Advice for an Underachiever

Some background:

I like riding my bike. I like eating more. I have less than no interest in racing, and I don’t like riding so hard I am gasping for breath (e.g. ramp test is completely awful, even though it is short).

My outdoor rides are usually 2 -3 hours, once a week. Flat. I don’t track power on outdoor rides.

My trainer road rides are usually 1.5 hours, 5 days a week.

My power is 3.1 W/Kg. I am 58.

I have successfully lost weight by riding low power endurance rides – they were great because I did not have to psych myself up for them, and because they did not make me hungry afterwards.

My question is what’s next?

One idea is trying to increase my caloric burn (power?) while riding at 60% of FTP. I was thinking of doing this by using Train Now, generally choosing endurance, and once a week choosing “Climbing”. I know I need more recovery than Trainer Road thinks I do, so I will often be choosing an easier endurance workout then recommended. There will be basically 1 hard indoor day, and hopefully a longer, not tracked, weekend day.

Does this sound reasonable? Any other ideas?

Thanks for your suggestions.

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I have a separate question. You say that you get hungry after your rides. Is your major challenge that you get totally starving and eat a ton after riding, thus leading to weight gain? If so, I have a suggestion that helped me. I know there’s a ton of talk on the forum and podcast about fueling, and I normally ignore most of them because I think the suggestions to fuel at 90+g/hr for a 45-min z1 ride are massive overkill, but I do have to say that when I started fueling properly I stopped being starving after my rides. So, my question is: how are you fueling your rides? I use the Saturday app and it’s been an incredible game-changer for me. It enables me to fuel my rides appropriately and then I’m not starving later and I can eat less off the bike.


Sounds like you’re doing fine. You ride a lot. You’re not obese. You’re getting more excercise than 99% of the population and 99.99% of the population that are your age. What’s next? How bout going to another bike forum and humble brag about it. :grinning: :grinning:

Are you lifting weights? Can you improve your nutrition?


You’re killing it! I want to be like you!

Congratulations. You’re doing great!

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I have not personally found this to be true. Fueling makes me ride stronger, but I still want to eat all day long after almost any ride, long, short, intense, easy…it doesn’t matter. Cycling makes me hungry! I have never been able to lose weight from cycling, so I’m totally jealous of the OP! (Not negating your experience, just sharing the opposite experience I have had)

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Looks like either a polarized or traditional base plan would be the right thing for you. Then choose an intense workout in train now. You‘re doing more than most here, riding 6x a week. Jealous. Keep it up

The weight loss was primarily from reducing calories, not riding, but the riding did help. I find the fueling discussions to be counter-productive to my goal of eating more delicious food. If I completely “fuel” my rides, then I am stuck needing to be extra careful to not eat more than maintenance calories (~2000/day), which sucks. I would rather ride slow, burn 500 calories at 55% FTP, not purposely fuel them, and eat 2500 calories a day.

This is a very different perspective than someone who wants to win a bike race - their purpose is to ride as fast as possible. My purpose is to live and eat well.

Fueling during a bike ride should involve a cafe table! or at least a pause in the shade :smile:


I’m not understanding correctly. Is your only goal “eating more delicious food?” or are you just bored w/ your current routine? Of course you know about the importance of maintaining muscle mass as you age (and to prevent injuries). Putting on more muscle would be a good suggestion to keep the calorie burning furnace hot.

And of course the other option is to just eat very clean lower calorie Bfast/Lunch, and at dinner have your “delicious food.” It’s a very simple problem really. You want delicious food (high calorie foods) but you don’t want to gain weight. You just got to burn what your taking in. Is there something else?

Developing a bigger aerobic engine will burn more fat during rides. And since you’re already doing enough volume of riding, perhaps 1 or 2 times a week you could do some intervals, and slowly over time your daily rides could be a bit faster, thereby burning more fat so you can eat more.

Thanks. When you say “intervals” would you be referring to the “Attacking” workout in TrainNow? Do you think that would be better for a once a week “Climbing” workout?

I am a bit scared that “Attacking” or Anaerobic intervals will be very unpleasant. I don’t like to work that hard, and I might just skip them. Right now, I can almost always convince myself to get on the bike and watch some TV, it won’t be too bad, and I just dial the workout back if I am really not feeling it. If it looks like it is going to be a killer hard interval workout, I fear I just won’t do it. :frowning_face:

I still appreciate the advice though.

If I do 5 training workouts a week on the trainer ranging from 1 to 1.5 hours in length I will have to watch my calories or I will slowly add weight. If I ride outside instead of doing my 1 sweet spot workout, I will ride for about 4 to 5 hours and can eat a lot and not have to worry about weight. Somehow that 1 long ride works for me. I am a bit older and maybe that makes it easier for me to add lbs.

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