Matt Fitzgerald’s “The Endurance Diet” - Weight Loss Focus Phase - Guidance

Hi, I’m currently re-reading Matt Fitzgerald’s “The Endurance Diet” in particular the section in Chapter 9 on “The weight-loss focus phase” and am looking for some advice.

I’ve got a road event (not a race) planned for end March 19 and am targeting a “gold-medal” time. (circa 4.5 hours). The ride is quite hilly and I would like to get my weight down by 8-10kg in time for the event, to give me the best chance of achieving my goal.

I’m comfortable with running a small calorie deficit over the period whilst maintaining my training, but wanted clarification on the following point.

Matt writes…

“You should also train differently during a weight-loss focus phase. Although a high-volume, mostly low intensity training program and a minimalist approach to strength training work best for building endurance fitness, temporarily increasing the intensity of your cardio training and at the same time increasing the amount of strength training you do will help you shed more body fat when that’s your main goal”

I’m currently in week 2 of SSB Mid Vol 1 and want to know whether this level of intensity is appropriate. His reference to high volume low intensity, I assume, refers to traditional base training, whereas Sweet Spot is obviously more intense. Just wanted to see what others opinions are?

For context I’m an overweight enthusiast (non-competitive) who had some significant success through TrainerRoad in shedding weight from Jan-Apr 2018 on SSB Mid Vol 1&2 - Down from 103.6kg (228lb) to 83.0kg (182lb) whilst growing my FTP/kg from an untrained 1.7W/kg to a peak in the summer of 3.0W/kg. During the late summer I’ve put some weight back on to 86.0kg (189kb) and have a target of 78.0kg (172lb) by end March 2019 with a stretch target of 75.0kg (165lb) if possible.

When training in early 2018 I found the first 30lb fell off easily but struggled to balance weight loss with FTP improvements thereafter.

I understand that any FTP gains will be impacted, but wanted to know if Sweet Spot will still provide the best returns or whether something more intensive will help with weight loss goal.

Current FTP is 230W (2.67W/kg) and I’m shooting for 280W by event date. (3.58W/kg)

Sorry if this topic has been covered elsewhere.



Fitzgerald goes into a bit more detail in a prior book, Racing Weight, particularly the “Quick Start Guide” that’s all about a weight-reduction phase. It’s worth emphasizing, though, that his approach is design around putting weight-loss goals ahead of performance improvements. If that’s where your priorities lay, then what Fitzgerald seems to prescribe is shorter, higher-intensity workouts with 1-2 weekly fasted longer low-intensity workouts. Again, the Quick Start Guide has some specific guidance.

But where it sounds like you have a target event in mind already, with some specific performance requirements, then perhaps weight loss is not the singular goal to be pursued. An alternative approach would be to follow a training plan specific to your performance goals, do your best to improve your nutrition, and let the weight land where it lands. Under that approach, SSB would be exactly where you want to be, I think.

Good luck,


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How tall are you?

Congrats on the gains (and losses).
Good luck on the ride.

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Thanks @pkwell

I’ll get myself a copy of Racing Weight and have a read.



@stevemz - too short for my weight :joy::joy::joy: I’m 5’8” or 1.73.

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Having gone through something similar in the last eight month’s or so - weight loss since February currently 15kg - IMHO the training plan is only one part of the journey, I changed the way I eat. I was doing unstructured training with hard outdoor sides, between 1 to 3 hrs a couple of times a week. As Matt often advises in his book’s, I improved the quality of my diet. Mostly stopped drinking alcohol and reduced treat foods (covered in the Endurance Diet). For me, it is more a way of life regarding the eating. I have recently started structured training, completed SSB1 initially started with low volume switched to mid volume as I found I could handle the extra workouts, I did see an increase in appetite so stalled on any further weight loss for the time being.

Not sure if any of this is helpful, but good luck.


I am 173 as you, and went from 93-ish down to 68, and now target 65 as “racing weight”. TR has been the key to success since late 2014. My biggest weight loss progress happened when my cycling performance was the worst. So I guess, one cannot have it both ways.

Good luck though. You should know that your goal is totally attainable.

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This makes sense - I’ve lost some weight and put some back on.
A Keto style diet didn’t work for me - I do treat myself but learning how much carbs are needed fuel and how much is just because it comes in the form of a roast potato is the difficult thing.

Great work with the weight loss and performance gains thus far. It sounds like you are after your race weight, not general weight loss. If you are on iPhone give the DQS mobile app a shot - not sure about android options. It is a very easy/accountable method of tracking your diet quality score as defined by Fitzgerald. I have found that a high diet quality score paired with TR structure will eventually lead to race weight and race fitness AND a healthy body.