Legs sore after every small ride

(Steve) #1

I have been on keto since January, in May started riding my bike 2-3 times a week for about 3-5 miles nothing crazy . After every ride my legs feel sore and I can seem to go farther than the 5 miles . I am down 50 pounds and right now I am 6,3 260lbs. Is it possible the weight I’m losing is muscle ? I knew the first few rides would make me sore but I thought by now it would be better and be able to go farther

(Central Florida Bob ) #2

One or two pounds could have been muscle, but certainly not all of it. Do you know what your lean body mass is? When we lose weight, especially as much as 50 pounds, some of it is inevitably lean mass - but that includes blood vessels that used to supply that fat tissue, lymph vessels, cell membranes and various pieces of connective tissue.

I’m no authority, but I’ve been keto for years, and got back to cycling last August. I usually ride three times a week for about an hour. Sometimes more, rarely less. The route I ride most often is 13 miles round trip, but it’s flat here. I started out about 260, now 205 and I’m 6’. Or used to be (everyone gets smaller with age). I’m also 65.

I think all of those things affect the answer: your age, your riding route (amount of climbing or headwinds), your riding time and recovery time. If you ride three days in a row, I think you won’t recover as well as if you ride every other day.

How long have you been riding? I found that I was still gaining strength and endurance after six months of riding (and then got sidetracked for 10 weeks and need to get some of that back).

At my age, I read that I should allow more time for recovery, and I notice I feel better if I ride every third day than every other day. I usually ride every other day regardless.

You might try to do some leg building exercises, but too much is going to deplete your strength for your riding. How much is too much? I don’t know. Maybe try a few squats or leg presses or something?

Good luck!

(Edith) #3

Make sure you take in some salt before you exercise. That may help with your recovery afterwards.

Also, exercising fasted has not worked for me. I perform better if I have a little snack beforehand: an egg, a few slices of bacon, or some other keto food.

Finally, do you eat enough after your ride to encourage your muscles to recover?

(Steve) #4

I am 52 and mostly flat land. Never 2 days in a row. When I say sore it’s not can barely walk but you feel it after a small ride and after 6 weeks should hit the 3-5 mile mart and feel like I can keep going

(Bunny) #5

Maybe your bonking (a little bit?), need to be in actual ketosis a little longer than 27 weeks?

”…On the surface, ketosis or a ketogenic diet offers everything an endurance athlete could dream of: endless energy, freedom from bonking, and an efficient pathway to weight loss. An athlete fueled by ketones would be theoretically “bonk-proof”, since bonking is the result of running low on blood glucose? …” …More


On flat land there should be little need to exert your muscles to the degree you feel a muscle burn during a ride or stress the muscle fibers enough to produce excessive soreness afterward (DOMS).

What type of bike are you riding? What kind of gearing does it have? Are you forcing the pedals down with each revolution or are you applying light force at higher RPMs (a.k.a. spinning) ?

(Steve) #7

It’s not a burn I am
Feeling just soreness in my thighs . Just ride a noreco bike . 28 speed . It’s about 8 years old. Don’t pedal in high gears about gear 7-9. I usuallypedals a little over 10 mph( not very fast) . It’s not a racing type bike more in the style of mountain bike . It just feels like bilge strength anymore


On the front side, the quads? Or back and front?

If it’s just the quads, you’re likely using your quads as the dominant “push” muscle without engaging the hamstrings and calf muscles adequately in pedal rotation. It’s difficult to accomplish a proper cadence without some type of clip system to attach you feet to the pedals, even if it’s just a strap of some kind.

Make sure you have the proper seat height and position too as that affects the muscle groups involved in cycling.

(Karim Wassef) #9

How long does the soreness last.

You might be building muscle, not losing.

