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Cycling presents a whole host of challenges. Doing it whilst managing a weight loss programme adds to the stress.

Well its finally happened.

After years of telling myself it couldn’t be done and that I would never get back to what I have always felt was my most effective racing weight, I have hit the diet trail and trimmed some of my weight off.

I had been kidding myself that I was a Climber inside a Rouleurs body. Just shy of 6ft tall and unable to get under 13 stones.

It was still enough to get me through my racing season but I wondered 'what if' I could get back down to the 12st 2lbs I was back in the early 90’s when doing 23 minute 10s and sub hour 25s.

I won’t go into detail on the intricacies of the diet I have been on but I have managed to shift just short of a stone during the process. That has been on 5/2 split of days with weekends being normal food and the weekdays a really strict intake. 

I feel really positive about the experience as it has been really tough and there is a real sense of achievement in sticking with it and not giving up.

There is an assumption that as a cyclist you can eat what you want, and for some people, myself included, it simply isn’t true. But if someone had told me I would hit 40 years old and then go back to weighing the same I did at 18, I would have laughed at you.

The challenges however are still to start.

I rode 60km last weekend and was waiting to take my new lightweight body into the hills. But I was weak. Weak from the dieting and tired of mind from the regime . So I need to get over that and manage how calorie intake and training and racing can work.

This weekend’s hill climb will be a real indicator of whether a direct weight loss equals a power loss. I have my concerns but hope the short, sharp event will mask them. I then have the winter to try and hone the muscles and get that all important power to weight ratio right.

The second challenge is to keep the weight off. In readiness for the diet I had given up bread in the week and eaten soup for lunch. I need to be able to reintroduce treat food and the sort of things cyclists need without compromising this hard work...

It’s not going to be easy... the dieting was supposed to be the hard part !

James has been blogging for road.cc for 5 years and racing bicycles (averagely) for 20 years. 

23 comments

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Simon E [3887 posts] 5 years ago
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Well done Jimmy.

More unprocessed food and less starchy and sweet processed carbs is easily attainable. I don't go without treats, but a degree of restraint has real benefits.

But it's not easy maintaining self-control; the factories and supermarkets want you to buy lots of cheap, processed crap; the groaning shelves and constant bombardment with adverts etc leads people to think they should have far more rich food than they need. Mindset is a big part of the battle.

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notfastenough [3734 posts] 5 years ago
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Well done. I went back up to 75kg while off the bike with new babies. I've just got rid and am back to 70kg. That said, I've not regained the power yet, so maybe I've more to lose if I hope to have my strength and 70kg weight. Just don't go too far, I used to be constantly cold!

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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Eat complex carbs pre and post ride/race.. Remove them at other times replace with lots of veg/salads etc
Ensure you lift weights..squats deadlifts power cleans etc, if you can do a Double bodyweight deadlift for instance, you have a very good power to weight ratio. Get a coach for technique not a youtube video.

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James Warrener [1086 posts] 5 years ago
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I toughed out the hillclimbs quite well considering and my times matched up to previous seasons... i.e average  1

Definitely feeling the benefit of lessened weight, just need to get the fuel intake right to be able to ride faster.

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andyp [1609 posts] 5 years ago
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'Definitely feeling the benefit of lessened weight, just need to get the fuel intake right to be able to ride faster. '

That is the key and it's a swine to get right. I can lose weight relatively easily (having said that, there's a lot to lose) but cutting stuff out really does tend to impact on the performance. Took me months to get it right. Weight is going down, power is better than it was at the higher weight. Stick with it and you'll find the magic formula  1

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James Warrener [1086 posts] 5 years ago
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My kits is looser now which will have slowed me down a little  1

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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)))Lift weights(((

I am 46 weigh 78kg have a bodyfat percentage between 8-9% all year and I dead lift 202.5kg and I sub 5.20 for 100 miles regularly and I put it all down to weightlifting, oh did I mention I am a strength and conditioning coach!! (26 years) if you want a better power to weight you must lift weights. Happy to discuss in private.

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glynr36 [635 posts] 5 years ago
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Cyclist wrote:

)))Lift weights(((

I am 46 weigh 78kg have a bodyfat percentage between 8-9% all year and I dead lift 202.5kg and I sub 5.20 for 100 miles regularly and I put it all down to weightlifting, oh did I mention I am a strength and conditioning coach!! (26 years) if you want a better power to weight you must lift weights. Happy to discuss in private.

