Peloton ftp starting point

My ftp is super low. It’s 77. I’m 48 overweight by 100 pounds. I have had a heart valve replaced and an aneurysm repaired. Over the past five years my fitness has disappeared. I bought a peloton because I just need to be able to get up and ride. I rode the 20 minute and 30 minute rides and I feel good. I was looking at my first rides in November 21 until today and my average watts are up a bit 13 watts.
I’m new to ftp so this was my first test. It feels horrible but I am starting the 8 week class.
Questions are how much different is road riding ftp versus trainer/stationary bike. I expect my ftp will explode. Where should I expect to end up and how long should I expect it to take? Should I just train and put everything out of my mind, because it’s so low to begin with?

Thanks this is my first post so I hope it makes sense.


Im looking to buy a road bike in spring once more weight has come off. Im 320 so most bikes may not be within my weight requirements hence the peloton. Thanks in advance.

In theory if everything is identical your FTP in and out are the same but add in factors like air cooling, momentum and freewheeling (micro breaks), etc out outside can be considerably more. It easy to get an FTP test wrong especially when its your first one so I suspect 77 watts is on the low side but stick with it for now and you’ll make massive steps down the line. FTP is just a number though, the way you feel is more important and well done for making that first step :clap:


@jarrod_brown congrats and that’s inspiring! Keep up the good work, lose some weight, and have fun on the bike! I lost 30 pounds in my fifties and couldn’t believe how much better I felt! Our club has a bunch of guys that lost 100lbs riding bike. Start slow and stay consistent!

Don’t worry about things like ftp at this point, there really is no way to predict what yours could be in the future. A lot of Peloton classes are high intensity which is working on your cardio fitness. If you can add time on the bike, definitely do some low intensity, easy breathing riding to work on your metabolic/muscle fitness. It takes both cardio and metabolic fitness to push up overall health and ftp.


Thanks. I was wiped out but Monday starts the 8 week training. I miss riding with people that know what they are doing. Lol I’m lost and I’m feel stronger but really weak on the endurance side. I’ll just keep on putting in work.


I’m not a coach (nor your doctor), but I’d follow your doc’s recommendations for easing into exercise. Your FTP is what it is, for now. I would keep exercising in whatever manner you can, and eat a healthy diet.

By the way, there’s a great podcast called “We only look thin” by Catherine and Donald Wygal, a husband and wife team who have lost 250lbs combined and kept it off for years. It’s focused on mindset, not a specific diet (Weight watchers, Keto, vegan, etc). It’s helping me stay focused on my weight loss goals.


FTP is not a necessary number to know. I rode for 5 or 6 years including competitively in mountain bike races before I even new what FTP was. Given your condition, heart rate may be a more valuable indicator for you and hopefully your doc can tell you what type of intensity makes the most sense for you. And while it’s not quite the journey you are on, I went from around 210lbs to 170lbs. It’s been the most fun I’ve ever had doing anything.


Doctor has cleared me for all cardio. Weight lifting is only 50 pounds max. That’s an adjustment that really sucks. I am trying to just get overall fitness together.


Slow and steady wins the race. There is nothing more important than consistency. It’s far more important that you do frequent rides that you can handle than to push yourself too hard chasing a number and end up taking unplanned time off.

Good luck and congrats on taking the first (big) step!


As others have said, don’t worry about FTP for now….ride the Peloton, have fun, lose weight, gain fitness

As you start to get stronger and feel better, you can worry about stuff like FTP. But for now, just ride. I would recommend adding in some endurance rides, as well. You’ll benefit in the long run.

Congrats on starting your journey back to being healthy…enjoy the ride.


That’s what I’ve done I’ve had the peloton for 9 months or so. I think it’s just a lot different from my band road riding. I just did the ftp test and it’s ok. I just wanted to make sure it wasn’t crazy off. I’m getting fit but it’s not coming how I thought. I was just enjoying the classes.

Thanks for all the advice. Looking forward to some more focused training.


I should preface this with one obvious thing: you should speak to your cardiologist and other doctors about how hard you can and should go.

First of all, kudos to you for being open. You’ve come to the right place for advice :slight_smile:

It is meant to be an all out effort, and if you are not used to that, then this might really feel horrible. Also, it is quite likely that you have stopped way before you hit your physiological limit. With time, you will learn how hard you can go. But take it one step at a time.

No, just start. :slight_smile: There is no pre-training you need to do until you get to train.

I would advise you to take it very easy in the beginning, perhaps 30–60 minutes once or twice a week, and start building habits. Focus on the process rather than the outcome. When you get better, it will feel better on the bike, too. Also, focus on getting faster, things like fat loss will follow.

When you got into the groove, tell us how it went and we can give you advice on what your next steps are.

I would recommend you start with a mountain bike. Given your weight and FTP, you really need the lower gearing. Also, you sit more upright on it, which will be easier at 320 lbs. Please don’t see that as discouragement, I think it would be more discouraging if you get a bike that puts you in a more aggressive body position and gearing that is way too hard.

