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Elderly protein intake riding and off days

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Elderly protein intake riding and off days

Old 07-09-19, 09:05 AM
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Tony P.
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Elderly protein intake riding and off days

At 71 I'm elderly by any definition, except my own. But I face reality and realize leg and overall muscle is declining (and mph, too) despite riding 80-100 miles per week. I believe the issue is nutritional, specifically protein intake. I'd appreciate hearing from others on protein intake (or other nutritional factors) after rides and on off-days. How many grams of protein a day do you try for? Do you take supplements or drink Boost or similar products?
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Old 07-09-19, 09:57 AM
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fwiw, I'm 60 now, back in 2009 & 2010 I over did the protein & I think caused a kidney problem that lead to my first gout attack. in weight training, they recommend 48 hrs rest between sessions of the same muscle. meaning if you do biceps Monday don't do them again until Wednesday. that doesn't necessarily apply to sports like swimming, running & cycling, but rest may help in our situations. keep researching how to build muscle mass with nutrition timing. incl when to consume simple & complex carbs. I remember using a small fruit juice bottle & adding whey protein powder immediately after rides. it was disgusting but I got the simple carb & protein. but that stuff doesn't replace real food, like a solid breakfast of eggs & toast for example. I'm no authority, but I did slim down while building muscle on my quest for a body transformation. if we're not doing any weight training, I doubt we can maintain muscle mass by just eating or drinking protein

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Old 07-09-19, 10:34 AM
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if you're not doing any weight training, I doubt you can maintain muscle mass by just eating or drinking protein
Yes, great point. I have to start a training regimen.
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Old 07-09-19, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
....in weight training, they recommend 48 hrs rest between sessions of the same muscle. meaning if you do biceps Monday don't do them again until Wednesday...
Would recovery slow down as one gets older too? Would cycling long distances everyday eat away at your muscle gain?
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Old 07-09-19, 12:38 PM
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Muscle loss is starting to be an issue for me too. However I am certain I get more than enough protein. The issue for me I think is that as my life is slowing down, I simply don't demand as much as often of my muscles than when I was younger and working daily.

Cycling, IMO, only strengthens one muscle and that is your heart. So to slow or stop my muscle loss, I think a regular visit to the gym will be necessary so I can work out a wide range of muscle groups.
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Old 07-09-19, 02:12 PM
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There are a zillion different opinions on this. IME, if your legs hurt while you're on the bike, you're protein deficient. Studies have been done on endurance athletes which show they need up to 1.7g/kg/day. I'm an ovo/lacto/pisco vegetarian who eats very little fish. It's been my practice for over 20 years to supplement with 15g of whey protein 4 X day, usually just before meals and at bedtime. I might add a 25g bolus right after a particularly hard or exhausting workout. Works for me, but perhaps other regimens might work better. I ran across one study which found optimum recovery using 20g of whey protein isolate every 3 hours for 12 hours following a hard workout.

Here's a good primer on masters nutrition: https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/fi...ate_health.pdf

Here's an article on protein quantity: https://www.hammernutrition.com.au/k...-much-protein/ Ignore the product pushing and just look at the numbers and timing.

There's little scientific evidence for establishing protein requirements for endurance athletes our age simply because there are so few of us. We have to go on anecdotal evidence.

I disagree that cycling doesn't strengthen the legs. I can not enter my gym for a month and still squat 1.4 X bodyweight. Of course I ride my guts out every weekend.

There's also disagreement about strength training and whether that improves cycling performance, but perhaps that's beside the point. At my age, I'm pretty sure it does, sure enough to do a good bit of it from October-June. There's a good (IMO) thread about strength training for cyclists here: https://www.bikeforums.net/training-...e-athlete.html

Another thing which I do for overall health and strength is hiking in the mountains once a week, weather permitting. My wife and I hike the day after the week's hard group ride, usually on our tandem. Helps.

At 74, I'm having a pretty good season. This past Saturday I managed 2000'/hour on a 1500' climb that started at mile 60 on a long ride. I was pleased to say the least.
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Old 07-09-19, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Would recovery slow down as one gets older too?
I have no direct knowledge on this. I think 2 days off from pullups is enough to do them again if their aren't any injuries. personally, I took a year off pullups cuz my elbows were hurting

Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Would cycling long distances everyday eat away at your muscle gain?
I have no direct knowledge on this. there are plenty more ppl on this forum who know way more than I do. personally, I think not doing whole body weight training, would contribute more to whole body muscle mass loss, than blaming it on cycling. just look at pro cyclers with skinny arms & big quads, right?
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Old 07-09-19, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Would recovery slow down as one gets older too? Would cycling long distances everyday eat away at your muscle gain?
Of course recovery slows. That gets to be the main limiter. One can no longer workout hard enough, frequently enough, to preserve one's cycling ability. There are work-arounds: train smarter, not harder, use software to better estimate recovery status and training load, etc.

