Gain and maintain upper body mass again

Hi there! Sorry for the long post .i have been using trainer road for couple of months now. I did Sweet spot base low volume I & II and just started sustained power build /low volume/. I have made 9% gains in my FTP and i do not want to limit my cycling due to what i am about to tell you. I have decent upper body muscles -chest /man tities/, decent back muscules and of course gunz /which i am proud of/. I started cycling about 5 years ago on MTB. Stopped cycling for 2 years, because i was busy with building my own house + working on two jobs to afford the house. Fineshed the house and bought indroor trainer, created specific room in my house for indroor trainer and home gym and started cycling again. Firstly during the winter and then outdoors. I havent followed structured training until september, when i started using TR. Before that i have avereged 4 hours of cycling each week. My workouts where 50% sweet spot training /based on heart rate/and 50% z2 rides. I had no problem of doing 1 x 60 or 1x 90 SS. I fueled my rides decently. I enjoy climbing local mountains /on road bike now/. I live in pretty hilly area. When i started cycling i weighted 81kg,but little bulked. I managed to loose weight to 75 kgs and i felt perfect. I lost mostly fat and became more lean. I intened to keep i that way. I do 2 gym days each week. Since i started using TR i lost about 2-3 kgs and i started to feel tired. Intensity on TR is higher than my previous cycling workouts. I have returned my cardio fitness and even get it bigger from cycling. Did two vo2 max lab tests in local university. Before i started cycling i had around 42, last month after 8 months of cycling i tested 52. I am satisfied with my results and i want to keep em and even to get better. I intend to do 1-2 grand fondos next year and more local group rides of 50-80 km. The problem is that i cannot gain my weight back to 75 and i started to loose mascle mass. I increased my food intake but it seems nothing is changing. I feel that my methabolism got more efficient and faster. I Lost some of my guns, my chest muscles, back muscles… i want to keep my gunz boys. I need them. I am working in two jobs one of them on construction site…i lost power/endurance in my upper body that i need, but i do not want to limit my beloved cycling. Only thing that i think of is to fuel my indoor rides properly befere/during and after/. I read in this forum that fueling is not required for 60-90 minutes rides which is the main rides in low volume plans-maybe that is the problem. I have increased my carb and meat intake about 50% but it doesnt change. I ordered maltodextrin to start to fuel my rides. Will fuelling my rides help me gain back my weight. I am not body builder and i do not plan to eat 12 eggs on breakfast and 1kg meat each day. I do not take any supplements for gym other then protein shake. Does eating more than i burn while cycling will help me? Does anyone have the same problem -keep upper body muscles while cycling? I am sure that with more cycling i will reduce my gunz to spaghetti arms, but i would love to increase my hours cycling. This is not complaining about cycling- love it. I do not plan to race for podiums i want to smash local hills and use cycling mainly for longevity goal.

Pretty simple, if you’re losing weight and muscle, you’re not eating enough for your volume, and potentially eating the wrong stuff.

I would shoot for 150-200 grams of protein per day, spread out throughout the day. This is one of the most important things for retaining and gaining muscle. Whey protein and protein bars can help here. But lots of eggs, lean meat, and fish help.

I’d also try taking in up to 100g of carbs per hour on the bike (That’s 400KCal/Hour and probably less than what you’re burning every hour). Table sugar or a mixture of Maltodextrin/Fructose. Add sodium as needed but probably 500-1000g per Liter of water. Start taking it 15 minutes before the workout, stop with 30 minutes left.

A great post workout re-fuel for me is a bunch of brown rice (probably 2+ cups cooked) with 3 lightly fried eggs and hot sauce on top and mixed together. I can also eat a box of cereal in about one sitting personally…

One supplement I’d consider is a high quality fish oil. Among a host of other benefits, I recently heard a study discussed where it helps protect against muscle loss (Omega 3’s), but this was looking at Atrophy Induced Muscle Loss.


You definitely should be fueling your workouts, and especially with a physically demanding job like construction you should be fueling during that too and also after. If you want to be serious about it then you probably need some kind of fitness device like a Garmin watch that can track active calories and give you a target for your daily calorie needs and then you can make sure you get yourself in the right calorie range to maintain or gain weight. You also will want to make sure you are getting enough protein from those calories, around 2g/kg per day.

If you specifically want an upper body that looks muscular then you need to train that too, if your construction job gives you some of that then that’s good but you probably need more than 2 days a week in the gym or they need to be really focused on your goal. You can still have a fit upper body while cycling but if you’re under fueled your body will start to burn muscle as energy.

That’s 100% the problem. I don’t know who said that but maybe for an outdoor ride that’s not intense enough that’s not necessary, but fuelling is always for an indoor session.

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Thank you for your reply. I will consider increasing my protein intake. I dont want to take any hard core suplements for gym, i am considering taking creatin as it is fairly safe, but it is not very relevant for cycling.

Hey, I do have apple watch. I saw a video review of calories burned in lab vs smart watches estimation. Mostl of them were overestimating burned calories like +10-15 %. I was thinking not to exclude the overestimation and to calculate my intake based on higher value…not sure if this is a good idea. I do 2x gym sessions each week. I do circle training with base exercises as it makes me much stronger than doing regular sets. I also missed to write that i do evening walks with my wife 60-90 minutes at least 4 time a week and our walking route is 150 meteres of elevation. Do i undermine the effect of these walks? My apple watch says i do 30 hours of walks a month. Do not take it as serious exercise just a time to spent together outside and enjoy ourselfs in the nature and talking.

I read it somewhere, but i also listened to plenty of podcast. What i got is that i do not need anything else besides electrolytes for sub 2 hour ride. I never failed a workout in TR doesn’t matter if it is VO2 max trainig, threshold or sweet spot. I will change that.

I’ve never heard that on a podcast, its more the mantra ‘fuel the work out’, switch to a carb drink and good luck :+1:

There’s a big difference though between what is needed to complete the workout and what is optimal for both your best performance of the workout and for recovery afterward. You should fuel every workout, especially in the case you’re in where you want to maintain/gain weight. Your body maintains a certain amount of muscle glycogen which can be used for these workouts and can get you through a 2 hour workout but it’s not optimal to completely deplete your muscle glycogen and when you use it you need to replace it. So you can do a 2 hour ride without fueling but I don’t know why anyone would recommend that you do. There is certainly no benefit and you risk burning more muscle if your glycogen and fat stores are insufficient.

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Ditto @BCM :slight_smile:

If you’re not eating enough then your body will start breaking down your muscles mass :muscle:t2:

I think you’ll find this recent YouTube video we made useful!


That is really helpful. Thank you.

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