It is! On a related note, its fascinating to read some struggle with long sweet spot and nail over/unders and longer VO2max intervals (I’m the opposite).
Look mate, with where you’re at in terms of age, existing cycling experience and results, I’m going to float an unpopular opinion. For the immediate future - FORGET ABOUT PERFORMANCE. Forget about training plans, watts, and sweet spot, forget about zones and all that. You need to regain control over your health and your habits before you even start looking down the road of performance.
Something to consider… You’re dieting and doing crushing intervals. That’s never going to go well. Your cortisol is WAY up which means you’re probably not recovering, constantly famished and not sleeping well. This is why you’re getting slower. Even short high intensity rides cause problems. You CAN get faster in a calorie deficit, and I if you improve your health you will be faster outside even if you lose power initially.
For the time being, focus on diet and consistent weight and aerobic program. Use power ONLY as a way to calculate work performed - nothing else. Get to the gym 3+ days per week and fit in as much fasted training as you can in the mornings maximizing the amount of work you’re performing between 180-210W or about 125-130 BPM HR. which will roughly correlate to 600-700kcal/hour. Start 60m rides (W,F, Sun) and 90m rides (T, T, Sat). Do these first thing in the morning and your gym routine in the evening T, T, Sat. Keep the gym workouts and adjust the wattage to maintain the training volume. This is how you establish those habits. Eat a sensible breakfast (eggs and veggies), a good sized lunch (chicken, veggie, single starch carb - rice, potatoes, beans) and as much salad as you want for dinner (this is greens and non starchy veggies (carrots, beets, tomatoes, asparagus, sprouts, no cheese, add protein beans or a small handful of nuts, and your dressing is salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice). Add about 40g dark chocolate (>75%) and 1 cup of frozen berries or cherries for desert.
Do this for four weeks, honestly. No soda, candy or crap food. If you can do that, you will start to see results. When those results come, add another 30m to each of your weekend rides and do it again for 4 weeks. During this second 4 weeks, try and improve your sleep hygiene. Then add another 30m to your weekend rides again. If you can do 3 cycles of that, I guarantee you’ll be able to start worrying about performance. Go enjoy your training camp - you’ll be down probably 20lbs, you’ll feel amazing regardless of where your power is, but I bet if you stick to the consistency and ride that kind of volume, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at where you’re power is come May.
This WILL be boring. Sorry about that - use something like Zwift if you must, but it’s critical that during this time you’re being consistent, keeping cortisol (HR) down, so that you’re able to upregulate testosterone and HGH, and sleeping well, which you will be sleeping better, I’m sure.
When you get back, then you can start with a training plan. Keep the good habit’s you’ve established and things will start going your way.
@Schell - Thanks for taking the time to respond. I’m open to all thoughts/opinions. I can be in control of my eating…and have been for the last couple of weeks. Yes I fell off the wagon from Thanksgiving to New Years. I just love the meal and only get it s couple times a year…so I go nuts. Plus there’s this spiked eggnog issue I have…so good and I don’t have the willpower to resist. But it also only lasts until Christmas so all good on that front now. Since the new year I’ve cut back massively on my alcohol consumption and started tracking calories again…but this time paying more attention to macros. I had way too much fat in my diet and not enough carbs to fuel workouts or protein to build muscles. Damn those avocados are good though…sucks to cut them out/back.
But some things you say don’t line up with me: I sleep great, no issues there and I’m not famished all day. Intermittent fasting for a year took care of that…over the summer last year I was down to only eating between 4:00p-8:00p and it just wasn’t that hard. I’m back to doing 16:8 now. Can’t really qualify recovery…but I think fatigue has played a roll in some poor workouts. I drink maybe 12 soda’s a year (no lie) so nothing to lose there really. Candy is only at Halloween so again nothing there really.
This morning I did get up at 5:30 and did Baxter -2 fasted…hadn’t even seen your post yet but it had been in the plans.
Thanks again I do appreciate the lengthy post and will consider many of the points.
So back to the previous discussion with @bbarrera and @Boombang about gearing. Last night I did Bashful +2 on 100% and completed it successfully. I did the first set in the big ring and the rest in the small ring. Right away it feels different in the small ring and if you look at the power output it is MUCH more smooth…much closer to the target with fewer spikes and troughs as ERG mode tries to match the power.
On the main discussion of me and workout success while on a caloric deficit my plan is this: On workout days I won’t fast and I will eat roughly 1,000-1,100 calories before my ride. I’m really focusing on a good macro split for those calories, targeting 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat. Then post workout I have a meal that’s about the rest of my daily calories, 600ish, plus whatever my workout burn is. Goal is to get close to that total but not go over. I’m set for 2 lbs a week weight loss in MFP which gives me a daily of 1,690 calories…that number is very similar to the TDEE calculator output for me if I choose Sedentary and Cutting which was 1,763 calories. Now that is only 500 calorie deficit per day as opposed to 1,000 for 2 lbs a week that MFP is doing. I figure it’s better to choose Sedentary there and then add in the workout calories rather than choose Moderate which is 3-5 workouts a week…even though I’m doing that much it doesn’t know how much I’m actually burning in the workouts.
