Peloton ftp starting point

Firstly just enjoy riding. There are many here who are targeting moving towards becoming elite athletes. Hence their FTP is a reasonable, not perfect, measure of their progress and comparison to their peer competitors.

For the rest of us, the FTP is relative to oneself, eg, over the last 3 months is it better than before, ie, a bit higher than your last test, 77; 5% improvements are considered large. The actual specific number is less important. FTP per kilogram is useful for you because your body is very used to carrying around 320lbs, so it already has inherent strength, far greater than my 143lbs, so as you lose weight, so long as you keep exercising, your FTP/kg will improve, and you will get faster in every way, on your bike, walking, etc.

As @OreoCookie has already said very well, a MTB hardtail is probably your best bet until your weight is below 220lbs, ie, most road bikes have a weight limit about that level. So, don’t spend a huge amount on the MTB bike, as it is only a step on the path to a new you. I’d consider getting a 2nd hand Hardtail.

The upright body position on a MTB will mean 90% of your weight will be on your saddle and pedals. Whereas a road bike shares more of the load over your pedals and handlebars, which at 320lbs is likely to cause significant discomfort to your upper body from hands to your shoulders, neck and back. Even on the MTB you may need a different saddle.

Your indoor Peleton, will probably gets lots of use long term. As when winter comes, and you get fitter you’ll start to do more exacting workouts, eg, Intervals, and they are best done in a more controlled environment, eg, indoors.

But, your MTB will be what you use for enjoyment, the fresh air, scenery, maybe with a friend, passers by, nipping to the shops or cafe. While doing that also getting fitter.


That’s where my head is at. I am completing the power zone training and feeling good. I am doing my first 60 minute power zone tomorrow so we shall see. The 45 minute ones I conquered. I was thinking the hard tail bike first as well. I’m getting stronger but not losing the weight. Guess it’s a process!

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Thanks for all the advice. I am doing decent on the peloton. I rode average of 45 minutes a day, every day. Lift very light no more than 50 pounds twice a week and of course the weekly yard work with burns more calories than I care to admit. I think I fubar’d the ftp test. I’m doing the training and the mid level where they have you hold for endurance intervals isn’t hard. I think I’ll be looking for a mountain bike in the spring. I was talking to bike shop and I’m heavy for a road bike. I think I have been just riding the peloton and not training right.
Cardiologist just restricted me to 50 pounds max for weights. I think I’ll stick to program and look at it from there. I am doing the 5 week not 8 week program.


Feel free to check in here, even if it is just to post your progress. I, for one, would be interested to know where you are in a few months, in a year from now.

I’m glad you checked in with your cardiologist. Cycling at moderate intensities is usually quite safe, it is low impact on the joints and you can decide how hard you want to go on your cardiovascular system.

Don’t worry about that too much. I’d just finish your program for now and then do the next one when your current block is over.

Let us know if you need help with choosing a bike.


It’s possible that you’re transforming your body by gaining muscle and losing fat, but weight is staying flat, so don’t get too discouraged there. There are tons of different Peloton support groups on Facebook. I haven’t used it in a few years, but I still know a lot of the OG’s, and some of them have been on this same journey, so let me know if you need help making those connections.

I’m sure you already know this, but it’s very, very hard to exercise off weight. The key to weight loss, at least for me, is in the kitchen. I personally don’t find it very easy to lose weight through cycling. Interval training makes me hungry and I spend the day trying to control hunger with water. I find it much easier to lose weight by keeping exercise intensity low, and keeping protein intake high, which keeps hunger away. Something like a daily walk for 60 minutes or maybe just putting in an hour on the bike in Zone 2 while watching TV is enough to burn some fat and help you meet your daily calorie goal.

Good luck. This is a difficult journey, but you should be proud of yourself for taking the first steps! The quality and length of life improvements you will experience vastly outweigh the hard work you’ll have to put in through exercise and diet.

