Weight loss strategy - how to use TR

I’m a few (read 15) kilos heavier than I’d like to be but have found that trainerroad is not actually useful for shifting the weight. In fact, after losing 15kg before starting TR, I’ve put 8 back on in the last 6 months.

The problem I face is that after a good training session on the turbo, my appetite goes through the roof. In a world of calories in, calories out, I do not have the willpower to not give my body the food it is crying out for. Unfortunately my body is a greedy bastard and I end up eating way more than I’d actually need.

At this point, I think being 10-15kg lighter would have a bigger impact on my cycling performance than a slightly higher FTP. My strategy then is to drastically cut down my training and focus on the diet for a couple of months until I’m at a weight I’m happier with. Throw in some resistance training which doesn’t seem to have the same appetite impact. I don’t want to lose too much power though, so am planning a session a week to remind my legs what they’re for and to try and deliberately plateau my FTP until I’m ready to go again.

Has anyone done anything similar? Is this a genius plan or complete nonsense?

2 Likes

Related thread: How to modify my plan to help lose weight

Search within Training category: https://forum.trainerroad.com/search?q=weight%20loss%20lose%20%23training

Search within Nutrition category: https://forum.trainerroad.com/search?q=weight%20loss%20lose%20%23nutrition

2 Likes

For what it’s worth, you definitely can consistently train and lose weight (especially if you have a good amount of weight to lose). I would personally recommend following the suggestions in Racing Weight by Matt Fitzgerald.

Some things I do to help control my appetite after workouts:

  1. Consistently fuel on the bike. This has a dramatic effect on reducing cravings after training.
  2. Have a plan. Know in advance what I’m going to eat after a workout. This will help you from making bad decisions.
    2a. Prep and pre-portion your meals. I try my best to meal prep every dinner throughout the week. Some people don’t like only having the same 1 or 2 meals during the week, but this can have a HUGE effect on your calorie intake.
  3. Don’t keep junk food/snacks in the house. If I had those things around I would eat them, so I just don’t ever buy that stuff.
9 Likes

I’d suggest you consider doing traditional base low-volume:

Given your need to work on post-ride willpower, the shorter rides in low-volume might help with your appetite. Ideally target 3 days a week of TR in the morning, and weight lifting in the evening. If that doesn’t work then just focus on weight lifting 3x a week, take a break from cycling, and come back when you are ready. Just a few thoughts… I walked off most of my weight, and then switched to spin, and then bought a bike.

Good luck!

2 Likes

First of all, your still 7kg down on what you were so well done!
I’ve tried to lose weight in the past via calorie counting, but it just didn’t work for me. I’d get a few days in, get mega hungry and end up eating all the calories I would have had anyway in one or two days.

I think first of all you need to look at what you eat rather than how much. Do you cook your own meals and include lots of fruit and vegetables? Are there any foods you eat that you could potentially substitute for healthier options?
You also need to make peace with yourself that if you want to train well and recover well, you need to eat well.
Since learning to cook and taking on, admittedly, the high volume plans, I lost 5kg and gained about 20% FTP, and I feel like I eat like a horse!

3 Likes

This

3 Likes

Do you feel like solids vs. liquids matters? I get the post workout crave too and I think I tend to underfuel.

Base phase is going to be the more ideal time to lose weight. I wouldn’t recommend losing during build as you’re going to want every bit of energy you can if you want to truly reap the benefits. But regardless of your training plan(s) you won’t lose anything until you get your diet right. Stick to a deficit, incorporate foods you like and establish eating patterns that don’t deter from your current habit.

1 Like

Reading your post it seems that you know the problem and you also know the solution. If you have a power meter you know exactly what you burn on the bike, use an app to determine how much you consume a day and on days that you train, keep that difference around 0. On days that you don’t train aim for a deficit of around 500 calories. You won’t lose weight super fast but it will be steady and achievable while still getting good training in.

Also, not eating while you know you’ve already consumed enough to fuel for the day is really a matter of the mind. Probably the hardest thing to do (not give in to the cravings) but it might be easier if you count calories so you can tell yourself you really don’t need anymore food.

