I have started cycling again and am training hard to lose weight so that I can improve my speed. What would be a healthy weight-loss goal for a six-week period? — Jason
Stop using the term "weight loss." It's meaningless. If you lose five to seven pounds, we will not know how much fat you really lost because you will be gaining some muscle mass at the same time.
You are converting energy into muscle mass. Muscle is more dense than fat. It weighs more on a gravity scale. Therefore, it is entirely possible to lose fat while gaining muscle and stay close to the same weight. Five-to-seven pounds takes into consideration this conversion factor.
Cycling is an unusual form of aerobic exercise because it demands so much strength in the big muscle of the legs, glutes, triceps and upper back. Muscle building in an aerobic training program is unusual. Rowing and cross-country skiing are other examples.
Most people, even dietitians and docs don't get this. They are living in the dark ages. Most don't even know the difference between fat-loss and weight loss, or if they do they diminish it as "verbal jousting." Or they say, "It doesn't really matter what you call it."
Words have power and meaning. Use the correct words and it's surprising how much better you will understand fat loss and be able to apply it in your own training, as well as to those to whom you may give advice.