I've just restarted lifting weights after a five month hiatus or so, and want to know if everyone thinks that bicycling at least 20km or so a day is going to be detrimental to both building muscle and recovery.
Last year I was following Leangains and was doing squats, deadlifts, bent over row, lat pull down (as preparation for chin ups) occasional benchpress, etc etc. I was recommended by a friend to start Stronglifts 5x5, which consists of two alternative barbell workouts (Workout A: Squat/ Benchpress/Bent-over row), (Workout B: Squats/Overhead press/Deadlift), with each exercise performed 5 reps 5 times, with exception of deadlift, which is 1 x 5. You add 2.5kg or 5lb each time you lift for linear progression.
I worked out that I didn't do very well without breakfast on Leangains and it was affecting my work, so now I generally eat two meals a day, with breakfast between 5:30-7am and dinner any time between 7pm-10pm. Breakfast is 3 fried eggs, half an avocado and kimchi, dinner is usually slow-cooked meat, grilled fish, green veg. I will be adding in potatoes and rice after weight workouts now and staying low-carb on rest days.
I absolutely hate taking the train to work and love the freedom that cycling gives me. But will I be overdoing it, particularly with 15 sets of squats per week? I remember last year that squats eventually gave me stronger legs that made cycling easier, but will it affect my progress in the beginning?
Thanks for any help you can offer.
asked bysophie_1 (1317)
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on March 05, 2013
at 02:17 PM
I don't know. I guess, like everything, it depends on your goals. With a program like strong lifts I assume you're looking to gain strength and muscle? Which can be achieved by doing the work and eating the food. I don't think commuter cycling is really going to interfere that much. The day or two after squats you might take the train, but otherwise ride?
For me, I lift heavy 3 times per week and on most off days do some form of cardio.. running, ellipitcal, boxing, etc. I take 1-2 days completely off. I find that I am often sore, but it is nothing an epsom bath and a lot of carbs can't fix.
And you're just commuting to work, right? It's not like you're competing or training? This seems like a pretty mild cardio so I don't really see the problem.
It really comes down to whether or not you're willing to eat the carbs that are going to fuel your activity level and aid in recovery.
on March 05, 2013
at 09:02 AM
I'm a cyclist/lifter myself and have been wondering the same thing. I've been focusing on letting go of my cardio workouts, but soon it will be mountain biking/road biking/touring/commuting time. My thoughts coincide with Jarryd; I might not lift more than twice a week and make sure that I have at 1-2 days of recovery per week. Also, I think a lot of training and cycling needs to be complemented with some good stretching, mobility work, and foam rolling. I expect that my gains will be less as I bike more, but since the trade off will be summer/fall races I'm okay with not excelling at lifting at that time.
on March 05, 2013
at 07:17 AM
My cortisol just rose to super high levels just from reading your post..:) dammmmm im pooped. Seriously though maybe try the train on some days and allow yourself to recover a little- unless a triatholon is in your near future.
on December 08, 2015
at 10:11 PM
If weights are your priority, cycling will provide passive recovery if you use the bike as a recovery tool and not as extra training. Enjoy the outdoors and keep the flat road cadence around 80rpm and HR below 130BPM and with climbs, slow your cadence to around 50rpm and alternate out of the saddle to spread the effort between different leg muscles. Enjoy and keep me posted..S
on June 15, 2015
at 06:26 PM
Thanks for posting this, I have the same query.
I used to take the train to work (commute time = 2 hours and a half to 3 hours a day) but my company have moved offices and as I don't have a driving licence yet, I have to take 2 buses... and it's hell: minimum commute time 4 hours, average 5 hours, record 6 hours and a half. So I no longer have the time to go to the gym where I used to do a bit of cardio (step; crosstrainer), some stretching & core muscle exercise, and some weight lifting. It's been only 2 weeks but it's had a massive impact on my mood and sleep and stress levels already.
I am thinking of cycling all or part of the way. The total distance is 50 kilometers, on dirt roads and asphalt, with a bit of walking on roads which are too busy and in the city centre. I then have to leave the bike near the cycle path at the bottom of a hill, climb over a fence, and go up the hill (through a pasture with cattle, cow dung etc.). I am worried the bike might get stolen during the day, or I may get chased by a calf, so I may go round the hill (leaving the cycle path for a busy road), which will add another 8 kilometers or so... If I take the train for part of the way, the 50 kilometers can be reduced to 33, so a maximum of 41 kilometers return in total.
Although longish, the commute by bike would be preferable to waiting for the buses, and then sitting in traffic jams. However I am worried it is going to prevent me from gaining/keeping muscle: I am already very lean, and don't need to lose weight at all (BMI wise I am already teetering on underweight). Should I eat more protein, for example when I arrive at work/home after my rides? I do assisted pull ups and planks (rotator cuff syndrome, can't do deadlifts or use a shoulder press) for about 30 minutes twice a week: shoud I up that to three times a week, and maybe start using dumb bells (below the shoulder)?
on March 05, 2013
at 05:01 AM
It sounds like your goal is purely to get better at cycling, if so it's probably not the best trade off to stop cycling (which you love) and catch the train (which you hate) just to get some small gains from increased recovery.
My suggestion would be to do stronglifts Sat morning giving you the rest of the weekend to recover and then again mid week while reducing the intensity of your ride the day of and the day after your workout. If you feel it's too much, just catch the train a couple of days a week.
Ultimately, trial and error will help you find your ideal routine.