Prioritizing Weight loss this Winter. (Traditional Base over SS plans)

I have decided that unlike last winter, this time around, I am going to prioritize weight loss over developing fitness.

A month ago, I completed SSB Mid Vol1. The last 30 days, I have been off the bike due to medical issues and holidays. So, I am pretty de-trained. I was going to re-start SSB Mid Vol1 as recommended by a knowledgeable guy here named @julianoliver.

However, as mentioned earlier, My new goal is to drop lard. I am currently at 182 at 5-8. Looking to get down to undr 155 in 3-4 months.
I did not lose any weight last winter while doing the SS plans. As a matter of fact, I gained weight last winter.

So this time around, I am thinking about doing the Traditional Base plans which are primarily at Zone 2 and from what I understand, the ideal zone for fat oxidation.

Alternatively, I can do the SS LV + 2-3 Z2 workouts.

Looking for your feedback ideally backed by science.

Thanks in Advance.

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Generally speaking if you want to drop pounds the most efficient method will be sweet spot workouts.

These include both a high relative calorie expenditure per hour but also allow you to recover quick enough that you should be able to do them over and over again.

If you are at all time limited I would suggested you build your own version of Sweet Spot Base High Volume - this plan removes the high intensity work that Mid and Low volume have and will focus you entirely on sweet spot work. Pick shorter versions of the workouts from this plan that keep the TSS and time commitment manageable for your training background and personal life schedule.

If you have no time limitations then traditional base might be better for you but will be less time efficient overall


You’ll never out ride a poor diet. Pounds are lost in the kitchen and at the dinner table. If you’re doing mid volume anything you’re getting plenty of calories burned. You’re diet is holding you back not some special plan that is going to quickly drop pounds.

I’d look into fasted rides/workouts, your on the bike nutrition and your overall eating habits. Those could be some easy gets.


Really nothing more needs to be added except that a little repetition may help you.
Focus on a clean diet. Real whole foods, tons of fruits and vegetables.
A food journal is also helpful;
what food works and what doesn’t.
Does it digest easily?
Do I feel light and ready to train?

I lost weight by cutting back on how much I really thought I needed to eat on my training rides.
if you think that you still want on the bike fuel, keep a juicy piece of fruit close by.
completely cut out any packaged fuel including packaged recovery.

Think about your entire diet being all about simply fueling your training and maintaining a healthy gut.
Rest days equal low calorie, nurture the gut days.
Thanks for posting, sometimes when I engage in a conversation it is a good reminder for me as well.



Thank you @trpnhntr @MI-XC and @onespeeddrew for your responses. You are probably right. I need to probably not eat the processed Vegan food that I inhale and the excessive gels I take. I will replace them with Fruits (bananas and oranges) instead. Also, I was taking too much in when doing the weekend workouts.

I think I can go without fuel as long as the workout is under 90 minutes as I should have plenty of glycogen storage from my overnight eating as @julianoliver said in a post I read last night.

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I’ve found Matt Fitzgerald’s Diet Quality Score approach helpful, along with good old fashioned MyFitnessPal.


Train consistently, don’t think you can eat the contents of the fridge after a 1 hour ride and look to cut out something from your regular eating. You will certainly lose weight.

I’m 5”11 and weighed 160lb on Boxing Day 2017, I rode consistency through Jan to April and dropped a few pounds. From 1st May I stopped eating chocolate and treats AT WORK, come Hill climb season I was solidly at 147lb and got down to 145lb on 28th October 2018 (my number 1 goal race, National Hill Climb). I’m now back to 150lb over Christmas, that’ll go back to 148lb in January once the chocolates have gone! :grinning:.

My point is, ensure you fuel your workouts correctly, eat a solid meal after your workouts but make a conscious effort to cut or limit something in between. I’m sure you’ll be pleased with the outcome.


@Supermurph19 Wow. This is really inspiring. I will make make 145ish as my stretch goal as I am much shorter thn you are. First goal is under 70kg (154lbs). :slight_smile:

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Well, I’m flattered, thank-you.

As others have suggested, you lose pounds in the kitchen, not on your bike. Just to highlight this point, a typical 1 hour sweet spot workout when you have an FTP around 250 will be about 600 calories burned, while a banana has around 120 calories in it. So, cutting back on what you eat could easily remove thousands of calories from your regular diet, which would be unsustainable to achieve through exercise. Until you can figure out why you’re gaining weight when you don’t want to be, it won’t matter which plan you choose.

So, I’d devote time now to reflection on your habits, routines and triggers. This forum is also full of people that have figured out how to make it work for them, if you haven’t done so take a look at the thread on weight loss. It’s almost 200 posts on people sharing their experiences in trying to balance training and body composition. I think you can get a good head-start on principles that work for people just like you.

