High Volume Training

Simple question: will HV let me eat a lot and still lose weight ?

It may be a simple question, but it is not a simple answer.

Well, I guess it is a simple answer at the top level - it depends.

What are you eating, how much, how much are you training, etc all factor into it.


If “a lot” means taking in less calories than you’re using: yes.

If “a lot” means taking in more calories than you’re using: no.


You can never out work a poor diet.


Constipation does that to you.

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Something to consider - your weight will probably go up later into the phases when your plasma volume increases. It can be several pounds depending on where you started.

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Honestly, I’ve always trended down in weight on HV, but I’ve never gone “oh I can just eat a lot…”. Obviously if you’re doing 1000+ cal on the bike 4-5 days a week, 500ish on the easy days, you WILL need to eat more to replace that or you’re gonna be non functioned pretty soon, at best you’ll be failing workouts.

I did eat more than a normal (non exercise) diet, but…

  • I was very careful to track my intake for most meals, I don’t mean a diary, I mean something with a known calorie count that is repeatable, in my case Huel.
  • I refuelled properly after workouts, even if that didn’t quite refill big workout deficits on it’s own.
  • If I was hungry, I ate, but small amounts, if I was hungry in a couple of hours, repeat.
  • In order to keep my sanity, weekends were a bit more free, less Huel, more treating myself, but never to ridiculous amounts.

So yes, you can eat more and still lose weight, but you need to structure it carefully, not just eat like a pig.

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When I train 12 hpw+, I struggle to maintain weight while eating more than I want to. However, I don’t eat any ‘empty calorie’ foods. If you eat a diet high in processed foods, I bet the opposite is true (struggle to outwork a bad diet)

Possibly? I was doing high volume over the winter. My diet strategy was: “eat as much of whatever I want, whenever I want.” This lead to me fulfilling the mantra, “eat trash, ride fast.” My weight stayed the same during this.

As long as you’re actually doing the workouts, you will be able to eat more without gaining weight.

I lost about 15 pounds this winter with HV traditional base. Slow and steady. Has leveled off now in HV SSB. I love being able to regularly snack when I want. Have gotten a bit better with the quality of snacks, but much of it is crackers and baked potato chips.

I think if you are asking questions like this, high volume is likely not for you. You don’t need to go high volume to create a calorie deficit. In fact, I would discourage anyone from using high volume to lose a lot of weight quick. When you opt for a high volume plan, you need to have all your ducks in a row, your sleep, your recovery, your nutrition. Your margin of error becomes very thin.

You asked whether “you can eat a lot”. When you train, it is easier to incur a calorie deficit. But if your calorie deficit is too large, you will derail your training, i. e. it is unsustainable. Ditto for stopping to eat while on the bike, that is bad in two ways, you will hamper your performance and you will be ravenous when you get off the bike.



:pizza: :fries: :hamburger: :poultry_leg: :meat_on_bone: :cut_of_meat: :bacon: :cheese: :waffle: :pancakes: :bagel: :pretzel: :croissant: :baguette_bread: :flatbread: :bread: :broccoli:

I would and have ignored the “you can’t outwork a poor diet” perspective. You absolutely can outwork a poor diet. A few years ago, I did a block just to test your stated theory (eat more, work more), and my fitness went through the roof, but I was eating everything in sight (favorite was cheese sticks and honey-nut cheerios with whole milk a few times/day :smile: ).

As others have said above, it’s energy in/energy out. Something that is frequently glossed over, though, is the fact that we are very bad at estimating our metabolic rates when trying to get as granular as is needed to “control” diet. For instance, is your non-workout metabolic rate 2000/day or 2150/day? The difference is very likely impossible to know with enough certainty to control weight on a day-to-day basis. Even very high-tech estimators in the lab have large potential errors. For this reason, it’s usually a fool’s errand to think that you are balancing your calories. One way that actually works? Eat, sleep, and train consistently, then weigh yourself every extended fixed interval like once/week or once/month …see results…make small changes.

Another fallacy I’ve seen here - only considering the extremes of diets. For instance, fried chicken strips are part of a “bad diet,” therefore I will forever swear off chicken strips. Or cheeseburgers. Or Doritos. Physiology does not lend itself well or easily to these sorts of binary determinations. There is a whole world of variation within each of these definitions (fried chicken strips once/week? Cookies after lunch but not everyday?). For dietary considerations, outside of obvious extremes, if you feel yourself being drawn toward a binary determination, pull yourself back from the precipice and consider a point-of-view that relinquishes control of calories and pays homage to the fact that we actually understand very little about diet other than high BMI is undesirable/bad.