1 Like

Yes! I’ve never had real problems with weight but always had 4 ou 5kg more than my current weight even when training a lot more than I’m now. Wife changed our diet to a more healthier based on vegetables and with less meat and fish (not a full vegetarian) and I feel fine even have less apetite between meals and stop eating cookies and cakes all the time. No sugar dependence anymore.
Find your balance but keep on those pedals.

1 Like

I’m also a greedy b***ard who is almost incapable of not vacuuming up any food that is tasty and readily available - tubs of ice cream, cakes, cookies, packs of nuts, all disappear if I’m not careful. Luckily I’m also hooked on endurance training so my weight stays fairly steady at a level which isn’t exactly climber lean but doesn’t penalise me too much when the road points up.

I do think one drawback of indoor training is that there is no sense of having to carry your weight - rationally you know that W/kg is important but the numbers on the screen only show the watts so the temptation is to chase that. I find that regularly group riding with hills is a good reminder that the kg part of the equation is just as important and gives extra motivation to eat well (chasing a 60kg mountain goat up a hill is good for the soul!). Running has the same effect since you’re painfully aware of any excess pounds you’re carrying, plus I find that the pounding and rise in core temperature actually suppress appetite whereas cycling makes me ravenous.

I’ve also learned to avoid having too much snack food around the house and to try and have healthier alternatives (dried fruit, dates, nuts, trail mix, etc) handy. Also not having tasty things in family size packs, since I’m not all that good at stopping halfway through something even if it is the size of my head…

Other thing that helps me is buying nice, expensive and well fitting clothes and/or kit when I’m at a good weight that I can maintain. That way if things start getting too snug it’s a good daily reminder to skip dessert.

I do find that when I’m not training much it’s easier to eat clean since I know I don’t have the luxury of going out for a 2000+ calorie ride to burn it all off when I’m injured, ill, travelling, busy at work, etc. I quite often do intermittent fasting in these periods. But when the training ramps up again there seems to be no lasting benefit in terms of appetite and craving - the first long ride back and my body is demanding an all you can eat buffet.

3 Likes

Lots of good advice here already but I would massively repeat the advice about doing traditional base. Since doing a phase ive seen a drop in weight as well as a much later need to fuel generally on rides since then. Definitely recommended!!

TR was part of (significant) weight loss for me. It can be done, although my FTP was static during the weight loss phases (power to weight however…).

IF wouldn’t work for me because of when I train, and fueling both training and recovery. I calorie counted (and am actually back doing it, post holiday/ vacation patisserie good/bad food blow out), and I make sure I have enough left for post training.

tbh, I haven’t found fuelling the rides, particularly outdoor rides, doing that much to stop the post ride binges. I’ve ended up striking a balance of fuel for the bike and allowing plenty for the recovery from my weekend long ride. I do try to fill it as much as possible with fruit and veg though.

1 Like

You’ve summarised my experience very well there too. I also use a lot of the same tactics!

Absolutely - you’re looking for liquids primarily.

Dehydration promotes hunger.

Drink a bit before, a bit during, and a bit after - as long as you’re not full.

You don’t have to have fuel in every workout, but I believe it helps stabilise your diet, benefit most from sessions and stabilise your mood. Mood also has a big impact on your eating patterns.

Training before or after a meal time should sort your base carb levels, and need for solid food.

A four hour session like Longfellow and I’m going to have gels and/or solid food available too.

I really does not matter if you use TR or any other application. If you are losing 100cal and putting back 200cals, there is no way you can loose weight. You need a proper nutrition plan. At the same time, while you are losing weight, you should improve your power output.

bottom line, you need a nutritionist :slight_smile:

First, you’re 7 kilos down. That’s huge! Congratulations. Second, if your plan makes you happy it is indeed a good plan!

If your plan do not makes you happy I think you should try to identify your habits. Both the good ones and bad ones. If you do not identify your habits and their triggers you cannot change them. Once you know your habits you may ask how to change them and then make a plan based on your new insight.

