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"Good" places to ride are often poor and have horrible restaurants and lousy food. For example, in Indian Himalayas, a lot of towns had only 3 options on offer - boiled eggs, omelet, chow mein.
Plus, I tend to be more active than at home. At home, my day is sitting in front of a computer and then thinking about where to eat huge restaurant portions. During trips, I'm always walking around and doing stuff and food options suck.
Been now on road for 49 days.
Do not know how much I have lost weight, but would think around 5kg.
Weather has been really hot, so been drinking and sweating a lot. Trying to eat normally, but appetite does not seem to be normal when weather is close to 40C...
Very interesting thread. Although it seems that most people loose some weight, this response seems very variable and some gain weight as well.
Although I am sure that energy intake (e.g. lots of good Argentinian meat and wine... cant wait to get there) is the main factor determining weight gain or weight loss, it would be interesting to see whether the type of riding also has an effect.
In your experience, the trips where you lost weight were also the trips with most off-road driving?
77% of the adventure bike riders that participated in the survey (N = 132) have lost some weight during their trips. An astonishing 18% have lost 3 stones or more !!!
Weight changes are determined by energy balance, i.e. the balance between energy intake from food and energy expenditure. The main determinants of energy expenditure are basal metabolic rate (the energy required to live in a resting state) and the energy required by physical activity. Basal metabolic rate is determined primarily by muscle mass, and it is relatively fixed. The most variable component of energy expenditure is physical activity.
When energy intake is lower than energy expenditure, weight loss occurs. From the thread comments, it seems that a reduction in energy intake is the main reason for weight loss during adventure motorcycling. This is not surprising because in foreign countries and remote regions food availability and palatability are likely to be reduced. Food poisoning is also mentioned as a cause of weight loss although we should not confound short-term weight loss from diarrhea and vomiting (fluid) with more long-term weight loss (fat mass and muscle mass). Nevertheless, food poisoning can induce fat and muscle losses by reducing food intake and absorption, and by increasing basal metabolic rate (fever). Given that riding a motorbike off-road requires a moderate level of aerobic energy, an increase in energy expenditure may also contribute to the weight loss observed in adventure bike riders.
Weight loss can be due to fat loss, muscle loss, or both. In an obese rider, a substantial loss of fat mass is clearly beneficial. However, fat loss in a lean rider (particularly female riders), can have very detrimental health effects such as osteoporosis and reduced fertility. A significant loss of muscle mass is always detrimental to health and fitness because it reduces muscles strength and the body ability to fight infection. Therefore, the results of this survey need to be followed-up by research measuring the composition of the weight loss in adventure bike riders. This can be done with a portable device, and I will include this body composition assessment in my Silk Road & Tibet expedition.
Back when this thread started a couple of years ago I posted that I usually lose weight on a long trip and that I thought that, for me anyway, it was down to lack of input (eating less) rather than more output (biking being a tough energy consuming activity). It would seem logical though that hanging onto the bars at 80mph all day on the autobahn, heaving a fully laden Gold Wing around Greek mountain roads or bouncing from rock field to sand trap on an African piste has got to use more energy than sitting in a car.
I have pondered about how much more energy though and whether it's enough to actually enough to cause a noticeable weight loss or whether it's mainly an improvement in muscle tone from the effort that makes you feel like you've lost weight. I do remember reading somewhere (many) years ago that everyday biking (commuting for example) uses twice as much energy as the same trip by car. Of course there were no data to support that statement but if you take it at face value a one hour commute would use about an extra 100 calories or all day on the bike about 8/900. That would equate to under a quarter of a pound of fat if your body made up the energy shortfall from reserves. On that basis it'll be about 10 days before you notice much and it probably wouldn't take much to compensate in a local restaurant each night.
As well as biking I also run a reasonable distance (a target of 20-25miles) each week and have done for years. I've also aimed at keeping my daily food intake under 2500 calories (averaged over a week or so) so I should be loosing weight constantly but in practice it doesn't happen. Some mechanism is compensating (and no it isn't sleepwalking to the fridge!) and keeping my weight constant. The only way I can lose weight is if I make a deliberate effort to reduce my food intake to somewhere between 1500 and 2000 calories. We have four other long term runners in the extended family and they all have much the same experience. For us weight loss / gain seems to be controlled mainly from the input side. Eat more and put on weight or vice versa. Exercise just seems to move it around.
Northerners! The weather outside is frightful, so what better time to start planning your next adventure! To help you get started, for February we're taking 30% off the Get Ready! DVD in the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'GETREADY' on your order when you checkout.
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