It’s not uncommon to be burning 5-7k kcals/week on these plans. You are much more likely to be in a calorie deficit and destroy yourself after a month or two - sickness, exhaustion, injury, etc.

There are a number of ways to measure Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR). We make a device that does exactly that.

But you make a number of excellent points re: diets and calorie management, in general.

What kind of high volume training are you considering? What is your starting weight/body fat? Your current fitness? Your past training history? Your experience with controlling your calories?

You should have all of this (and probably much more) answered before you try to do this.
You could do high volume of all Z2 and that would probably lend itself pretty well to trying to lose weight.
If you are already pretty lean and just looking to sharpen up then you’re even more likely to go too far with it than if you have a bunch of fat to lose.
Is ‘high volume’ what you’re used to? I wouldn’t try to jump up in volume and lose weight at the same time. Unless you’re careful that could be a recipe for disaster.
And if you haven’t counted or restricted calories in the past then you could probably easily be in too much of a deficit and quickly dig yourself into a hole.

Interesting, I’m only aware of devices that give estimates with at least a 100 calorie margin of error given that there are vast amounts of unknown contributors to BMR/RMR. Given that this is the recommended calorie deficit (or less) that I have seen, I think it’s tough to make concrete decisions based on it. But again, those are just the devices I’m aware of (like HR straps, FitBit, etc)

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So a couple of things…our device, and others like it, measure RMR, not your total daily calorie burn. IOW, if you were completely sedentary, you would need XXX calories / day to exist. That can be measured pretty specifically.

Things get messy when you start to add active calories on top of that….power meters can tell us exactly how many calories we burn riding, but everything else relies, as you note, on HR / Apple watches / FitBit-type devices, which are caloric burn estimates based on HR / movement.

But the key is really RMR, which is typically your largest caloric expenditure of the day. If you know that number, your margin of error for everything else drops significantly.

I think the one thing that has been sort of overlooked here, or at least not explicitly asked, is “is weight loss an actual goal for the OP?”.

There is a whole heap of ground between “I’m doing HV training, burgers for breakfast!” and “I must measure everything and it must confirm to the 300 dietary rules I read in some heath magazine”. Honestly, if weight loss is a goal for the op (and no shame in that), then the only way to know what works is measure and adjust, which is why I made such a big deal of knowing what you put in. If your BMR is non standard then it’ll show in your weight change, then adjust *shrug *. It’s one of those things where more data is never nor useful.

For context, I’ve gone from a BMI of 33 to 23 whilst my ftp went from 1.8 to 4.0 w/kg, whilst still eating nice food. Everything in moderation, where I originally (pre cycling) fucked up was not being aware of the calories in what I was putting in, or if I understood it I didn’t realise the important of tracking, not to some obsessive, near eating disorder level, but just being mindful of your behaviors around food , if they no longer support your goals (you’re failing workouts or not losing weight fast enough), then they need to change, data is the main building block for this.

Obviously, if the OP just wants permission from the forum to stuff his face, then frankly, he can knock himself out, but HV isn’t a magic weight bullet…


Agree that RMR is the most important weigh-specific measure (although a 4k kcal day on the bike starts to get important too), but when combined with weight-loss or weight-neutral recommendations (balancing calories in and calories out), you run into too many unknowns to make any concrete decisions day-to-day. Is it important to have thoughtful intake and accountability? Absolutely. But whether you can eat another scoop of peanut butter or probably even a whole sandwich or not today on top of your normal diet is impossible to predict with current technology.

On top of the difficulties measuring total calories burned per day by a human, nutrition labels and assessments of calories in are notoriously error-prone. The FDA allows up to 20% margin of error in estimating stuff like calories in an item.

On the other hand, you can measure your weight on a predictable basis and keep a good food journal so that you can link behaviors/choices with results. Any good nutritionist will start there.

All of this of course assuming you have a normal healthy metabolism without endocrine disease or some other freaky ailment.

Weight loss in my experience : 25% exercise, 75% diet.
I went from 154 to 142 beginning of 2020 riding 5 hours a week.
Back to 154 now and been 11-12 for weeks and not losing weight cause I haven’t been paying attention to dieting.

It’s surprisingly easy to over eat even after a 100 mile day. I burned over 4000 calories yesterday on the bike and I was only 500 in deficit going to bed. and that was a struggle. I felt like I was starving.

So yeah… If your goal is losing weight, going HV is not the answer. Not the full answer anyway.