Frustrated with lack of progress

I wanted to share my frustration with my perceived lack of progress. I started TR in early September. The initial ramp test put me at 2.3 W/kg. I set up a 40-week mid-volume Gran Fondo in plan builder.

After 6 weeks of Base 1 another ramp test showed a ~8% FTP improvement to 2.5 W/kg (partly due to weight loss). What followed was 6 weeks of Build. The ramp test at the end of that phase was a disappointment: less than 1% FTP increase (albeit a 4% increase to 2.6 W/kg due to weight loss).

For some reason, the plan builder had another ramp test scheduled for the following week, at the beginning of Base 2. This second test resulted in another 1% increase in FTP (2.7 W/kg due to further weight loss). Personally, I feel that these consecutive ramp test results were within the margin of error of the Kickr Core trainer and represented no real improvement over a 6-week period.

I am on the mid-volume plan and have missed a total of 3 workouts over the last 12 weeks.

Some background: I am a 42 year old male currently weighing 99 kg (down from 105 when I started TR). I am a Type 2 diabetic on Metformin (which can hamper VO2 max gains). I picked up cycling in April but have zero background in sports apart from high-school sports and have been a first class couch potatoe for the last 20+ years. It usually takes me the rest of the day to recover from tough TR workouts (elevated HR, fatigued). Threshold workouts, especially on weekends, usually result in poor sleep the following night. Lately I have been struggling to finish my Sunday workouts, sometimes resorting to replacing them with easier variants.

Am I doing something wrong? Should I perhaps try to increase or decrease the volume? Am I wrong in expecting FTP improvements after 6-7 weeks of Build? Should I still be gasping for air after threshold and sweet spot workouts?

Sounds like recovery is an issue. Although TR doesn’t recommend it, I’ve had success using TR’s traditional base in-terms of both recovery and increases in power at aerobic endurance and threshold levels. More recently working with a coach that put a lot of emphasis on low-intensity with a little high-intensity. After 3 months my all-day aerobic endurance power output is higher than after doing TR Sweet Spot base during previous seasons.


Why did you choose Mid Volume? There’s a lot in there especially if you’ve done little or no exercise for 20 years. Rest is just as important a part of the process as the actual workouts. When you look at the plans there’s little difference in weekly TSS between Low and Mid Volume but as is regularly stated on the podcast: not all TSS is created equal.

I’d consider dropping to Low Volume - you can always do Z1/2 rides at the weekend to augment things. Run Plan Builder again but put your starting date as the time you originally started, choose the beginner and low time available options at those steps and you should get something a bit more suited to you.


Well done with the increase in FTP! :+1:

I’ve also had some strange things with plan builder and have decided not to use it. Instead I just drop the plans into my calendar as they were designed to be completed. I’d say it’s strange that you went from SSB1 straight into Build. Usually it’s SSB1 > SSB2 > Build and then either Speciality if you are peaking for an event or back to base 1 or 2.

As others have said, if you’re feeling wiped out all the time then it might be worth moving down to the low plans and adding in extra zone 1/2 rides when you feel like it.

All the best. :+1:


I chose mid volume since I was able to dedicate the 6-9 hours a week to improving my fitness and thought that more hours spent on the bike would deliver greater improvements.

For what it’s worth, the training has contributed to my weight loss and has improved my HbA1c (a key Diabetes metric) significantly so it’s not been a total wash.


Sounds like recovery or if you were losing weight, it’s hard to gain performance while losing weight in my own experience. Not sure how you could fuel more being a diabetic since I’m not a dietician.


Well done on your w/kg FTP improvement @LazyPanda , given the background you describe it ain’t going to magically happen over night but you are going in the right direction. Good luck :+1:


I have had great success with low volume plans with added endurance or recovery. Especially if I am focusing on weight loss

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For a “couch potato” 2.3 Watts/kg at 105 kg… Is pretty impressive.
I’m, by no means, a couch potato. While I’m not fit I rode around 4-5k this year, before starting my TR plan (Mid Volume).
My ramp test - never did one before- score 133 FTP at 94 kg… (I’m 51 yy, 1,75 and I need to drop around 25kg)… While I was expecting better (and it will get better…eventually) as far as I feel stronger and good, enjoying the whole thing at the same time, I don’t give a fxxk :joy:

Strees affects the body and the performance. TR uses the TSS number to quantify the stress coming from your training, but life off the bike is plenty of stressors which can equally affect your performance…

So, and I’m wild guessing here, it might be that your supposed* lack of progress is not related with the training itself but with other stressors.

*A step forward, even a small one, is a step forward and it will get you closer to your destination ( goals, dropping that weight, increasing your power…)


First, good job on all the training. Your consistency is impressive. How much weight did you drop? The 6kg?

It sounds to me like you’re doing ok. Dropping weight while keeping the W is considered progress.

FTP Gains often get slower after a while, but you still get fitter (more stamina, …). Physiological adaptations that don’t always show in FTP tests. I bet if you had a test course outside you would see considerable progress.

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You’ve had a 0.4 wpkg increase over 12 weeks and your disappointments? What were your expectations?


