Combining gym and bike training without overtraining

Edit: at least to get started, a resolved training schedule has been planned out on thread post # 26

Edit2: I’m continuously being talked off the overtraining ledge. See thread post # 32 for the re-revised plan :sweat_smile:

I’d like to begin this inquiry by acknowledging that conventional wisdom states our bodies need minimum 1 full rest day per week.
Furthermore, a major factor in muscle stimulation and growth is recovery. Sleep, nutrition, and time are major players in this game. Furthermore, consistency wins above all. Overtraining results in fall off and extended recovery which is worse for growth than doing less per week but staying in the game longer.

Ok, getting that out of the way… I’m faced with a self imposed over training problem. I haven’t hit the critical fatigue level yet but I know (suspect) my current path will lead there if continued. I’m certain most will conclude I’m overdoing it, and I’d love to hear community feedback about the optimal path forward. So far as I can tell here are my options:
a) reduce effort output
b) cut out a workout, which is not really my favored option but I’m open to it
c) change the status quo from a 7-day week structure to an 8-day week structure. This should probably happen globally, and everyone needs to be on board. I suggest we name the new day of the week “Reposeday”

Here’s the current week breakdown on a low volume plan, currently in sweet spot build:

Monday: 60 min indoor training
Tuesday: 75 min gym workout
Wednesday: 60 min indoor training
Thursday: 75 min gym workout
Friday: 90 min indoor training
Saturday: 45 min gym workout
Sunday: Outdoor hill repeats on bike

My gym workouts are structured to be pretty light in weight/ high reps (8-16) and done in 4 rounds of 5 different movements, with an emphasis on isometric movements and core engagement. These workouts are also whole body focused so as not to overwhelm any one system and allow fluidity between bike training and gym training. The goal each session is “don’t exit the gym feeling exhausted”.

The answer would be a very easy “why don’t you just drop one gym day, dude?” were it not for the fact that it brings me joy to incorporate traditional powerlifting structure into my workouts.
That means Tuesday=Bench, Thursday=Deadlift and Saturday=Squat.
If I doubled down on one of the powerlifting sets (eg: Thursday=Deadlift+Squat) I highly suspect I’d be overdoing it for one session.
My intuition says reducing from 4 rounds x 5 movements to 2 or 3 rounds x 5 movements wouldn’t be enough to qualify as “rest”. I suspect I need a full day. Pulling for option c) add an extra day to everyones week here y’all! Just think… 3 day weekends… Right?!

Ok, so seeing as I’m not a fan of cutting one gym day out, nor am I a fan of cutting out hill repeat Sundays, that leaves cutting out one of the indoor training rides. Surprise surprise, I’m not a fan of that either. Structured training works really well. Go figure.

… It might be a good time to mention I also like to sprinkle in group gravel and mtb rides in the mix, at random. They’re just plain fun.

I’m not an immoveable wall. I just like to move my body a lot and it’s not sustainable, so please hit me with any and all opinions about where I’m going wrong here :smiling_face_with_tear:

Thanks in advance!

It sounds like overtraining but the only way to know for sure is to try it. I have overtrained doing a similar thing quite quickly however have a friend who can ride endlessly back to back and recover perfectly. So you might just cruise it or it might crush you. You would definitely need Deload weeks though.

One thing I noticed when incorporating traditional lifts back in was that it exemplified structural Imbalances that I had. For example I get referred tightness in a glute med on my right side and it’s way worse if I’ve done squats but if I’ve done a bunch of glute work and Bulgarian split squats then it feels better.


Can you move any of the weight workouts to the same day as riding? An ideal is to ride in the morning and lift in the afternoon. Then take the next day as a rest day.


You seem to enjoy training in some way or another everyday and I think you need to change your perspective on having a day off.

Rather than looking at a day off as a missed opportunity, look at it as your most important training day and aim to rest up the best you can on that day.

I strongly believe 6days on/1 day off is always better than 7days on/0 days off.


To some extent it also depends how well you’re managing the other major players you listed (of which I’d also add stress).

Personally I prefer doing something every day. It’s not necessarily an especially hard something though.
For me it helps with mitigating depression and/or anxiety more than not doing anything.


You’re doing too much work overall.

That aside, assuming cycling is your primary sport, move weight sessions to the same day as interval work. Leave at least one and probably two off days as true rest days.

I’d also recommend cutting back to two power lifting sessions and cut at least one hard day on the bike in exchange for an easier ride.

That schedule you are on won’t be sustainable for long, and if you can maintain it, you’re hampering your gains in both areas by trying to go hard every single workout between cycling and powerlifting. You need to figure out how you can be consistent. It’ll feel great to do that for a few weeks but it’s going to fall apart soon.

If you have to do something every day, take a moderate walk or a hike. But honestly, your body needs true rest days too.


I train 7 days a week, with what I call a zero day every now and then, maybe two or three days a month when I feel I need it or some such.

Bike one day, an hour of gym work+30 minutes of easy rowing machine the next.

I never do under 1.5 hours on the bike, no matter the workout.

Gym workout is mostly core exercises to help my back and hip issues, with an upper body part or two flung in. I don’t touch legs at all.

I manage this on about 4 hours sleep during the week (I’m nightshift) and about 10 hours sleep at the weekend.

When I read your schedule and your post, the thought “he wants to focus on everything” came to my mind. IMHO your current schedule is a surefire way to run yourself into the ground. The modifications you are thinking of would slightly decrease the speed at which you will hit the wall. You are just slightly prolonging the inevitable: you are accumulating more and more fatigue, and hampering your growth, because you don’t have any rest days.