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I had a 26" hard tail Trek bike and was having back pain from the beating of my weight on the wildly uneven (rough) terrain on the MTB trails. I got a great deal on a StumpJumper FSR Comp, and never rode that ‘hard tail’ ever again. I get the macho need to not ride a ‘soft’ bike, but from a former ‘fattie’, the pain of all that weight bouncing on a skeleton that was already stressed made riding outdoors so painful at times I actually found myself avoiding it!

If the idea is to enjoy riding, to ride more often, to build your base and have fun, a hard tail is the last thing I’d personally recommend. I still have that Trek bike, but only because it was my very first carbon ride and I think it’s really amazing looking, but I have, even now, no desire to ride it.

My recommendation would be a Shimano 105 equipped aluminum, or carbon road bike, and a smart trainer. (Why 105? WHY NOT! It’s not junk, it works, it is what I started out on) And a smart trainer because you can still ride on bad weather days, and on days you don’t want to go outside. There is nothing wrong with riding indoors. And you could even put a mountain bike on a smart trainer (not sure if a rear suspension bike is a great idea on a trainer though) I started with a used one from a Facebook group. I rode that thing for nearly a year before I upgraded to a different brand.

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that is exactly what happened. Step on scale after morning bathroom duties and was down 7 pounds.

zone 3 is keeping my heart rate about 120 so that is within my 11-149 fat burning range…so far it is making me stronger. finished the 60 minute workout on a banana and coconut milk. I wasn’t dead but I felt it. Thanks everyone for the advice. I also will be looking into a full squish mtb as @robcow suggested. I want to ride outside. I am in a funny place jogging outside feels better on my back than walking, but I am at my heaviest in my life so jogging aint happening right now. maybe I need to do more core workouts!

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Yeah, that trading fat for muscle got old. I also fought plateaus. I’d be going great, and then have weeks of mot losing, or gaining any weight. It happens, and it’s to be expected. Just stick to a plan and don’t get discouraged. I’ve found a ‘big ride’ can often break a plateau. I remember being stuck at the same weight for over a month. I thought the scale was broken. HAH! :flushed:

And shoot for sweet spot into threshold to lose weight, but not every ride. I found if I sprinkled some harder rides into a month, even when I was so ‘weak’ helped push/pull me along. Don’t overdo it, but don’t count yourself out either, if your body can take it. I think you said you had some heart issues, so get a consult with your/a cardiologist. Find someone who works with people that workout, or compete. Switching cardiologists worked for me. I got less ‘you’re going to die’ and more ‘let’s see what you can do, where you are at, to see where you can go’. Again, good luck…



Back in a far different lifetime, I had a trainer who was clear about this point: “gain weight in the fitness, lose weight in the kitchen.” In other words, the workouts and training regimen would never, in isolation, cause a dramatic loss of weight. Workouts + discipline in the kitchen was the only true path forward.

I hated him something fierce. I loved him dearly.


Hah! True. I know why my weight has been a problem the past couple of years: IPA’s. They do sabotage your progress, but are so damn tasty!! That and snacking…

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You are right, but let me point out some positives. While most of the weight loss happens in the kitchen, you are totally right about that, I find that my cravings and my habits change the more I train. When I am off training, I crave less healthy food. Conversely, when I am doing well on a training block, I am much less tempted by chips and the like. There is a period of about two weeks, and it is this period that I find hard at times.

The other important behavioral change concerns fueling your rides. On the bike, I eat gummi bears and other concoctions that Haribo makes. But I eat so many that off the bike, I have zero desire for sweet stuff (apart from chocolate). I have had my share, more than that in fact. (I wish chocolate were a good fuel on the bike …)

Another easy get is to stop drinking soda and beer. My weight loss journey was nowhere near as difficult as yours (I think I peaked at 87 kg and now I am at 74 kg), but had a big pay off. 0,5 l of coke have 225 kCal, i. e. 1/10th of your resting metabolic rate.

Lastly, even if your weight stays roughly the same, gaining fitness is a net positive. So I’d focus on that and let the rest flow from there. If you ride often enough, your body wants to optimize for that, i. e. make you less heavy.


