6 weeks after being knocked upside the head with the scale at my doctor’s office, I’ve settled into my new training routine with my new coach. My BMI freak out is over. My cute little beer gut has shrunk and I’m beginning to see the outlines of the abs I once had. But, more importantly, I’m starting to feel strangely strong.
Not necessarily cycling strong – I have not really tested that yet due to poor weather and the fact that, thus far, my training has been focused on low intensity to increase my endurance – but overall I feel strong. That’s because Coach has had me hitting the weights. HARD. I have not lifted like this since I was a Div. 1 soccer player in college.
In the past, I’ve read article’s suggesting that heavy lifting for cyclists is a bad thing. The epitome of this can be seen in Lance’s comeback to cycling last year. For the 3 years he was out of the sport, he had been lifting weights and had gained a significant amount of muscle weight. Theoretically, when he came back to the sport, the extra weight hindered his cycling. This year, when you see pictures of Lance, you can easily tell that he has lost a lot of that excessive bulk and dropped his weight. Based on this exact scenario, I have shied away from heavy lifting in the past.
But, there’s one problem with my reasoning…I’m no Lance Armstrong. I’m not a world class athlete. And I’m a girl. What does this mean…or, rather, what am I hoping this means? Not being Lance means I have to build the strength before I can lose it and being a girl means 1) it’s harder to gain strength and 2) I lose my strength faster than my male counterparts. So, that leads me to 2 conclusions 1) I shouldn’t train like a guy and 2) I don’t need to worry about bulking up with heavy lifting. As a female, that’s really not going happen much. So, basically, I’m hoping to get the strength benefit without the excessive weight.
That doesn’t mean I’m not going to gain muscle weight. I am and I have. In fact, so far it would appear that each pound of fat I’ve lost, I’ve replaced with a pound of muscle, but I’m ok with that. The lifting I’m doing is cycling specific – I won’t be lifting heavy weights 3 days a week year round. In fact, at this point, the lifting begins to decrease more to strength maintenance while my time and intensity on the bike begins to increase. So, theoretically, my muscle weight gain should cease and I should begin burning mad fat. And having leaner muscles means I burn fat faster even when I’m not on the bike. Man, I’m making this sound GOOD! But the proof is in the pudding (I have NO idea what that even means).
Basically, it’s time to put my chin to the stem and see if this lifting is gonna effect my cycling in the way I’ve been hoping. The next few months will be the tell all.
For now, I’m just glad my clothes are getting baggy again.