Losing power and motivation with Endurance Diet

Has anyone else experienced this? I’ve been on Fitzgerald’s Endurance Diet for a few weeks now and I’m losing power and motivation. I’m constantly tired and just don’t want to train.

I cut a lot of refined sugars and processed proteins in order to eat more healthy carbs, but it seems to be having the opposite effect from what is intended. I’m not getting any leaner, I have no energy, and I’m struggling to hold my power numbers.

My typical days look(ed) like this if that helps.

Old Breakfast:
2 eggs
Bacon or ham
An ounce or two of nuts
2 cups coffee with 1/2 tsp sugar each

New breakfast:
Oats
Raw veggies
Plain yogurt with fresh fruit
2 cups coffee with 1/2 tsp sugar each

Old Snacks:
Kind or Cliff bar (maybe 2)

New snacks:
Nuts
Fruit

Old Lunch;
Salad with OO and a protein (chicken or lunch meat)
Yogurt with fruit on the bottom
Dark chocolate

New lunch - same minus the yogurt

Old snacks:
Fruit and nuts and processed meats

New snack:
Fruit and nuts

Dinner:
A protein and potato or veg
Sugary Desert
Same - minus desert

Night snack
Old - none
New - Ezekiel cereal with milk

have you looked at your new total calorie intake vs old?
you may need to increase the amount you are eating so you are not in a deficit. also, just quitting all the bad food cold turkey may not be the best. still treat yourself every once in a bit but just be mindful. its all about balance

2 Likes

Hmm. Good point. I’m sure it’s way down, and when i tried to go Keto once i had the same issues of low motivation and power.

Having said that, my weight is not down at all. In fact, it’s up a bit. Probably from training less.

I’d have to eat a LOT more veggies to take in that many calories though.

Yes, I have experienced this before, and it was because I still wasn’t eating right/enough. I found that when I began eating ungodly sized vegetable portions (basically huge salads and smoothies stuffed with greens) that the motivation came back. I focused hard on recovery, ate leafy greens and cruciferous veggies constantly, added baked potatoes to meals before the trainer rides, and dropped a ton of weight over a few months’ time. I also lost a few watts but it was a fair tradeoff because I got faster.

I’m hesitant to suggest that you “allow yourself cheat meals every once in a while” because we all know that’s a slippery slope - however, trying to exert too much willpower often ends up in binge eating. As previous posters have mentioned, try to stay mindful here.

1 Like

Thanks! Good to hear I’m not alone.

Both replies so far have recommended eating more. Sounds like my first step.

1 Like

Dropping weight/fat or making gains in training. It’s nearly impossible to do both at the same time. As I remember Fitzgerald’s diet was for dropping, not long term gains. A modified version of it can work for the longterm but it takes a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for you.

  • If you are trying to drop weight/fat now, focus on that, keep training in a base or maintenance phase. Don’t expect gains.
  • When you hit your goal weight/BF% slowly transition more carbs into your diet as you ramp up your training.
  • Watch those calories. Track either thing (total PITA but worth while to learn). Then you’ll know what is working for you.

I’ve tried both keto and low carb for training or my season. It’ doesn’t work (for me). I didn’t struggle with motivation but I did with power. I had, what felt like, almost unlimited low to mid ed power (not quite SS, but close) but above that forget it. I’m not a steady state athlete, I need the punch. As soon as I added in more carbs (good carbs) things improved significantly.

As of now I eat Whole Foods. Currently I’m trying to cut some weight/fat and am eating as clean as I can combined with IF (17/7). On days I’m not on the bike I eat very few carbs. On days I am I eat more. Days before I know I have a big ride to do I make sure dinner is carb heavy to fuel for the morning. Otherwise I’ve been doing bike and gym work in a fasted state, right before my the fasting window closes (so I get my first meal within an hour of workout ending - usually starting with bone broth). it’s been working well for me. But it’s taken a ton of trial and error.

The Endurance Diet is about getting on the diet elite endurance athletes eat. It has nothing to do with dropping weight.

2 Likes

I know. I read that book and tried to make it work for me for 1.5 season(s) a few years back.

Everything I said is still valid, from my experience with and how I transition to something that is more sustainable.

Again…lots of trial and error here to figure out what works for you and even Fitzgerald says that in said book.

I’d check your calorie intake. I’d say you might be eating less calories in your new breakfast vs your old breakfast.

Old Breakfast
2 ounce nuts - 344 calories
2 eggs - 156 calories
2 slices bacon - 208 calories
1 tsp olive oil for the eggs (you’re probably doing more) - 40 calories

Old Breakfast Total - 748 Calories

New Breakfast
1 serving oatmeal - 150 Calories
Raw veggies - Almost nothing, 20 calories?
Fruit (1 apple) - 95 calories
Plain Yogurt (If it’s low fat even less) - 149 calories

New Breakfast Total - 414 Calories

I don’t know your serving size, oil usage or brand of food, but I think you might be underfueling.

When you eat “endurance diet” type food you need to eat a LOT if you’re used to more of a regular American diet.