Feeling pretty good about the progress at this point. I’m back to completing workouts at 100% and I’m losing weight again. We will see in a couple of weeks about the progress of my FTP.
I’m glad you feel like you’re back on track, but you have made 3 posts about how the plans aren’t working for you. Just because some of my assumptions don’t apply to you doesn’t mean the fundamentals don’t apply.
If you eat 1000 calories before you do the workout you just posted, and you burn 616, what do you think is going to happen? The fact remains that those kinds of workouts above LT2 spike cortisol, a stress hormone. They just do. That makes you hungrier than you would otherwise be. So you eat before and again after to tamp down those hormones. It’s not hard to see where this is going. You’ve easily got 50+ lbs to lose. If you take a year to to that the right way, it’ll be gone forever and you won’t have to yo-yo diet anymore. Doing what you’re doing facilitates a binge/purge eating style which is not going get you where you want to be.
The point is you need to establish training consistency and volume first. Anchor those habits, and doing HIIT workouts are antithetical to that goal. If you had done a 90m workout at 180w average, fasted, you would not be +380, you’d be -almost 1000 calories, which is doable because you’re not spiking cortisol. These are also the kinds of workouts that you don’t need to ‘fuel’ because they’re overwhelmingly aerobic.
Anyway, you asked for help - 3 times in fact - and didn’t like what I had to say, so that’s fine.
You’ve already ‘failed’ with the training load several times, but I’m sure this time will be different. It’s what everyone tells themself that want’s to keep doing what they want to do regardless of what’s right.
FWIW I’m a 5w/kg Cat 1 rider with 17 years of racing and cycling experience, and sub 10% BF. I’m not a naturally gifted athlete, but have worked hard to crack the code over the years and figure out what works and what doesn’t (because I’ve spent a lot of those years banging my head against a wall). But keep doing what you want to do, if that keeps you motivated, then great. The point is that your current approach is probably not the best approach for you and your current situation, and will likely result in a flameout later, but maybe not, and I wish you the best.
FWIW, google the MAF method and see if any of that resonates with you. It’s not perfect either, but it’s a great place for people to start from and instills sustainable habits over time, and emphasized health over performance and building you up slowly as an endurance athlete, which is afterall, the goal of all this.
@Schell - just to be clear…I didn’t eat the 1,000 calories RIGHT before the workout. I did the workout at 6:00p and the 1,000 calories were consumed throughout the day. And yes I was hungry after and ate a high protein dinner consisting of a nice NY Strip steak, steamed broccoli, a sweet potato and a slice of garlic bread. That was it for the day, I was ~250 calories short of eating my base plus all of the workout calories.
I do understand that I’ve probably got another 50 lbs to lose…and if I do I will be the weight I was when I played volleyball in high school. That said targeting the weight of a typical cyclist may not be reasonable based on my body structure. My calf for instance is 19.5" around currently with VERY little fat. Quads are the same way. Years of being a jumper and a skier have put some pretty muscular legs on me. I have a belly to lose for sure…I’m not denying that. But while I may still have 50 lbs to lose I DID already lose 50 lbs from June 2017 to June 2018. Yes I sabotaged myself over the holidays and gained 10-12 pounds back but I’m back focused on doing things the right way and I believe that I will continue to succeed in this journey.
Regarding my other posts: Post 1 was about some early issues. People suggested not pushing workouts around and going to low volume. I stopped pushing the workouts around and finished the rest successfully. Post 2 was about SSB Mid Vol 2 and failing workouts. People reiterated that I probably shouldn’t be on a Mid volume plan. Honestly I think if my diet was better I could have done it, but I did take the advice to heart and switched to low volume for my build cycle. Post 3 is this post which is more about looking for advice as I am not transitioning to caloric restriction as well as really focusing on my nutrition. I really do believe it is paying off and I AM taking in all this advice and making more informed choices on how I proceed. I believe the responses from all of my posts have helped me along the way.
I will look into the MAF method, thanks for the suggestion.
Yes, I see the same when comparing big to small chainring on same workout. I keep reading comments that:
- faster spinning flywheel has a lot of momentum
- momentum outside on the road means you can hold speed without much effort
So you would think that on the trainer all that momentum would result in a smoother power chart. But it doesn’t. Go figure.
If I look at my outside ride data, and compare climbs to intervals/TTs on flat roads, the power output has the same smoothness. I could post pictures and you can’t tell which is 20 minutes of climbing and which is 20 minutes of a work interval / TT.
