Hikes, Deficits, and Muscles!

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PAV8888
PAV8888 Posts: 13,751 Member
edited April 2015 in Health and Weight Loss
I went for a hike with some friends a week ago. Turns out that you need Mountain Goating 101 to survive a hike!

Weather sucked. Slogged around for a good 7 hours. Fitbit had a fit and clocked 320 floors, over 40,000 steps, and more than 5,000 calories. Every "floor" had to be climbed down with no extra credit for bad knees! **But we still had loads of fun**.

And we were all SORE for a minimum of three days after (Advil sore during day 2).

Friends were happy about it because they are "building muscles".

However, I happen to be on a caloric deficit, i.e. if I understand things correctly, my body is in a catabolic state. In other words I am not building muscle.

But, after the hike my muscles were sure as heck saying: "help, help, we need some rebuilding".

Are hikes of such intensity/duration a bad idea if I would rather lose fat than muscle?

If I still want to engage in this arcane torture should I be eating at maintenance before/during/after? For how long? Or should I continue with my normal deficit of about 600-800cal, excluding measurement errors!

Thanks!
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Replies

  • PeachyPlum
    PeachyPlum Posts: 1,243 Member
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    I think you're overthinking it. If you're working out (any kind of working out) at a deficit (any kind of deficit), you're going to lose some fat and some muscle. Typically, more fat than muscle.

    I can't see how far you are from goal weight, but unless you're about at your goal, I wouldn't stress too much about muscle loss right now. Just keep working out however you want and eating back most of your exercise calories.

    That being said, how much weight are you looking to lose? A 600 - 800 calorie deficit might be a bit steep if you're just trying to lose those last pounds.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,751 Member
    edited April 2015
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    Overjoyed to barely dip back into "overweight" today. Still a long way to go!

    I am more concerned about the intensity.

    "normal exercise", (walking), for me, doesn't leave me unable to move without pain for 3 days. The long hike sure did!
  • Laurend224
    Laurend224 Posts: 1,748 Member
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    You are just moving different muscles than your walks typically move. There is climbing, lots of lateral movement of your legs and (if you are on a really strenuous hike) rock scrambling and climbing involved. Were you also carrying a pack? I usually lug my 32 lb 3 year old on my back in a kelty during our family hikes. Believe me, lugging around 40 lbs of kid+pack, makes a huge difference in muscle soreness the next day. :) If you are extra hungry after your hike, eat a bit more. Hiking is great, it's the only exercise I will willingly do. ;)
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
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    It hurt because it was unusual, long duration and tough - that's all, certainly doesn't make it a bad idea.
    I would definitely fuel that duration of exercise though so hope you are eating back your exercise calories. I cycled long distances while losing weight with no detriment at all.
    if I understand things correctly, my body is in a catabolic state. In other words I am not building muscle.
    Unless you are eating nothing you are not in a catabolic state 24x7 - everyone cycles between catabolic and anabolic states as a function of eating and digesting. Being in an overall calorie deficit just changes the proportions.


  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,751 Member
    edited April 2015
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    My mean friends hogged the heavy pack--which I truly was fine carrying uphill because my normal walking includes hills and I've lost way more than the pack weighed!

    But it definitely involved a lot of "fine' adjustments and scrambling over rocks and at least a couple of slips and falls (rain, sleet, hail, utterly soaked everything, and yes, hills-elevation gain was 440 meters but it seems like it happened multiple times : - )

    Between water retention after the hike and Easter Sunday... took a full week to return to pre-hike weight. So it's not like I didn't "fuel" the hike.

    So the consensus is that muscle soreness is OK, does not result in any extra loss, and I should go for more hikes even though they make my little walks seem like... a walk in the park : - ) ?
  • uvi5
    uvi5 Posts: 710 Member
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    "Slogged around for a good 7 hours. Fitbit had a fit and clocked 320 floors, over 40,000 steps, and more than 5,000 calories. Every "floor""

    Would the fitbit be correct on the calories burned being 5,000? And should she eat all, 50% or 75% of those calories back? I'm asking because I'm interested in getting a fitbit Hr Charge next month and 5,000 wow that's a lot + regular daily intake of calories? Real curious to know?
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
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    I always expect to gain temporary weight after a long ride, partly from the muscle soreness and partly from the sheer volume of food required to fuel 6 hours of exercise.
    The warm glow of achievement lasts longer than the temporary water gain!

