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Possible new goal?; Brakes fixed, going riding this morning.

Thursday, August 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


If you’ve been following my maintenance program since my cut ended (tracked each Sunday with a complete set of soft tape measurements, scale weight, body fat percentage and various cardio stats) then you know I’ve more or less settled at ~8% body fat and 178-179 pounds. This is a pretty light weight for me, but I’ve been putting a lot of thought into going even lighter.

This “go lighter” seed was planted when I bought my new bike a few weeks back. The Trek Fuel EX 8 is around 6 or 7 pounds lighter than my old Trek 4300 Disc bike, and I was quite surprised by what a difference 7 pounds made. I tend to do a lot of long distance cross-country mountain biking, and so I have to carry a lot of water–usually about a gallon. A gallon of water weighs more than eight pounds, and I also carry a lot of other gear with me, including a fairly heavy DSLR camera. I’d say geared up (clothes, water, camera, supplies) I’m adding around 13-15 pounds to my body weight. That’s a lot.

Once I realized what an impact losing just seven pounds from my bike made to my overall speed and power, I started thinking about ways to reduce that weight further. Some people spend huge amounts of money replacing various components on their bikes to save a few dozen grams here and there. Being a so-called “weight weenie” makes a lot of sense if you’re racing: a couple hundred grams can mean the difference between a win and a loss. While the notion of cross-country mountain bike racing does appeal to me (and I’m seriously thinking about getting into it), I’m not a gram counter just yet.

No, I’m thinking on a much larger scale. I can literally drop thousands of grams (there are 454 grams in a pound, by the way) from my riding weight, and it won’t cost me a cent. I’m thinking I’d like to drop my weight into the high 160s, maybe settle in at around 168-169 pounds. If losing seven pounds from my bike made that much of a difference, dropping another 10 pounds would be huge.

Now I know from experience that I can not realistically maintain 6% body fat year-round. 8% body fat is the “sweet spot” for me, and that’s where I presently am. So that means I’m looking at losing mostly lean mass to drop down to the high 160s.

This is not something I’m going to jump into now, but I think after the holidays when I start my usual pre-spring cut my goals may be a little different this time around. I may cut to something like 165 pounds at 7% body fat. I’ll continue to give this some thought.

If you read my August 8, 2011 blog then you know about the dumb mistake I made after my ride the day prior. I’m happy to report that I successfully completed my first bike hydraulic brake bleed, and the Fuel’s brakes are 100% again. I’ve been dying to ride, so I’m going to hit the trails now!

If you missed yesterday’s blog, be sure to check it out: you can save 15% on all AtLarge products and automatically be entered into a drawing for a free 1-year supply of Nitrean protein powder!

John Stone Fitness Comments

19 Responses to “Possible new goal?; Brakes fixed, going riding this morning.”
  1. While lighter body weight will help, taking weight of the rotating mass of the bike is much more noticeable. Items like tires, cassettes, cranks, PEDALS, anything you have to spin make the most difference. I always try and get as light as possible before our riding season but there is nothing like a light set of tubeless wheels and tires!

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  2. John,

    You don’t think that losing lean mass (i.e. muscle) will actually slow you down? I’m not sure if I’m correct in my assumption here, but the additional muscle mass that you carry probably helps you propel yourself farther and faster than without it.

    Just a thought. I’m not into biking so I don’t know much about this topic but thought I would chime in.

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    • just to add to that, the fastest and most powerful sprinters in the world have pretty jacked legs and quite a bit of muscle overall. It doesn’t seem to hurt their race times. Then again, if this is more of an endurance activity where you plan on biking for hours at a time, a lighter weight may work better…not too sure, but I do know that extra lean mass helps to protect against injury.

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    • Yeah, look at sprinters and look at distance athletes. I’m definitely more of a long-haul rider and not a sprinter. That’s not to say I want to look like a lot of elite marathon runners do, that’s way too skinny for my tastes.

      My plan, at least in theory, is to lose some of the “show” muscle but maintain the muscles that help me. In other words, quads, hamstrings and upper body strength/muscle endurance are important to my goals, but big biceps, triceps, calves and shoulders not so much.

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  3. I really wouldn’t know, but I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t feel the same benefit from getting rid of 6-7lbs of true dead weight vs. cutting active tissue that brings you so much power, freedom and joy in your everyday life. Remember all those yearly gardening tasks you do will be much harder, and you’ll really FEEL the lack of that lean tissue in your day to day life (I believe). I think you’d be making a mistake to consciously do this, however if you continue to aggressively ride and even start competing in it, if you body naturally moves in that direction that would be different.

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  4. John, If you ever come down here to South florida I’ll take you to some levys i ride in the everglades or some trails. I’ll also drive you crazy with questions about nutrition.LOL

    If you do even one mountain bike race you’ll be hooked. Is lots of fun, Great people.

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