Should I worry about body weight if starting strength training and FTP is going up?

Let’s just say I have a decent amount of weight to lose…I’m 6’5" and wear XXL in cycling clothing. I’m otherwise healthy through.

I’ve been trying to eat better, and that has helped me get my FTP from a low around 200W over the winter to 266W as of this last weekend. I recently started weight training/mobility work with a good friend who’s well versed in those areas. I don’t race, but do have some big gran fondos and gravel rides that I’d like to do this year.

In the back of my mind, I keep thinking I should be counting calories and focus on losing weight but I expect too much of a deficit would be counterproductive to the gains I’m working on this summer. This is alot to juggle for me so I’d love some advice.

Is it worth counting calories? I’ve tried that a bit and I’m always hungry especially when my cycling volume goes up. Should I just stick to healthy food and eat to hunger, maybe work on the weight over the winter? Any other thoughts?

Thank you!

I don’t have an answer here, but wanted to show support from a person in a similar boat. I am quite a bit smaller than you but have adipose tissue to spare. :grinning: . Similarly, since the gym has opened up, I have put quite a bit on my deadlift and squat and have solidified my FTP at 215 ish.

My personal rationales for not focusing on losing weight: I ride for fun, so the extra weight does not prevent me from achieving any racing goals. I don’t mind the aesthetics of my fat. I don’t have a system of assessing body composition; I have definitely put on muscle, but cannot measure how much. Finally, to me, counting calories seems like a losing game relative to creating healthy food options; if I am going to spend a bunch of mental energy, it might as well be on planning decent, tasty food to support my various exertions.

Thanks for writing, I am curious what others may think.

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Not the best person for healthy weight loss, there’s a thread about eating issues which is worth a read.

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@firemunki I’ll check it out. I’m not so much worried about how to lose weight, but rather if that should be a concern when trying to get gains elsewhere.

@dfcar I like your outlook!! I primarily ride for fun, but also to keep improving over my own past performances. I’ll never be the fastest guy in the group ride, but I dont want to be the last one up the climb!

Thanks! It’s an interesting conversation with ourselves when defining success… while I am good with being heavier now, i also haven’t had a chance to go out on our local medium paced group ride. Not being dropped from that was my fitness benchmark pre pandemic. We’ll see what happens!

Inevitably, if you are a big guy and success is climbing with a group ride, the common prescription is going to be losing weight. Perhaps other big guys on the forum have defined success on climbs in a different manner than lbs. Perhaps recovering from climbing efforts, that sort of thing?

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This is something I’ve thought about a fair bit recently. I’m also sitting in the tall and heavy category, and figured that my weight didn’t matter much since even if I lost weight there would always still be someone faster than me. I like my weight training so my thinking was that I may as well be healthy and strong.

My perspective has changed a little recently since I got back into racing. It was all fine until I started getting close to moving up a grade, and having tested the waters in the higher grade I know that my weight will be a big disadvantage. So since moving up seems like an inevitability I’ve started to focus on weight loss. More power will only get me so far unfortunately.

So my suggestion would be to stay healthy and only worry about your weight once it becomes a limiter to want you want to achieve.

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First post after being a lurker for a few years!

My observations after talking with fellow riders of all shapes and sizes is that our weight and response to food intake is very unique to the individual.

I can drop weight so easily with my regular riding but some mates need to ride 400km + every week to see their weight drop.

If I was in your shoes, I would rather focus on reducing body fat and increasing power. Satiate your appetite with healthy food, lots of vegetables, fruit and meat (assuming you’re not vegan).

My n=1 is that regular heavy lifting seems to make me eat a lot more food though, so finding a balance there is key, starting with your target races/riding: if mountains, probably lift less and spend more time climbing as your core training.

Some of my cycling mates doing a lot of heavy lifting are strong on the shorter flat rides incl crits, but die on 100km + fondo rides with all the climbing.

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You could use a calorie tracking app and set it to maintain. At least that will keep you honest and not wildly going over your daily budget. Tracking for even a week or two or a month is really good knowledge. You learn things like “damn, I just ate 500 calories of cashews in a few minutes”. Or, the latest for me was that one tiny brownie is 120 calories. I mean, it’s really tiny. I don’t see how they get 120 calories inside it. :slight_smile:

Otherwise, I’m in a similar boat. I’m 6 ft, 207 pounds. I worked really hard in 2018 and 2019 and got down to 195 but then covid hit and I gained 10 pounds. I’ve been calorie counting lately and not really losing. At 55 years old, that last 20-25 pounds just seems impossible to lose. I eat under my calorie allotment, I eat pretty healthy, and I train 7-9 hours per week and still don’t lose weight. Or, I lose weight really slowly but gain it really quickly. I was down to 204. We had to go out of town. We ate road food , hotel, and restaurant food. I seemed to gain 5 pounds after 3 days of that.

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@Shockwave I think this is great advice! Best of luck on your racing!! My weight isn’t preventing me from doing the rides I want, and I think more power will help offset that a bit too.

@Allrounder Good tips!! I noticed my appetite goes through the roof with lifting, so I think I’ll focus on lower weights and form for now to hopefully help offset that a bit. Maybe I can step it up a bit this fall/winter.

@AJS914 I’m in a similar position!! It’s such an effort to drop some weight, and then it comes back so easily. It’s frustrating but at least in my case, I’m probably paying the price of not being as active over the last decade or so. I’ve been riding for 3 years and it’s done wonders for my health and mental well being, but the weight is still here 🤷

I’m reminded of my sister who just hit menopause. She went to a hormone doc and got a little testosterone cream and boom, now she has all sorts of energy and has lost 10 pounds.