How to lose muscle mass in upper body

Oct 8, 2019
3
0
10
I'm looking for information if any of you did succesfully loost upper body mas to progress climbing (road cycling)? I'm very mascular for cylist and cannot follow team-mates in hills... I'm 180cm, 80kg, want to go down to at least 70-75kg.

I know about eating less calories for a long period of time...But it just don't work for me..I was 94kg and lost 14kg in 3 years of cyling and now, weight is stucked at 80kg, BF very low, 9%.
Any experiance with somekind of intermediate feesting or anything that can help?
 
You're stats, both in terms of current weight and previous weight loss are very similar to mine. I took up cycling after years of bodybuilding carrying plenty of upper body muscle that i desperately wanted to get rid of once i got the cycling bug!

If you're currently 80kg at 9% bf then your going to find it extremely difficult to get to 75kg, let alone 70kg.

If you're really determined to try, then cutting down on protein along with lots of long fasted rides and constant calorie deficits will slowly see you drop a couple of kilo, likely your body will try and hang on to lower body muscle and you'll see some upper body muscle wastage, BUT it really is a miserable existence and your performance on the bike will likely suffer far more from a lack of energy to train properly than it would from the benefits of being a few kg lighter when going uphill. And its certainly not good for your overall health and wellbeing.

I don't know what your ultimate goals or ambitions are, but for a recreational cyclist or even someone looking to compete in the amateur ranks then 80kg, especially if you're as lean as you say, is a pretty good weight to be at.
 
Reactions: proffate
I'm looking for information if any of you did succesfully loost upper body mas to progress climbing (road cycling)? I'm very mascular for cylist and cannot follow team-mates in hills... I'm 180cm, 80kg, want to go down to at least 70-75kg.

I know about eating less calories for a long period of time...But it just don't work for me..I was 94kg and lost 14kg in 3 years of cyling and now, weight is stucked at 80kg, BF very low, 9%.
Any experiance with somekind of intermediate feesting or anything that can help?
I was 5' 9", 165 lbs, 10ish% body fat, muscular from time in the weight room in my teens and early 20s then I got hooked on mountain bikes. Just from training/ racing and not doing any upper body except for push ups, my chest shoulders, arms, back...melted away. Actually, my quads got smaller too from cycling instead of weight training. After my first 'serious' year of training/racing I was 150, 7ish%. In my best years, on my best days I was 145-147 and 6ish%. That being said, I can't imagine you going from 205 to 155 since you are 9%. Have you completely stopped upper body workouts? Based on your height/weight, you are still jacked!:)
 
Reactions: Andraz
I was 5' 9", 165 lbs, 10ish% body fat, muscular from time in the weight room in my teens and early 20s then I got hooked on mountain bikes. Just from training/ racing and not doing any upper body except for push ups, my chest shoulders, arms, back...melted away.
Consider yourself lucky that your body responds to exercise (or lack thereof). Not all bodies behave that way, and being an exceptional climber is as much about having a body that sheds excess mass (but still functions properly re: hormones, recovery, etc) as it is about having a great cardiovascular system.
 
Consider yourself lucky that your body responds to exercise (or lack thereof). Not all bodies behave that way, and being an exceptional climber is as much about having a body that sheds excess mass (but still functions properly re: hormones, recovery, etc) as it is about having a great cardiovascular system.
HMM...whose body stays jacked when they don't lift? Cycling certainly accelerated the process, but had I just stopped lifting the same thing would have happened. My body responded to one stimuli but then I removed that stimuli and introduced a different stimuli.

a 20 lb drop in weight (mostly upper body muscle but a bit of fat too) is easy compared to andraz who wants to drop 50 lbs.

Your statement will be tough to back with science. Being an elite climber is both, but having a cleaner aerobic system is worth a few pounds.
 
Reactions: Andraz
Is your thread about bike racing? Being a better bike racer?
make friends with fruit.
ride @350-425 per week w a 5 to 10 second 100% jump out of the saddle every 20-25 minutes.
increase your stack..by 5mm. 1st. Bring your stem length back by half of 1 cm.
don't stand up for the first 3-5 weeks of your off season. Learn to generate watts from the saddle. Don't slam your stem..
Do things in your training and position to reduce the load on your shoulders and arms. Slightly un-crit yourself.
big LSD ( long steady distance) rides a careful control of your diet everything takes care of itself.
your body will get calories where they are available. You can't do sit ups for a flat gut. Can't do squats for a skimmer bumm.
You need to get a body fat reduction..naturally. And make demands from riding. You can do core..it is important.
But mileage and diet will shape your body.
Don't phuck. w nature..if you are cranking for 4-7 hours a day and climbing moderate amounts your body will adapt..your physique will look the way you want.
There is no fake..fast lane pro cycling body..it comes from time...
I can tell a pro from butt cheeks and balance ..there are no false positives.
The 350+ on the seat yields other things that are not obvious to the untrained eye.
So the short version..eat right..ride 350-425 per week..no need for the post.
* Always wipe your hands and face w a warm clean towel. Brush your teeth. Gargle w hot salt water as often as you can..
Staying healthy is critical. No dirty shorts..no wet shoes..shower ,sleep,eat repeat.​
 
