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Welcome to Gran Fondo USA >> Losing Weight in the Off Season Part 3

Losing Weight in the Off Season. Part 3

Xmas and Trying the Super Juice Me diet

I was nearly 177 pounds (80 kilos) at the start

In Parts one and two I learned a lot of things about losing weight as a cyclist in the off season. I explored a diet that replaced a typical diet with healthy fats and protein and moved away from refined sugar, processed and high carbohydrate foods to a low-carb, ketogenic or vegan type diet.

Having put this into practice, over a 3 month period before Xmas I lost over 7 pounds and started to notice a reduction in overall body fat. The great thing about the keto diet, I wasn't hungry at any stage. I just replaced my food with more healthy foods, higher in protein and healthy fats.

I learnt that my training regime was 70% about food and only 30% about training. I also learnt that rides over 2 hours, weren’t a good idea on a low carb diet, as the body runs out of glycogen.

I lost over 7 pounds on a low-carb ketogenic diet

This was ok because it’s the off season and this suited my situation. The diet was a success and I had slowly weened myself off junk food and by accident - junk miles.

It was all about nutrition and fitting in 6 hours of riding per week with rides no longer than 2 hours. Due to winter and not being able to ride as much on the roads due to the weather, I switched to off-road gravel rides and the turbo trainer. For a time crunched cyclist in the Northern Hemisphere where it’s dark, cold and wet - this really suited my situation during the off season.

I could have easily continued with the new regime but then came Xmas. Not even a Saint can maintain their weight over the holiday season and I can honestly say I gained about 4 pounds.

The long term goal was to lose the middle age spread that had creeped on over the past 10 years and get back to my racing weight. So the plan was to slowly drop from 177 pounds (80 kg) to 154 pounds (70 kg) a drop of 23 pounds, incidentally, about the same amount of weight that Chris Froome reportedly lost before winning the Tour de France.

So at this stage, with the support of my nutritionist, I decided to try the Super Juice Me diet by Jason Vale to lose the Xmas weight I’d put on, get even healthier and get back on track.

In a nutshell, the Super Juice Me diet provides your body with a full range of minerals and nutrients from fruit, vegetables and healthy fats. This also allows the body to detoxify itself and encourages fat burning. It requires commitment, planning in terms of buying food and preparing meals plus some additional supplements required from health shops.

I had lost 13 pounds dropping to 164 pounds (73 kg)

For two weeks it was smoothies up to 4 times a day. It was struggle for the first few days and then became easier. After two weeks I had lost 6 pounds and generally felt a lot better, with more energy and another noticeable reduction in body fat.

I didn’t cycle as much for the first week as this is a more regimented diet. In the second week I did some rides but only around 90 minutes long. Again, it was more about the diet rather than cycling and it suited me being the off season. I followed Jason Vale’s Super Fast Food, which introduces healthy meals after super juicing and helps to support long term weight loss. Not only is this a great diet, it's much more than a diet, it's about detoxing your body, making sure the body has all the essential minerals and vitamins. People who have suffered allergies and other medical conditions have reportedly lost weight and their symptoms have disappeared.

Overall, after 4 months through Xmas and into the New Year, I had lost 13 pounds dropping to 164 pounds.

The Keto diet was easier because I didn't feel hungry at any stage because I could eat when I needed, just much healthier. The Super Juice Me diet was more difficult, but after 3 days it got easier as I adapted and I got used to drinking smoothies regularly. It was worth the commitment and effort.

I really wanted to get to 154 pounds. This was my weight when I raced in my twenties. I was already half way there. However the off season isn’t going to last forever and soon the weather will improve and I need to start thinking about my season goals and what's on my Bucket List!

Once I hit the main season it won’t be possible for me to diet and race as I will need to incorporate carbohydrate to fuel longer rides, hill repeats and interval work.

For endurance athletes looking to ride some of the toughest Gran Fondos in the North America, like the Gran Fondo Golden, Levi’s Gran Fondo, the Vermont Gran Fondo or even Phil Gaimon’s new Cookie Fondo, it's nearly time to start think about base endurance training, as we start to move into spring.

For rides over 100 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing, I want to make sure I was the light, lean and powerful.

So how am I going to continue to lose weight and put in longer base endurance rides before moving into more specific interval work?

See you in a few weeks for Part 4

Look out for Part 4, a Guide to Weight Loss during Base Training mid February,where we will incorporate the last phase of the diet while increasing the length of our rides, getting ready for the Gravel and Gran Fondo season!

This training article was written by Mark Harding, Founder, Gran Fondo Guide.

Mark is a qualified Personal Trainer and life long cyclist. 

Mark sought the advice of a qualified nutritionist in regards to his dietary changes.

For details of Jason Vale's Super Juice Me, please visit

Losing Weight in the Off Season Series

Part 1 - Lose Weight in the Off Season

Part 2 - Two weeks adapting to a “low-carb” diet

Part 3 - Xmas and trying the "Super Juice Me" diet

Part 4 - Guide to Weight Loss during Base Training

How to lose weight cycling in the off season

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