    Remember that your muscle is constantly being repaired and replaced, deficit just impairs that process, it doesn't stop it.


  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,751 Member
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    She is a he last I checked me : - )

    About 30 days ago I would have said that my deficits were in line with results and that Fitbit was bang on in terms of estimating my caloric expenditure.

    In the past 30 days I believe that Fitbit has been crediting me with approximately 300 extra calories, which would be an overestimation of about 10%.

    Fitbit puts a premium on speed of movement first and heart rate second. So the hike estimation could be off in opposite directions because speed was slow in terms of steps per minute; but, heart rate was elevated.

    I would put more stock on my 30 day observation that it is probably overestimating by about 10% based on my personal experience. (male, 5ft 8", 198lbs)

    You may want to check various threads on the Charge HR's accuracy on the Fitbit forums. It isn't terribly accurate. None of them are, and if you're not engaging in steady state cardio the HR is not that accurate either. Yet it is still useful!
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,751 Member
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    sijomial wrote: »
    if I understand things correctly, my body is in a catabolic state. In other words I am not building muscle.
    Unless you are eating nothing you are not in a catabolic state 24x7 - everyone cycles between catabolic and anabolic states as a function of eating and digesting. Being in an overall calorie deficit just changes the proportions.[/quote]

    Before we get derailed: I ate before, during, and after, more than 4,000 calories in total leaving an 850 deficit that was more than wiped out two days later on Easter Sunday : - )

    Aha! Cycling between anabolic and catabolic states and proportion? So timing of food before and after WOULD have an effect?

    Or as mentioned I am WAY over-thinking it at this point and I should just go out there and enjoy the exercise?
  • 7lenny7
    7lenny7 Posts: 3,493 Member
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    uvi5 wrote: »
    "Slogged around for a good 7 hours. Fitbit had a fit and clocked 320 floors, over 40,000 steps, and more than 5,000 calories. Every "floor""

    Would the fitbit be correct on the calories burned being 5,000? And should she eat all, 50% or 75% of those calories back? I'm asking because I'm interested in getting a fitbit Hr Charge next month and 5,000 wow that's a lot + regular daily intake of calories? Real curious to know?

    I don't believe the FitBit calorie numbers for hiking. Walking, running, sure, but not hiking. When I go hiking I use the MapMyWalk app.

    After a hike I compare the number of calories MMW tells me I burned with this chart:
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/weight-loss/in-depth/exercise/art-20050999?pg=2

    MMW compares fairly favorably to that chart, whereas with Fitbit, I wasn't getting near enough credit. I sync FitBit, MFP, and MMW all together and they work great. I get the FitBit step count in conjunction with the MMW calorie burn and distance and it correctly pulls that into MFP (no double dipping of calories burned from FB & MMW).

    I had expected MMW to burn through my phone battery because it uses the GPS, but it's actually been fairly frugal with the power use.
  • sijomial
    sijomial Posts: 19,811 Member
    edited April 2015
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    Aha! Cycling between anabolic and catabolic states and proportion? So timing of food before and after WOULD have an effect?

    Or as mentioned I am WAY over-thinking it at this point and I should just go out there and enjoy the exercise?

    Yes it has an effect - the major effect is on exercise performance and endurance.
    But for weight loss although there are some complex feeding/timing protocols built around exercise in a deficit that's really majoring in the minors for ordinary people.
    If you have aspirations towards physique competition or elite level sports perhaps worth the effort.

