Cycling –> big thighs?

24 Jul

Last night was my first night of my second stretch of night shifts this month.  I tried to sleep today….I went to bed around 10:30 am, but then by 3:30 I was pretty much wide awake.  Weird, huh, because on a typical day, 1-4 in the afternoon is when I have the hardest time staying awake!

So, hence the second blog post today, since I don’t work until 8 pm….

Anyone watch the Tour de France this year?  I caught a few bits here and there and actually found it quite exciting and super impressive what these guys do, steroid using or not.  I honestly don’t know many details about the race, so I looked up some:

The Tour de France covers approximately 2175 miles of arduous terrain across France.  The course changes every year, but the race has always finished in Paris.  Since 1975, the conclusion of the final stage has been along the Champs-Élysées (Source).   To give you an idea of how far these men must bike, I found this article about the 2010 race:

At 2,262 miles, it’s roughly as long as the route between Washington, DC, and Tucson, Ariz. That would take 39 hours to drive – without any of the Tour’s hairpin turns or hills so steep you have to throw a sputtering car into second gear. (Source)

The tour typically lasts about 20 days, with 2 resting days allowed.  On race days, the cyclists may be in the saddle for up to 6 hours, covering over 100 miles without any breaks.  Even on the 2 rest days, the cyclists still typically bike an hour or two to keep themselves in race mode.

Pretty impressive, right?  You know what else I found impressive?  Just was how skinny these hardcore cyclists’ thighs are!  Don’t get me wrong, to bike the ~2175 miles of arduous terrain within three weeks, these endurance athletes HAVE to be lean, but given the amount of quadricep strength they need (plus the effects of the steroids many of probably take..ha), I was expecting a little more than stick skinny legs:

Look at the 2012 Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins thighs, hardly big and bulky, and yet you know how incredibly strong they must be.

I guess this is a good point for women out there who are scared that cycling/spinning will give them thighs like this:

Cycling alone will NOT give you scary looking huge thighs!  Seriously, if these tour de france cyclists can bike on average 25-30 of intense hours per week for three weeks and have legs like that, why do so many women freak out about what taking one one hour spin class per week will do to their thighs?  Unless you’re pumping steroids, destroying your kidneys by drinking loads of protein shakes, and also squatting heavy weights, your thighs will not blow up, so chill out.

Also, big, bulky thighs don’t just come from lifting heavy weights.  Probably the biggest contributor to thigh size (and body size), is what you eat.

If you’re working out a ton and develop a mentality that you can eat as much of whatever you want, then yeah, your legs will probably get bigger, but it’s not alone from the cycling.  So workout hard, keep a healthy, balanced diet that supports your exercise but is not excessive, and you’ll be fine.

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9 Responses to “Cycling –> big thighs?”

  1. kaitwatts July 25, 2012 at 3:10 am #

    It’s true-the lighter the better on a bike. We had this discussion tonight at our local bike race. The 1st and 2nd guys were neck and neck. The thin skinny one was fast on the uphill climbs, but the one with more muscular legs was faster on the flats. It has to do with your weight to power ratio. How much muscle and weight you have to the amount of power you push into your pedals. Skinnier people do better on the uphills because they have less overall weight. I’m always interested in this debate.

    • Julia July 27, 2012 at 12:57 am #

      Yeah, I’m sure your natural body habitus may predispose you to being better at hills vs quicker on flats, but I wonder if whether you do hills vs flats makes your legs look that different in response to the training.

  2. Heidi (@idlehide) July 25, 2012 at 6:03 am #

    Great Post. I’m always amazed at how lean the Kona triathletes are, amazing shape.

  3. Kristy Hill (@KristyH5) July 26, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    I love love love the TdF! Although it’s not nearly as exciting with out Lance. This year was actually one of the most boring years as many of the top competitors dropped out and some were busted for doping. Huge pron in cycling. Sad.

    Ps. I nominated you for a Beautiful Blogger award on my post. No pressure to repost if you don’t want to, just wanted to let you know http://inspirunning.blogspot.com/2012/07/beutiful-blogger-award.html

    • Julia July 27, 2012 at 12:58 am #

      Why thank you Kristy!! I will repost : ) Might be a few days though so I can think it through.

  4. Jen November 7, 2012 at 3:21 pm #

    Thanks for clarifying this to other women. I’ve also been biking and running during weekends for more than a year now just to be in shape and definitely my thighs are not getting huge. :)

    • Julia November 8, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

      I love cycling (just wrote about it today, actually) and think it helps my running. My instructor, who is the most in shape girl I know and also the fastest runner I know, definitely does NOT have big thighs! Far from it!

  5. Jon Biddenback July 7, 2013 at 11:29 am #

    I got here following a google image search that turned up your reality check #98. I have to disagree with you there, I think it varies based on how bad the diet is, and how much exercise you do. An acquaintance of mine is a blacksmith, and he’s in amazing shape, he’

  6. Jon Biddenback July 7, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    ‘s hard as a rock but none too bulky. I asked him what he did to get a figure like that. He told me he’s on the “Eat whatever you want, and sweat your *** off 16 hours a day” diet.

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