Performing well on your mountain bike takes a lot of things. Cardio, strength, skills and mindset all merge to help us perform our best and have the most fun on the trail. However, I’ve lately realized that I have been neglecting a very important issue for a lot of riders.

And that is losing some fat to dial in your weight.

Let’s face it…being overweight and riding your mountain bike presents some challenges that are best overcome by simply losing some fat. Getting leaner can help your endurance (less weight to carry), your skills (less bulk to move around) and your mindset (you’ll feel more confident in your ability to move well).

In fact, for many of your reading this fat loss is one of the main health benefits you’re looking for from your mountain biking experience.

This leads a lot of you to seek fat loss/ weight loss advice and unfortunately a lot of that advice is misguided at best and an outright lie at worst. The fitness industry in general and the fat loss industry in particular are full of snake oil salesmen and pitch artists who promise the world but usually only deliver frustration.

I’m not sure why I haven’t talked more about fat loss on this blog but I think it is something I need to do more of. I’m not going to turn it into a full time subject – flat pedals and standing pedaling need their space as well – but I am going to start addressing some of the common mistakes people make when trying to lose fat while mountain biking.

And while there are a lot of them to get to I want to quickly address the main issue, and that is the idea of a “fat loss program” in the first place.

From what I’ve seen as a fitness pro with 15 years experience is that fat loss is a bull shit goal by itself…if it is the focus of your program you will most likely fail in the long run.

Oh, you might be able to overtrain and starve yourself to a lower weight in the short term but in the long run most people fail with that approach.

And this is because they miss the most important element of fat loss – their lifestyle.

Losing fat is more about fixing your lifestyle than trying to lose fat.

If you are overweight then something about your lifestyle lead to that result. And if you want to see lasting results your goal needs to be fixing that problem in your lifestyle with a sustainable solution, not “fat loss”.

If you don’t recognize the need to fix your lifestyle and instead focus on drastic changes that you can’t sustain then you’ll fail in the long run.

You have to find a workout, nutrition and lifestyle approach that fits your reality and you can sustain.

Now, once you’ve found that then you can use the “crash” diets and exercise programs to put an edge on things for little while but until you have a sustainable lifestyle underpinning it you’ll just end up in a vicious cycle of losing some fat only to see it come back again.

So, my first bit of advice is to stop worrying about “fat loss” and figure out how you can fix the lifestyle issues that led to being overweight in the first place.

If you do this you’ll wake up one day and realize you’re losing the weight without “trying” and now you can keep it off because you know exactly how to do it. And that is the ultimate goal for any fat loss program.

BTW, just to get some ideas on future posts on this subject what are some questions you have or things you’d like to see discussed? I get most of my ideas from you guys so just comment below to let me know what the main issues you may be facing when trying to lose and/ or maintain your optimal weight.

-James Wilson-

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