Women of TR at 4+w/kg, how did you get there?

Wowww! As I know my weight will never drop below 63kg (once I even get back there!), you have definitely given me hope!

As of right now seeing a wattage that high would kill me beyond a few minutes! Nonetheless, I’m excited to see the progress for sure.

I feel like there is several ways of getting to a 4+ w/kg, so it really depends on who you are as a person and an athlete.
I think consistency and a long-term plan are crucial. What I also found really helps is having a clear goal and an encouraging team/training partner.
If you feel like you are plateau-ing at a certain w/kg, it might be time to take some rest or change up your routine.

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It’s really inspiring to see women find success through trainerroad. I only started with trainerroad about 2 months ago (but I have been a recreational cyclist on and off for years) so i’m a long way off yet. I’m wondering how many years of training it has taken for people to get where they are, whether that be the coveted 4w/kg or 3.6? (keep in mind i’m currently at 3.2w/kg so not even close!) I’m just curious to know what kind of goals are realistic?

I don’t want to think about weight too much as I find I actually gain weight when I get fit, this is likely because my muscle mass increases, so I don’t want to think about gaining weight as being a negative thing at the moment. Potentially if I ever get to my peak that might be something to consider but not sure I will ever actually get there (there’s plenty of other things to work on right now!).

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I’ve gotten to 3.6w/kg, but that was during/after racing season and I was LEAN (and hungry ALL the time)! :rofl:

I’m glad you’re already framing it in years, because even when I was riding spicy and hard group rides before structured training and racing I had NO idea how much coasting and recovery happens out on the road.

It’s taken a few seasons of proper and consistent training to finally be reaping the rewards of all this time on the trainer, but having even one under your belt will allow you to see patterns and trends and either know where you can push up a workout (e.g. HR not being stressed enough, not feeling enough of a “burn” from VO2 or over/unders), or start to see the signs of overtraining and know when to back off (e.g. high HR in recovery portions or at the beginning of a workout, instead of feeling a burn your legs slowing to a crawl, that sort of thing). You’ll also get some favorite workouts that you know you can hit with results (e.g. Goddard is a good all rounder to hit all systems, Baxter for endurance, etc).

All of that being said, in order to start to see those trends and get to know yourself and what works for YOU the best thing is to take a few minutes after a session to take notes to yourself and jot down things like: what gearing you were in, what worked, what didn’t, utilization of cadence drills and/or practicing breathing, I like to remind myself of what drills Coach Chad has that I like or what to flat out ignore (like his prompts to push up VO2 Max drills to inevitable failure)!

Hope this helps, and +1 on your weight goals, I spend the end of the racing season of 2019 DETERMINED to keep my weight at 126lbs and ended up flailing through my Base training, barely keeping my FTP numbers up until March and just having constant headaches and fatigue (don’t recommend it!) but now without racing or group rides for the past year I’ve gone the opposite way and need to reel it back in, was doing LOTS of volume and gravel rides in the summer/fall but no structure until October and it kicked my BUTT when I got back on the trainer! :hot_face: Also do not recommend a complete halt in training for months on end, unless you’re physically/mentally fried and in need of it.

I’m now 140lbs/63kg (and 26%bf which is not great), but also added strength training in Oct and a regular Vinyasa yoga practice all the while nailing workouts I never could like Spencer +2 and other VO2 Max workouts I never had the strength/capacity/recovery to reap the rewards from)! Now with my two doses of vaccine I’ve been able to get back to spicy group rides and keep pace/drop riders I never did or could before too :smiling_imp:

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Thanks for the reply! This is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. Taking notes after each session is a great idea, I definitely need to work on knowing when it is good to push and when it is good to rest, I don’t think I have quite figured that out yet.

Since I wrote the post in January I have crept up from 3.2 to 3.4 and that has taken a lot of work. I’ve just started adding strengthening exercises to my routine and am hopeful that will help generate more power.

I can’t imagine trying to do all of this and be hungry all the time,

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Congratulations on your increase! A bit like mine. I’m at 3.6 w/kg now, after starting with TR in January. My first test resulted in 3.2 w/kg. My background is in rowing so I had a good base and then responded well to cycling intevals. I had a bit of a crash in March when I got into the build phase and ended up with a crappy test because I was fatigued. I don’t think I should be doing three intense interval sessions per week. Since then I haven’t done any indoor training, but I did a tt on Wednesday wich resulted in my highest ftp so far. Clearly some weeks of rest did the trick. Heading into the summer will be interesting, because I always put on weight in the summer and lose it in the winter. Like a bear. I’m training for an audax that crosses the Alps in September, and I very much would like to keep my weight down for that, but it may not be possible.

You’d be surprised how much you can push on those shorter jobbers, I’m glad I have a ridiculously strong MTB female friend who also does TR and seeing her push up those numbers inspired me to try as well (e.g. Baird, Bluebell, Mills, Taylor et al, even nudging up 1-2% on those longer sweetspot workouts like Tallac, or threshold like Galena, you’ll get a really good sense of that grey “line” of what’s doable and sustainable vs. overreaching)!