In my ride data, hard efforts outside with constant power (climbs or intervals/TT on flat) have more power variation than little chainring on trainer. The smoothest power output I can find in my outdoor rides comes from TT efforts on pancake flat roads, and not climbing. The best climbing rides have power smoothness like big chainring on TrainerRoad. Outside on the flats I apply power to pedals just like when climbing, same on trainer (I don’t just lazily kick over the top). And I don’t have problems modulating power in big chainring when jumping from rest to work interval.
For all those reasons the small chainring feels unnatural compared to all of my outdoor riding. I’ll admit that if I got a little OCD about it, and wanted trainer time to be a game of “closest match to target power” then I’d use little chainring on trainer.
So my conclusion is try both and pick whatever works best for you - and ride on!
Grasshopper, your response to that post was excellent. I think you are truly on the right path. Not one person on this forum has all of the answers, not even @Chad. These plans are general, but each of us responds differently and we all have to figure out what works for us. I think you have taken a lot of the advice to heart and you’re working your ass off(literally). Keep up the good work, and have fun doing it. Cheers.
I think this is pretty spot on.
I just finished up Sweet Spot Base Mid Vol 1. I’m no 5watt/kg. I’m probably comfortably in between that and the OP.
I’m 39, finished my first full season of Cyclocross this year, finishing mid/front third of the pack every race. I’m trying to lose weight as well, but only in the neighborhood of 10-15 lbs before 2019 cross season.
I’m realizing that mid volume is a LOT. I’m cooked, and wouldn’t be surprised if I got sick during week 6 because I was so cooked from training. The time is less than I’m used to on the bike, but the fatigue has been much more than I’m used to. I was well and truly cooked after week 5, though I got through the vast majority of the workouts, only faltering a bit on a few of the 90 minute over-unders.
I’ve been keeping a mild calorie deficit, enough to lose maybe a half pound a week. I can say unequivocally if I had more to lose, I would not be training this hard. It’s just too demanding to keep on top of the training as is, without kneecapping yourself with a plan for extensive weight loss.
As it is, I think I am going to accept that low volume is probably the way to go for me this year. 4-5 HARD days is more than I was prepared for, and I think it’s smarter for me to admit that, or at least err on the side of caution, than dig myself a bigger hole that I may or may not be able to work myself out of on the fly.
So, low volume it is, and if I feel good I’ll get some more endurance rides in and maybe ramp up(slightly) my weight loss goals over the winter/spring.
@anon67840561, Another option to consider is altering the recovery week timing. I have a few options outlined in that thread. Essentially, in Base, you cut the 5 work weeks / 1 rest week spacing to 4/1 or 3/1.
Doing this reduces the buildup of stress and may make it more manageable. I just finished my first attempt at it with the Option #2 (4/1 that then finished with 3/1, 3/1) and I am really pleased with the feel. Compared to last season where I did 5/1, I feel more prepared and less fatigued overall.
And even with that (or because of it?) I got a nice 8.8% bump in FTP. It’s not conclusive, as part of that gain was returning to a prior level before a whole blood donation and 2 weeks sick. But it’s promising and seems easier to handle for my 45yo body and work/life schedule even while maintaining the Mid Vol plans.
That’s not a bad idea. I remember feeling pretty good during weeks 1-4. Week 5 it hit me, and I’m like ‘oh dear god I need a week off’ lol.
I think the option of the 4/1, 3/1, 3/1 is especially nice since the harder parts in the last 2 segments are mostly from the SSB 2 phase, which can be especially difficult. I hope the 3/1 split makes them tough but manageable without the risk of sickness (that has gotten me more than once).
Overall it only adds 1 week to make the SSB 13 weeks total. So it’s a nice tweak that doesn’t significantly alter the scheduling.
Yeah next time around I do think I’ll do SSB Mid again and break it up 3/1, 3/1 or maybe even in 2 week work chunks. Next time I’m that focused will be next fall though as I’m not spending 5 days a week on the trainer over the summer. What I AM going to do is to be more diligent about riding indoors this summer if it’s raining. We had record days and amount of rainfall this past summer and I didn’t get nearly the riding in I should have as I didn’t make up missed outdoor rides with indoor rides.
Avalanche Spire +1 tonight. Time to get my feed on…oatmeal here I come.
Nutrition question: I’ve been eating Quaker Oats instant oatmeal, the high protein ones (Banana Nut is really good). That’s a decent option right? In addition…I’m probably in need of 300-400 additional calories before my workout. Suggest a snack I can grab at lunch to save for the trip home. I will have had: Oatmeal (240 cal, 40g carbs, 5g fat, 10g protein), a smoothie (360 cal, 43g carbs, 7g fat, 35g protein), and a Greek yogurt (120 cal, 14g carbs, 0 fat, 15g protein). And of course a bunch of water (which is what I drink all day long).
