Obesity - Weight Loss and Training Plan Confusion

Hello,

I am an ex elite category triathlete. Unfortunately I had a long break in sports and it did take more than 8 years to return to the sport. I am not a muscular type of athlete, I was 63-65 kgs when I am racing in 2015 and currently I am around 110 kgs and this is after 10 kgs loss in the last 2 months. Currently I am training 5 days/week. Since I am on heavy side I prefer indoor cycling instead of running but my typical week is like below.

  • 2-3 session 10-15 km run (higher end of zone 2)
  • 3-4 session indoor cycling
    –1 to 2 ~1 hour really hard interval or tempo sessions.
    –2 to 3 40-50 kms easy sessions zone 2 or zone 3

I am little bit confused about my training. I really want to lose fat asap and go down around 75 kgs. I realized that it is hard to lose weight when you also do high intensity training to increase your performance at the same time. Hard sessions makes me exhausted and decreases my overall exercise time in a week. But I am not sure if this is true.

So I started to think about skipping the performance focused training until I reach my weight target and doing only easy runs and long easy zone 2 indoor sessions without overloading my body to lose weight faster.

I am thinking keeping running part same and replacing cycling sessions with only 5 day x 2 hours zone 2 rides. What do you think about this change?

I don’t have much experience about weight loss. Thanks for help.

I once famously had trouble making a 120 kilo weight limit…but have been walking around at 185lbs for many years now.

My approach flew in the face of conventional guidance. Every morning I would ride at least 90 minutes at comfortably below my first ventilatory threshold…fasted…that would suppress my appetite until early afternoon. Then I would have a normal meal and in a couple hours do another 90 minutes at the same intensity.

I never went too hard because in a calorie deficit it would take forever to recover.

Over the course of several months I was able to drop ~100lbs in this fashion. Not a recommendation. Just what I did.

Why aren’t you swimming? That would be a great low impact way to burn some calories.

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Eat lean and clean fiirst. Build strength via plyometrics or weights. Ride or run a little each week for fun. Just keep moving/try to avoid being too sedentary.

Main point I feel weight loss people get the equation backwards. Focus on eating well first (lean, portion size, clean)…cardio second. Make cardio enjoyable and not a chore. Ditch the numbers and plans unless that is fun for you.

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Your approach is similar to what I am thinking. I am sure I can’t do 180 minutes like you but 120 minutes in a single session is possible for me. By the way the amount that you loss in such short period is a real success. Thanks for sharing your experience. Actually swimming is a good option as you said but I always found swimming kind of boring and avoid when it is possible :smiley: Also doing indoor rides before starting to work is much more easier.

Wow, just wow, Brennus. I hadn’t ever seen you post that in the past. Amazing story!


OP, I’ve had this same struggle - I find it really hard to train 5-6 days per week and diet (be hungry) at the same time.

35kg in a short amount of time is a tough ask. I can’t imagine that one would just lose fat with that level of weight loss. It’s going to be a long stretch in a significant calorie deficit.

You didn’t put on 45kg of fat in months, don’t try and lose it in those timescales. Consider a more sustainable weight loss target. To misquote, Rome wasn’t rebuilt in a day.

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This is similar to how I lost just the last few pounds after pregnancy. I just did my rides fasted in the morning and didn’t eat until I felt the grumble in my stomach. You have to let yourself get hungry. I didn’t push off eating as much as you did because I only had 10 or so pounds to lose but always made sure I was hungry BEFORE I ate, not “fueling for performance” bs.

OP, I would focus less on the performance improvements and more on consistency in training, consistency in clean eating, and not eating until you’re hungry. I would prioritize healthy, lowish calorie eating over training. And I would also prioritize sleep over training. So if you have a choice between doing a ride while exhausted vs sleeping in and then having the mental capacity to keep your calorie intake reasonable, I would do the second. I would also prioritize walking as much as possible. I have always found I lose more weight while getting proper sleep and walking a lot vs waking up early and crabby to train. I end up eating more calories later because I am mentally and physically drained.

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Actually I am in no rush but as I said I want to lose all as soon as possible. I really gained that weight in a short time like in 7-8 months after I quit training completely and unfortunately carrying them for years mainly because didn’t try to lose weight. I don’t believe losing 35 kg is not an unmanagable target, I already lost 10 and I am ready to pay what it takes to lose more :slight_smile: . I am only looking for some better ways of training to lose it faster. Thanks for advice. :slightly_smiling_face:

I went the Brennus route . Went from 230lbs down to 165lbs. Actually went down to 150lbs but gained back muscle when I was able to eat again. Fruit, raw nuts veggies and berries. Only fluid until dinner. This “fasting” aka starving is not recommended. Rode mostly zone 2 stuff. Short 1 hour rides 7 days a week. Feels good when you drop lbs every other day. The object was to lose all the fat I had built up over the years of dealing with back issues. During the 8 months it took to do this I never felt strong. Just worn out. This was expected. I knew once I was able to start taking in regular meals I would get stronger. Climbing hills was no longer that difficult. While this worked for me it is not what 99% of the experts would say is the right way to do this.
Good luck with what ever way you choose.

