Carb cycling for amateurs?

Thanks for the input! Maybe I miss typed the numbers. My protein target is 170 right and carbs 223. FTP is 226. And I’m shooting for zero saturated fat as well to hopefully help reduce the visceral fat. The big help to get me over the top for my protein goal has been eating more cottage cheese, and an evening snack of frozen berries, Greek yogurt, protein powder, and a sprinkle of low sugar granola. According to Strava, I typically burn 5-700 calories in a workout. I’m definitely gaining some muscle. One of the reasons I did the DEXA scan on Jan 2 was to track that and verify over time. But since I haven’t been able to go down a size in pants, it’s definitely not a case of “oh, he’s just replaced 10lbs of fat with muscle”. I wish!

It’s hella nice being able to get strong in my 50s though. I’m in the 80th percentile of muscle mass for my age group.

You’ve not really said how long, what weight loss goal per week/month they structured the guidance on, how are you measuring progress? You could have easily had a body comp shift (as you alluded to in your comment about gaining muscle), but weight loss looks unimpressive to you. You’re employing a professional. They have probably sized many/most of these factors and asked the appropriate questions. Why would you expect better guidance from this forum with an incomplete picture?

You’ve got three goals - stay fit, get strong, lose fat. Very hard to achieve all three at the same time. If I was to guess, the diet plan is structured to make sure you don’t lose strength and muscle mass. With cycling fitness and fat loss secondary.

As others have said, be careful using Strava and watches to estimate your calories expenditure. Trust kJs from TR if you have a trainer/power meter. If you’re on VirtualPower, don’t trust this either.
So your calorie burn could be inaccurate.

Perhaps be aware that bioavailability of foods means that the true energy value to your body will differ from Bomb Calorimeter measurements of those foods For example, whole nuts often absorb up to 30% less in our body vs the chemical combustion number. As well as manufacture measuring inaccuracies/averages. So nothing is rock solid. Even your meticulously weighed food.
You talk about eating “Clean”. I think this is an empty phrase. But nothing you’ve said suggests you’re making any bad food choices. I would recommend listening to Zoe Health podcasts to help guide cooking and eating strategies that aren’t quite as focused on macros in a narrow sense. Without throwing away what sounds like a well thought-through plan.

As to carb cycling, it sounds like you are already doing it to at least some degree - fuelling more carbs in line with your workouts. I would personally agree that you could be short-changing for your strength days.

Perhaps just keep at it, stay the course for now and then adjust with a suitable period of time elapsed in consultation with your nutritionist?

That evening snack alone is probably 400 or more calories. If you’re focused on weight loss, you might want to consider eating an early dinner and then not eating your breakfast until later in the morning. Eating frequently does help with high protein goals, but it’s worth considering whether your protein strategy is sabotaging your weight loss strategy.


Yeah, I’m 54, and started last year at 236 ftp. I’ve been fighting this for years (got down to 175lbs 12 years ago, then started biking (again after, a 5 year hiatus), held in the low 180’s for about 5 years and then it started climbing the more I was biking. I figured out that the fitness apps (and me) were overestimating the calories (and work stress hurt me bad). I did a lot of zone 2 last year (3-4x per week for 1-1.5hrs each) and the top of my zone 2 (same heart rate 130bpm) went from 160ish to upper 190s watts, which is of course great for fat burning, and I realize I never had such a solid base before, though I was riding consistently 5-6 hours for several years. Started a ramp test on Tuesday, but cut it off when my knee started bugging me and legs weren’t feeling it once I got over 300watts I had plenty left and after a 10 minutes easy I did another 10 minutes between 240 and 250. I looked back at my stats and realized I hadn’t done very much supra threshold in Nov or Dec, so will try the ftp again soon. I figure I should be at 250 ftp, at least. Gonna focus on maintaining the base, doing longer 4+hr days, and shaping up my climbing on the steeper stuff this year.

I typed a lot this morning, but I guess the overarching message would be a) you can make the weight loss your #1 priority, and still at least maintain ftp, strength and endurance for a couple months, and b) take advantage of the easy days that burn mostly fat (that you don’t need to add any calories to your diet for) and also the long days that have a bunch of fat burned simply as a function of you burning xx% of calories from fat at SS or threshold for several hours, and again you don’t need to refuel for those fat calories (of course the question is what is xx%).

I stay away from dairy for the most part (small amounts of cheese and a pint of ice cream each week is my limit), and wheat. They do bad things to my digestion. Nuts are one of my dieting downfalls, too…too calorically dense.

I have a tricky knee that doesn’t like the Ramp test and I always feel like I quit before my heart and lungs want to. I recently switched to the Kolie Moore test and find that is both more accurate and also doesn’t push my knee beyond my comfort zone. Might be worth considering, but of course, we’re all unique, so ymmv.

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It’s not, because I eat non fat, weigh it to the gram, and make my own granola so I know the calories are accurate. But I get your point and agree. Mostly I eat it if I’m still starving and protein will keep me from hitting the wife’s assortment of baked goods!

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I feel you! I’m all but wheat and dairy free. It doesn’t help with any fat loss but I do feel less inflamed and the help with recovery can’t be underestimated. I have occasional knee niggles too so I just let the AI do the detection. I don’t get hung up on the number being exact. I just want to see maintenance and/or improvement.