(Steve) #10

Just the thighs. Bought a new seat and shorts and butt is fine. I don’t have clips just running shoes as it’s a casual ride just wanted to do a nice 10 mile ride.
The pain goes away in about an hour or so. It’s more no power to go past 3-5 miles as legs get tired and sore while riding

(Joseph) #11

12-15 rides so far? Similar intensity and no improvements? Double check your bike fit. Start with the saddle height. While seated, your feet should not be able to touch the ground without tipping over to one side. With the crank at 6 o’clock position, your legs should have a slight bend (while seated squarely in the saddle). Next center the saddle so that your center of mass is directly (or as close as possible) over the bottom bracket and adjust to open/limit your hip angles as necessary. (A compromise between comfort, aerodynamics, and power. You’ll likely need a second eye for the fore and aft adjustment.)

(Steve) #12

The first 2 , seat and leg bend are exaztly as you describe . Saw that on YouTube . The last one I have no idea even what you are asking .

(Joseph) #13

(Central Florida Bob ) #14

@Steve12, it can be really hard to diagnose stuff like this remotely, just like it’s impossible for any person to understand another person’s pain (soreness).

I just did my morning ride, fasted as always, and my legs felt like they’d had a good workout, but aren’t sore. Two hours later, I feel totally normal. I don’t think that’s what you’re experiencing. I think you have something real, not necessarily related to your diet, just something in the way you ride or the fit. Nothing matters more to comfort on a bike for long rides than fit.

There’s a ton of bike fitting videos and information online. REI has a good, basic bike fit video. If you prefer a written site, Singletracks.com has one. There are online calculators. Anyplace that sells bikes online is going to want to bend over backwards to help you get it right; the cost of shipping bikes more than once wipes out any profit they make. Performance, Nashbar, Colorado Cyclist, Bikes Direct, Cambria Bikes Online. I haven’t looked at them all, but I’d look for info on sizing the bike.

There are online forums: https://www.bikeforums.net/ Like this forum, lots of people with common interests who will try to help. Most of them are sugar burners (though not all) so this is a better place to go to about tweaking your diet, but a bike fit is a mechanical thing. There’s a specific forum for bike fit questions: https://www.bikeforums.net/fitting-your-bike/

Hope this helps.

(Steve) #15

Thanks for all help

(Carolyn aka stokies) #16

I may be too simplisitc here, but with that level of weight loss, have you readjusted your seat or refit your bike? I lost 96 pounds as of now, and the loss also came off the cushion in the seat aka my ass. It also changed the bend of my knee, position in the seat as well as my reach to the bars and my leg to the pedal.

Just a thought…

(Steve) #17

I watched a few videos on the seat height. The first thing it mentions is when on the seat you should be on the balls of foot on the ground and I am . The next says when peddle at 6 o’clock and heel on the peddle your leg should be locked out but it’s not ,still a good bend. So my seat as is I can do one of the two. If I raise seat for knee bend can’t touch the ground

(Central Florida Bob ) #18

Your seat needs to go up. You shouldn’t be able to sit on the seat, put a leg down and stand while on the bike. You should need to stand in front of the seat when you’re stopped.

From Singletracks:

Most riders tend to set their seat height too low, which results in burning quads on the climbs and overworked joints. By raising the saddle up, the rider is able to get more extension out of their leg muscles, and the knee joints aren’t forced to bend as sharply.

You can raise your saddle too high, but that’s kind of rare. If your legs hurt in the backs of your thighs (hamstrings) it’s too high. If your hamstrings don’t hurt but you feel like you’re rocking left to right as you pedal, it’s too high. If your knees hurt behind your knee cap, or the quadriceps muscles on the fronts of your thighs hurt, it’s too low.

I wasn’t riding for several years, I’m going to guess about 7 or 8 years (who writes down when they stop doing something as opposed to when they start?). I found the seat on both of my bikes felt too high and I lowered them about 1/4 to 1/2". Was it from getting smaller as we age or from lack of flexibility? I don’t know. It still feels right.

(Steve) #19

Ok thanks , I guess it’s just a fear of not being able to touch the ground when I am stopped . I will give s try this weekend

(Central Florida Bob ) #20

If it’s any comfort, I would guess that just about 100% of riders go through learning that.