Losing weight while maintaining high load

Hey everyone, so I’ve been doing great this year as far as training and riding, but my diet is not there. I gained some FTP and tons of endurance doing Base and just 5 weeks of Build this winter but did not lose any weight. Since then I’ve been riding outside pretty hard, setting new PRs on segments as well as for my power numbers, and enjoying some local amateur crit action as well.

My question is if I plan on continuing to ride/train 6-8 hours in an average week, what should I do? I can definitely clean up my bad eating habits but some friends have suggested intermittent fasting and KETO, which I’m not sure if they really work well with the demands we as cyclists have.

I’m 5’9" current weight is 180lbs, FTP is 290w. I’m hoping to lose 10-15lbs by the start of race season next year when I plan on doing my first ever event, while maintaining my power, but I have lots of time to do this gradually. In a perfect world I’d come out of indoor training next year with an FTP of 300-310w, and a weight is 165-170lbs

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I’ll Preface the reply with, I am no expert. However, I may have some info to contribute to your decision. I have been a KETO athlete for about 8 months now. And I use athlete loosely, I only cycle. One of the things you will experience is; inability to perform after a long duration at high intensity. This is something I am trying to resolve for myself right now. I may abandon the KETO lifestyle, I may not. Still reseraching. I did create a discussion on the topic here: Nutrition Rules of Thumb

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I am a failed newbie cyclist that tried to build whilst being in a calorie deficit.

it did not work for me. trying to do sustained power build medium volume while not eating enough was making my workouts unmanageable.

so, looking forward to the replies. body needs fuel. I went from 96 kg to 78kg and although I would like to get it to 75kg, I haven’t been able to do it without affecting my performance.

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I did look through that thread, not really sure what the benefits of KETO may be for us endurance athletes. I’m planning on road racing next year and I can’t be in a state where I crap out after 2 hours of riding because thats when I’ll need the energy the most. That said, I am known to do 100mi 5000ft rides on nothing more than a good breakfast and 1-2 clif bars during the entire ride.

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I am pretty sure I am going to abandon KETO now that I have my weight down. I guess it served its purpose to drop lots of weight quickly (down 40+lbs). I will have to make sure the new lifestyle will not allow me to get in the place I was, which was way too heavy. I know many may disagree, but it can be harder than people think. Especially for folks that are travelers.

My 0.02

No keto (my wife does it, it will work, there is enough comments above to say why not). Cut out the simple stuff (soda), drink more water, and just start logging.

I used my fitness pal for a year or two to get my weight better. After some time I’ve adapted and don’t need the app to stay on target/point.

While using that tool - ensure you sync from TR to that app (via Apple Health, Strava, or Gamin) and account for your training. You should eat for your workouts as Nate says - but this will help you stay 0 or negative cals. The biggest thing I learned from it was 1) Beer counts for a lot of my intake and 2) eating less on off days is key

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I’ve also tried keto and it didnt work well with my cycling. I think it would be useful for ultra distance cyclists who dont do intensity. Its also useful for people who dont do much exercise.

Everybody is different but i think weight loss with performance gain should be possible as long as your diet is tuned to performance. In other words, fuel your workouts with carbs and recover with protein.

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Try cutting out the crap food in your diet, we’re all guilty of it. See how that goes and remember to give it time, any sudden drop in weight is usually not a good sign, that’s assuming you don’t have takeaways every night.

As for KETO, don’t even go there.

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N=1 here, but over the past 7 weeks I have dropped about 13lbs doing intermittent fasting (others will call it different things). I don’t eat from 8pm to noon the next day or, for those who look at it the other way, I only eat between noon and 8 PM. Hasn’t actually been that bad. I try to target my rides most days to end right at noon so I can eat afterwards then I get a run in after work before dinner. This week I have been riding early in the morning and the only thing I notice is the window feels pretty long as I am hungry by 10 and just watching the clock. I’ve been able to ride 7-9 hours a week while adding in another 20 miles of running. I really haven’t watched what I am eating at all, I just only eat during those hours. If I cleaned things up a bit, I think the weight loss would be even greater.

