10 steps to your ideal cycling weight

How to become a leaner, lighter and faster rider

Reaching your target weight is one of the best ways to get more out of your training.


Henry Furniss, personal trainer and co-founder of Wyndymilla Bespoke Cycling, uses diet and nutrition alongside his limited exercise time to stay in peak physical condition.

We spoke to him to get his top 10 tips for losing weight and getting lean.

1. Do the maths

“Most people have a clearly defined weight at which they can perform without compromise,” says Furniss.

Eliminate guesswork: find a health professional who can measure body fat using calipers. “The right target can then be set, accounting for lean gains as well as fat loss.”

2. Plan ahead

“Plan the date you’re going to start your new regime,” says Furniss. “Give yourself at least a week to psych up and think through the logistics of the changes you’ll make.”

3. Eat well

“Don’t think of your quest as a diet,” Furniss continues. “The right foods will usually have higher nutrient values but a lower calorie density.”

It’s simply a case of eating the right types of food, such as fruit, vegetables, lean meats and fish.

4. Structure your meals

“Many people eat very little for breakfast or just skip it completely,” says Furniss. “We’d be a much leaner nation if breakfast was king and the evening meal light. As much as 40 percent of your calorie intake should be consumed in the morning.” Avoid starchy foods such as bread, rice and pasta in the evening.

5. Drink more

“Stay hydrated. This is key if your body is going to react with greatest effect to all your efforts,” says Furniss.

He suggests drinking herbal liquids to stave off hunger as your body adjusts to smaller evening meals: “Teas like peppermint or ginger top up your hydration and also aid digestion.”

Hydration is key
Hydration is a vital part of your training
Gary Burchell / Getty

Why not make your own sports drinks? Read how to make your own energy drinks to find out how.

6. Be realistic

Set out the right training targets. “Less is more, especially for us busy folk,” says Furniss. “Go for three solid sessions rather than aiming for five and feeling bad if you miss one. I maintain my elite licence on three hours of training a week, give or take.”

7. Set yourself goals

“Get goal driven,” says Furniss. “It’s a cliché, but consistency is key.” Whatever your aim is, put it in a diary. It’ll give you the drive you need to avoid the muffins.

8. Add wisely

“Don’t shy away from supplementation,” says Furniss. Getting what you need from a natural balanced diet can be hard with a job, family and training. Essential fats and recovery drinks can boost weight loss and keep immune responses up.

9. Hit the sack

“Overtraining is normally just a case of under-resting,” Furniss explains. “Without enough sleep our ability to remain disciplined and focused is severely compromised. Seven to nine hours is ideal.”

Sleep is important — make sure you get enough
Sleep is important — make sure you get enough
Hero Images / Getty

10. Get support

“Social pressures can put strain on your health kick,” says Furniss. “The last thing you need is breakfast-skipping vultures circling you with pizzas and beer late at night. Get them on board.”


Article last updated 22 January 2018