Reactions: Andraz
Oct 8, 2019
3
0
10
I was 5' 9", 165 lbs, 10ish% body fat, muscular from time in the weight room in my teens and early 20s then I got hooked on mountain bikes. Just from training/ racing and not doing any upper body except for push ups, my chest shoulders, arms, back...melted away. Actually, my quads got smaller too from cycling instead of weight training. After my first 'serious' year of training/racing I was 150, 7ish%. In my best years, on my best days I was 145-147 and 6ish%. That being said, I can't imagine you going from 205 to 155 since you are 9%. Have you completely stopped upper body workouts? Based on your height/weight, you are still jacked!:)
What were your eating habits? Did you use dieting?
 
HMM...whose body stays jacked when they don't lift? Cycling certainly accelerated the process, but had I just stopped lifting the same thing would have happened. My body responded to one stimuli but then I removed that stimuli and introduced a different stimuli.

a 20 lb drop in weight (mostly upper body muscle but a bit of fat too) is easy compared to andraz who wants to drop 50 lbs.

Your statement will be tough to back with science. Being an elite climber is both, but having a cleaner aerobic system is worth a few pounds.
It really depends how long you've been lifting for. If its just a couple of years or so then sure you're gonna lose any gains pretty quickly....but if you've been lifting seriously from a young age for 10 years plus then its a different story....

I was lifting consistently from the age of 14 to 32. I went down from around 100kg (180cm tall) as a serious gym rat to 80kg within a couple of years of taking up cycling and quitting all lifting. Ive consistently ridden 10,000 plus miles per year for the last 5 years. For a couple of target events (hilly stage races) ive managed to get down as low as 76kg, but its taken the kind of sacrifices than no sane person other than a pro cyclist should ever endure and left me feeling drained and miserable after the event.

I've come to accept that 80kg is the right weight for me, my body just seems to rebel as soon as i try to go much lower....guess i'll always be more Sagan than Froome, but i'm cool with that now :cool:
 
It really depends how long you've been lifting for. If its just a couple of years or so then sure you're gonna lose any gains pretty quickly....but if you've been lifting seriously from a young age for 10 years plus then its a different story....

I was lifting consistently from the age of 14 to 32. I went down from around 100kg (180cm tall) as a serious gym rat to 80kg within a couple of years of taking up cycling and quitting all lifting. Ive consistently ridden 10,000 plus miles per year for the last 5 years. For a couple of target events (hilly stage races) ive managed to get down as low as 76kg, but its taken the kind of sacrifices than no sane person other than a pro cyclist should ever endure and left me feeling drained and miserable after the event.

I've come to accept that 80kg is the right weight for me, my body just seems to rebel as soon as i try to go much lower....guess i'll always be more Sagan than Froome, but i'm cool with that now :cool:
I had this issue for a while trying to get below 75kg. Anything less and I could hardly turn a pedal. After spending a couple of years at 75 I managed to drop down to 67-68kg without feeling the same. Just took time for me to adjust.
 
Reactions: brownbobby
Good to know...maybe there's hope for me yet!
You never know! I should mention I was skinny as a kid, even in my teens, and it was gym work that put the weight/muscle on. After riding at 75 for a couple of years I was able to reduce my calorie intake in general, up my training a bit (by which I mean actually doing something planned in the week rather just commuting, weekend rides and occasional evening stuff) and lose weight while maintaining (actually improving but that's more to do with the training level) power.

I should also mention that I don't race, so if I don't eat enough and feel rubbish, or if it hadn't worked, I wasn't going to ruin a season of racing by trying it!
 
I'm looking for information if any of you did succesfully loost upper body mas to progress climbing (road cycling)? I'm very mascular for cylist and cannot follow team-mates in hills... I'm 180cm, 80kg, want to go down to at least 70-75kg.

I know about eating less calories for a long period of time...But it just don't work for me..I was 94kg and lost 14kg in 3 years of cyling and now, weight is stucked at 80kg, BF very low, 9%.
Any experiance with somekind of intermediate feesting or anything that can help?
You're just getting to the point where your metabolism, natural bone structure, riding mileage and intensity will be the issue. It you're built fairly broad you may need to accept that being a power rider is your destiny. Big sprinters know this and they still climb really well but not as well as a 130lb Columbian. They never will.
Starting at 150lbs, playing US Football in early high school and getting a shoulder injury introduced me to running distance. Stopping weights and pursuing what turned out to be abusive training miles I dropped to 120 lbs at 5'8". My 116 lb girlfriend could stuff me in my school locker...
Going back to weight training after a surgery got me back to 155 lbs until I discovered cycling and racing. The intensity of racing efforts and training with faster riders dropped me to 140. Riding stage races in summer took off another 8 lbs and it was clear that the type of racing and peak conditioning contributed to weight and body fat. It also was not totally sustainable year round as King Boonen mentions. That's true for most pros as well unless they resort to other means to lose weight. There has been some disclosure that eating disorders can become part of the sport for those driven to keep up. You're likely a reasonable person but your natural stature and talents will determine much of what you can and should accomplish. Enjoy it and have a beer.
 
