Athletic Weight-Loss Strategies
If you lose a bit of weight as fat then, other things being equal, you should be able to go a bit faster. Unfortunately, other things are NOT equal and, for example, you could lose muscle mass and end up being slower.
So if we have a calorie deficit (burn>consume) then we WILL lose weight…it just might be the wrong kind of weight (muscle). Here are some strategies for athletes:
Duration at aerobic levels
Carbs are most readily burnt for the first 20 minutes or so of an optimally paced fat-burning workout at HR Z2 (low-med).
So: Thus ‘fat-burning’ workouts need to be quite a bit longer than 20 minutes. More like an hour if you really want to burn fat.
If you eat just carbohydrates an insulin response causes you to feel hungry AND store more fat.
So: Eat low GI Carbs alongside fat and/or protein.
Spaced out meals
Well spaced-out meals (>4 hours apart) increase the body’s willingness to store the calories as fat. Binge-eating works similarly. Longer spaced-out meals reduce the metabolic rate and may encourage muscle burning. Eating increases metabolic rate for a few hours even if smaller amounts are consumed.
So: Spread your calorie consumption more evenly, perhaps resorting to an earlier snack rather than a later pudding.
Exercise increases your body’s ability to store carbs in your muscles and liver.
So: Exercise more.
There is only ONE way to burn fat and that is in a muscle. If you are female or older then building muscle is more difficult than for a younger/male equivalent.
So: Do more weights to increase your muscle mass and increase your metabolic rate. Yep, that means YOU.
Athletes often consume the same volume and weight of food each day.
So: Use water and fibre to maintain the weight/volume but lower the calories.
People find moderately low-fat diets much easier to adhere to than virtually no-fat diets. It’s is hard to convert protein and carbs to store as fat whereas storing fat as fat is much easier. So 50g of protein will result in less fat stored than 50g of fat. If you eat more fat your metabolic rate will NOT go up but it will go up if you eat more protein or carbs.
So: Eat sensibly-less fat.
Calorie Controlled Diets
If you eat fewer calories then your metabolic rate will fall commensurately and quickly. It will stay low and have difficulty rising if you revert back to higher calorie levels. When calorie consumption is low muscles are burnt for energy.
So: Do not follow diets that dictate prolonged low levels of calories.
High-intensity exercise increases the metabolic rate. Whereas Z2 fat burning exercise increases the percentage of post-exercise fat burning. Low-intensity exercise generally burns fat whereas higher intensity energy generally burns carbs.
So: Go slow+long AND short+hard but not in the middle.
IMO You should exercise 6 days per week. A long bike ride is often most practical for, say 2-3 hours, Aim to do an hour on each of those other 5 days and incorporate some weights into your regime 3 (THREE!) times a week.
More Info on other health benefits.