Monday, May 24, 2010

It's easy to lose weight when there is zero chance of bonking

I stepped on the scale the other day to assess damage the two most sedentary weeks of my life inflicted. 162 lbs. Hmm, that can't be right. So I stepped on the scale in different spots, one-legged of course, to see if I could coerce more poundage on the display. Nope. So now I had to figure out what this boat anchor of a cast weighs, so I sat down, unstrapped it and weight it on my weight weenie bicycle scale. Almost four pounds. That means I'm down to about 158 lbs! I've lost 6 lbs in two weeks.  Why doesn't my racing weight go that low?

Perhaps I over compensated with calorie cutback. It is easy to do when your heartrate never needs to go more than a few beats per minute above resting rate. You'll never bonk. I guess when I am training, I over compensate the other way, making sure I store away every last gram of glycogen and then some (fat).

I can't stand with both feet on the scale yet to measure body fat. I bet my body fat hasn't dropped much. In fact, in two weeks there has been a dramatic reduction in the size of my left knee flexor. So I got the tape measure out and quantitatively measured the circumference around both legs a few inches above the knee. My right leg was 16.1", left only 14.8". I've lost 1.3" in just two weeks, probably all lean muscle mass! It is going to be hard to not dwell on that, but I know there is nothing I can do about it. Wonder what another eight weeks will bring? I suspect my right leg is getting a healthy workout, with all the stairs I must negotiate in our house. Nothing like 400W intervals though.

I've been kicking around a few ideas to spruce up my website, http://www.northeastcycling.com/. I've become fond of a website call GPSies. It is very versatile, converting almost any GPS track file format to another, and loads maps quickly. Much more powerful than MapMyRide, which sucks, frankly. So I'm running a little experiment here to see if their maps embed properly in blogger. You should see an interactive map below. By clicking on details, you'll bring up the full page where you can download the track file for this ride. Coincidentally, this is the ride I did the day before I broke my leg, when it poured on the Sterling race and I stayed dry for >90% of this ride.



It seems GPSies elevation data set is a little glitchy, but I'd rather see that than the super smoothing function that MapMyRide applies to elevation charts. Another very power tool GPSies offers is Douglas-Peuker Algorithm route point data reduction. Detailed GPS tracks can have thousands of track points, and Garmin's are notorious for choking on this. The Douglas-Peuker Algorithm eliminates most of the points with negligible loss in track fidelity.

13 comments:

Mathias said...

I believe the body burns a lot of calories when injured.

I was run over by a car and then 3 months later assaulted by the police in both cases I had broken bones contusions etc...having also been a heavy person who lost weight through biking I was worried about gainage while injured.....but same result actually lost weight

Brian Anderson said...

Leg strength imbalance is the key issue once your ankle is working. It's easy to ride favoring one leg, take the time to get them back to even strength.

Anonymous said...

Doug - Thanks for the GPSies tip -- a nicer product than even the new Beta for mapmyride...you mentioned the elevation data was glitchly the total elevation data was way off for the 4,500 vertical ride I plugged in -- gpsies had it at 1,200 total...was yours off by orders of magnitude? Patrick

Hill Junkie said...

Patrick - what is your reference for the 4500ft ride? My Garmin 705 measured about 9000ft for my ride, GPSies gives 10,600. I did notice when I first uploaded the GPX track file to GPSies, it gave me around 3400ft total vertical. I think this is actually the min to max elevation difference of the Berkshires ride. When I went to public page, it gave me the (more) correct 10,600ft. I say it is glitchy because when you go to the details page, the elevation map shows a big "suck-out" at mile 13 in the profile, where there is a crack in the elevation data. This adds something like 1500ft of vertical change in a single instant where there is none in reality. I'm not sure where they pull their elevation data map from, but I've noticed this in many web apps. Companies like DeLorme correct for this in their purchased product. MapMyRide just averages the shit out of the data so you end up losing about half the elevation gain around a loop and get highly inaccurate grades. Try refreshing your uploaded track and see if it reports back a more correct elevation number. Please let me know. I don't want to propagate something through my website if it has serious issues.

Anonymous said...

Doug: Ah, to be clear, I didn't upload my actual (garmin 705) gps track, I just 'mapped'/drew my route using their visual mapping tool...it sounds like from your experience that if I uploaded my file, I'd get a more accurate answer (I'll give that a shot)...I did go back to the public page to see the total elevation (vs min to max)and tried to refresh it a few times, but it still was 'under-reporting' the total elevation gained...I'll do a little more experimenting with uploaded vs mapped routes & their total elevation gained...Thanks much. Patrick

Hill Junkie said...

Set your track to "public" and send me a link. I'd like to take a look at it.

Mookie said...

Doug,

Maybe you can start doing very light seated leg extensions with your injured leg to minimize quadriceps atrophy. Not sure how your ankle would feel doing these or if Dr. allows.

Alex

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say it but that weight loss is muscle atrophy.
Use it or lose it and since you're down to one leg the muscle mass on the broken leg is wasting away.
Had similar circumstances with a injury last year. You need to heal that leg and let go of any expectations for this year or next year will be just as bad.
Yor friend Brian has it right. Both legs need to be fairly equalin strength or your going to have another injury of some sort in the future.

Don said...

I lost some weight when i was taking Percocet for a shoulder separation last year - it killed my appetite.
I'm sure you're off it now, so maybe its been a combination of atrophy and Percocet? I lost shoulder muscle, so it didn't affect my riding too much. It took me about 6 months before I felt like I had built my shoulder back up to pre-crash strength. Good luck healing.

Az said...

If you remember when I blew out my knee many years ago, I too lost a lot of weight while healing. I think I dropped close to 15 lbs, but that is because I had that weight to lose too. It takes a lot of energy to heal the body. Bad thing for me was I gained by weight back because I did a poor job of monitoring what I ate. Leg atrophy for me, not good....

the original big ring said...

how the hell do you drop weight . . . at any time? Maybe I need to get hurt and then I'll lose some pounds. I understand that you used to be heavier at one point in your life. Any tips? My weight has always been a weakness - so hard to maintain, cravings so hard to fight off.

cheers

Hill Junkie said...

Big Ring - sadly, I think much of my initial weight loss was muscle atrophy, as many readers have pointed out. After surgery, I was on nasty pain meds that destroyed my appetite. At home, I told my wife to remove all simple carbs from the house. No snacks. No more pasta dishes for supper. No more bagels in my work lunches. I have a huge weakness for sweets. If it is within a few minutes walk or hobble on crutches, I'm in the sweets. Best bet is to just completely remove it from home and work areas. I replaced the sweets with whole foods - fresh veggies and fruit. It is very hard to get too many calories from these foods. I have dramatically increased my intake of winter squash, green and yellow beans, broccoli, summer squash, strawberries and watermelon. I already was eating a fair number of apples and bananas per week. I suspect I have lossed five pounds in my left leg and very little in my right leg serving double duty right now. I think I've gained a little at the waist, but net result is still loss in weight. I'm able to got some respectable intensity in now on the SkiErg for about 30-40 minutes at a time. This will surely help in propping up my metabolism. I've still got at least a month to go before I can get on a bike again. Hopefully how to lose weight will not be one of the things I have to worry about. I'm much more concerned about my ankle right now, which seems to a fused solid joint. I'm going to need a lot of PT work.

the original big ring said...

cheers . . .

it's surprising how fast the body comes back together after injuries (I've had a lot of them). Heal up.