Revised maintenance weight target
When I finished my recent cut, I decided that I was going to maintain this year at 160 pounds. I’ve changed my mind, and I’ve got good reasons for doing so.
During my cut I was, of course, eating well below maintenance. As expected, my performance on the bike suffered somewhat–although not as much as one might have expected. Once I hit 157 pounds and returned to a maintenance level (+) caloric intake, my cycling performance went up–way up.
While I’ve not yet re-tested my FTP since my cut ended (that will be happening very soon), the difference in my strength, stamina and average power output has been marked. After returning to maintenance calories, the increases in strength and stamina combined with my 22 pound scale weight loss over just 9 weeks made me feel like an entirely different rider! I can’t overstate how dramatic the difference between now and 3 months ago feels to me.
My body fat percentage at the end of my cut was 4.3% (as measured by the FatTrack PRO Digital Body Fat Caliper), and I estimate my actual body fat percentage (calipers have a margin of error +/- 3%) was in the low 6% range. Maintaining such a low body fat percentage requires a very strict diet–far more strict than maintaining just a couple ticks above that. While I could do that, I don’t want to do that. Not only is grabbing a couple post-ride brews and some food with the boys after a hard ride a big part of what I enjoy about cycling, I don’t want my performance on the bike to suffer due to lack of calories.
Right now I’m sitting around 163 pounds (not sure about my body fat percentage, as I have not checked it since my cut ended), and I feel better on the bike than I have all year long. Aesthetically speaking I’m still lean, my muscle definition is good and my vascularity is pronounced. My abs are not as shredded as they were at the end of my cut, but I truly don’t care about that.
So I’m revising my maintenance weight target to 165 pounds. I think that weight at a more sustainable body fat percentage (I estimate I’m somewhere between 8% and 9% body fat right now) is a much more practical target than my previous 160 pounds in the 6%-7% range. Being a few pounds lighter isn’t going to do me any good if my power is not there. I feel 165 pounds strikes a nice balance between power-to-weight and sustainability.
I’ll be kicking off my maintenance program with my usual weekly updates every Sunday starting this Sunday or the next.