I’d start by taking an inventory of what you do now. I know it’s painful, but for a week write down everything you eat and drink. Everything. “An apple” also doesn’t cut it, weigh your food. It should look like this:

  • Pre-workout
    • Espresso
    • Milk 20 mls
    • 2 slices - Dave’s Killer Bread Thin Slice
    • Honey 1 tbsp
  • Workout
    • 1 GU Gel
    • 1 Banana 128 grams
  • Post workout
    • 1 scoop protein powder
    • Milk 250 mls
    • 1 Banana 153 grams
  • Breakfast

You get the idea. Then you take your weekly food diary and put it all into a MyFitnessPal account and you’ll see your daily calorie totals and macronutrient splits. Just average everything for the week to give you an average daily score. Then figure out what you need to consume daily (your BMR and TDEE), there’s a ton of calculators out there but this is the one I use. It’ll likely tell you that you’re currently burning around 1,800 calories per day just by waking up (your BMR) and that you need around 2,400 calories per day to sustain your current weight based on your current activity level (TDEE). Now is a good time to adjust the activity level drop list and see how little a difference it makes to increase your activity level. So, now compare your food diary averages to the TDEE estimate. Dollars to donuts you’re consuming more than 2,400 calories per day.

The next step is to make a plan you think you can stick to over the long term. A pound of fat is 3,500 calories, so if you reduce your average daily calorie intake to 300-400 calories below your TDEE it will take you 10 days to chew through a pound of fat. You want to lose 27 pounds of fat, so assuming you can be perfectly strict with your diet, that’ll take 270 days to reach your goal. You won’t be perfect though and you will go through fat loss plateaus along the way, so we need to come up with a plan that you can keep to for a year. A year is a long time to be eating foods you don’t like.

The interesting thing about your body is that it doesn’t discriminate very much about what a calorie is made up of. A calorie of lettuce is the same to your body as a calorie of chocolate. However, if you’re going to be in a calorie deficit for 12 months, you want to shoot for foods that offer good volume and satiety. Vegetables have really low calorie density so you can eat a ton of them without blowing your calorie budget and proteins make you feel full for longer. Fats are really important for your body to function, but are more than twice as calorie dense as carbohydrates and proteins (1 gram of carb and protein is 4 calories, 1 gram of fat is 9). So, you want to have a blueprint for your macronutrient splits. Something like 50% carbohydrate, 30% protein and 20% fat is a pretty good starting point. How does this compare to your food diary week? Look at where you might need to shift things, commonly less fat and more of both carbs and proteins. Now compile a list of the food and meals that you really like that you think you can’t live without. I’m not talking cheat meals here like Doritos, a diet built on a foundation of burgers is going to be tough. Maybe you really like pasta, or bagels for breakfast or lattes are important to you. Lock in the things you want to be eating daily/weekly and build your diet around those.

Time to sketch out a plan to adjust your nutrition plan. Think of it like a pyramid. The foundation to it all is total calories. Take your TDEE estimate and remove 300-400 calories. Likely this will give you a number around 2,000 calories per day. First rule is to not go over that. If, on average, you can’t meaningfully stay under your TDEE over the long term you will not lose weight, no matter how many vegetables you’re eating or when you’re eating them. The next layer of the pyramid is macro-nutrient split, the 50/30/20 we mapped out earlier. This will help you direct your calorie intake to nutritious foods that keep you feeling full. Then the top layer is marginal gains from nutrient timing, micro-nutrients, etc.

Ok, so take one of your average days from your food diary and lay it out. Doing this in excel can help as you tweak things. What you want to do is keep as much of your current diet that you like while hitting your planned numbers. Start to substitute and/or reduce things in the diet to get it to where it needs to be. Maybe you don’t need the pre-workout meal every day, maybe your 2 eggs and bacon for breakfast can be 1/2 cup of oatmeal, maybe your latte with milk can be an Americano, maybe your 4 oz of chicken breast becomes 2 oz and your rice is substituted for cauliflower rice. Make changes until you hit your calorie number of 2,000 for the day and the macro-nutrient split is roughly in line with your goal numbers. Next, look at your other regular meals and see how they fit against the corresponding meal. For example perhaps you have 1/2 cup oatmeal for breakfast some days, but on others you like 2 slices of toast with some eggs. If your “perfect day” includes the 1/2 cup oatmeal, how can you make your toast and eggs be roughly equivalent. Maybe it’s 1 slice of toast and 2 eggs to be equivalent in calories, carbs, proteins and fats. List out regular meals and their alternates so that you can mix-and-match a meal plan for the week and still hit your goals.

Now put your plan into action for a few weeks. Is weight coming off? No? Then reduce by another 100 calories and see again in another couple of weeks. Keep checking and adapting as you go and you’ll quickly get a good sense for the rough calories that make up a meal. Within a few weeks you can look at a plate and know what 300/500/1,000 calories instinctively looks like. Pre-workout food is fine, on the bike food is fine and snacks are fine as long as you can fit them in your food budget. This is a very scientific and controlled approach, but it will work. A calorie deficit for a year requires motivation and discipline. It will have an impact on the people around you who in most cases will not actually be that supportive. It’s an odd thing in our society that if you’re visually overweight, people will be supportive if you say you’re “on a diet and can’t eat cake”. But if you already look lean but you want to lose 27 lbs, they scratch their head. When you say you don’t want a burger, fries and a beer (1,200 calories) and would rather have salad and water, they’ll tell you that you already look great and “have nothing to worry about”. It takes mental toughness to get to the level of body fat that you are aspiring to. It’s achievable and I think worthwhile, but you need to figure out the sustainable system that works for you. The approach above is what I have used with success, but may not work as well for you. Make a plan, try it out, measure the results and adapt things as needed.