Cycling long distances does slightly reduce thigh circumference, but whether that's muscle mass or fat . . . I don't have a research team available to tell me that. Some LD cyclists I ride with have big thighs, others small. Size of thigh does not seem to have anything to do with cycling ability. We do know that a regimen of once/week heavy lifting, only 3 sets of 4, will retain muscle mass during the season, which as I said, may not mean thigh size.

The object of long distance cycling is to ride far, fast. Obviously the guys you see dominating the squat rack are not going to be competitive, muscle gains or not.
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Old 07-09-19, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I have no direct knowledge on this. I think 2 days off from pullups is enough to do them again if their aren't any injuries. personally, I took a year off pullups cuz my elbows were hurting

I have no direct knowledge on this. there are plenty more ppl on this forum who know way more than I do. personally, I think not doing whole body weight training, would contribute more to whole body muscle mass loss, than blaming it on cycling. just look at pro cyclers with skinny arms & big quads, right?
Pullups have nothing to do with cycling ability. I haven't done them since I was a teenager. Pushups however do help, but being able to do 20 seems to be enough.

The problem gets to be that sarcopenia prevents you from cycling to your potential. I think weight training and protein fix that issue.
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Old 07-09-19, 05:06 PM
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This article from Harvard Medical School (Harvard Men's Health Watch : Preserve your muscle mass) recommends:

1 to 1.3 grams (g) of protein per kilogram of body weight for older adults who do resistance training.
This article from Cycling Performance Tips (Building Blocks of All Foods : Protein) has lots of information about protein requirements, including:

Taking both aging and activity level into account, an international panel of experts recommended protein intakes of 1.0 - 1.2 g/kg/day for all adults 65 years or older, with even higher intakes for those who are more physically active.
I'm going on 61, and I ride about 15 hours per week. I get my protein from egg whites, soy milk, whole eggs, and yogurt. But based on these recommendations, I'm still not getting enough. That might explain these tired legs.
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Old 07-09-19, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
This article from Harvard Medical School (Harvard Men's Health Watch : Preserve your muscle mass) recommends:



This article from Cycling Performance Tips (Building Blocks of All Foods : Protein) has lots of information about protein requirements, including:



I'm going on 61, and I ride about 15 hours per week. I get my protein from egg whites, soy milk, whole eggs, and yogurt. But based on these recommendations, I'm still not getting enough. That might explain these tired legs.
Those recs are not for endurance athletes, and more particularly for aging endurance athletes. It's very possible that endurance athletes need more protein than strength athletes. Read the Hammer article I posted above.

The silliness in protein recs like those you posted posit a minimum as being the same as a maximum. That's not true of any other macro. Although there are folks who posit one mustn't eat more than 50g of carbs/day. Also silliness IMO. As I said, if your legs hurt on the bike, more protein. If your recovery is too slow, also try more protein. I use whey isolate to minimize the calories and for convenience.
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Old 07-09-19, 07:19 PM
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When you do the math on 1.3 grams per kg of body weight or even 1.8 grams per kg of body weight, then you realize that most people eat well over that amount of protein each day.

A twelve ounce steak which is considered small by many now 'days covers that. And that's only one meal.

Last edited by Iride01; 07-09-19 at 07:23 PM.
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Old 07-09-19, 08:02 PM
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A great article by Mark Rippetoe.

https://startingstrength.com/article...-people-my-age
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Old 07-09-19, 09:43 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
in weight training, they recommend 48 hrs rest between sessions of the same muscle. meaning if you do biceps Monday don't do them again until Wednesday.
This is true. It's also true that (good studies have found) new lifters benefit most from hitting a muscle group 3x per week, but after about 6 months you get the most beneficial from 2x per week.

In terms of cycling, I think we all have a specific amount of work we can do and recover from. It probably has more to do with what you've been doing lately than your age. I know a lady 12 years younger than me who can't walk up the few stairs to Starbucks without getting out of breath.

Lifting weights is good for everyone. As we age we lose muscle; when you can't get off the toilet on your own any more you go live in a nursing home. Road cyclists are already behind the curve on this.
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Old 07-09-19, 09:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Would cycling long distances everyday eat away at your muscle gain?
It uses energy (calories) that could go towards recovery. Eating more basically undoes this.

Running has been shown to have an "interference effect" meaning it will diminish your ability to grow muscle. Apart from energy demands. Cycling has not been shown to have this effect. The two best explanations I've heard (this isn't settled yet) are the types of muscle contractions in running, and that it's simply too much work to recover from with microfractures etc.
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Old 07-10-19, 03:36 AM
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Use it or loose it...To retain muscle you need to do some form of resistance training.
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Old 07-10-19, 03:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Would cycling long distances everyday eat away at your muscle gain?
Yes it would.
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Old 07-11-19, 05:57 PM
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I am a 53 yr old woman and I aim for 2 grams per kg of ideal body weight per day. That’s a lot- 120 gm per day and I have to pay a lot of attention to what I eat to make sure I get enough protein in the context of abundant micronutrients and the right kind of fats, all while keeping calories under wraps.