Now I have been traveling the past 3 weeks so have not stuck with my TR plan during that time fitting in MTB, outdoor road rides and even a duathlon in that time. I will say the hard, explosive efforts make me feel a bit empty. I have definitely not gained any power, but I haven’t really lost much either even with the lower riding volume the last 3 weeks. In the long run, I think dropping the excess weight will pay greater dividends than worrying about a temporary plateau or even a slight drop in my power.

I don’t swear by IF and have not seen any of the other reported benefits (i.e. better sleep, more energy, clearer skin, magic shooting out of my fingertips, etc.), however it has worked for me to lose weight with relatively little disruption or discomfort. Once I hit my goal weight, I am not sure how I will proceed but currently think I will just shorten the fasting window to allow me to eat earlier in the morning prior to my rides. I was a habitual late night eater so I think that is really where the difference has been made.

For reference, I am 6 ft 3 and started at 196lbs. I am currently sitting at 183.

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I’ve gone from 183 to 174 lbs in about the last 7 weeks by counting calories. About 13 to 15 hours per week on the bike mostly Z2, early morning. Minimum 500 calorie deficit at the end of the day while eating mostly whole food carbs. I’ve felt stronger on the bike as the weight has come off. I started at 11.3% body fat as per dexa and would now be lower BF but no sure of the number. No IF, no Keto, straight math and the discipline to stop eating when you have reached your calorie quota for the day.

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KISS.
If you want to lose, you’ll have to enter a deficit which will mean feeling hungry. It shouldn’t be a diet per se but for long term success you’ll want the least change in your daily habitual eating routine. Get a rough idea of your caloric intake and energy expenditure, it could be as something simple as eliminating one coffee, some condiments, maybe supplementing full cream for skim.
On the training side of things, Base would be the “ideal” phase to shift the weight. Haven’t done a build phase but I’ve heard it’s a no-no time to think about cutting food

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Essentially that’s it. It’s the surplus and poor quality you want to eliminate.

Because you are training you will want to fuel the rides, trying to skip this will just make you crave food at some later point in the day.

If you’re into counting, look at the carbs and protein in your diet and increase the amount of fruit and veg you’re consuming.

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I started SSB1 MV in May at 84kg after already losing 5kg in 6-8 weeks using Zwift. By the end of SSB1 I was down to 78-79 with a big increase in FTP. I’m 31, have two young boys(who keep me busy) and work as a baker so keeping the weight off as the years go on just seems to get harder. I feel like I have finally found the right balance and spent about ten weeks eating carrot sticks and hummus at work but didn’t feel like I could carry that through SSB2 and build phase so have enjoyed eating a bit more again with no weight gain.

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This is just what i managed to do. I was around 105 kg and im now 95kg a little bit under 1 year later. My ftp went from 270 to 290 in a few monts after starting indoor training. Then i started to track my eating and in half a year im now up to a ftp of 322.

The base and build periods were tough and i only got small increases in ftp (but weight went down). Even worse was that i somehow managed to wake up 5:30 and train before work which i dont recommend for those who are on a strict diet as its depressing to feel that your legs are tired even when you warm up.

I cut my weight training to 1x week and only to maintain my strength with a few sets.

The trick is to manage what you eat. Iv been tracking all my eating with myfitnesspal for the entire year. Its not as bad as it sounds as i prepare all my food for the next day the night before which takes like 15 minutes (when large bulks of food is prepared a few days a week). This way i can choose to micro manage my weight and im now on a diet that should have me loosing about 200g / week. Anything more than that (like 500g) and workouts will suffer. Even now i need cheat days 1x week to keep me going.

Also, use a scale every day to track your weekly and monthly weight trends.

If you dont want to take this route: eat only a very light after 18:00 and mostly protein. Drink a few glasses of water before you start eating to get your stomach half full.

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+1, similar things have worked for me dropping a couple kilo’s. I was at 75.5kg (191cm) going into my specialty plan. I knew I could lose a little more weight, and with my A race changing to a hillclimb TT, I figured what better time to really get on top of my diet!

I’ve kept pretty good track of calories in / out using myfitnesspal, a little tough when doing meal prep, but it’s good enough to be a ballpark estimate, and I really focused on not eating garbage that was hard to calculate, ie at work we have free snacks, one of which is usually peanut m&m’s, and it’s easy to grab a handful and say “oh it’s not that many” when it’s probably 150 calories, do that three times a day and you’re screwed.

Also tracking monthly trends of weight, pick a time you know you can be consistent, IE when you wake up, immediately go to the bathroom and weigh yourself. Track over a period, and don’t get bummed if you’re weight goes up, if it goes up I just chalk it up to needing more fuel to recover and I’d rather gain a tenth of a kilo than be sitting on the couch miserable because my stomach is grumbling.

Also when you eat is important, I find, unfortunately, that I’m super hungry after I workout, and the only time I’ve been able to consistently carve out for training is after work, so I have to be really disciplined to not eat a truck ton of food at 8:30.

All in all, I’ve increased my ftp by 15, and dropped 2.5kg while doing the low volume 40k TT plan and 3 days of outdoor riding (1.5~3 hour rides, usually 120 - 240 tss, nothing extreme outside, but probably equates to the effort of the mid volume plan)

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Racing Weight Quick Start Guide by Fitzgerald

You might read through this. I don’t like the title because I think it is confusing about the book’s intent. But it’s built around the idea of helping you set some useful goals for weight loss during a period prior to beginning your training for next season. 6-8 hours of workload fits in pretty well with some of the plans in there. The training plans are simple, but there is a lot in there on diet and helping you get it cleaned for 4-8 weeks so you can hit your target weight and then get on with your season preparation.

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So for perspective I’ll try to recap my typical day and what I eat

7:30am, typically a hash brown fried with some onions and peppers, 2 eggs, and some shredded cheese, fill up my 16oz mug of coffee and head to work

10am some days I will refill my coffee and snack on a granola bar or something similar, like the Cave Man bars lately

1130-1230 depending on when lunch is scheduled I take lunch, typically eat something my wife makes, today for example I have a piece of pot pie, a chicken leg, and some rice

230ish i get another break, typically snack on another granola bar or an uncrustable, something similar, when we have bananas at home I bring those to work for this break

6pm I get home, the days I will ride outside after work I tend to snack on some nuts, pita chips, sometimes I’ll have something sweet to get some sugars in me for the ride
Post-work rides are typically a harder effort outdoors this time of year, going into training they will be whatever TR has prescribed. The days I don’t ride I tend to eat dinner at this time which is typically again homemade stuff, but sometimes we get takeout or go for sushi

by 8-8:30 I’m done riding and generally want to eat again, and I think this is where the problems begin because this is when I am sitting around at home with nothing to do and just snacking on whatever till 9/10ish

Aside from the late eating which I know has to end, is there anything else during the day that strikes you as off?

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Fried hash browns is not a great start. You’d probably be better off with some fresh fruit and/or oatmeal

Pot pie probably not the best choice either, just depends on the makeup. Uncrustable is pretty much pure sugar/empty carbs except the peanut butter, better off going with some nuts. Granola bars can be hit or miss, some are no better than eating a snickers bar.

Some of these items are fine if you are loading for a big/hard ride or fueling during a ride, but if you can avoid the empty carbs at other times, it will go a long way to dropping weight. I’d highly recommend trying to log your food for a week or so using something like “myfitnesspal” . It’s really eye-opening how many calories something like fried hash browns have compared to a couple eggs or a huge serving of fruit.

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shhhhhhhhhhhhhh but it sounds so good right now :drooling_face:

Could someone let me know what it says in regards to protein/fat when I got the total carbs accounted for? Believe it’s page 25 in Matt Fitzgeralds book Racing Weight. I’ve already bought his Endurance Diet book but there’s probably more useful information in Racing Weight.

Nevermind. I solved it.