Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => General Discussion => Topic started by: HikeBikeCook on December 16, 2020, 10:43:46 am

 
Title: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 16, 2020, 10:43:46 am
Hiking over 2,000 miles of the AT over 5.5 months I lost around 40 pounds. Basically you are 3 to 5 days between resupply and you burn about 3-4,000 calories a day more that you eat. One of the things we noticed watching endless hours of cross country ride videos that the riders do not appear to loss much, if any, weight on the trip. You see lots of pizza, burger, and beer pictures, so I am curious, is weight loss an issue?

I actually drank a whey powder and pudding mix every day hiking trying in maintain muscle mass.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: John Nettles on December 16, 2020, 10:54:40 am
Everyone of course will be different.  For me, after 40+ years of touring, I can almost guarantee that if the tour is less than 10 days, I will gain up to 5 pounds as my body freaks thinking I need a ton of food due to the extra effort all of a sudden.  For trips of 10-18 days, the weight will stay about the same (+/- 1 pound) as the pre-tour weight.  For trips 18+ days, I will lose anywhere from a couple of pounds to 10 pounds depending on the length, difficulty, etc.

For the longer trips, I usually lose my max weight about 6 weeks out and it stays at that level until the end of the tour when I promptly gain back 50% of the weight within a week.

However, since I rarely "train" for a tour and I tend not to ride too much afterwards for a month or so since I am playing catch up with work and such, my results may not be typical.

Tailwinds, John
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: John Nelson on December 16, 2020, 11:36:33 am
On a cross-country tour, I will typically gain a few pounds.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: jwrushman on December 16, 2020, 12:01:57 pm
"...so I am curious, is weight loss an issue?"

For me, not weight loss but weight gain!

From NJ to Michigan, I gained 3 lbs.  I decided to stop buying Starbucks and ended up losing 10 the rest of the way to Anacortes.  Was it the Starbucks? Or just the cumulative effect of long days week after week?  Probably both.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: jamawani on December 16, 2020, 08:46:28 pm
The issue for many people is when you finish the tour.
Your body is still demanding mega calories, but you aren't riding 75 miles per day.
Over the years many people have posted about gaining weight after the tour.

Also, the more you tour, the less you lose.
On your first big tour you may lost 20-30 pounds.
Then the next tour, your body sez, "Oh, he's doing this again."
By the time you've done a half dozen tours, your body has fully compensated.

And then there's age.
Why is it that a 27 year old can consume pizza, cheeseburgers, milkshakes, and a six-pack of beer -
Every day. - - - And lose 25 pounds?
And a person who is 55 can have salad, ice tea, a tuna sanwich, and one beer -
And gain 5 pounds?
There is no justice in this world.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 16, 2020, 09:04:13 pm
I hiked the AT at 55 and could drink a 6-pack and eat a large pizza in town every few days and still lost 40 pounds. We used to order milkshakes after a pancake breakfast. I was in a dinner one-day and had a double cheese burger plater and a milkshake - the waitress came by and said "would you like another" and I said yes please. When she grabbed my glass I said another milkshake is fine, but I really wanted another hamburger platter.

