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  1. #1
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    Best way to build up endurance...300+lbs.

    What is the best way to build up your endurance for biking? I'm at about 320lbs down from 345 last year. I started running last summer and did a few 5Ks which I somewhat enjoyed and did fairly well considering my size. To keep up the exercise and to have a little more fun I started mountain biking in the late summer/fall, mostly riding by myself. However I had a bit of a wake-up call on New Years Day. I went for a ride with about 8 other guys and I couldn't keep up with them for the life of me. Obviously they've been riding a lot longer than I have and most of them do XC/CX racing. It was quite embarrassing as they kept having to wait for me to catch up every quarter mile or so, but my lungs were on fire and my heart was pounding harder than it ever did running. I just couldn't do it. I'm sure the cold that I've had since Christmas and the 15 degree temperatures didn't help. (I've never ridden in the cold before.) It wasn't just during riding that I was dead tired. For about 5 hours after I got home my lungs were still on fire and I was absolutely exhausted.

    I know I'm pretty out of shape, hence the reason I started riding in the first place. I'm trying to find out the best way to improve my riding. It is best to just get out and ride. Should I run as well? Go to the gym? Basically is riding the best way at becoming a stronger cyclist or should I add things outside the world of bikes.

    Thanks in advance.
    The bigger you are, the harder you fall.

  2. #2
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    How tall are you?

    Anyhow - this takes time and dedication. I started riding at ~300lbs ( 6'5" tall ). For two years I lost almost no weight, but built enormous endurance. I rode about 7000 miles/year. Then I lost 100lbs thanks to intense weight training and continued riding. Currently, after 10 years since I bought my first bike, I am one of the fastest guys in my riding group.

    In short - lose dead weight, ride like your life depends on it. Repeat until results come.

    Good start way to get your mindset set correctly is this article: Everything You Know About Fitness is a Lie*|*Men's Journal Magazine - don't let the title fool you - there is some golden wisdom there.

    A good, blunt and brutal truth is written here: Harsh's Worksheet (WIP) - /fit/ Wiki

  3. #3
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    I'm 6'2" with short legs (31" inseam) and 32 years old.
    Last edited by fatguybiking; 01-04-2013 at 12:48 AM.
    The bigger you are, the harder you fall.

  4. #4
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    At 6'2" you should weigh around 170lb, give or take 30lb based on your genetics / build type and fitness goals. At 320 you are almost twice that. So you are already carrying a huge setback.

    What you should do is outlined in the links I posted above. In short - correct your diet, train weights, ride a bike. If you do it correctly then in 18-24 months you should achieve your goals

  5. #5
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    For cardio, I find interval training very effective. Throughout the year, I do 1 min run 1 min walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes (total 10 sets) at 8 mph. When I get ready for tournaments (wrestling, karate, and taekwondo), I go out to the field and do the Tabata Protocol - 20 sec sprint, 10 sec rest, 8 sets. After 2-3 weeks of Tabata training, I can do treadmill interval at 10 mph much easier than I did at 8 mph. If I wasn't so lazy, I would keep that up all year long, but it is very tiring.

    For someone your size, I would start easy. If you can find a long stretch of road without lights/stop signs, you could do interval on your bike. If you have a computer that keeps your cadence, you could set base line first and increase your cadence once every 2-3 weeks while keeping the interval the same (e.g., XX cadence for 5 blocks for 2 weeks, then XX + 5 cadence for 5 blocks the following 2 weeks).

    If it gets cold where you live and can't ride, you can easily do some cardio training at home as long as you have a little space. I'm not a morning person and I wake up so close to when I absolutely have to, I do short 10 min cardio by my bed. I do 100 jumping jacks as warm up, and 12 sets of Tabata with running on the spot with knees up. That's enough to start sweating, then I do quick stretch and get on with my day.
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  6. #6
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    I wouldn't be embarrassed. My guess is if the guys you went riding with know you, I'm sure they figured you weren't necessarily gonna keep up with them. It's pretty much a given, no matter how much endurance you have, if you're a 300 lbs guy, you're gonna be slower than guys under 200 lbs if they're regular riders. Sometimes I ride with skinny guys, and they have to wait up for me. I just make sure to do my best under the circumstances. And sometimes I take out newbs. I do the same for them. I just patiently wait.