For example, assuming you are following a vanilla low-volume plan, then you have 4 days of intensity on the bike with no endurance. This is nuts. Common practice is to have at least one day of endurance work or rest in between hard days on the bike. You bracket them with gym training.

It seems to me you severely underestimate the value of rest days in training. You seem to want to avoid them. Rest days aren’t days “where you do nothing”, it is when your body has time to actually recover and make you stronger. Let me repeat that: it is rest days when you gain strength. Currently, you have zero rest days — do you think that’s a good strategy? And the only “easy” day seems to be Saturday when you limit yourself to 45 minutes in the gym.

Here is what I would do:

  1. Pick a focus, what is more important to you, gym work or being fit on the bike?

Let me proceed under the assumption that you said your focus is the bike. (I don’t feel competent enough to comment from the gym side of things. But roughly speaking, I’d invert the focus and cut one or two days on the bike, and schedule the gym workouts for the morning.)

  1. Eliminate 1 gym day, and shift your gym workouts onto the same days as you do your cycling. That is, you do your bike workout Mondays and Wednesdays in the morning and do your gym workouts Mondays and Wednesdays in the evening. In case you cannot do two workouts a day for whatever reason, remember your priorities and focus on that. You cannot focus on everything. If you decide cycling is more important, then cut one more day in the gym and only do a longer day at the gym on Saturday. Priorities.
  2. Make Tuesdays and Thursdays rest days. No sport.
  3. Dedicate Sundays to endurance rides. No hill repeats, please. You could, conceivably, replace your VO2max workouts with hill repeats if you wanted to, though.

Managing mental health is really at the root of training every day if I’m being completely honest.
Even today, it was a shit day in my brain, but the gym brought me back to balance.
There’s a lot of good advice in this thread, I’m formulating thoughts on how to balance everything, and really low effort movement at minimum will be a must. Thanks for your input!


I’ve started using my HRV to schedule when I have a rest day. I monitor my 7day rolling rMSSD average. If it decreases I take an easy day. If it decreases on the next day I take a day off. If its down again another easy day etc. If its up I’ll do a proper Z2 ride if its up following day I’ll consider a threshold or HIIT workout followed by a recovery/rest day. I also factor in how I feel as well. It’s early days but I’m certainly not feeling as generally fatigued as I was. Volume is actually up but intensity is down. In your context it would probably mean missing a random number of workouts/gym sessions rather than cutting the same one out every week.

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Using whoop or an oura ring I’m guessing?

I’ve been wondering about those, it’s a mixed bag of reviews.

Sounds like you have a mental log of feeling recovered pre and post HRV?

As for rest… I think it would derail me to have random days off.

I’m going to try the schedule of doing doubles for indoor training and lifting days, which will be more intense, but allow for a full days rest between workout days.

I’ve also bought an e-bike so I can go on easy social rides with my friends (which are very important to me now I’m retired) who use them and actually have an easy day rather than killing myself trying to keep up with them on the hills


Ha, I’ve certainly thought about e-bikes.

Most of my joy in biking comes via singletrack though, so e-bikes aren’t an option in my area.

I use HRV4Training every morning before I get up using the camera on my phone.

We are all different, the randomness of it suits me.

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I don’t know. You can have some fun on single track with this bike. Obviously not as fast as proper MTB but still fun.

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Oh I don’t doubt it! But it’s illegal to take e-bikes on singletrack. I could use an e-bike on forest roads, but I like the berms, jumps, rock gardens, etc.
It’s ok, I actively work at not overdoing it on MTB rides.
Really just a shame we can’t push our bodies and limits to extremes on a regular basis haha, it’s a lot more fun going fast and hard :upside_down_face:

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I can relate to that. But I think having to train every day isn’t sustainable in the long run. It’d be healthier if you learnt how to take a rest on some days. Just make it part of the structure, the rhythm of your week.

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5 hours 45 minutes + the outside ride - doesn’t sound like crazy volume at all and if you want to do something every day then go for it. Your body will tell you when to make those indoor rides easy/turn your weekend ride to Z2.

As has been said above, I would find the mental aspect of it the hardest, that much structure sounds dull as to me, but everyone is different and we are all beautiful! Go forth!

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So I will say there is a place and time for rest, but like you I typically have a workout on my calendar of some form everyday with days off when I just feel blah.

Usually my off days on the bike are Mondays and Thursday or Friday (depending on my work schedule). On those days I typically hit the gym at lunch time, but limit my workout to 30 minutes, and focus on body parts that do not in any way affect my cycling workouts-typically this means lifting arms and maybe chest or shoulders. For me, I do not find that my weight workouts interfere with my cycling workouts unless I am lifting legs, which I do on the same day as my hardest sessions so as to maximize time off between the next hard session.

I would say experiment with what works best for you and go with what works best.


@Henry , Sorry if I missed it but what are your goals?

Right now my goal is to be a healthy, strong 54 year old. Here is my schedule:

Monday - upper body weights, core, 30 minute run/walk (keeping heartrate below 130bpm)
Tuesday - Hard bike session 60 to 90 minutes
Wednesday - deadlifts, bulgarian split squats, 30 minute run/walk (keeping heartrate below 130bpm)
Thursday - LT1 bike ride 60 to 90 minutes (keeping heartrate below 130bpm)
Friday - upper body weights, core
Saturday - 3+ hour group ride with friends
Sunday - recovery day or easy ride if feel like it

If I were racing XC MTB again, I would rearrange to add more riding while cutting back on other stuff.

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