Lost weight while maintaining high load

Hey , so I’ve been doing great this year as far as training and riding, but my diet is not there. I gained some FTP and tons of endurance doing Base and just 5 weeks of Build this winter but did not lose any weight. Since then I’ve been riding outside pretty hard, setting new PRs on segments as well as for my power numbers, and enjoying some local amateur crit action as well.

My question is if I plan on continuing to ride/train 4-7 hours in an average week, what should I do? I can definitely clean up my bad eating habits but some friends have suggested intermittent fasting and KETO, which I’m not sure if they really work well with the demands we as cyclists have.

I’m 5’9" current weight is 195lbs, FTP is 240w. I’m hoping to lose 10-35lbs by the start of race season next year when I plan on doing my first ever event, while maintaining my power, but I have lots of time to do this gradually. In a perfect world I’d come out of indoor training next year with an FTP of 300-310w, and a weight is 165-170lbs

Simply eat a 500cal defecit every day and you will lose weight.

Keto does not support the high intensity that you’ll need for crits and intermittent fasting, whilst useful, is simply a tool to help you eat less. IF, in itself, isn’t going to stop you eating junk food, it’s just going to cut out one of your meals a day.

Honestly, as someone who has tried all these different things, work on simply (and gradually) building good habits such as eating less junk and replacing junk with healthy/whole food

PS, welcome to the forum

PPS, do a quick search and you’ll find lots of similar helpful topics. Also consider tracking your calories on an app like Myfitnesspal. It might surprise you how much you’re over eating and holding yourself accountable (just like in training) is a really good motivator.


I would start with simply cleaning up the bad habits and seeing how far that gets you. Cut back on alcohol. Cut back on processed sugars unless it’s fuel during a ride. Cut back on processed foods generally and try to eat more whole foods. Go to town on the fruit and vegetables. Basically cut back or eliminate all the stuff that you almost certainly already know is bad for you or at least bad for your waistline.

If you do that my guess is you’ll see decent improvement without having to calorie count. I certainly always have. I wouldn’t do keto with training. Doing some workouts fasted or carb- depleted can be effective but that’s like focusing on the trees and not seeing the wood. Maybe something to try to shift the last few stubborn pounds of fat to get to your ideal race weight, but when you’ve got ~30lbs to lose there’s a lot of lower hanging fruit.


I agree with the above. You could also add IF to the mix.

IF doesn’t have to be extreme. At minimum it can be a 12 hour eating window with zero snacking between meals. I found this to be an effective strategy because it teaches you that you do not have to respond to every single hunger pain. You won’t die! You don’t have to sit down on the couch with food right after dinner.


Agree with Cartsman, I’ve been “trying” to lose weight and maintain a calorie deficit, but I’ve come to believe it’s counter-productive. There are lower hanging fruits with bad habits and body composition that I can address by making better choice and it is somewhat relaxing to not to have to worry about how many calories I’m eating. I think if you make smarter choices, the weight will take care of itself.

1 Like

If you avoid junk food and reach your power goal, weight loss will likely follow.

For sure.

One thing that works for me is to “pre-eat” before a meal, e.g. a banana on the way to pick up lunch. The actual lunch happens some 20-30 min later. It takes the edge off the hunger and almost always ensures I’m full after the actual meal.

This is especially important if you’re trying to restrict portion size. Unsatisfying meals are the worst and result in binge eating.

1 Like

Lots of good advice here. And +1 to @AJS914 on simply using a reasonable “fasting window”.

I’ve found that when I do brief fasts, I tend to feel great. So I started simply marking an 11-hour window (8:00pm to 7:00am, usually) as off-limits. If I did need a later dinner, I just pushed back the next morning’s breakfast a little too. (And if I really couldn’t make that window work for a particular day, I didn’t sweat it!). After I was pretty comfortable with that 11-hour fasting window, I moved it to 12 hours a day, which is where I am right now.

I’m very happy with the idea… not because I’m eating less (jury’s still out on that), but simply because I feel better and more alert. The goal is to make it a 14-hour window on most days, make that a solid habit, then see whether I want to make further changes.

Not only do you not “have to” do anything extreme… you generally shouldn’t want to. Healthy fitness hardly ever requires anything too hardcore.

I’ve been working really hard to lose weight the last 1.5 years without “dieting”. I joined a new bike club, did lots of polarized type training (6-13 hours per week - 10 average in the middle of the season), and I lost about 15-17 pounds.

I’m 53 and it’s much harder to lose weight now. I’m 10 pounds within reach of my college weight and maybe 15-17 from my weight when I raced bicycles in my 20s.

Basically, I tightened up the diet a lot moving towards more whole foods, more veggies, whole grains, more food cooked at home. We go out to eat about twice a week. I limit omega6 oils (corn, soy, etc) as much as possible as they correlate with visceral fat in favor of omega 3/9 oils.

I started weight lifting this winter and I’m seeing a tiny of of body recomposition in the right direction and a little additional weight loss. I gained zero over the holidays.


A couple of interesting weight loss training ideas I’ve come across lately is the work of James Morton “Fuel for the Work Required”. Google that. Also google “carbohydrate periodization” for more information.


Similar stuff is talked about in the Steve Neal FLO podcast and the Bob Seebhohar podcast.

Honestly, the Neal/Seebohar stuff sounds very similar to the James Morton stuff though the Morton techniques involve more manipulation. Neal says in the podcast that he often hears athletes say that they finally lost that last 10 pounds that they could never lose no matter how much they rode.

1 Like

I have just listened to the latest podcast (Ask a cycling coach 239) and this section https://youtu.be/T1tr0QlrhGc?t=5683 certainly reinforced how to think correctly about weight loss.

My personal experience, losing ~12 kgs (~26lbs) prior to TrainerRoad was the 500-600 daily deficit with a very calculated diet from a nutritionist. Had only one cheat meal per week, usually Saturday. Then I stayed at current weight of 83 kg but picked up training and a more active lifestyle and although weight has stayed pretty much the same, the body composition has improved.

Next step is to get rid of the those extra 3-5 kgs prior to summer and I’m back on the strict diet, no alcohol if not with a cheat meal, and ingesting some oats for longer rides and honey for shorter rides on Trainerroad. Also detoxing from the Holidays, so it feels good. So some targeted caloric intake on training days, less on rest days, and healthy food.

Those are some of my amateur tips and experience.

PS. Welcome!


Roughly how long did it take you to lose 12kg on a 500-600 kcal deficit?

I would say about 3-4 months.


Thats some good progress, well done!

I have about 5kg to lose which ive slowly gained over the last couple of years. I have enjoyed pretty consistent gains on the bike in that time even with additional weight, but I guess that will need to take a backseat for a few months. Hopefully not too long

1 Like

I’m in the same boat now. Made some significant gains thanks to TR and putting in the work, but now wanting to shed those few extra kilos to be, feel, and look leaner… the fact that watt/kg improves is just a marginal side effect :laughing: :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

1 Like

I strongly suggest to work with a sport nutritionist for couple months. By cutting calories, you may loose wiehgt but it may also effect your performance.

From my personal experience, I hired a sport nutritionist for 3 months while I was preparing myself for Stelvio. At that time I was 93 kg and my FTP was around 260.

At the end of third month, I lost 5 kg and FTP went up to 310 while eating tons of food (6 times a day). I still continue the same philosophy which works perfect.

Good luck