    My thought is simple. If you want to get more endurance, gradually start ramping up your miles, and ride more often. The endurance will come.

  7. #7
    Oh Yeah Baby
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    Quote Originally Posted by AGarcia View Post

    My thought is simple. If you want to get more endurance, gradually start ramping up your miles, and ride more often. The endurance will come.

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    Then as the weight begins to fall off you will be more motivated to eat healthier and start killing two birds with one stone.
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  8. #8
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    The best way to build endurance for riding a bike is to get out and ride your bike

    Get out, enjoy it and keep going. Each time push a little harder and set your goals 10ft further up the hill before pausing to catch your breath. In no time you will be riding faster for longer.
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  9. #9
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    Road biking.
    The best way to gain endurance for you at your weight is to do long low-med level intensity rides on a road bike. Of course you can do all the other stuff everyone is saying, but 2hr+ flat, low intensity level, road rides will build your base fitness (endurance) and shed the fat faster than anything. I try to do 3 of those rides a week no matter how much other mtb etc I have done. Sometimes using the bike trainer too which is a really good thing when time is tight.

    Another thing, don't pay much attention to your weight... Concentrate on your waist size. I actually put on weight when I started training, but was dropping inches off my waist. That is a good thing - building muscle and losing fat.

  10. #10
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    Changing your body type takes time and goes through stages. You will plateau for a while, but stick with it, your next cycle will be right around the corner.

    A agree with the above poster, long flat rides burns fat and keeps your body and bike safer from injury. I use this app called Strava to challenge myself to keep improving my performance vs others on popular bike routes.

  11. #11
    Climbs = necessary evil
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    For me, last year, I wore a heart rate monitor and noted when my breathing became difficult (~175 bpm for me). When I hit that, I either slowed down my cadence if I could or stopped briefly to recover to about 160 and then started again. I noticed over time my recovery time decreased and the effort to get me to 175 increased.

  12. #12
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    Ride and ride and ride and ride some more. I started riding religiously a little over 2 years ago and I starting with short 4-5 mile fire trails that I walked a lot on, then went up to 8.5 mile rides with 900ft of climbing. When I started I was 335 and I'm 6'5". Two years later and a couple thousand miles later, I'm still 330. I haven't lost any weight at all, but my body has changed and my endurance is, well I should say "was" because I didn't ride much last couple of months because of rain, but my endurance was great. I live at sea level and last summer I managed to do a 19 mile ride up at Tahoe (6200ft up to 7800ft) with probably around 2500-3000ft of total elevation gain. I can still do my routine 10 mile ride with 1700ft of climbing a couple times a week. I'm painfully slow climbing and always will be, but I feel pretty good.

    I don't necessarily agree with the above comments that you should weigh 170lbs. Kind of depends on body type. For example, I have 33" thighs with a 32" inseam and a 42" waist. The only weight I have to lose is in my belly. I've been as low as 235 as an adult and I looked sickly. My ideal weight now would be around 275-290 because 10 years ago in my mid-20's I was 265 and was super healthy and looked good. Anyway, just keep riding, take breaks if you need to, and if you're too tired to ride, just keep moving and walk. Eventually you'll get to where you want to be.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rogerfromco View Post
    For me, last year, I wore a heart rate monitor and noted when my breathing became difficult (~175 bpm for me). When I hit that, I either slowed down my cadence if I could or stopped briefly to recover to about 160 and then started again. I noticed over time my recovery time decreased and the effort to get me to 175 increased.
    This is also what I would recommend. I'm a heavier guy (265 this morning, trying to drop 20 by spring) but I have been able to run 10k's and a few half marathons in the past. A heart rate monitor helped me out.