For somebody who has been sedentary for half their life, I consider that a really good start.

Ok. Good choice.

Not knowing anything else, mid vol was a good choice. Now that you know a little more, sounds like it’s time to make an executive decision and move to a low vol plan. This is not a defeat or any type of negative reflection on you. Just give it a try. I bet you rebound in a couple weeks and become really satisfied with the gains your making.

Don’t be frustrated! You’re probably making gains you just need some additional recovery before those gains become obvious. People get real fast on low vol plans. As your endurance builds you can move back up to a mid vol plan.


So…since the start of September (3 months) you’ve lost 6 kg and gained around 2% (5 watts-ish?) on your FTP

Honestly this is pretty terrific. That rate of weight loss isn’t sustainable long-term, and even maintaining your fitness with that type of ramp rate should be an accomplishment you’re proud of

If you want to build the watts side of the w/kg balance then you need to fuel more and go for a slower weight loss rate. You can’t have both things :slight_smile:


I understand you are frustrated but you are doing well. As others have mentioned rest and recovery play a role. While you may have time for a mid volume plan that isnt always the best choice. Your body still needs to adapt and the adaptations come over time from your consistency. You shouldnt feel so tired from a workout as you describe nor should you be gasping for air. I would suggest you are pushing yourself and if you take it a bit easier the adaptations and improvements will still come without the effects that you are experiencing.

When I read your post, I just thought “Lack of progress?!?” You lost 6 kg in 6 weeks and are off-the-couch to 2.7 W/kg! That’s great. If you keep up the weight loss alone might get you above 3 W/kg, even with a 0 W increase in FTP. Given your current weight, even a 0 W increase in power at a substantial weight loss will make you faster — and this is the ultimate goal, isn’t it?

Look, progress takes time. During yesterday’s workout Coach Chad told me that it takes 6 weeks for the body to process the stress of a strenuous workout. So your body is just starting to adapt to the stress from the workouts. Roughly, the time of work you put in is proportional to how long gains last.

Like the others, I do agree that you should consider dropping down to the low-volume plan, because recovery is really, really important. You can do that in Plan Builder very easily. Going 0-mid-volume is probably too much to handle if you haven’t done sports in 20 years. Adaptations take time, so you should not expect to see massive gains very quickly — unless you have had a history of doing lots of sports.

So my advice: start easy with a low-volume plan. Be consistent and don’t give up even if the needle does not seem to move much. Don’t think of guys with 5+ W/kg, the top-1 % of TR users (which are not representative of the general population!). Start with process goals such as “this season I will complete a low-volume plan” or “I will lose 10 more kg with a stretch goal of 15 kg.” Goals should be easy, not hard. Err on the side of easy. Don’t think “I lost 1 kg per week, I will keep that up for 6 months.” After your body adapts to the new stimulus, you will reach a new plateau — and that’s normal. But only then are you ready to take the next step (e. g. nutrition, sleep). Don’t worry, you are not alone in this journey, we are here.

Lastly, let me mention that there are fitness gains that are not reflected in your FTP. For example, rather than being able to ride for 1 hour at 80 % FTP, maybe you can now do it for 2.


The fact that you are on your bike and bettering yourself is deserving of a pat on the back as it is.

As others have said, it seems as if rest and recovery are the main sticking points - massage, stretching, Z1 rides where you are ticking the legs over etc. Maybe try swapping around the time that you train if it is affecting your sleep? What is your post ride recovery diet like? Things to think about anyway.

Time on the bike is something that needs to be mentioned too. Your body adapts and becomes more efficient as the years of riding accumulate. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other. One pedal stroke after the other. Accumulate those KM’s but be kind to yourself and recover well - physically and mentally.

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You haven’t paid enough dues/suffered enough physically to be disappointed in your gains. Stay consistent and above all else trust the process. Best of luck.

Congrats on the improvements, I would take the FTP increase and weight loss as huge positives.

From here I’d assess your weekly TSS, it’s easy at the beginning of a training black or week to plan to hit big TSS numbers. If you’re drained by the end of the week, probably best to switch out some higher TSS workouts for equal duration workouts with an endurance focus.

Congrats again

Wait, did I start this thread? I started TR around the same time as you, and I’m also 42 years old starting off at >100 kg and about 2.3 W/kg. And I also haven’t seen the gains that I had hoped for/expected when I started. There’s already a lot of really good advice in the replies above, but I’d like to add that even though I haven’t seen the FTP gains that I’d like, the indoor training has helped a lot. When I’m outside I can hold higher intensity for longer than I could before starting structured training. I know that if I stick with it (and do better than I did in November!) the other gains will come.

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I think one analogy from computer games is that you have a power bar and a life bar. The power bar (roughly) corresponds to your FTP. Raising your FTP gives you more punch. But the life bar is equally important, especially if you haven’t done sports in a long time. In all likelihood it is quite short. The panting the OP told us about is IMHO an indication of that: his life bar was depleted.

Gains in the life bar department are much more subtle to measure, but you will feel them when you ride outside, especially with others.

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