You tend to overdo the post workout meal hence your habit is clearly identified. You are not alone! But why don’t you just accept that you are hungry and eat after a workout session? You may find that it is easier and more pleasant to take a look at your specific post workout meal in stead.

Edit: Added the last sentence.

I love chocolate and everything with chocolate. Unfortunately I was working a lot on contracts for various chocolate factories. So, after several months of another delegation and fighting against it and gaining a few kilos I quit and found another job. One problem solved - when I eat only what I buy it is much less, no sweet delicious stocks around me.

What I find most useful is calorie counting. Not only because I can control my intake this way but also because I am not that keen of eating anything I can not count. I sometimes know that I can eat that piece of cake but… I cant weight it, I can’t count its calories, I don’t know what to write down in my notes so I do not want to eat it anymore. Stupid thing but it works!

I am also very small so my BMR is little, my calorie expenditure is little and I should eat small portions - but this means I could go hungry all the time! So what I do? I eat as little calories and as much volume as possible for breakfast (huge salads for example), nothing at work - if you are occupied you don’t feel that hungry. Some fit dinner after work if possible, then train and then something that everybody would say I shouldn’t do - I eat in the evening a lot more than I need if I have some “spare calories” to use that day. And I go to bed full and happy. I can lose weight that way even when I eat a lot of sweets before going asleep - as long as I am on a calorie deficit. It is a simple math. Now I am trying just to maintain my weight and if it is possible lose it really slowly, like 0,1kg per week - but I have some final 2-3kg to loose or so, no more. For next season. After my last chocolate factory adventure I am still less than a kilo heavier than in winter months so this one kilo is enough to achieve this summer.

Fueling during trainings I find useless for losing weight. I fuel only when it is a race, and only long one - over 3h or so, when it is just important to be as full of energy as possible. Or sometimes I eat something in the mountains - I don’t want to bonk and miss another climb or just ride through it instead of smashing it. For endurance work I would rather ride for 5 or 6 hours on water and then eat more - it is then a real pleasure. During training eating is not a pleasure, it is some kind of obligation. Why should I spend some of my calorie limit on obligation rather than on a slow pleasure afterwards? :slight_smile: I want to feel the taste, not just chew and swallow quickly whatever it is.

PS: Pepsi zero is a game changer. I don’t care what is included in it, no calories, a lot of CO2 = full stomach for some time. And tastes sweet :smiley:

And all that effort just to become that 60kg mountain goat mentioned earlier. In fact around 51kg mountain goat for now. Should be <50kg mountain goat. Deal with it the same way I have to deal with you big boys during windy days on flats

1 Like

jacpurch - O man. I feel where you are coming from. I am going through a similar phase myself! I need to lose 8 kgs, and it’s so very hard. I am currently taking a mini off-season to do the same. I am riding lower volume, but keeping a couple really intense short workouts in during the week. It’s VERY common for people to take the off-season as an opportunity to work on basics like weight management and strength training. So, I think you are in good company with your plan! Even if it’s not the winter months, if you don’t have any “A” race you’d like to perform competitively in, modifying your training to focus on these things is super normal!

But keep training! Don’t lose your fitness. I’m not a TR user, but there are nice suggestions here for what plan is good for this.

Definitely:

  • Fuel yourself on the bike to avoid ravenous post-ride hunger. Your body will use that energy right away.
  • Try to log calories, or at least keep a diary of your satiety levels. myfitnesspal is good because you can also evaluate which foods you eat have the most nutrients. Learn your own ideal energy balance.
  • Strength train! Also, mix it up with a little bit of running, yoga, etc.
3 Likes

I am totally with you on this point. I have had a few occasions over Winter where I have had a good increase in FTP using TR but I gained serious kilograms through overeating which meant that I wasn’t enjoying riding on the road when Spring finally came. Whether or not your strategy is the best, it should work. Get your weight down by monitoring your food intake, do some TR at a lower intensity and try to do some strength training - either free weights or body weight exercises. Once you reach your desired weight, then ramp up the bike training. Good luck!

1 Like