance, or rather didn't really focus on speed...

The ab work is because not being able to do an unassisted situp surprised the heck out of me and I want to change that. If all the work I do causes my physical appearance to change, then great, if not so what..

I'm 38 years old and basically weigh the same as I did when I was in highschool and I'm definitely in better shape then when I was 18, so really I can't complain....

Rich

PS...Going through this thread has really helped me define my realistic goals....Thanks guys...
 

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Don't worry, be happy!
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one thing to be careful at the gym is that while some trainers are highly qualified, there are a lot that really don't know a lot. At the club I go to, they are allowed to be trainers with a certification that comes with a weekend long class, or if they are first year athletic science students.


This is not to slam those folks who have doen thier work for a AFPA or a NFPT qualification, or have a degree, but you just need to be aware.

formica
 

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Obviously that trainer needs for you to explain what your priorities are.

Just as obviously there are people here without clue themselves. As you have proven, cycling is not a good core strength builder, but does benefit from strong abs and core. You should work on that.

If you wanted to put on the muscle you could. You would have to cut miles on the bike and change your weight lifting program. Despite what some have said, proper nutrition and hard work will put 10 pounds of muscle on a fit young man in three months. Bet you'll look buff. :)

Talk to this guy again, make it clear what YOU are there for. If he then comes up with a program that makes sense, then great. If not, find someone who understands.

Ron
 

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Some Excellent Points...

by Rollin'in'Zona

I also strongly recommend reading up on Pavel's theories; they can be applied to all aspects of physical strength. I especially like his theory on "greasing the neural groove" JUST BE CAREFUL NOT TO HURT YOURSELF WITH THIS APPROACH IF YOU HAVE TENDON/LIGAMENT INJURIES.

Unlike Rollin' I do believe that you can have strong abs that also look like something out of an underwear ad. Genetics play a strong role in this, however.

Every type of training that I do is geared towards performance and not looks. Yet I do have those show-off abs. The important thing is to train for functional strength and if you do end up with that six (or eight pack - the number, size and symmetry of ab cubes are pre-determined by genetics), just consider it icing on the cake.

You may want to look into getting a Stability ball (some call it a Swiss ball). It looks like an oversized beach ball but can support much more weight. They cost $10 or so at most sporting goods stores.

When you use the ball, you constantly have to balance yourself so you do not tip over. How you rest your body on the ball, where you place your feet, and where you place your hands are all variables you can play with.

In addition, the ball conforms to and cushions your lower back; unlike doing ab work on the floor or a bench, you won't risk repeatedly compressing your lower back against a hard, fixed surface - this is something you have to avoid.

I have the luxury of working at home. So every 20-30 minutes, I knock off a set. This, along with my hard ab days, has done more for my core strength than any single workout. It is the equivalent of moderate base miles that all riders need.

I've been physically active all my life. As a kid, I studied Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido, Kenpo Karate. I've been rockclimbing for over 10 years. I've lifted weights since high school. This is my second year of mountainbiking and I see it as another method of improving as an overall athlete. And I define a true athlete as one who has the ideal mix of technique, speed, power, and endurance for his chosen sport.

All of which has led me to a Cardinal Rule: TRAIN TO BE STRONG/FIT - DO NOT TRAIN TO LOOK STRONG/FIT

I realize this sounds like a no-brainer; however, you will shocked at how much of the information out there is geared towards looking good as opposed to performing well.

One way of following the Cardinal Rule is to be very skeptical of any training program followed by bodybuilders and the typical body nazi you see at most health clubs. Their sport relies heavily on putting as much muscle as possible in the shortest amount of time. In order to do this, they train in such a way that the muscle they pack on is predominantly slow-twitch fibers that are good for maybe 12-15 repetitions yet have a huge caloric requirement!

This is the equivalent of a mid-70's Detroit gas hog. Sure, it's a V8 with 300 horses - but it weighs a great deal and only gets 10 miles to the gallon.

Wouldn't you rather be the equivalent of a top-end Porche?
 
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