    So yes I would say way over-thinking.
    Have an appropriate calorie deficit, exercise, eat an adequate amount of protein, sustainability/patience and the rest falls into place.
  • Larissa_NY
    Larissa_NY Posts: 495 Member
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    PAV8888 wrote: »
    Or as mentioned I am WAY over-thinking it at this point and I should just go out there and enjoy the exercise?

    You are way overthinking it. If you like hiking, go hiking. Make sure you have enough food that you don't run out of gas halfway through. That's pretty much all you need to worry about. I know losing weight feels all-consuming sometimes, but there's more to life than calorie deficits.

  • SBRRepeat
    SBRRepeat Posts: 384 Member
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    PAV8888 wrote: »

    Aha! Cycling between anabolic and catabolic states and proportion? So timing of food before and after WOULD have an effect?

    Or as mentioned I am WAY over-thinking it at this point and I should just go out there and enjoy the exercise?

    Nutrient timing is a thing, so you are right on that. But you are also right that you are WAY over thinking this :smile:
    When I hike/bike/run for long periods of time, I just trust my body- if I'm feeling tired, weak, or hungry, I eat. Mostly calorie dense, carb based foods.

    Enjoy the activity and eat some food to help your muscles repair themselves! You are building strength and endurance in your already existing muscles, just not necessarily building more muscle mass. Speaking from experience, putting in the hours out on the trails can do you and your muscles a world of good.
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,751 Member
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    7lenny7 wrote: »
    I had expected MMW to burn through my phone battery because it uses the GPS, but it's actually been fairly frugal with the power use.
    I soooo hated technology and rain that day!

    Runkeeper kept stopping because when climbing up a bank it thought I wasn't moving.
    Pacer crashed and ate 30,000 steps.
    Fitbit crashed and lost the activity, but kept the steps!

    You are correct that the Mayo chart would have added another 750 or so calories to the Fitbit estimate.
  • chris_in_cal
    chris_in_cal Posts: 2,243 Member
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    PAV8888 wrote: »
    I went for a hike with some friends.....
    Slogged around for a good 7 hours....
    Every "floor" had to be climbed down with no extra credit for bad knees!

    There are no "bad" knees. Love what you have. Mainly, listen to what you have, use what you have, push what you have, improve what you have. If we don't do this we strain or break what we have...and then things quickly climbed down with no extra credit.

    Seven one hour hikes seems like a lot of good times, instead of slogging and three days of pain.
  • musicfan68
    musicfan68 Posts: 1,127 Member
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    PAV8888 wrote: »
    I went for a hike with some friends.....
    Slogged around for a good 7 hours....
    Every "floor" had to be climbed down with no extra credit for bad knees!

    There are no "bad" knees. Love what you have. Mainly, listen to what you have, use what you have, push what you have, improve what you have. If we don't do this we strain or break what we have...and then things quickly climbed down with no extra credit.

    Seven one hour hikes seems like a lot of good times, instead of slogging and three days of pain.

    I don't mean to bump an almost 10 year old thread, but @chris_in_cal , this thread is almost 10 years old, how in the world did you find it to resurrect it?
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,751 Member
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    Heh, heh, I posted that hike as a young pup five months after I joined MFP.
    And I joined MFP about 11 months into working into increasing movement and then reducing weight.

    I actually joined MFP because I was ready to give up (knowing that I would go back to my previous weight + a bit more) because I felt that I could no longer continue doing what I was doing at the time to lose weight.

    Literally I went out searching for a way to not give up. And found MFP and calorie counting and the forums.

    Looking at trendweight, on April 6, 2015 I was about 198.7 and by May 4, 2015 I was down to 193.4. So the hike didn't cause any issues with weight loss that month!

    By November 16, 2015 I was down to 168.2 and i don't think I've been more than that ever since. My lowest low was just under 151 at the end of the Covid lockdown.

    Yes, I used to consider my weight to be my trending weight, though I've stopped using the app since early 2022.

    During the past 9 years Fitbit has recorded about 28% of my days as over 25K steps. About 71% over 15,000. And >93% hit the 10K mark.

    If I am near/above 165lbs my knees are definitely willing to let me know about it. Below that we are friends.

    I DO go for baby hikes. But not the extreme (for me both back then and probably still now) multi-hour ones. 2 hours, maybe a bit more? That's frequent if not quite daily. But not really more than that.

    If I ever retire and if my health allows I believe I could well give longer hikes a try.

    @TamiVsTheTrail is in my area and I've actually bookmarked her thread (she doesn't know this) for inspiration about some of the ones I may want to try!!!

    https://community.myfitnesspal.com/en/discussion/10876478/just-keep-hiking/p1

  • chris_in_cal
    chris_in_cal Posts: 2,243 Member
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    PAV8888 wrote: »
    Below that we are friends.
    Beautiful, I'm glad you have the refinement to have a good hike, stay healthy, and after a hike not have to stay in bed for three days and pop Advil.....that is discernment and progress and wisdom. Love your joints, use them, and listen to them.
  • chris_in_cal
    chris_in_cal Posts: 2,243 Member
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    PAV8888 wrote: »

    ...By November 16, 2015 I was down to 168.2 and i don't think I've been more than that ever since.

    ...During the past 9 years Fitbit has recorded about 28% of my days as over 25K steps. About 71% over 15,000. And >93% hit the 10K mark.

    There is just so much here. Steps like someone is chasing you, and keeping below a reasonable amount since 2015...fantastic.

    How about "Hikes, Deficits, and Muscles!" resistance training, strength training, muscle building, or weight lifting?
  • PAV8888
    PAV8888 Posts: 13,751 Member
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    Yikes! a correction has to be made: the 28% I mentioned refers to days over 20,000 steps; not 25K. My 25K days are less than 10%.

    The important aspect, to me though, are the 71% of days that are over 15K.

    Admittedly my daily "target" of 15,750 is completely arbitrary and dates back to my weight losing days of 9 years ago when at some random point of time 15,750 days represented a TDEE of about 3,100 Cal, a number I used to like to hit since I was targeting my eating to be about 2500 Cal at that time and so it would result in a 500 Cal deficit even if I went a bit over.

    Of course neither the 3100 or 2500 are true at this point. My current numbers are closer to 2800-2900 for both.

    But, the 15,750 "target" basically represents two and a half to three hours of purposeful movement in a day and reaches (and surpasses) the very loftily named "very active" setting on MFP. If you look at a TDEE estimators, in my case it would generate an AF of about 1.8x.

    In today's car culture fitting that level of activity in your day without some initial setup is not trivial. And it is definitely not somewhere where you can get to immediately if you start from more of your days being under 1,000 steps than over. (That's 1K, not 10K)

    But if you compare the 2.5 to 3 hours to what a hunter gatherer or agrarian ancestor would be doing it really doesn't sound THAT excessive, does it? Try walking an hour to the river to get water!

    And I can attest to you that driving twice a day through the drive through to get large fries, a large pop and a couple of burgers each time will result in a different body structure than the one obtained by fitting 2.5 hours of purposeful movement in a day while only having an occasional Big Mac after walking to the restaurant!

    I am not one to dis weigh lifting or strength training. The WHO recommends two sessions of strength training as a minimum per week.

    I am also not one to claim that I am in any way perfect or that I am even seeking to be. I am a great believer on seeking a modus vivendi that's "good enough" for the longer term. I'm sure you've heard the adage where the best exercise to perform is... the one you actually do perform, right?

    So for sure. When there is cognitive space and willingness to optimize, optimize away. I have zero doubt that I would enjoy the results of flexibility and strength training both. And maybe I will make them my priority at some point of time.

    But there is a specific reason I chose to just concentrate on increased movement (you notice that I am not even saying the words walking or hiking and definitely I am not not saying the word running) when I first started out.

    And it is that I decided that I will take the lowest hanging fruit with the smallest barrier to entry (and even more so smallest barrier to re-entry after injury, sickness, other life exigencies or interruptions) to ensure that the barriers to continuing compliance remain as low as possible for me for as long as possible.