Frustrated with lack of progress

You might be pushing too hard too fast and frying yourself. Your gains are good. In what sounds like about 12 weeks your FTP has gone from roughly 241 to 267, a 10.6% increase, and you’ve manged to lose 6kg / 13lbs at the same time. But, you sound worn down.

One thing about focusing on weight loss, make sure you are still fuelling properly in advance of all but your Z2/1 rides. I’m on that road right now myself and I know I tried doing SSB rides fasted for a while and they were rough, really really rough that way. Then thanks to the TR podcast, I heard that was a big no-no and I started eating properly in advance of those rides getting a good mix of carbs/protein/fat. After that they were hard, but I went from feeling like I was dying at the end to them being a good hard.

As for the whole low volume versus medium volume plan, I’ve heard them say a couple of times on the TR podcast, that if you are coming off the couch regardless of the time you have, start with Sweet Spot Base Low Volume and build from there.

So, if I were you from a rest, recovery, mental freshness perspective, I’d give some serious thought to lowering your intensity/TSS. I’d personally go with Sweet Spot Base Low Volume 1 and 2 (for 6 weeks each), then Sustained Power Build Low Volume (8 weeks) and then Century or Rolling Road Race Low Volume (8 weeks) and during all that for additional time in the saddle and calorie burn if you are feeling good, gung ho, and strong, add in one or two days of Z2 with the likes of Pettit, Whorl, Townsend, Gibbs, etc., depending on you feel. If you want to stay with the Medium Volume plan, at the very least, think about swapping out your Sunday ride for one of the above until you feel stronger.

First, I wanted to thank everyone who took the time to read this thread and reply. What a great and positive community!

My expectations when I started TR were that I would get faster and that my FTP would increase (in absolute numbers as well as W/kg). While I am probably faster, my FTP has stayed the same for going on two months of 6 - 7 hours per week of challenging workouts. It feels as if I could have achieved the same result with easier workouts as long as I spent the same amount of calories for the weight loss.

Some of you have mentioned nutrition as an area of improvement. I am still trying to figure out the optimal balance between calories (weight loss vs. fuelling needs) and carbs (great for cycling, terrible for diabetics).

While I am frustrated, I am not discouraged. My plan is to finish the Base 2 phase, continuing to shave a few TSSs off Sunday workouts if the preceding Saturday was too challenging.

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You said you haven’t done sports in decades. Give it some time and be patient with yourself. Plus, have a look at this graph: 2.7 W/kg puts you right around the average of all male TR users — and you’re doing that practically off the couch. You are not as slow as you think. Imagine what you’ll be like in a year with, say, the exact same power numbers, weighing another 10-12 kg less. You will feel that when you are outside, especially when you are climbing.

One thing about nutrition: when I am in my off-season my cravings shift towards unhealthier food. And when I am in training, I actually want to eat healthier food. So just training will get you into a virtuous cycle. I don’t know what your diet is like, but two easy ones are sodas and beer. I share a bottle of beer with my wife about once per week. Of course, sometimes I drink more when I am out with friends. But other than that, I have cut back on that. Sodas are 100 % gone in my life, unless I am riding outside and need the energy.

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I searched “metformin and exercise” and it was very interesting to learn of a recent study showing the two combined will counteract each other in some people.

Also a quick search of “type 2 diabetes and exercise” turned up this consensus statement from the American Diabetes Association:

Personally I would be talking with my doctor about getting off the meds, and focus on diet along with cycling and resistance training. However I really don’t know anything about the topic other than reading a few key articles as mentioned above.

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Have you noticed improvements in your cycling other than wkg and FTP?

My n=1 is my FTP did not improve during build phases, it increased in the prior and following SSB phases. But I think the builds (and base) helped me improve as a cyclist in other ways: punching hills at pVO2max seems to just happen now instead of being intentional, improved fatigue resistance (climbs @pVO2max after 3000kJ), average power PRs from 5min - 4.5hrs this year. I hit a PR FTP in January and it has declined a little bit, but the rest of the year has seen improvements that let me more effectively use that power in more situations.

My perspective is that cycling is a sport of seasons and years. Its difficult to not look month to month and wanting to see those numbers and metrics increase, but it takes years of consistent riding to build that aerobic engine. What you’re doing now is building the foundation for improvements you’ll see years down the road.


LOL, it took me 11 months of consistent training just to get to 2.5 watts/kg. You got to 2.7 watts/kg in 13 weeks! It’s all a matter of perspective. Best of luck to you.


First of all great job with the consistency. That’s what really matters, especially when you are getting started.
I’d say forget about your w/kg’s, that measure doesn’t really matter much anyway. Focus instead in your nutrition and sleep and in how you are feeling. Do you feel stronger? Do you feel that certain intervals are getting slightly easier?

From your post, it tells me that you have been rating the workouts as hard or higher than that, so TrainerRoad is doing the right thing in keeping your FTP almost the same and maybe giving you small increases at specific levels. This is the right way. Trust it.

In addition, Medium Volume is for advanced type of athletes. You should be doing Low Volume and if you have extra time do some cross training (weights, running, etc). Cross training will help you more right now than the additional two indoor workouts per week.

Finally please stop worrying about your w/kg’s. I cannot stress this enough! Improve those watts (which is what really makes you faster) and just get stronger overall.

Also, workouts will never get “easier”. As they say, you only get stronger and workouts adapt to that.

Good luck!

I read your thread because I’m also frustrated by my progress, but feel a bit more optimistic after reading the feedback of others. I wanted to mention that I don’t consume sugary gels etc., but have found something call Superstarch that was formulated for diabetics. I’ve been really happy with how I feel using it - stable energy without spikes or crashes. I have a sensitive stomach and it is fine for me as long as I avoid ones with stevia.

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