I weigh about 170. But "about" isn't in the vernacular of racers who measure their components down to the gram, their workouts to the kJ, or their efforts to the watt. 170 pounds is my regular weight at my normal lifestyle, which consists of riding 4-6 hours per week, being mindful of fat intake but not food volume, and drinking 2 beers every night, without fail.
In late April, that lifestyle had been compromised and my weight was up to 172. I realized I'd need to put in a little effort to bring it back down. So I began recording my weight daily in an iPhone app, which gave me some incentive to see if I could actually make it drop. I started by eating a little less, then cut out the beer, then put the beer back in (tried it for a day - no change). In late May I caught a break with my work and was able to increase my riding time by almost 50% - one week last month I actually spent 7.25 hours in the saddle.
Then I went on vacation for 5 days with no bike and lots of french fries. When I got back the weight loss accelerated, and I've now leveled off around 164 pounds, 8 pounds lighter than I was at RGS Title Chantilly Crit, Carl Dolan, Tyson's and Vint Hill (actually, probably about 10 pounds lighter than Vint Hill).
How do you quantify the benefits of losing 8 pounds, which for me was about 5% of body weight?
- It's the equivalent of showing up for a race with a 7.4 pound bike
- 5% weight loss is a 5% increase in Power/Weight ratios. For me, that's like picking up 15 watts at threshold.
- It should also make climbing 10% easier, since I'm 5% lighter and climbing generally sucks 2x as much as other kinds of suffering.
- Finally, I'm now only 4 pounds heavier than Lance Armstrong, which makes me feel a lot more like a competitive cyclist than being 12 pounds heavier than him.
Weight loss is like fitness - you see some success and it becomes addictive. You don't want to give back any of the progress you've made. You know how you'll be doing intervals and you get to that point where it becomes really uncomfortable? You can either tell yourself that you've done what you needed to do and back off, or you can convince yourself that you're now at the point where the real gains are made. I've found that it's the same with the discomfort from hunger. It'd be easy enough to find a snack, but instead I try to push through to the next meal. Training is supposed to be about specificity, but it's funny that learning to suffer in cycling prepares you to be a better sufferer across a range of disciplines.