I only took 2.5 years to gain back the 40 pounds. :)
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: jrswenberger on December 16, 2020, 11:13:25 pm
I lost 35# on a year long tour. I probably lost closer to 40+# since the first few weeks I stopped at every bakery. After 2-3 weeks, my appetite settled in. Sadly, I've gained it all back...
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: LouMelini on December 17, 2020, 01:51:08 pm
My wife Julie lost over 40 pounds during our 6-month Appalachian Trail walk (176 days) in 2016 and 22 pounds on our TransAmerica ride (71 days) in 2018, all gained back. She ate well on the trips. I went out of my way to eat and not lose weight on the AT. On the TransAmerica ride I also kept my weight stable without trying to overeat. I was 65 for the AT and 67 for the TA, Julie was 55 and 57. Congratulations to HikeBikeCook on your AT thru-hike.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: HikeBikeCook on December 17, 2020, 01:58:21 pm
@LouMelini - congrats to the both of you for doing a double bucket list together. I wish my wife had come on the thru-hike with me but too much living in the woods for too long for her. I sounds like we hiked about the same pace, I did it in 174 days with 10 rest days. We are planning to take what it takes to do the cross country ride, so it may be 70 or it maybe 90, it just depends on weather, motivation, and desire. :)
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: staehpj1 on December 17, 2020, 05:25:53 pm
For a 9-10 day tour I might gain, lose, or stay the same.  For a long tour I always lose.  How much probably depends on how fat or lean I am at the start.  I forget, but I think 15-20 pounds was about it for my coast to coast tours.  I sometimes find eating enough to become a chore at times on tour.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: misterflask on January 01, 2021, 09:05:42 am
I lost about 1/2pound per day on a TA trip, or about 35lbs.  My BMI was hovering around 30 at the start so I had the weight to lose.  Towards the end of the trip I wasn't terribly hungry, but afterwards my body wanted every one of those pounds back and I couldn't stop eating. 

Two reasons for the weight loss, I think.  I cooked most of my own meals, and you really have to work at it to cook enough calories to support all-day cycling.  Also, I hadn't discovered Yelp yet and too many mediocre diners dampened my enthusiasm for eating out.

I've since whittled my weight down to a BMI<25 through careful-eating and one of the joys of touring is being to eat every doggone thing I want for awhile.  Lacking the weight buffer I started the TA with, I'd work harder at ingesting calories on a longer tour.  I've already resolved to eat more pizza.

The month after my tour the Hostess Cupcake Co. went bankrupt.  I think the end of my support pushed them over the edge.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: BikePacker on January 01, 2021, 09:26:10 am
I am curious, is weight loss an issue?
I typically experience a 1 pound loss per every 100 miles, fully loaded, self-contained, solo.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: John Nettles on January 01, 2021, 09:32:17 am
I typically experience a 1 pound loss per every 100 miles, fully loaded, self-contained, solo.
I am jealous. To what limit do you lose weight?  By that I mean, say you do the TA and about 4,300 miles.  Do you lose 43 pounds?  I can see how you would lose 1 pound per 100 miles up to the first, say, 2,000 miles but not infinitely otherwise you could theoretically loose ALL your weight if you rode for years.  I am not arguing, just trying to see what your max weight loss is.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: staehpj1 on January 01, 2021, 10:57:25 am
I typically experience a 1 pound loss per every 100 miles, fully loaded, self-contained, solo.
I am jealous. To what limit do you lose weight?  By that I mean, say you do the TA and about 4,300 miles.  Do you lose 43 pounds?  I can see how you would lose 1 pound per 100 miles up to the first, say, 2,000 miles but not infinitely otherwise you could theoretically loose ALL your weight if you rode for years.  I am not arguing, just trying to see what your max weight loss is.
I am a little puzzled by the loss mentioned by bikepacker.  Obviously there has to be a limit to how long that rate would continue.  I'd guess it might depend on a number of factors including how much body fat you start out with. 

I figure that I have typically lost weight for some distance and then generally levelled off or even gained a little back.  I don't have good data because I didn't record weights and have now forgotten the details.  Also I seldom have chances to weigh myself on tour (I don't seek them out).  I am guessing that the weight levelled off on the TA (we took 73 days) at about the halfway point or a little sooner.  So maybe a month before I levelled off.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: HikeBikeCook on January 01, 2021, 12:09:41 pm
Your body will burn through fat stores initially, if you are running a caloric deficit. But once your body realizes that the current eating regiment is the "new norm" it will start to conserve fat and burn unused muscle - for hikers that is typically upper body muscles. Pretty much the same for cyclists, unless you really use you arms for climbing and you are climbing daily. Just like a cubic inch of muscle weighs about twice as much as a cubic inch of fat, from what I remember, it also takes twice as many calories to maintain the muscle over the fat.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: BikePacker on January 02, 2021, 09:24:26 am
I typically experience a 1 pound loss per every 100 miles, fully loaded, self-contained, solo.
To what limit do you lose weight? 
Worthy question John (& Stae) .....
I was being a bit too brief : ).
10 and stop at 195.
I will add (which I believe is consistent with that which other's experience - as reported herein),
that the first so many days (am guessing 4-6?) I lose no weight and can even gain.
How do I know specifically what weight I am gaining / losing? 
I find scales somewhere,
such as Publix Grocery Stores or fitness centers or Walmarts (where scales are sold).
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: JimmyTemp on February 22, 2021, 07:41:27 am
Quote
I typically experience a 1 pound loss per every 100 miles, fully loaded, self-contained, solo.