Whoa! @julianoliver. Thank you so much for going above and beyond your call of duty. You are the best! :slight_smile:
I am going to put this into action starting tomorrow and start tracking every morsel of food I consume on MFP. I recently bought a little food scale to do this but have been putting it off. Plan of attack starts tomorrow, Jan 1st.

Thank you for the TDEE calculator as well. 2 months ago, I went to the Ohio State university lab to have my BMR measured which came out to be about 1775. That plus my activities puts me around 2500 which is pretty close to this TDEE calculator. I will stay under 2000 the next 4 months and see what happens.

Also, I am a vegan but eat a lot of junk food. If I stick to Vegan Whole foods, I figure, I will lose weight faster.

I will also walk at least an hour while listening to podcasts. That plus eating veggies first, then starches, should get me there.

I am pumped. Thank you so much, bro! :slight_smile:

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I love the enthusiasm you have. Just remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Take it slowly in the beginning and make adjustments as you go. If you do your food diary and discover that you’re consuming somewhere around 3,000 calories on average, dropping to 2,000 will be challenging and take a lot of mental strength to get through once the novelty is over. Likely just dropping your junk food straight away you won’t even notice much and you might get down to around TDEE. That’s a great place to start and I’d recommend doing that for a couple of weeks just to adjust to lower calorie intake and give you the time to measure your current consumption and develop your plan. Then you can take the next step and go into deficit, if TDEE is 2,500, something like 2,200 would be a good place to land. Slow and steady is the way to win this game. If you go into too much of a calorie deficit you’ll likely find your workouts much harder to complete and probably find the hunger too much to bear and binge on food as a response.

I really believe that weight loss is as much about mental fortitude than anything else. By definition being in a calorie deficit will make you feel hungry. Your body won’t like this feeling and you’ll have to be strong to put off the urge to eat. “A little snack won’t hurt much, I’ve been good so far today” creeps into your head. These are the moments to register when they happen and develop a plan. I’ll feel hungry in between meals and find myself wafting into the kitchen almost involuntarily. I first try to tell myself that it’s not meal time, that I should wait until lunch in 90 mins or whenever it is. If I’m still hungry before meal time, I’ll drink a glass of water. If I still can’t hold back, I’ll bring my lunch forward rather than introduce an extra meal (the snack). This is common for me as I workout in the morning before breakfast fasted, so even after breakfast I can feel hungry. Another time is after dinner, I have a sweet tooth and like to have something. But I’ve found that 1 small thing can lead to 3 or 4 other things and before I know it I’ve consumed hundreds of calories that I didn’t intend. I’ve found that if I go and brush my teeth straight after dinner, I don’t have the sweet craving anymore. These are my tricks, but the important thing is to try and register in the moment and not just blindly eat something I don’t really want or need.

Here are a few books that I’ve read that helped me develop my own system and change my perspective on food. For example, I have realized that through my upbringing I think food should not be wasted. This lead me to a habit of always finishing what was on my plate so as not to waste any. Or finishing off the remains of what my children couldn’t eat. This lead me frequently to eat way past satisfaction and into feeling kinda sick. Georgies book taught me that all I’m doing is transferring the “waste” from my trash can into my body. That was such an important lesson to learn and changed how I saw leftover food. Now I’ll (more) happily discard what I don’t need or wrap it up and have it for another meal. What this also requires is an awareness of fullness. Are you really hungry, or is your body just giving you a signal that it normally eats a giant plate of food around this time? Loads more helpful insights in the books below.


Just wanted to chime in and reiterate @julianoliver

A few years ago I went from 102.2Kg to 87.7 in 3 months, just by sticking to a calorie budget and logging everything in MyFitnessPal.

I subsequently got to about 83ish by following the same routine.

The thing that really focuses the mind with me is a goal. When I dropped the 14+ Kg I was one of 12 men in a fat loss group at my local gym. As a competitive individual it was pretty easy to stay motivated week to week to make sure I lost the most fat.

But when I don’t have a goal, bad habits tend to creep in. The odd bar of chocolate, or a bit more dessert. Maybe a bag of skittles. It’s only 222 calories and I burn that on my commute…

Over time these little things add up in the same way that small adjustments help on the way down. I was a bit shocked to see I was over 98Kg this summer (I blame England’s unexpected longevity in the World Cup…) but I have got a place on L’Etape du Tour 2019 and 4200m of climbing is one hell of a motivator. Currently at about 90Kg and aiming to be below 84 by the event, if not lower.

For reference I am 1.85m tall and have an estimated fat-free mass of about 74Kg.

Good luck!


Got it. Some great tips there. Thank you @julianoliver. I got the Kindle version of the two books.

@neil I got your point, Thanks, :slight_smile: