Weight gain with structured training/trainer road?

So I’m on week 6 now of Trainer Road low volume (3 days a week, 2 on weeks with races) with ~2 extra rides thrown in per week on the mtb or a group road ride (so overshooting my TSS) as well as 1-2 gym days per week.

With my Ramp test at the start of this week I had a 10% increase in FTP, bringing my W/Kg up by 0.26. However, I also put on 1.2kg and am now looking like I am going to be up to 2kg heavier (weight varies day to day and by time of day). On the scale though now I am seeing weights that are ~2.5kgs heavier than when I started the program 6 weeks ago. Have others seen similar weight gain? I eat pretty clean, my BMI is now ~22.3 up from 21.3, comparing to photos I would estimate ~15% body fat (visible abs).
Just concerned about the steady increase in body weight that has previously been pretty stable for the past 2 years or so. I am probably taking in more carbs as I’ve been riding more. Listening to some of the TR podcasts I am making an effort to reduce fat intake. But wondering if I should start actually counting calories and really dealing in my macros or if this is an expected weight gain and my weight will soon level out, allowing my FTP increases to have a more meaningful impact on my W/Kg.
In terms of on the bike efforts, on the mtb I am generally leading a beginner group or just working on skills rather than hard efforts but on group rides on the road I have been achieving some PRs compared to last summer/fall, which moderates my concerns somewhat.
If my weight would have remained unchanged and I increased my power in the same way that would have meant an extra .17 W/Kg ( or 3.47 W/kg very close to my goal of 3.5 W/kg, I wanted to hit this race season).

I’m pretty similar to you in power, bodyfat, watt/kg etc. I’ve been doing trainerroad for about 5 years now. I’m doing some strength training (2x per week 30min w/ kettlebells) for the first time this year. This year Ive also significantly increased my protein (~150g per day). I usually do 4 to 5 months solid TR in the spring and then just go outside and get slower for the rest of the year.

Anyway, every spring I gain about 5 lbs and Im ok with that. The pants don’t get tighter in the waiste but I have “muscled up.” I think it’s because of a couple of factors. I’m fueling better every year. Fuel better, recover better.

I think there have been too many times where I under fueled. I recovered… eventually. Many times after digging a big hole with little adaptations from it. One year I got the hot idea to do the carb thing to match the power meter. around workouts and then “eat like a regular person” at other meals. I lost 2 pounds in the first 2 weeks. GREAT! Week 3, got in a big recovery hole. Not worth it.

I’d start with cleaning up the food rather than counting calories. I do know that training really ramps up my appetite, especially VO2 or HIIT style intervals. Long endurance intervals blunt appetite.

YMMV. N=1.

If you keep seeing your weight go up I would suggest you do. Just to get an idea to how much you really eat. I think it’s unlikely that 2.5kgs is pure muscle (in just 6 weeks) so my guess is you’re just eating to much.


Increased glycogen storage and associated water - if you’ve just started training, then this could be a significant contributing factor (I wouldn’t start reducing calories just yet).


Nice job on the FTP gain!
The weight gain could be due to a lot of different things, or any combination thereof- i personally find I retain a ton of water during heavier training blocks especially if I’m not careful with hydration and electrolytes, but it’s also pretty easy/common to overcompensate with food if you’ve increased your activity levels. With that in mind, i think it can be useful to track calories or keep a food log for a week or so, without making any changes to your current diet- that way you know what you’re working with, and can either rule that out or make changes where appropriate. Good !uck! :slight_smile:

In my experience this is an important point. If you were already training a lot prior to this 6 week period then perhaps you’re muscles had already grown (maybe true given your low body fat percentage). If this is a bigger block of training, though, it’s possible that it’s muscle glycogen storage. It’s almost impossible for it to be all or solely muscle gain.

One thought is that you may not need to count calories indefinitely (in fact most don’t) but maybe give it a shot for 1-2 days to see what you learn. Basically you can shrink the size of this change to build awareness


I thought alot about this thread after I posted yesterday. There are too many unknowns and assumptions here. Someone else mentioned that 5 lbs in 6 weeks may be worth checking out. I gained 5 lbs in 5 months.

I should also mention that some people do see training as a green light to eat WHATEVER and thats something where you are going to have to do your own digging. I spent a few years in the bodybuilding world and put on and took off 40lbs in the same year, so Im pretty aware of portion sizes, marcos, etc. Ive weighed food and counted calories. You may not be as experienced there.

Anecdotally, year ago my spouse “trained” for a half marathon and put on 15 lbs over a few months because they were running and “earning” their calories. Not a healthy attitude or food relationship. Also, the newfound activity really ramped up their appetite and they were just “listening to their body.”

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You might consider switching to using your waist measurement and not the scale. When you’re lean it’s easy to pull a consistent waist measurement.

If you’re waist is staying the same and the scale is going up it’s likely extra glycogen from training or maybe muscle gain.

If your waist is steadily going up then dial back your calories by about 5% until it returns to pre-gain measurement.


Thanks for the feedback everyone, another thing I was thinking that may be a factor is that since I’ve started trainer road I’ve been doing less long rides like 2-3 hours in exchange for the shorter but higher intensity trainer road workouts.
Since I already eat pretty clean I don’t have any easy gets for cleaning up my diet like eliminating pop, alcohol or junk food as I don’t eat any now.
Going to reduce my fat intake slightly by cutting out nut butters and nuts (generally will have almond butter on a rice cake on occasion and nuts mixed with cottage cheese, greek yogurt and cinnamon as a casein protein source before bed). Will start measuring my abdomen more often to keep an eye on that, don’t want to start having a gut in my skin suit lol or not be able to fit into all my XS lycra anymore lol.
In terms of weight and not body composition, I think if I stopped using creatine it would probably reduce my weight some as well, I know the research is mixed for its benefits in endurance sports but if it helps with overall strength and in the gym I think its worth a few pounds of water retention.
May try to get a couple days of weighing my food on a recovery day and a training day to get an idea of where I am at macro and calorie wise. I feel like I have been increasing my carb intake lately (attempting to fuel the work) so maybe I am pushing the overall calories a bit high with the increased carbs.

Wait, did you start using this the same time you started TR, if so, I think we have you awnser.

Is creatine that useful for cycling - I thought it was more for short burst power with weight lifting? I’d be tempted to cut that out to be honest unless weight lifting is more important than cycling to you.

Even if you have a clean diet you might be eating bigger portions. I found using the ‘lose it’ app as a way to record all your calories along with weighing food is an eye opener. Stuff like pasta / rice / cheese adds up very quickly.

Creatine is helpful for sprint power efforts on the bike. But, it will make you gain some water weight which hurts on longer climbs.

According to the below article it’s good for one off / single sprint efforts - and not ones at the end of an endurance ride. So thinking track cyclists mostly.

According to this article creatine supplementation may explain about 2 pounds of increased body weight but it’s not all bad.

Personally I have used creatine for about a year now as a way to overcome overtraining. Theory is that it could possibly improve ATP production. I have no idea if it actually made any difference but during the last 6 months I have made great progress. N=1…

No have been using it for a while, maybe I will try cycling off it for a few weeks and see how my weight is effected. The trainer road article seems to conclude that its unclear in if there is any benefits for cycling so the negatives (which appear only to be some extra weight) largely outweigh any potential benefit.
My thought is that weight training, with heavy weights, explosive movements is emphasized strongly by trainer road and otherwise… This is where creatine does help so my logic is that creatine is perhaps amplifying my gains/“fuelling the work” in the gym.