My logic is that I don’t have tons of testosterone and I don’t want to compromise my already limited ability to build muscle.

If context helps, I train year round with a coach, race TTs, and ride road and mountain bikes for fun.
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Old 07-12-19, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Tony P. View Post
Do you take supplements or drink Boost or similar products?
At times I drink Ensure for the protein. I eat very little meat and probably need extra protein. However, I worry about the added sugar.

After a heart attack, the docs told me I needed to gain weight and prescribed Ensure 3 times per day. The high cost and high sugar content limit my intake to a few per week.
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Old 07-13-19, 05:47 AM
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There are high protein supplements with less sugar (well, other than meat, which is the simplest). Many substitute stevia or other artificial sweeteners, or sugar alcohols like maltitol. Sugar alcohols may cause intestinal gas and stomach upset in some folks. I avoid using those during exercise since the bloating and gas can be uncomfortable. I'll use Clif or Larabars, which use regular sugar.

Legume based protein bars can be gassy too. I prefer whey, just to avoid the gassy bloating.

But there's lots of protein in unsweetened Greek yogurt, Icelandic skyr, and it takes only a little honey or some bananas to make them palatable for folks who prefer a little sweetness in stuff like that. Siggi's Icelandic skyr is tasty, even better than Greek yogurt. I add it to oatmeal, or use it instead of sour cream on baked potatoes.

Whey protein is very cheap, so the only reason to pay more for name brand supplements is the flavor and texture. There is a difference between the many brands. But mixing your own protein shakes is much less expensive than buying premixed liquid supplements. Since the powders are relatively cheap, buy the stuff that tastes good. You're more likely to actually use it. I've thrown away or given away some bad tasting protein powders, especially the stuff made from legumes. I just can't get along with protein powders made from beans and peas.
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Old 07-13-19, 11:07 AM
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Speed of repair and recovery definitely slows, as we age.

Need for the "building blocks" (most specifically, protein) increases as we build muscle and strength. The converse is true, as we lose it (as we age).

Am no nutritionist, but I've found the ~1g/kg estimate to be reasonably accurate in my own case, as I head toward 60yrs. Helps keep ~3-4 days of hard muscle training up to snuff (different muscle groups each day). In between, most every day except "off/recovery" days, I'm doing a moderate amount of cardio, moderate whole-body strength exercises via functional movements, and stretching.

My own preference for proteins is: fish, chicken, almonds, walnuts, hemp/chia/flax seeds, along with whey powder (added to blends as meal replacements).

In total, with two small meals that have either fish or chicken as the main protein source, coupled with a protein blend and a snack or two, I'm generally in the ~100g protein/day range, depending on activity levels.

Preferred whey protein: Optimum Nutrition "Gold Standard" whey powder.

Over the years, in various competitive performance sports, I've found the degree of recovery to be roughly paralleled by how much protein and other building blocks I'm consuming. Failing the nutrients, harder exercise stunts overall strength, overall muscle growth, slows recovery times. (I've experienced this across several sports, as well as harder gym/strength training.) Everyone's different, of course, but there's a link. You'll just need to find how tied to your own workout and performance levels a given amount of protein is.
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Old 07-23-19, 08:33 PM
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This is excellent thread. Just started riding (fat bike), and shedding a few pounds. Addressing caloric intake, via “lose it” app. Taking too many carbs, fats. Not enough protein (20%). Started taking more protein now, approx 40% protein and noticed difference in recovery. Also added resistance training 3x week with free weights too failure (4x15x7 exercises). One month into this, feel stronger, not losing much weight. However drinking 12+ glasses water/day. Love my Fatty..
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Old 07-29-19, 07:13 PM
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These days, it's so hot that on long rides, I find myself buying smoothies and other junk to refresh and cool off. I'm sure the calories of these things easily exceed 300 to 400 which happens to be the calories burned on a one hour bike ride (my app measured it). What happens to the sugar and empty calories for someone who's physically active? Does it still turn to visceral fat? Or is it all burned off and I'm all good? I somehow doubt that.
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Old 07-29-19, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by brianmcg123 View Post
Thank you for posting that article, I sorta agree. Yet, I think Mark is younger than me and I'd bet I could run, swim and cycle him into the ground. Like most weight lifters he looks 50 lbs overweight, inflexible and sorta unhealthy. Maybe it is his choice of slacks... But, maybe he should seek a bit of balance with endurance cardio.

Still, I agree with his premise, not lifting and maintaining muscle & bone density is risky business.
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Old 07-29-19, 09:10 PM
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I go by the following general standards: One gram of protein for each kilogram of weight at a regular normal activity. If training including cross-training a lot one and one-half gram per kilogram. Elite level, (which is way beyond senior cyclists) two grams per kilograms. YMMV as the preceding assumes otherwise good health.
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