Weight loss, ftp and plateau issues

Hi I’m hoping someone can help me… I’m a 54yr male and have been using TrainerRoad for several years. In the late summer I switched to plant based eating and have lost circa 23kg which is epic. I have been training 3 times a week with (prior to lockdown) a long hard ride outside on Sundays. I managed to keep my ftp consistent through out the weight loss. My weight has now stabilised at 88kg. Still a bit heavier than I want but at 6.2ft it okay for now… the issue is that I can’t now seem to improve my ftp. In an effort to progress I returned to base and build phases (low volume due to work commitments) and felt I smashed them. At the end of the block I’ve tested both with the ramp and 8 min ftp test and can’t improve from 250w. In fact the ftp figures were lower each time than my existing ftp… I tried yesterday and managed a tiny improvement of 5w… yet out of the road I can nail all my my younger fitter and lighter mates when on the flat with high sustained wattage… I am well hydrated and always eat prior to training… the only thing it can be must be I’ve some how plateaued… anyone have any insight or support please?? It’s crushing me :weary:

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Maybe you need to take some rest from structured training? For me that worked wonders after being on a plateau for 7 months after dropping 7kgs in the same time. I think it’s good to get some time off from the bike and simply ride and enjoy riding,

Would you be interested in sharing your profile? It may help us with giving advice.

Hi how do I share the profile, and just so I understand, why would I do it - what does it provide?

On the desktop website, you can choose the privacy settings of your profile. Doing this gives viewers a look at your calendar.

The reason it’s so valuable is because people may pick up on details that you’ve missed or interpret data differently to how you have.

In the few times that I’ve suggested it and people have done so, it hasn’t been uncommon to see, for example, lots of failed workouts when the person’s original post stated that their compliance was good.

So it basically just removes a lot of guesswork and can lead to a more direct and helpful answer.

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If you do the same volume for a few years then you’re going to plateau. Especially as you’re getting older - if you’re in your 20s then the accumulation of years of training can continue to provide marginal improvements but I think once you’re in your 40s or 50s that’s likely offset by the effects of aging. Within the parameters of X hours/week there are obviously things you can do to get the most out of that training time - better nutrition, recovery, optimising the amount of intensity, improving consistency, etc. But if you’ve already done those things then at some point your only option to make further gains is to increase volume. As above, sharing your profile may help people identify if there are things you can do to get more from your current training volumes. But if your training is already pretty good then you may have to decide whether to be happy at ~250W or whether you can find a few more hours to train.

I’m in a similar boat - mid-40s, years of training behind me, I already do about as much volume as I’m willing/able to do within my lifestyle, already have an approach to training/nutrition/recovery which is pretty good for me, and am at a fairly healthy weight. My FTP has been in pretty much the same place for a few years now, I’ve just learned to be OK with that. I see my challenge over the next decade or 2 as being primarily about hanging onto the fitness I’ve got rather than setting many PRs. Unless I have a drastic lifestyle change like taking early retirement which would allow me to spend a lot more time training…


We are in a similar position, same age. I have the same strengths - I can drop club mates on the flats and out sprint them. The same lighter riders that can’t hang on the flats can drop me on longer climbs.

My FTP has also been stuck in a similar range but I’ve done a couple of things that have boosted it.

The first was a true low intensity winter base miles block. It was crazy but I was breaking 20 minute PRs on climbs by week 7 of 10-12 hours per week of very slow 70% of HRmax riding. (My yearly average was 8 hours per week.)

Lately I’ve been doing a threshold block using the extensive method - raising FTP from below by extending TTE. Intervals are 90-95%. I started with 3x10, 4x10, 3x15, etc. I got a 15 watt boost just from a 3 week training block. Unfortunately it got cut short because of family/life issues.

My plan is to do another block like this and when I feel topped out, I’ll try pulling the FTP up from above with a VO2max block or over/unders.

I think to get past the plateau, you have have to change up the training. Add volume, change intensity, etc. I’m kind of resigned to the fact that I’ll probably never reach a 300 watt FTP. At this age, I say ride your strengths and enjoy crushing your friends on the flats and riding them off your wheel.


If you have enough time try the following,
-Limit your interval days. Maximum of 2 times per week but keep it hard 85%+ of your HR
-Do lot of Zone 2 rides (keep your HR at 65-70%) The key here is to build mitochondria, you don’t have to bury your self.

TR is great at general fitness but you will have to do 13-15 hours of training to get you into the next level.

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I have made it public

Hi I believe it is now public

Thanks for sharing your calendar. Great compliance!

Firstly, it looks like you’ve only just finished Sweet Spot Base 1 and 2. If that’s correct then I wouldn’t worry about an unchanged FTP. Base isnt really designed to increase FTP and you may experience other improved performance metrics such as repeatability thanks to an improved base!

Secondly, you dont seem to have done a build phase in at least a year. This will be crucial to building FTP.

Lastly, you had a good chunk of the spring and summer with no structure at all, followed by some maintenance plans. This year, if I was you, I would aim for more consistency with structure and follow a base-build-speciality or base-build-base-build trajectory

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Took a quick look at your calendar and starting with Sept 1 2020 you did a lot of intensity followed by ~12 weeks of SSB1 and SSB2. I started road cycling five years ago at your age, and my FTP peaks around 250-280. Thinking of what got two years to 260-280, and two years to 250, my only thought was the same as cartsman’s comment:

and from what I understand that is true regardless of age. Maybe not possible due to other commitments, but if you could bump to 7-9 hours/week during loading weeks then you might see a bump. Doing that with low volume plans can be a bit of a logistical challenge.


I’d love to see your macronutrient breakdown for the day and your intra-workout fueling strategy.

Fitness isn’t inherently improved by diet, but it’s often held back by insufficient carbohydrate, especially around training times.

Hi I’m eating a plant based diet based on whole food, no processed foods, lots of beans, lentils, crunifarious veg like Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach etc… nuts and seeds and ground flax… a small amount of dairy in the form of cream and cheese. Oat milk and coffee and circa 3 l water a day

Oh! Sorry for confusion. I’d like to see macronutrients laid out quantitatively if possible. Grams of carbs, protein, and fat per day.

Based on what you listed though, it looks like my initial suspicions may be true: your daily carb intake is pretty low. Eating strictly whole foods and not including rice, potatoes or other very high-carb, lower-fiber foods indicates its likely you’re falling short of carb needs to meet your training demands.

Probably fine on protein and fiber.

Probably too heavy on fats, even if they’re the healthy kind.

Let me know what those numbers look like!

I did scan your calendar/history too. Thanks for making that public.

Yeah I think you’re doing will with getting your workouts in. I would agree that you should look to build to get FTP improvements. So keep the consistency up and nail those workouts and see how you do after that!

He isnt struggling to meet his training demands though. His compliance to his workouts and overall plans is very good. The issue looks to be one of training stimulus.

You’ve just described the last 5 years of my TR career…

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That’s precisely the “tell” I used to infer that he may need chronically higher carb intake.

The first bit or the last? Hope its working well for you :smiley: