Weight Loss and Nutrition with Successful Athlete Jesse Fortson – Ask a Cycling Coach 270

Special guest Jesse Fortson from The Successful Athletes Podcast joins Jonathan and Pete to delve into the science of his weight loss journey, how to find the right diet for you, nutrition tips to ensure you lose weight and get faster and more in Episode 270 of The Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast.

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Being a larger cyclist and more time to train with no crit racing in New England this year, I’ve found myself going from about 260lbs (118kg) down to about 235lbs (107kg) in the last 5-6 months. While being able to improve/maintain my FTP into the 300-club, I think its safe to say that I’m onto something and would definitely tie that back to the diet I’ve chosen over this time.

Question for Jesse is, when it comes to finding a way to evolve dieting/nutrition. When you’ve clearly found a diet that works for you from a weight loss standpoint, is it best to stick to it and continue to watch the weight drop off or will there be a time that the weight loss will plateau (or valley if its going downwards in this case) and find a new thing that thebody is not use to and continue tracking downwards to an end goal

5 Stars for the awesome podcast though 5 donuts sound really good right now thinking about it



Question for the team - I’ve spent lockdown increasing the amount I have trained and seen good increases, in order to make further gains will I need to keep the same level of training or as I go back to a lv plan will I still make progress?

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Awesome job on the weight loss! Yes, my diet is constantly evolving. When I had a lot of weight to lose, it was easier because the margin for error in calculating calories was fairly large. The closer you get to your goal weight, the smaller the target becomes. The body craves homeostasis, which is why plateaus happen…and they will happen. This is largely due to something called “body set weight”.

My suggestion is not to change anything drastically just because you go a week without losing. Give it a more time. If the plateau continues, you’re going to have to change something. Reducing calories is not as simple as it sounds because you can only reduce so much before if affects performance or worse, leptin levels (which is a key hormone in weight loss). You can increase the amount of calories you burn through training more or just moving around more (walking, standing, ect.). You can even try adding in some strength training to build more lean body mass which increase your overall BMR.


Is there a forum to discuss the inaccuracies expressed in this episode of the podcast?

This thread is for discussion of this episode, like we always do for each one.

Thought it was a really good podcast this week. Don’t agree with it all but if there was a consensus when it came to weight loss the diet industry wouldn’t be worth billions.

One of the things I found most true was the comments about social eating.

It’s one of the things I find the hardest. In jan 2015 I weighed 17st today in about 12, in that time I’ve fluctuated one way or the other by about 6lbs.

Since then I have knocked drinking on the head for the most part and my friends really accept that, they’ll ask if I want a beer and if I say no I’ve got training in the morning it’s not mentioned again but if I decline food there’s a lot more pressure to eat.

It’s especially noticeable at the minute with the eat out to help out. Everyone wants to go out for a meal and it’s incredibly difficult to be consistent.

I really appreciated the statement that the best calorie deficit is the minimum one that brings you to your goal weight at your goal time because that will allow you to have better performance during the time as well as be more successful because it’s easier to maintain a smaller deficit. That really rings true, but goes against my tendency to hit it with a hammer and get it over with.


Best comment on the podcast was that dieting is the worst. You have to change your lifestyle to succeed.
I’ve lost 77 pounds in a year and stopped smoking.
It’s all the little changes that made it to a succes. Things like :
-no more sugar in my coffee. Yes it tastes bad for the first weeks but when Ur used to it, it’s really nice. And boy does it taste bad when someone puts sugar in my coffee now… I drink about 6 cups of coffee a day. That’s 48 grams of sugar a day. 7 days a week. 52 weeks a year.
That’s 17472 grams of sugar a year. Almost 70.000 kcals with such a small change.
-walking during lunch time
I have a desk job and normally during the lunch I ate my lunch and read some online news or forums. I changed it to taking a 30minute walk every day(during working days) . That’s a 1000kcal a week by doing so little.

With those two little changes I’ve created a deficit of 122.000 kcals a year. Kinda crazy of you think about it.


Yeah, so true about social aspect of food
One thing that helps me a lot - during my testing “diet” (point wasn´t to loose weight, but to find what causes me gastric issues), I found out that I´m intolerant to wheat flour. Rye, buckwheat, spelt, corn… everything works fine for me, but as soon as I get wheat, my belly would feel like I ate grenades and they are about to explode… It just so happens, wheat is almost in every processed unhealthy sugary food, so I found that works really great - as soon as you refuse a cake because you just don´t want to be stuffed with sugary garbage, you are a weirdo and “common, one piece never killed nobody…”. But as soon as you say “Sorry, I have an allergy on wheat, this would make me actualy sick” - people immediately understand :slight_smile: works like magic…
And you don´t have to admit that sometimes you make some exceptions when you are willing to pay the price of a little discomfort, right? :wink: Like for me, sometimes I just have to get a really nice artisanal fresh croissant, I love it…even if it is not the best for my belly and not the best “sport diet” :slight_smile: but hey, when I take it with such a joy sometimes to do myself a pleasure, I am not sick afterwards - amazing how our mind can work :wink:

So question if I know my resting metabolic rate. How do I use that to find out what my daily intake should be? I know I would be different for each of us ie how active our jobs are and such. Just lookin for guidance. Also how close does the group think that activity tracker are with estimating caloric out put. It seems I do a good job maintaining weight and a poor job loosing.

Catching up a bit on podcasts and a bit behind.

@Pete - you mentioned that adding a recovery drink to your post-ride routine was particularly helpful. What’s your drink of choice? Recipe? Thanks!!

@Pete, you mentioned that you’ve been able to transition to a plant-based diet because you can get vegetables to taste good. Can you share your favorite recipes? I eat lots of salads, but I really struggle with getting other kinds of veggies to taste good. I’d love to eat more, but can you tell me how to make them taste good?

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One game changer for me since quarantine has been to roast a ton of vegetables at the beginning of the week. The ease of pulling them out of the fridge has really upped my veg consumption.

I typically do sweet potatoes, broccoli, carrots and occasionally Brussels sprouts. Cut them up drizzle with olive oil, salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast at 425deg. The carrots and sweet potatoes take 35-40min. 25-30 for the broccoli. Maybe my tastes are changing but these taste great (especially with a just-before-serving sprinkling of course Maldon salt).

These with a little sautéed bok choi, some brown rice and eggs is my lunch of choice at the moment.