Weight Loss Nutrition for Cyclists, How to Learn from Races, and More – Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast 418

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(0:00) Welcome!

(0:25) Correction on respiratory terminology

(1:10) Losing weight gradually vs. rapidly

(18:03) How to know if you’re a sandbagger

(36:24) Nourishment recommendations for those with eating disorders

(52:13) Best training option with TR to maintain fitness but have more time to ride

(1:21:17) Unbound tire selection / Jonathan doing Unbound in 2024???

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Loved the YT podcast/video today thanks :blush:


As a Clydesdale, I always feel a little gaslit when they talk about weight loss on the podcast.

I get that they are mostly highly successful/naturally talented athletes who are more at risk of going underweight than overweight, and that’s probably what they like to imagine the audience to be as well, but Nate’s inspiring tale of being faster at 22 BMI than 21 BMI isn’t very transferrable to those of us at 28 BMI. I’d be objectively, medically better off losing weight, and every time they have a podcast that seems like it’s going to get into some advice on how to do it, it’s always just advice on how not to do it, and the positive advice is mostly just to “fuel the work” and let the rest take care of itself.

The work is fueled, I promise you, how can I go about losing weight without hindering performance more than I have to?


Darn. I was hoping this would finally be the one for “the rest of us” since it’s been a topic of discussion on the forum.


I listened to the podcast and they gave advice that would cover “the rest of us”. It was to focus on weight-loss during your off season via calorie restriction.

Edit - They also talked about someone that lost 20kg (I think) on low volume, fwiw.


I’m being a little hyperbolic, but the substantive advice on how to go about losing weight amounted to “do it in the off-season” which is pretty light for a 15-20 minute segment on weight loss.

Editing to respond to your edit

Edit - They also talked about someone that lost 20kg (I think) on low volume, FWIW.

This is exactly when I wish they would have given some advice on how specifically one should approach losing 20kg while gaining 80 watts. That would have been super helpful, but instead they just patted their low-volume plans on the back and moved on.


As a 90+ kg guy, I would like some more details and advice on this. I do want to target weight loss this off season. Traditional base vs polarized vs SSB. Calorie targets. What to expect with training and fitness losses. I am a triathlete. Should I continue on tri plans or move to cycling plans, etc.


I agree. The “don’t worry about counting calories or restricting eating, your body will find it’s best weight naturally” stuff is irritating. I too thought they were finally going to address it in this podcast, but it turned out to be the same old advice. FWIW I’ve gone from 207 lbs to 180 this spring. FTP from 330->347. AMA. My advice will be very different than the podcast’s.


I’ve never carb loaded.

Wasn’t this essentially debunked ages ago?

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I’d love to hear your advice!

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I’m a 29 BMI. I haven’t cracked it, but the philosophy is this:

  1. Fuel the training.
  2. Eat normally/appropriately in the rest of your life.
  3. Excess body fat will go as a consequence.

I tried eating ‘more’ when I started heavy training, I tried fuelling every workout and eating normally, I tried calorie counting, I tried alcohol free, I tried low carb, I tried fasted training.

Long and the short is that over the last three years I lose around 4kg in spring and gain around 6kg in autumn, regardless.

But I believe I am eating more healthily and training better with the philosophy above. So put training and fuelling nutrition aside and focus on what’s not optimal in breakfast/lunch and dinner.

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I just rode a lot. Went from 190 to 145. My main goal was to beat my friends on segments in Strava. Chicken, rice, and broccoli all the time. 40 min spins before breakfast, stopped eating after 8 pm. The weight was coming off so fast, but I was also kinda miserable and took it extreme.
FasCat has a winning in the kitchen guide that I’ve found to be very helpful in terms of accountability and what to eat
TR’s advice is a ‘no duh’, but also I think focuses on those trying to lose the last few pounds to get their race weight.

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For the 30kg loss and 80w gain, it was a cycle of calorie restriction then slowly going back up and then down again for a few months. Once I reached around the 25kg mark I mostly maintained around 21k calories in a week (+/- 500 cals) and still lost until I stopped at the 30kg loss.

Just really focused on hitting the workouts that the plan gave me and it’s probably the noob gains that got me the 80w since it’s the first year I did structured training


Nice. Any tips on training during the loss phases? How fast did you lose during those periods?

I originally tried fasting but I just couldn’t keep at it so I did more of lots of small meals and more of calorie counting instead

So I started around 2000 cals per day (14k cal per week) and just balancing where I ate more when I worked out. I kept this for around 2 weeks then increased it by 700 cals (14.7k per week) for another 2 weeks, then another 700. then went down by 700 again and just kept the cycle.

The past 2 months I was quite happy with the amount lost so I just kept increasing it and watched the average weight.

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Thanks, that’s helpful! Anything you would have done differently?

I think in hindsight, I would probably have worked with a nutritionist to build a plan from the get-go instead of much much later. Because I think there were some points it could have gone sideways

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Regarding “sandbagging” in XC Races…

At least here locally the different categories also correspond to how long the race is. Cat 3 is three laps, Cat 2 is four laps and Cat 1 / Pro is five laps. Each lap is around 4.5 miles (with a range of 4-5.5 miles depending on the race). Cat 3 is usually morning, Cat 1/2 is mid-day. Because of this there’s a lot of factors outside of ability that goes into what race you are doing.

Many Cat 1 guys drop to Cat 3 the first race of the year as a tune-up and it is really fast and competitive. For the most part the fast riders are in the higher categories but some bump up to a higher catagory as they want to ride a longer distance… maybe prepping for a longer event.

Regarding race times, sometimes you can’t do the afternoon race due to family obligations so you drop down and ride early. I have never heard anyone complain. You self select the race you want to do and do it. If some ringer does Cat 3 and I never see him it has no impact on me. Just be nice and let us know you are passing when you lap us.

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I can sympathize with this gaslit feeling by never-been-overweight-or-obese folks talking about letting go of their obsession of trying to lose a few pounds. :crazy_face: But that’s a really common theme in cycling. I welcome their efforts at changing this skinny-obsessed culture. No one should have coaches that set ridiculous weight goals making them miss their potential, cause low bone density, injury etc.

As far as people who actually do need to lose weight (like me) there’s no magic pill, like cut out all carbs, or cut out all fat, or eat cabbage soup all day – I think it’s really just being consistent with really boring, common sense type things you’ve heard over and over again. Focus on nutrient dense whole foods, avoid processed junk, get good sleep, drink water not soda or alcohol, avoid stress.

I’ve tried my whole life to get from higher than normal BMI to normal BMI and seriously - the only time I actually lost weight was when I decided to give up on trying to lose weight and focus on my training.

But now I’m peri-menopausal and it seems there is no hope for my mid-section, so now I am working on acceptance. You can only control so many things.


Sample size of 1 here but I started working with Alex’s team in Feb after hearing her on the podcast. I’ve been cycling seriously for 20 years and was pretty strong on the bike despite weighing 223lbs/101kg at that point. My FTP was 273 at the time.

4 months later I’m down 20lbs/9kg and my FTP is 288. I’m eating tons of carbs on my riding days and feeling great on the bike. I would have liked to lose more weight a bit faster, but my performance on the bike has been so good this year that I’m totally fine with what I have lost so far.

May not work for everyone, but I’ve been really happy following the concepts they talked about in the podcast today.