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People won’t say it’s right but it works. And at least in the US they might not say it because of 1) issues with people especially women developing eating disorders and 2) the influence that the food and diet industries have. All major food producers (nestle, pepsi, etc) have strategies for marketing to the dieting crowd and part of it is marketing “low calorie” foods you can eat all day and “eat small meals frequently”. So they want you to think you have to eat more often. Perhaps you went a little extreme. But if you know anyone who has been on ozempic or mounjaro and losing weight - they’re eating very little, fairly infrequently and nothing special in particular. There’s no secret to it, no magic diet. Eat less food. Period. Easier said than done obviously.

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Everyone has a made a good suggestion IMO so far. As someone who’s gained and lost multiple times, I can give you my two cents.
If you can ride fasted in the mornings I’ve always found it helpful just in a “get the exericsie done” type of a way. That may or may not be an issue for you, but it’s always worked great for me.

In regards to intensity and how that affects hunger, I’ve always found that high intensity workouts generally spark my appetite. I’ve learned how extremely beneficial low intensity workouts are as they take time and can somewhat blunt appetite.

You haven’t mentioned your food intake and what your diet is like. I’ve become a believer and user of tracking my macronutrients aka - macros. When I take into account my body weight or for you in your case, your target body weight, plus your non-exercise activity level you can get withing a reasonable range of how much food you need to just maintain your current body weight sans exercise. From there you can set up a baseline and then start adding exercise to see if you start losing. If this is too overwhelming, then you can simply listen to you hunger cues and swap calorie dense foods for nutrient dense foods.

It’ll be easier to lose weight in the beginning which is a great motivator. Make sure you also take into account body changes in the mirror or how clothes fit. Sometimes the scale will stop moving, but the body will keep changing.

As mentioned, think long-term. I’ve found that gradual weightloss is the best weightloss as there’s less of a chance to rebound really hard which has happened to me when I went too extreme.

Make protein your friend. What has worked for me and what I’ve learned is that 1.0 gram per pound of body weight is good amount to aim for - for you this would be your goal weight, not your current weight. This should be split up pretty evenly throughout the day among your meals. The rest of your food can split up between healthy carbs and fats.

There are no bad foods - during my last weightloss stint I had my share of ice-cream and other fun foods.

Eventually, you’ll probably need to be comfortable a little hungry. If you have insatiable hunger then that’s your body telling you that you may need to take a break and feed it a little more. I’ve had that happen and in the past I would ignore it, and it never did me any favors. When I decided that I’d be better of with one or two bowls of cheerio’s with almond milk before bed than not being able to sleep I did so much better.

Good luck, take my advice with a grain of salt - if you want more specifics feel free to DM me.

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The best way will be the consistent way, least injury risk way.

No doubt you lost muscle in that period of inactivity, I’d look for a varied plan without really long sessions. That will fire all muscle fibre types back into action, and keep things interesting. A bit of strength work too.

But losing excess BF will be almost entirely in the diet. You don’t want to put your body into hunger in reaction to the training. If you get to the end of the workout, the day, the week and think you could have trained more, you probably got it right.

Don’t dismiss the power of regular patterns, good sleep and nutrition either.

Welcome back to triathlon :slight_smile: low or mid volume Olympic plan might work for you.

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Honestly, I think people make a mistake by trying to lose weight AND increase performance at the same time … or at least the mistake of prioritizing weight loss and performance equally.

Now, you can get faster while you lose weight… but in my experience in going from ~225lbs to ~165lbs after a similarly sedentary 8 years … if you prioritize performance equally (which I did for most of my weight loss journey) the weight loss happens much slower, although it still happens.

If you want to lose weight fast (in a healthy sense) 1) I like the fasted ride idea, I was commuting by bike for a while and the 45 minute morning commute is something I would always to do fasted and that really was a period of weight loss acceleration for me. I also commuted home, and the 2x rides per day also helped rev the metabolism, and 2) in simple terms, ride your bike every day. Or do something every day. To get faster you need to prioritize recovery, but that means you need to rest a lot. If you prioritize weight loss, don’t worry so much about recovery in the performance sense. I mean, don’t run yourself into the ground, but keep at it day-after-day-after-day.

My weight loss from 225 to 175 took about 3 years. 175 to 165 took about another year. But if I really wanted to do it faster, I could have. The cycling training just took it off naturally … but it was the ability to hang in in races, hit PRs, etc., etc., that really motivated me and kept me after it … that was just how my journey worked out.

I’m currently in a bit of a mini-weight loss phase I’m back up to 175lbs … at 6’ tall, I’m nothing near overweight anymore, but I’d like to adjust some body composition. As such, I’m currently not taking any scheduled rest days. I ride 5 days a week, I strength train 2 days a week, and on one of those strength days I also run 3miles / 5km. I take the dog for and hour long walk at least twice a week as well. When I’m feeling particularly burnt out (as I did on Friday) I take a day off. It works well with the base phase I’m in. I’ll be focusing on almost strictly performance again by the middle of February … so I want to get this cleaned up now.

Good luck to you. Be kind to yourself. Work hard. Do both in abundance🤘

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