I'm curious about this.
Looking to get better power to weight, and really for me its loosing some weight, I can put out a 5:45 100, but weight just the wrong side of 100kgs.
Weights going to help with that? I've lost 8kgs the last month or two from eating a bit better and riding more ( usually happens in July August September for me)

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Chris James [449 posts] 5 years ago
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Boots!

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James Warrener [1086 posts] 5 years ago
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Spurs.

@cyclist - will get in touch.

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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@Jimmy... PM sent.

@glynr36. Bare with me. Let me discuss with Jimmy first.

I will add though, riding more doesn't give you what you want when it comes to power to weight ratios, improves skills etc and stamina (how you use fuel) commonly mixed up with endurance.... And riding more at a long steady duration is not the best way to improve your on the bike or any endurance.... Now think about that. Less time worrying about getting those base miles in and actually more time enjoying the rides.

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RobD [818 posts] 5 years ago
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Gotta say I agree with @cyclist
I went from weighing around 90kg down to around 75kg, at first when I lost a lot of the initial weight through mostly cardio exercise and was down to 80kg or less I actually found a lot of cycling harder even though I was doing more of it than I had previously.
Once I started to do less cardio and more weight work (not even anything especially heavy) I found when I did go out riding it was a lot easier and I could sustain a lot more power for longer.
Definitely don't underestimate the need to keep your fuel levels up, and how long it takes for what you've eaten to actually be available as energy. I've had quite a few saturday morning rides where I went to the gym on a thursday evening and haven't actually managed to fill my energy levels back up.

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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RobD wrote:

I've had quite a few saturday morning rides where I went to the gym on a thursday evening and haven't actually managed to fill my energy levels back up.

Then you really do need to look at your PWO nutrition, unless you are training in a fasted state you shouldn't really be emptying your glycogen stores on a gym session, unless you are in there for hour after hour? So PWO refuelling should be easy, unless you are leaving it too long after your session?
However, if training correctly? And at a high enough intensity? You don't need to be 'training' any longer than 60 min & that would include W/U-W/O & 20 mins minimum of flexibility & mid-line stabilisation work. Remember!!!! Intensity is singularly the most important facet of your training when you want to cause adaptation (improved performance) you can have the best trainer-coach-therapist-sports nutritionist & chef in the world, BUT if the intensity is not there then it will only make you as good as the effort you have put in.

Gym session.... PWO immediate nutrition.... Protein supplement ( nil carbs) 30 min-45 min later.... Real food... Chicken stir fry with lots and lots of veg or something like that.

100 mile ride' say 6hrs in the saddle... PWO immediate nutrition.... Carb & whey pro (with some fat) supp. 30 min later pasta dish with meat.... But do not go mad on the pasta serving and remember you also need to account for how much you ate on the ride... Sugar sugar sugar, if you over did it you need to take this into account when you have your pasta dish as it could easily take you into the + cals, which is why so many cyclist say they are not losing bodyfat. Going to have to stop as I could expand for hours!!!!!

Jimmy....do I need to get my notepad out?

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James Warrener [1086 posts] 5 years ago
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Cyclist wrote:

Jimmy....do I need to get my notepad out?

You do !!! I didn't get the PM back so we need a different approach  1

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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OK.

How do we contact each other? I can't even find the PM now???
As you are a blogger will they give you access to my email address?

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James Warrener [1086 posts] 5 years ago
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Should be fine, tell Dave I am ok with it  1

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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Dave, give Jimmy access to my email please. Thanks.

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James Warrener [1086 posts] 5 years ago
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 1

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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Good job I use a pencil....my ink would have dried up by now if it was pen  39

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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You must be back to the cake runs......sad.

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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Evidence if needed... 46 years old, 78kgish. 8-9% BF, however will go upto 10-12 as I am starting a strength biased training phase for the next 10 weeks or so.

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Cyclist [295 posts] 5 years ago
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Lost another 1.2kilo... Strength above my current benchmarks. Power 2 weight ratio increase.

How are you doing????????

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James Warrener [1086 posts] 5 years ago
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No cake still!

Just lots of soup.. Weight loss has plateaued but nothing back on yet.

Despite a weekend away in Bruges with some beers thrown in.