Just gonna point this out and do with it what you will…
- Total Carbohydrate 40g 17%
- Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
- Sugars 12g 17%
- Added Sugars 10.8g 45%
That’s a ton of sugar. A better choice might be regular Quaker Quick Oats with Cinnamon (I eat this every day and also add flax seed meal).
Edit: For comparison…
Cereals, QUAKER , Quick Oats , Dry - 0.5 cup
- 4% Total Fat 2.8g.
- 2% Saturated Fat 0.4g.
- 0% Cholesterol 0mg.
- 0% Sodium 1.2mg.
- 4% Potassium 143mg.
- 9% Total Carbohydrates 27g.
- 15% Dietary Fiber 3.8g.
- Sugars 0.6g.
@pwandoff - thanks for pointing that out. Are the quick oats something I can just toss in the microwave? I’m eating this at work so limited ability to do significant preparation. Also I chose the one I did for the added protein as I need more of that in my diet, but today’s was the last in the box so I’m all for switching it up to something more healthy. What is the benefit of the added flax seed meal? Thoughts on how to add protein to your combo?
Here’s why I do - 1/2 cup of dry oats and cinnamon in a bowl. Microwave a little over a cup of water to boiling (about 2 minutes on high). Add water to bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. Add 2 Tbsp flax seed meal (I like Bob’s Red Mill brand; good source of healthy fat). Stir and enjoy. If you need a little sweetness, try 1/4 cup of raisins, a sliced banana or some fresh blueberries.
For protein, I drink a serving of GNC Pure Isolate (it’s whey protein and I like Chocolate Frosting) every morning after riding or when I get back from the gym.
If you’re seriously counting calories - then no this isn’t a great option. It has 240 calories - including 12g of sugar, 10g of protein, and 5g of fat. Switching to old fashioned oatmeal gets you 150 calories - 1g of sugar, 5g of protein, and 3g of fat. You’re better off making plain oatmeal and adding your own flavors to it than you are buying the pre-made stuff like Banana nut (add a scoop of protein powder to the oatmeal if you are chasing increased protein - but given your other snacks and protein volume that probably isn’t necessary).
If you can’t stomach plain oatmeal you can flavor it yourself with better ingredients than the nonsense they put into the flavored stuff (mix in a banana or some peanut butter depending on how your macros are looking)
I’ll give it a shot…of note that in the smoothie I have many days there’s a scoop of BodyTech Pro 24 whey protein. I was more looking for natural sources to go along with the oatmeal…are too many whey protein drinks a waste? or is it ok to have a 2nd one each day?
I do two (1 at breakfast and second for morning snack with banana in a.m.) and concentrate on other sources the rest of the day, i.e. baked chicken, beans/lentils, natural peanut butter, almonds, etc. The benefit of the drink, for me, is convenience during work and after two I think the benefit diminishes (from what I’ve read).
Keep an eye on carbs from sugar; you’ll be surprised, as I was, at what you find on the label. I bet if you do this, it will be easier (somewhat) to shed some weight.
Ok so update on my last 2 rides: Avalanche Spire +1 and Galena +1. This are my final 2 rides in the first section of Sustained Power Build Low Vol. Avalanche Spire +1 almost got me but I gritted my teeth and said to myself (well and my partner as she was riding too) that I wasn’t quitting and I wasn’t turning it down. Finished at 100% but that last interval took some out of the saddle, ain’t nobody stopping me effort to get done as can be seen in the graph.
On Saturday for Galena +1 we wanted to ride the Tour de Zwift at the same time which was Alpe de Zwift (replica of Alpe d’Huez for those that aren’t aware) route. But it started back in at the docks and then over the regular KOM before heading out to the Alpe. In an effort to be doing the threshold intervals on the climb and not while getting there we extended the warmup by 20 min…but that didn’t get it done…so we extended the cooldown by 20 min too. Well that got my partner done but not me, so I free rode the rest. I was SUPER happy that I was able to do all 3 of the intervals at a good cadence and with no issues. And then at the end after a bunch of cooldown I basically did another 15 min block in the same range to finish off the climb.
It was so good to feel good at the end of a LONG (3 hours all told) workout. Yeah an hour of that was 1 w/jg noodling but the other 2 was a good block of work.
Now I’m starting into a rest week. I’ll be adding several extra endurance workouts, hopefully fasted for all of them, to keep the caloric burn going. Only lost .7 pounds this week and yes I know I ate too much over the weekend which surely impacted that. I’ll get better with that at some point.
Well last night was Ramp test night for the start of the second half of the build phase. Honestly I felt crappy…like I never had any legs. But the result was a slight increase back to my FTP that I started TrainerRoad with.
So 4 more weeks of Build phase and then into the Century plan. From there it should be outdoor riding season. Not sure how I’m going to utilize TR over the summer.