I have to say enjoying a beer is good advice.
and while we are on the subject of vital organs..
Rapid weight loss is bad..complete sudden overhaul of your diet is bad..
You need to do small increases in mileage and efforts and small caloric changes until you get a balance.
1 thing that has served me well and helped others comes from an office supply.
Buy a desk top calender. The larger the better.you can make tiny notations..what you ate. Weight.time and distance of rides. You can include a number from 1-10 about how you felt on the bike. A number can be written for hours slept.
I prefer something physical you can look at,best results so far are Strava and a micro training diary kept on the desk calendar.
You can flip ahead months and put a star or race name for one of your mid season goals.
You can write had things..sluggish,choppy cadence,losing speed before and in corners. You can remind yourself of race-ride differences.. Important stuff like eating and drinking on the bike. When you race and forget hydration and nutrition..the lack of fuel fouls your motor and your training goes in the toilet.
Last..time trialing. Find a 10 and 20 k course for yourself and get reference times and performance analysis..even if the data only comes from you.write down what you did right and wrong. Try and work on improvements to your technique and time..
Training and development are more important than body weight distribution..
In the US a desk calendar is @$4 dollars..
 
You're just getting to the point where your metabolism, natural bone structure, riding mileage and intensity will be the issue. It you're built fairly broad you may need to accept that being a power rider is your destiny. Big sprinters know this and they still climb really well but not as well as a 130lb Columbian. They never will.
Starting at 150lbs, playing US Football in early high school and getting a shoulder injury introduced me to running distance. Stopping weights and pursuing what turned out to be abusive training miles I dropped to 120 lbs at 5'8". My 116 lb girlfriend could stuff me in my school locker...
Going back to weight training after a surgery got me back to 155 lbs until I discovered cycling and racing. The intensity of racing efforts and training with faster riders dropped me to 140. Riding stage races in summer took off another 8 lbs and it was clear that the type of racing and peak conditioning contributed to weight and body fat. It also was not totally sustainable year round as King Boonen mentions. That's true for most pros as well unless they resort to other means to lose weight. There has been some disclosure that eating disorders can become part of the sport for those driven to keep up. You're likely a reasonable person but your natural stature and talents will determine much of what you can and should accomplish. Enjoy it and have a beer.
Bone "structure" is worth maybe two pounds (for people of the same height), so that's not a limiting factor in weight reduction. Plus, you are assuming that they have "bigger" bones.
 
Oct 8, 2019
3
0
10
I went from playing rugby league at 183cm and ~90kg to riding a bike at 183cm and ~68kg. I stopped lifting weights and the upper body muscle disappeared on its own.
Did you use dieting? How many year was from 90 - 68 kg? How much of riding?
 
I'm looking for information if any of you did succesfully loost upper body mas to progress climbing (road cycling)? I'm very mascular for cylist and cannot follow team-mates in hills... I'm 180cm, 80kg, want to go down to at least 70-75kg.

I know about eating less calories for a long period of time...But it just don't work for me..I was 94kg and lost 14kg in 3 years of cyling and now, weight is stucked at 80kg, BF very low, 9%.
Any experiance with somekind of intermediate feesting or anything that can help?
  • 2,000 calories per day (count) … NO sugar (check the labels); NO booze (check the labels); NO junk; Minimal good fat.
  • add some running
  • cycling or running … keep it long and slow … ie . 70% MHR
  • of all the factors above … caloric intake is the most important
  • props to you on your significant weight loss ... good luck on future loss
 
Did you use dieting? How many year was from 90 - 68 kg? How much of riding?
I didn't "diet" in the traditional sense as I think it's a poor way to lose weight and keep it off. I did reduce calorie intake, but down to a level that I am currently at. This meant I was eating less calories than I needed to support the weight I was. I think it took a year to go from 90-95 to 75kg. At this point I stopped losing weight as it made me feel weak. After 3 years I tried again and have gone down to 68kg.


A lot of riding. 30+ km a day commuting, usually at least one 100+ km ride at the weekend and maybe one or two 60-90 km rides in the week, mostly on my fixed gear. Now the nights are drawing in I'll be on the turbo or rollers 2-4 times a week in the evening.
 
Bone "structure" is worth maybe two pounds (for people of the same height), so that's not a limiting factor in weight reduction. Plus, you are assuming that they have "bigger" bones.
I'm more referencing that a 5'11", 176 pound guy built like Greipel is not likely to lose as much as a rider at the same height but built like Bardet at 145 lbs. Nor will likely climb quite as well. It's not just the skeletal structure that is scaled to stature. That said, King Boonen's experience is possible if you take a practical, long view of training and lifestyle. If you ride enough and don't eat too much you'll eventually arrive at manageable weight. Racing is the best way to accelerate that development but it isn't for everybody.
 
Last edited:

ASK THE COMMUNITY

Latest posts