Almost the same weight loss speed, that I have. And it seems that speed of weight loss also depends on the meal, which you consume and how much protein/fat does it have.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: BikePacker on February 22, 2021, 08:12:05 am
Quote
I typically experience a 1 pound loss per every 100 miles, fully loaded, self-contained, solo.

Almost the same weight loss speed, that I have. And it seems that speed of weight loss also depends on the meal, which you consume and how much protein/fat does it have.

At what total loss do you stop losing Jimmy?
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: hikerjer on February 22, 2021, 02:16:04 pm
I generally lose three to five pounds in the first two or three weeks but but tend to regain it fairly soon. After that my weight remains pretty consistent.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: driftlessregion on April 08, 2022, 07:26:50 pm
I gain weight on a  one or two week tour-we eat well-but lose on a 6 week tour.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: Mark Manley on April 10, 2022, 02:18:06 am
A few years ago I did a four month, 2,500 mile tour of Southeast Asia, I am 5'8" and started at about 140lbs going down to around 130lbs and I felt pretty bad at the end of it. The problem was the lack of quality nutritious food in rural Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos with several days between bigger towns with more choice, good food was not such a problem in Thailand, I am not sure how cyclists get on crossing developing continents such as Africa but I would imagine nutrition would be a problem.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: zerodish on May 18, 2022, 09:15:22 am
I did 2226 miles in 22 days at the age of 47. I was a bit in a hurry since my sister needed me to sign some legal papers. My legs went from 26 inches to 23 inches. I gained the muscle back just as quickly. I have concluded if I ride 55 miles a day my weight stays stable.
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: johnsondasw on May 23, 2022, 08:10:32 pm
Fom June 21, 2005 to July 10, 2005, at age 56, I rode just under 1400 miles on the Pacific coast from Olympia, WA to Santa Monica, CA. We averaged 72 mpd.  I gained 15 pounds and my thighs gained 1 inch in circumference.  I started eating like I do at home, and on about day7-8 completely hit the wall, with low energy all day and it took about 4 days of eating everthing in sight to get back to strength and enjoyment of the ride.  The gained weight never came off, in fact, I just kept gaining for the next 15 years.  Then i had a seizure, and it turned out I had two endocrine tumors, a pancreatic and pituitary one.  They came out with surgeries, and in the couple of years since, I have lost 27 pounds, and now at 73 feel better than I have in decades.  So my experience about weight gain cannot be counted as just a biking one.  There were major medical complications all mixed up in it. Anyuway, it's good to be back to biking, hiking, and climbing as an old man (as my granddaughter calls me now).   
Title: Re: Average Weight Loss/Gain on Cross Country Tour
Post by: Westinghouse on June 13, 2022, 04:19:34 pm
I was never meticulous about free long-distance tour weight as compared to after the tour was over. By vague recollection for me I think it was more about maintaining weight. I may have lost some pounds on long-distance rides oh, but not very many pounds. It is my understanding if you take in about as many calories as you burn oh, you should maintain your current weight. If you are comparative Lee inactive when you begin a long-distance bicycling tour such as from coast to coast across the United States oh, your body must go through a transition stage. It is during this transition that you must get used to the rigors of many hours a day of constant continuous activity oh, and if applicable, camping in the woods. When I was younger on long-distance tours I would eat like a horse, or maybe two or three horses. I would burn up the calories as fast as I took them in. If you are younger, your leg muscles should strengthen up very well.