    When I was starting out, I would try to run faster than my fitness level could handle, and I would wear myself out in 10 minutes and get frustrated. Now, when I see my heart rate getting close to 170, I know I need to slow down a little, which allows me to keep going for a longer time overall. It helps keep me motivated when I see the numbers improving week by week.

    Also, I find that it's difficult to do a pure cardio workout on a bike, especially if you're riding up and down hills, or stopping for traffic. I can't keep a consistent heart rate when I'm riding. I would suggest walking and running on a high-school track, or getting on a treadmill, for 4 to 6 weeks. Work on keeping your heart rate up, then try to extend the length of your workouts to 20, 30, 45 min, etc. Don't focus on distance or speed so much. When spring gets here, you'll be in much better biking shape. That's my plan, anyway...
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  14. #14
    Fat boy Mod Moderator
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    in my experience... riding quickly offroad is far more anaerobic... nice road rides are outright aerobic... I always found it easier (physically) to log miles on the road then push out on the trail...

    for weightloss I still think weight/resistance training is a better way to go, muscle burns fat even when you are sitting on your arse... but a good mix of the two is great...
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  15. #15
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    I found that mixing up disciplines is a good way to challenge yourself - I'm led to believe that repeating the same routine too frequently isn't always the best thing to do... I am lucky enough to work in an environment where there is a free gym, which is well kitted out too.

    I quickly came to realise that there is no hiding on a rowing machine; it seemed to make use of muscles seldom required previously! I began with short 2 - 3km rows and eventually got up to 10km. I rarely went over the 10km mark, but the times taken to complete the distance grew noticeably shorter.

    I found rowing to be a great alternative to cycling as it is both challenging and low impact; which is a bit easier on the joints than running or walking can be for the more portly gent'. If you have the opportunity to make use of similar equipment I would strongly suggest doing so... it can also make exercising a lot more appealing than a cold/wet day on a bike during the winter.

  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    road biking. Lots of it and lose more weight. I started at 278, (I'm 6'8" tall) and am down to 259, currently. It's amazing what a difference just 20 pounds makes! I will also go out riding with a 30# pack on my back to improve my fitness as well- wen I get to ride with out it, I feel like I'm flying effortlessly. Good luck!

  18. #18
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    I've gone from 440# to 265# In the last 16 months. I'm 38, 5'11", started riding last May. I have good cardio, not as good as someone 165, but none the less good for a big guy. Losing weight will help. Trust me. You'll have to diet to do this. Exercising alone won't do it. Log some rode miles at a nice even pace. Stay out for a couple hrs. When you ride trails, go as hard as you can and have fun.

  19. #19
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    All I have to say is ride lot, ride everyday. The reason I say this is because your body will adapte to being on the bike alot more. it will settle into riding quicker which means you will have less fatigue. one of the best ways to do this is to commute to work either the whole way or if you are far from work drive part way and then ride the rest of the way.

    Also straight up losing weight really will help alot, honsetly probably more than you think as well. think about it this way, if you lose 30 lbs you have basically made your bike disappear (not really but you get the point)

  20. #20
    change is good
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    Road biking, single speed, elliptical, trail running, all worked for me. Two a day workouts are killer, which obviously can interfere with other commitments. The final hurtle is calorie counting. I would rather live in denial.

  21. #21
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    Road or easy doubletrack (rails to trails type) 20 miles three times a week and singletrack on the weekends. I can tell you that, come spring, I won't be able to do much more than 15 miles on the road. However, after a couple of weeks, I'll be ready for something a lot more serious. You have to deal with being bored and just pushing through the miles, maybe try to mix up paths.

  22. #22
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    At this type of weight, you need to do non-impact sports ie running, as this creates a pressure load on all those delicate joints, in particular your knees and ankles. The best sports to exercise are therefore, biking and swimming.

    As mentioned above, weight can be lost of by the use of BOTH careful dieting and exercise.

    Good luck.

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