Workouts to prioritize long term energy expenditure per unit of time

sorry for the dumb title:

I’m not actually a cyclist. My main goal is to improve my long term ability to burn calories in a quick amount of time - say with a daily time budget of 30 minutes or less - on the smart trainer. Bonus points if that also means maximizing the amount of calories burned in those 30 minutes as I train for that long term goal :slight_smile:

The “problem” with Sweet Spot is that even on low volume, it still has workouts that are >1h, which I don’t have the time for. I might instead have time to hop on the trainer even every single day of the week, but 20 or 30 minutes (whether that’s good is another question…).

Does anyone have any suggestion on what workouts to use from the library for this purpose, or suggestion on custom workouts to create in the workout editor?

I might go really, really simple and just make a custom workout with 3 minutes of warmup, small ramp to FTP or more, then small ramp down and 3 minutes of cooldown. Definitely can’t hurt (I don’t think?).

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I somehow found minutes after posting the thread about about the “Time Crunch 30”. That’s probably the reasonable choice? :slight_smile:

The more watts you put out in total over those 30 mins, the more energy you burn. I don’t think you can search by average power, but maybe searching by IF (which uses normalised power) is an ok way instead. So you could just filter all workouts by time and IF, and pick those of 30min length and the highest IF… that is not a good training strategy, and I’m nor sure how ling you could keep that up. But it does answer your question.

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If you want to loose weight and mainly burn higher intensity workouts might not help you.
I followed the time crunch 30 quite some time and they have been mostly so intense that I not only was super tired after only a couple of days, but moreover have used so much energy that I got super hungry after each workout… and ate even more than normal.

So I switched to 60-90 min of Zone 2 low intensity rides. Helped me much more to not feel exhausted directly after workouts and after two-three days… and helped me burn fat much more efficient.

If sou want to build up strength on the other hand, the time crunch 30 and 45 are better than not riding at all

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well, kind of answers my question - because my question is not about maximizing my energy expenditure today, it’s about maximizing my sustainable energy expenditure in short high intensity workouts in the long term.

If I just wanted to do the most energy dense workouts right now, I could even just sort by energy expenditure and filter by length in the workout finder.

Hi, thank you for sharing your experience! I should maybe clarify that my main tool for weight loss is just better diet. Additionally, I’ll be gradually adding strength training to my training (not for weight loss but just general functional strength).

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If you want that long term you require progression.

For example 2x a week 5min warmup, few mins easy, sweet spot to the end. Eg pioneer incl relevant + versions, increase every workout

Stepped intervals (like ramp test but longer). Eg rendezvous

Not sure if those have 30min versions

Alternating such workouts and increasing the intensity every few weeks, over long run may work.

Note: it’s hard to progress if you only have 30min. But it’s possible.
If you want to have energy expenditure a different way, as above, the best road is to go long and progress at the same time

I know there may be many reasons that this suggestion may be unworkable for you, but when I’m time crunched and looking to get a good burn on I opt for jumping rope. Especially because winning bike races isn’t a goal of yours, this could be worth looking into.

Hi, thank you for the explanation. It seems like the “no free lunch” theorem applies to everything :slight_smile:

If I add the caveat that right now I have a FTP of ~100W which is also ~1.1W/kg, do you think this matters as much for now or is just doing any kind of exercise going to make me progress anyway until I get out of this extremely out of shape level of power?

Great suggestion! Actually, this might be something I could do. I’d miss the amazing stats trainerroad plus a smart trainer give you, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind!

The good part is, if you don’t cycle now, doing anything will give you better results than where you are now.

So you are absolutely in for some fitness gains. Even if you’d only do 30min easy riding.

I think the time-crunched plans have been suggested above, and they may raise your fitness = lead to higher cal consumption over the long run.

Good luck man!