Having my cake and eating it: How to lose weight but not power on the bike?

I’m a 43 year old male, currently weighing in at 225lbs at 5’11". About 30% body fat.

I’m preparing to go into a caloric deficit to reduce my weight by about 1 lbs / week, my goal is to get to 200 lbs by this December. Based off a calorie calculator I’d need to reduce my caloric intake by about 500 calories or 17% of my current daily intake. With my body fat percentage do you think this is within reason to do without hurting my fitness on the bike?

I’m on the bike at least twice a week, strength train once a week, and cross-train in kickboxing twice a week. I don’t really have any events planned but I do want to at least maintain my current level of fitness if not improve it slightly.

Let me know your thoughts, thanks!

EDIT: 5’11", not 4’11" :man_facepalming:

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Probably 5’11 at that body fat percentage, right?

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My 2 cents, I would start to pay more attention once you get around the 15% zone. 500 kcal/day deficit while still eating ~2500 kcal/day seems entirely sustainable to me and just let your body shed the weight slowly over time. I, personally, went from 165 → 140 at 5’9" with a ~500 cal deficit in 5-6 months (?) and never felt deprived.

One thing to keep in mind is that maintenance calories will decrease slightly as you loose body mass, so a 500 deficit today might be a 300 deficit months in the future.

Now is also the time to plan and implement the lifestyle changes to maintain your target weight once you get there. A lot of people ‘diet’ and then return to their previous eating habits once they reach their desired weight and then gain it back. To maintain the new weight people need to slowly implement lifestyle changes along the way.



One thing I forgot to mention is that I have a really hard time going to bed hungry. If there’s one thing that destroyed my weight loss program in the past it’s that I got so hungry before bed that I wasn’t able to sleep.

Anyone here had that issue and how did you overcome it?

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I’ve done it. Several times unfortunately.

I’m 5’ 10" somewhere between 215 and 180 depending on how seriously I take my diet. Historically I’ve dropped the weight by cleaning up my diet and not by following any specific diet. Major focus on not eating junk food and mostly eating the same things day in day out. Lots of veggies, whole grains, and proteins. I track my calories and when I’m losing I end up around 2000 calories a day not including on the bike calories. I still add gels and drink mixes to all of my hard rides. I also put a lot of thought into when I eat so I am topped off with fuel for all my hard rides.

Every time I’ve done this I’ve managed to maintain power and have even gained power on the bike. I ride 5-6 days a week and add 2 days of strength training as well. I think only doing 3 hard sessions a week and keeping my other rides very easy has made the biggest differences in helping me maintain the power. I also don’t go crazy on my strength training days by lifting very within my abilities. Not looking to make gains at all. Just focused on keeping my 48 year old self strong.

Hope that helps, it’s definitely possible and I feel like I’ve got the process down for me. Problem for me at least is over time I slack off on the food portion of the equation and the next thing I know I’m over 200 again. :man_facepalming:


Build a post-dinner snack into your meal plan / calorie intake plan.

I think another key thing is to not feel deprived. There are going to be some foods you love, keep them. Just figure out a plan to not over-indulge.


I just dropped from 220 to 200, while threshold and endurance power went up. Roughly 3 pounds/month, did 1 lb/week and took the 4th week off to give my body a break. Ramped up cycling to 8.5 hours/week and kept increasing kJ burned on the bike. Some mobility work but no lifting. Decided to stop at 200 in February and started lifting. Holding steady until this summer when I’ll look to drop another 10-20 pounds. A couple inches taller and +seventeen on the calendar. Ate throughout the day, small desert with wife, eating protein about 6 times a day.


I’ve found eating something with slowly digesting protein before bed. Some yogurt, a piece of cheese, or casein protein powder (digests slower than whey).


You’re speaking my language. I just eat a little bit–a lot less than you’d imagine, of something with a little protein and very few simple carbs–the fewer the better. Just enough to get past the hungry stage. It’s crucial for me to not let myself get really hungry. If I do, I’ll set myself back at least two day’s of gains.


You can try time restricted eating in order to achieve your calorie deficit goal if the timeing fits in your workouts. For example, don’t eat until lunch time, eat your normal dinner and then have some snack before bed so you don’t go to bed hungry.

You should think about cutting out added fats more than anything to achieve your deficit. You need protein to build and maintain muscle and you need carbs to fuel your rides.


Thanks! My biggest weight loss success was with skipping breakfast, but that was when my workouts were scheduled for the afternoon. I do my workouts in the morning now and not eating breakfast ruins me for the workout :frowning:

A small glass of milk has always been the answer to that for me

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I have had success the exact same way through skipping breakfast. If I have to do a morning workout I usually start fasted but have a bottle with two scoops of skratch and at least 1-2 gels on hand. I take one right after the warmup and one right before the last intervals (usually). That seems to help me make it through workouts, even the saturday over/unders.

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You’ll be fine as long as you keep your protein high enough. Aim to get 30% of your calories from protein, or about a gram per pound of target weight. Eat fat sparingly and carbs strategically.


This right here is the way to go :slight_smile:

“Aim to get 30% of your calories from protein, or about a gram per pound of target weight. Eat fat sparingly and carbs strategically.”

And also, know what you’re eating, have a look at the packaging and see how much energy (calories) are in things.

For example, making an omelette, sure, its healthy, but adding some avocado and half a tablespoon of butter while cooking it immediately makes it as much calories as a burger from McDonalds.


Having been trying to balance this equation for many years, the lasting solution for me has been intermittent fasting (2 days a week).

Prior to that, I would start a calorie=restricted diet in January every year, and after several months of deprivation would reduce my weight down to around 72kg (from around 76-78) for the start of my cycling season. It was hard work and required discipline and perceived deprivation - months without things I craved. Repeated on an annual cycle and approached with dread!

Then 7 years ago I started intermittent fasting - 500-600 cal 2 or 3 days a week depending on work and other things happening in my life, so fairly flexible. On the non-fasting days I eat what I like (but as my stomach has reduced in size/capacity that’s not as much as before), so there isn’t the craving for certain foods - it’s only ever a few hours away!

I’m now 68-70kg year-round without even thinking about it. It’s no longer something I have to worry about. There’s been no drop-off in cycling performance, and fasting has all sorts of other health benefits. Life isn’t just about cycling!


How did you schedule fasting around training? If you follow a TR plan which one is it and what days do you fast?

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I’ve been on MV plans for the last 3 years, although I miss out the Wednesday recovery/endurance workout, so Tue/Thu/Sat/Sun. My fasting days are Mon/Wed/Fri (any 1, 2 or 3 of these depending on work/life) and on those days I do strength work in the gym. I replace weekend TR workouts with outside rides as the weather warms up.

I also fit in running around other activities, doubling up with a TR workout or strength day depending on intensity.


Had some success last year with the Traditional Base plan.

The increased volume helps with the weight loss, while the lower intensity doesn’t drive fueling requirements through the roof. Significantly improved my aerobic base in the process, so that as soon as I added some intensity back in, got a 20W increase in FTP (260 to 280) at the same time as dropping 10 lbs.


Fat free Greek yogurt for me and if I wake up hungry at night I will get up and eat some more. Any “healthy” calories eaten in the middle of the night do not have to be counted.