6 Likes

Thanks Nate. Others said the same above. I’ve been using the DQS instead of counting calories, but clearly I need to do both, at least at first, and Fitzgerald does say that too. I’m sure you’re all correct. The breakfast example makes it crystal clear. I always used to worry that I was eating too many calories for breakfast, but maybe I was eating as many as I needed!

If you want to bang out a 1000 calorie sweetspot ride you need to work out where that energy is going to come from. I’ll often have to add in a random enormous bowl of oats/fruit/seeds and maple syrup in between meals just to keep moving. (I’m also skinny)

3 Likes

Maybe I’m missing something here, but that seems quite light on carbs. I’m only starting on the book, but so far a couple of the key things were: eat carbs, and eat enough.

1 Like

I’m just using the DQS, and that scores high. It’s also similar to what his sample athletes are eating

Honestly, I don’t think I could eat more fruits and vegetables than this if I tried. I feel like I am eating CONSTANTLY to try to keep up. He says not to eat until you’re stuffed, but my body goes through veggies and fruit fast and if I quit eating without engorging myself, I’m hungry an hour later.

Any advice is appreciated!

@Pbase
I’ve read all the discussion about your diet and I agree with people above, but I have one more question if the topic is still alive.
Did you think about any supplements? Or maybe you actually take supplements (?)

I follow the endurance diet more or less constantly. More strictly “in season” than off season. Since it was not a huge change from my normal diet I did not notice an energy difference, but to echo what others have said I eat a LOT.
Breakfast:
2 servings of oats with milk and a handful of berries or a banana.
-or-
3 egg omelette with spinach or peppers and a little cheese on top of two servings of brown rice

Snack:
Greek yogurt with fruit or granola and a banana

Lunch:
A huge bag of peppers, carrots, and cucumbers,
Sandwich with whole grain bread (pb&j or good deli meat) and a couple of cookies.

Snack:
Apple and/or nuts

Dinner:
Protein of some sort, baked sweet potato, 2 servings of brown rice, black beans, and a salad with some feta cheese.

That would be a typical day. I seldom if ever eat a late night snack like I used to.

All of that and I’m still quite often hungry in the afternoons. My job is also physical which adds to my caloric needs.
I would add some brown rice and/or sweet potatoes to your diet to increase your carb intake for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. Personally, I struggle to intake enough protein. I’ve been trying a few things to increase it. I don’t feel the protein affects my energy very much, but it keeps me from feeling hungry as often.

1 Like

Great real world feedback PoolBoy. Thanks!

My first take is this: you made a huge change, and it’s kind of a shot in the dark what mark you hit. “Eat high quality foods” is one aspect of meeting your dietary needs, but it’s not the only thing. So changing your diet so that it now meets this one criterion, regardless of anything else, just isn’t enough. My reading of the book was that he suggested a very different (slower) approach, and it’s what I’d recommend here.

Step 1: start scoring your diet regularly without making any changes. This is like a week or two.

Step 2: identify a way to adjust your diet in a way that raises the diet quality score a point or two, on average, over the course of a week. Also track how you feel, how your training is going, how your weight is changing.

Step 3: when you’re happy with the change you made in step 2, repeat.

Remember: you’re trying to improve your diet permanently. So make changes in small ways, make sure you’re happy with each one, and then proceed with a diet that would be “fine” as-is. Then consider if there are other improvements you can make.

1 Like

I see it’s been a while since you started this thread @Pbase but I have a question. How is (or was) your satiation levels? Did you feel full after each meal?

Also curious how you are going now. Solved the issue? Still on the “diet”? Thanks.

1 Like

No, I gave it up. I just couldn’t find a way to keep my energy, power, or motivation up. My training was suffering and it was the wrong time of year to have that happen. It made me question my goals. Do I ride to increase my ftp or to have fun and be outside? As a result, I decided to drop the discipline for a while and I’ve spent the last few months doing things to “have fun on the bike”. Travel. Skills work. Yoga and strength. More outdoor time. More mtb and group rides with friends.

I’m still figuring out my future goals, but I do want to drop some fat and eat more plants. I probably need to re-read the book and try again using the slow adjustment recommended above. I just found the book to be extremely repetitive and hard to read.

I’d give a major +1 to what @matthew.weigel said. Diet shift, Lifestyle change, whatever you call it, has to be done incrementally. I have gone on about it in other threads; homeostasis. Your body finds radical change very challenging. You would never come out of your winter break and straight into a max TSS/week session would you? Why do we try the equivalent thing with something as critical to our health as our diet?

That old chestnut. If you don’t measure it, then then you can’t manage it: In this case by increments. Looking back it took me the best part of 18 months to go from overwhelmingly carb driven to HFLC. It wasn’t particularly planned that way but it worked and has stuck now for several years. I just started by noodling around with Fitbit & MyFitnessPal and noticed my macros and neutrients were awful. Then just started tweeking. A lot of tweeks later I am below 50g carbs a day for years. Not that I am recommend that for you or anyone else, just the methodology. Measure it then when you know what the status is, gradually shift it by degrees to where you want to go. If you feel crap back off and increment slower.

2 Likes