A solid entry-level hardtail mountain bike (that is a mountain bike with only suspension in the front) will suffice. I would ask the bike shop to put a smaller chain ring in the front (28 teeth or 30 teeth) so you have easier gearing. Then buy a heart rate sensor and a cheap bike computer (akin to a Garmin 130), and ride outside by heart rate. You should stay in the endurance heart rate zone (think <= 135 bpm) — unless your cardiologists wants you to go lower (you mentioned you have had a heart valve replacement).

If you feel uncomfortable on regular roads, try gravel roads.


or better yet, mountain bike trails assuming you have access to them.


Just my personal view, I wouldn’t bother worrying about FTP improvements. Leave it at whatever the test shows and just focus on building your endurance up so that you can ride a bit longer at low effort. Having that endurance fitness will be more important than any intense work.


I highly recommend the scenic rides if you want something more self-paced intensity wise. Beautiful scenery and ideas for travel vacations in the future… :slight_smile:

Keep Rolling and Stay Cool


I kind of have a similar story. I used to compete in strongman and powerlifting, my peak weight while competing was 390 pounds. During training I was doing some box jumps I injured my ankle which then developed in to a blood clot in my right leg which took me down the path of wanting to get healthier and lose weight. My go to for cardio was a stationary bike, I dropped down to around 320 before getting my confidence and going to my lbs (local bike shop) to purchase my first road bike. I was super nervous and very self conscious about my weight, but I didn’t let that stop me. My first road bike was a steel frame custom built bike so that it could handle my weight and also my height since I’m 6’5". I just took it really easy to begin with never concerned myself with what my ftp was (didnt even know that was a thing then lol) and just rode to exercise and quickly fell in love with it. Fast forward about 4 or so years I now fluctuate between 200-210 pounds and my ftp is about 340.

Just keep it simple in the beginning and don’t over think it. I would definitely recommend going to your lbs and see what options they have for you. I really think you will enjoy riding outdoors because just doing everything on the trainer can get very monotonous.


Is the 8 week program you mention the peak your power zones program? Have you though of starting with either the find or build your power zone programs?

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I don’t want to be alarmist/buzzkill, but I’d advise getting farther along on your riding before riding outside.

I’m not saying you will never be able to do it, I’m just saying that riding outside is a thing where you go away from home, or your vehicle, and you are supposed to make it back.

I started my fitness journey at over 260, and barely able to run up a flight of stairs. Riding outdoors was excruciating and I was walking it back too many times. I started using the exercise equipment I had already bought, and surprise, in a year of so I was way more fit, and had lost around 50 pounds. I felt better, and riding wasn’t such a daunting thing. But I kept going indoors, we had a LeMond Revolution, a Stairmaster, a TRUE treadmill, and a BoxFlex, and I did have to find places for all of the stuff piled on each one, but kept at it. Doing 5 minutes on the stepper to start out at level 3 as I remember. Walking for 5 minutes on the treadmill, no resistance spinning on the bike. I eventually got to a good place and riding outside was a joy. I didn’t feel like I might have a crises on a ride, and I got better.

Build your base, build your endurance, do the low impact rides on the Peloton, progress to the power zone endurance rides, build on those first, until you feel they are fine (which could be now?). You are starting from a disadvantage, and a rough medical history. Getting stranded, and discouraged, or injured, on an outside bike ride is going to set you back possibly farther.

But since you are on TrainerRoad, I’d suggest that if you are going to buy a bike, you also buy a smart trainer, and ride that combo for at least 6 months and reevaluate the progress, and keep in touch with your physician(s). I have also had some medical setbacks, but talked to my docs and worked on that base, (and blocking them from my Strava) but I am making great progress. It’s taken a long time, but I’m not a youngling anymore either. Be good to yourself. Take your time… Hope this makes sense.

I applaud you for getting busy. I knew someone who shutdown after they had a stent put in. I mean, it IS a big deal, but people with them still lead active lives.Not saying that wouldn’t freak me out, but still… Live to ride, ride to live…

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Since you have been in a situation similar to that of Jarrod, what would your advice be regarding the type of bicycle when it is time?

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It’s his call.

Me? I always had a road bike. I bought a full suspension mountain bike, and had fun discovering trails in the area. It was fun to explore, and yeah, I got dropped by people on the trails, but I grew to not compete and enjoy the scenery. Since I haven’t been out in a group setting, I don’t know if I would be dropped, but I look back on my training, and see that I have gotten stronger, so who knows.

It’s hard to enjoy riding in groups when you’re being dropped constantly. In my case the only other group at the time was the ‘oldsters’ who were in their 70’s and I was enjoying being pushed by the faster groups to be stronger. I WANTED to be able to hang with them better.

But back to bike choice, if they want to progress, getting a ‘real bike’ and a smart trainer would be a great next logical step in my opinion. Peloton is great, don’t get me wrong, but having the smart trainer control the pain makes it far more like a ‘real ride’ than the canned rides and honor system on that ‘big orange knob’. (Plus, depending on their fitness progression, a bike/smart trainer combo will have a higher resale value than a Peloton bike. I can’t get rid of mine, no one seems to want it, and the required subscription expense)