Can lower volume be better for cutting weight?

I assume this has been discussed before but I’m thinking about it so I’m open to feedback from other folks.

I have found that big training sessions (2 hours, etc) and lots of outdoor riding make me very hungry. Not just right after the training or ride, but the next day as well. For instance, I did a 2:15 over/under session which used 2200 KJ of power and the next day I was thinking about food pretty much morning, noon, and night.

However yesterday I did a little 45 minute Vo2 max session and today I feel totally normal.

This brings me to my question:

Is it possible that, if your main goal was exclusively reducing body weight by limiting calorie intake, is it possible that a much lower training volume would actually be BETTER than a higher training volume? Mostly due to better appetite control when off the bike

Sounds like youa ren’t fueling enough during your longer sessions…so you are hungry afterwards.

How many calories are you consuming during these sessions?

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I had 2 bottles with 2 scoops of Skratch … So 320 calories, 76g carbs

Come to think of it, 320 calorie input is quite a bit lower than 2000+ calorie output. I didn’t realize the disparity was quite that big.

Maybe I should eat snacks during trainer rides…


You don’t need to replace every calorie while on the bike. It’s probably close to impossible. Your 76g of carbs for 2 hours can definitely be increased, perhaps more than doubled if you like.

However, you should replace all of those calories. I’d suggest a balanced diet of macros, with a fair amount (1g per lb of body weight), roughly 40-60g of fat, and the rest in carbs. That protein should help you feel satiated.

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Yeah, I would argue that you need to consume more calories…whether that is through solid food or more liquid is up to you.

but once I upped my caloric intake, I stopped being so hungry after rides. I can come back form 4-5 hour rides now and not eat for a couple of hours after my ride is over.

You can still run a calorie deficit and lose weight with this strategy…


Yes, it can be easier to control weight with less volume.

Personally, I tend to find it easier to loose weight in the winter when I’m doing more indoor training and volume is lower than in the summer when I’m doing more volume and longer outdoor rides. The main thing being: increased hunger with higher volume and more difficulty with appetite control.

I’m comparing periods over multiple years where I am fueling the same cho/hr on the bike, tracking calories to eat at maintenance (bike calorie burn + estimated TDEE ~= daily food intake), etc. What has changed for me is volume and long ride duration.

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I’ve had the exact same experience. I find it much easier to eat sanely afterwards if I make sure I start a ride with some food in my belly and eat/drink some calories along the way. One thing that’s been super helpful for me is switching from “whole”-ish foods that can be a little harder to eat on the bike like Clif Bars or Untapped waffles to gels and chews which are much easier to eat while you’re bouncing around on chunky gravel.

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As the podcast crew has said many many MANY times. “Do NOT diet on the bike.” it’s the wrong time to be whitholding food. I feel like I had a good ride if I can eat half as much as I’ve burned during a ride. Even that takes a LOT of work.
I believe @Nate_Pearson said that one thing that he’s observed that really keeps the post ride calorie consumption going is doing two 45 minute sessions rather than one long session. (Please correct me if that’s not correct Sir)

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I believe calorie consumption has something to do with it for sure. But, a big portion of weight gain after lots of volume is water retention from inflammation as your body repairs itself.

If I do heavy volume, or a couple centuries, I will carry 5 pounds extra water weight for a few days.

Eventually it comes off and I end up lighter AND faster.

So no, I don’t think less volume means better weight loss, but you do have to continuously eat when doing lots of volume so you don’t get back and eat 4000 calories after you just burned 2500 with no food.

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Tracking weight day to day is a fuzzy metric due to food in your digestive system and water retention. You would want to watch your daily weight across weeks and months. I highly doubt less exercise across time leads to lower weight relative to more exercise across time. Just eat less junk food and more nutritious foods and you will loose more weight training with more volume than less.

2:15 is a long over and under session! Didn’t even think they’d be in a high volume plan.

But leaving that aside, I do find my appetite post ride is dependent on my fueling for the workout/ ride, and then what I have immediately afterwards. I don’t go for recovery shakes, but do try to have a decent amount of protein and carbs.

I’m racing this season, but my club spin if I do it is 4 or so hours, and I find that more problematic appetite wise than any turbo session to fuel correctly, despite using a bottle mix all the time and eating.

Losing weight has been pretty simple for me. Crank up volume, about 8-12 hours/week of mostly endurance. Depending on timing of meals/snacks, anywhere from 30-60% of the calories on bike. More carbs on bike for higher intensity work. On your 2200 kJ over/under workout I would eat 1000-1200 calories on the bike.


Especially for my harder workouts, I’ve been doing 120g of carbs per hour all liquid. (50/50 Maltodextrin / Fructose plus 5g of Sodium Citrate, and then scale to length of workout). Maybe not for endurance workouts, but for Sweet Spot, VO2, and Threshold, even the 60 minute ones. I hop off the bike and immediately have a protein shake with a little extra carbs and make sure I’m hydrated.

Any way I cut it I’m still burning more than I’m taking in, but helps the hunger outside the workouts tremendously.

For me it’s all about volume when cuttong weight. I can easily maintain a 1000kcal deficit by doing 2x2hr Z2 rides daily. That is with an bodyfat below 10%, should be easier wirh higher.

This is actually a really interesting point. I didn’t think about the inflammation associated with big training and especially big, hard outdoor rides. Very interesting insight!

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besides that you also have glycogen stores that carry water weight fluctuating daily. For me, if I take a day off, I’m undoubtably heavier the next day because I didn’t burn off that glycogen.

Emotionally it would be easier.

Completely agree

I do my long rides on the weekend and always weigh a few pounds more on Monday than I did before the rides

my weight fluctuates +/-5lbs at any given time

it’s the beer and bread that are my kryptonite

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Better yet, pick one time during the week to weigh yourself and only do it then. I like Monday morning right after wake up.

You’ll drive yourself batty getting on the scale every single day, IMO.

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