I got anxious to see if my ftp changed. Things felt differently. I am proud to say I made what I think is a major gain of about 20%. I am now at 93. Still low but I gained. I still took the test incorrectly but I am waisted and honked at the end. I hit 130 on the test and couldn’t sustain it. The work is worth it. Thanks for all the advice. Weight is coming off but I’m stronger and able to do more. Guess the process is going crazy o be long and strenuous.


I started riding on the Peloton after taking a lot of time off riding. I had a MTB but didn’t have a road bike, etc.

I started with Steven T Little’s Endurance rides, and loved them. I built up a really solid base and had major effects. My BP went down, resting heart rate was in the low 40’s, and I felt great. I progressed on to Matt Wilper’s and his Power Zone rides and loved them. I tried HIIT and Tabata rides and struggled and also with Power Zone Max rides. I failed a stress test, and had a workup with a cardiologist and found a genetic defect in my heart and when I was having a hard time in Max and HIIT type rides I was literally past my bodies maximum. I wanted to push harder and felt like it wasn’t happening and had no idea I had a built-in speed limiter.

With your health issues, I’d suggest speaking with your cardiologist about your plans, and make sure it’s all good, and then take it easy. Build endurance, do NOT ignore that. Also do longer rides. I remember doing the longer rides on Peloton and they were tough. That is one drawback, I feel, about spinning as training’. The rider gets trained for more than they think. The body gets used to the 45 minutes, or 50 minute rides, and doing longer rides ends up being a monumental effort. That is one thing that I and a large group of owners kept complaining to Peloton management: We NEED longer rides. Stringing multiple rides together isn’t really a great option because all rides have a warm-up and cool-down in them, so unless you come in to rides hot, it can be interesting getting back up to speed.

But I’m no expert, I just know what seemed to work for me. Get that base, get that endurance, do the Power Zone Endurance rides down cold. Don’t push too hard. And like I did, realize that FTP isn’t all that important. One instructor there (STL I think) said over and over: ‘Don’t ride the numbers’. I agree.

Riding indoors v outdoors: It’s all riding, but your advancements indoors aren’t likely to carry over completely to riding outdoors. Why? Wind, varying terrain, excitement, heat, etc. BUT riding indoors will make you a little faster and more able to ride longer, IF you work on that base and middle. I was still being dropped, but was being dropped later and later in rides, and more able to hang on the back, or catch up to the group.

Good luck with your riding.

(Also realize that the Peloton bike does not have a power meter so all of their ‘power levels’ are calculated. If you have an early bike, the calibration can be quite a bit off as well. If you are serious about training on the Peloton, get some power meter pedals and know what you are going rather than trust the data from the bike. My gen 1 bike was off over 12% for example. Also realize that there are (were when I was riding at least) people on the leaderboards that have ‘cooked’ their bikes and their output is in no way humanly possible without some ‘help’. Like on Zwift, there are cheaters on Peloton too. The new Bike+ is supposedly capable of calibrating itself when it is turned on so there is hope it is more accurate, but it still does not have a real power meter. (Get the pedals (Assioma pedals are a great choice IMO)))

Similar to Wahoo Kickr and Tacx NEO, the Bike+ measures load and with some calcs it will display power with good accuracy. A DCRainmaker article with reference to the load sensor: Peloton's New Bike+ (Plus): Everything you ever wanted to know and accuracy of his unit: Peloton Bike+ (Plus) In-Depth Review | DC Rainmaker My Kickr 2017 measures load and calculate torque/power with an optical sensor, which I guess some might say is not a “real” power meter.

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That’s exactly what I did. I found my ftp almost doubled now. Still under where the recommended ftp but it’s working. Longer rides is where it’s at. Lol cardiologist just told me to work out longer not harder so you’re correct on all levels.


I’m glad they fixed that issue they had with the old bikes, and added an ERG mode type setting. That was why I dropped mine. The accuracy, and having to twist the knob and over and under cranking it. First world problems.

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