Also, just writing the notes and then re-consulting them through the subsequent workouts (since they tend to reappear down the line) really helps, just gets you more mindful about what you’re doing and how you’re feeling, I know what my initial HR should be so if I’m seeing a high HR either at the beginning of a workout or in a recovery ride I know I (should) back down. But I always at least try :sweat_smile:

Also, don’t get discouraged if you’re not seeing constant improvements in FTP, I know that gets said a lot but I have to remind myself that all the time and focus on other aspects of my training that are improving (successfully completing Spencer +2 yay! holding higher numbers for longer, being able to do more repeats with better recovery/dropping HR) but again it’s easier to see those things against a full cycle of training.

You’re already improving, so things are hopefully going well! Congrats :muscle: :grin: :+1:

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I seriously don’t understand this, I always lose weight during the summer due to training/racing/adventures outside on the bike and eating mostly lighter foods/grilled veg and meats, but during the winter due to volume decrease (but not necessarily intensity) and even trying to keep a lid on eating treats and excessive libations during the holiday months I STILL end up gaining (unless I completely restrict and then end up with constant headaches and basically no improvements on the bike or my nordic skis) :sob:

What do you typically eat during the winter? And how does it differ from your summer months? Being in Minnesota I’m thinking I need to increase my daily expenditure (more walks, I already strength train and have a regular vinyasa yoga practice) to try and offset the decrease in volume, and just resign myself to (somewhat?) smaller food portions…?

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I have no idea… It’s been like this my entire adult life. +/- 5kg between Sept and Feb. My mother is the same. I think it could be two things: more work stress in the winter months and more endurance training in cold weather. The summer months are more about sprint work, so I do put on extra muscle. That doesn’t explain the same pattern in my mother’s case, because she doesn’t really exercise. Why is Minnesota a factor for you (I only know it from Fargo :grin:)?

Hey, it’s a nice problem to have! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

MN is a factor since it’s a lot harder to justify being outdoors in general, pretty cold winters (normally)!

And usually it’s not a big deal since we’re on the nordic skate skis training for the Birkebeiner 50k (Slumberland American Birkebeiner (Skate 50K, Classic 55K) | American Birkebeiner) but with COVID that was off the docket PLUS we didn’t get snow till basically the new year so too cold to really want to go out on the roads on the bike (MTB trails are off limits due to freeze/thaw and mud), too warm to snow more than a 5k hamster loop, and once we did actually start skiing regularly technique has gotten better so it’s taking more volume to match intensity from last year.

I DREAD the thought of more than 2 hours on the trainer, but if my body doesn’t respond to increase in the low hanging fruit (smaller food portions, more walking) I may have to resign myself to a lot of z2 on the trainer :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

That sounds brutal. I guess there are upsides to the damp but not too cold winters that I’m used to

I totally agree on making a note and seeing what works for each individual. I’ve just started this and already feel like I can see a path of progress ahead with greater clarity.
I have a “race” weight and “winter” weight.
I’ve also shifted to mindful eating - not super obsessive, just aware and slowing down and chewing each mouthful.
It takes the stress out of it for me and I find myself thinking things like “I really like plum tomatoes. They might even be my favourite food right now”
:rofl::joy:

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I’m glad to see this thread, and it’s interesting how much we women are focused on weight as a component of getting to 4w/kg. Do you think that’s different from how men are approaching this goal?

I definitely put on the COVID 15 and right now in my head it’s the main thing holding me back, so it’s what I want to change the most, but I wonder if that’s the right goal.

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Not really. If you look at the 5 W/kg thread, there’s similar focus on weight. It’s very hard to get to these W/kg levels without being very slim.

There is definitely a danger re eating disorders. Due to my own history I’m focusing on mindful eating, which fits with my meditation practice and reflects self compassion. It also brings the focus to process rather than out come.
Which I believe is the best way to get results :rofl::joy:

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I’ve been following this thread and will chime in. I’m sitting at 4.35 w/kg and haven’t changed my weight at all over the past 5 years (62-63kg) but my FTP goes up from around 240 (off season) to 270 ish every year with structured training, volume and group rides. Then I take a month off twice per year where I do very little riding and build back up again. Last year was obviously different with no races, so I did more volume & solo riding on gravel/mtb. I think that really helped me get up over 4.2 w/kg quicker this year. I’m hoping to get to 4.4 w/kg by June and try to hold it over the summer/Fall. I’m in my mid 40s so I expect my body weight will creep up a bit over the next few years and I’m OK with that so long as I feel good and am riding/recovering well. The few times I’ve tried to drop weight, I’ve felt terrible and haven’t performed well.

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This is a great question. I’m also curious. Unless people are seriously racing and know that weight is the issue, I don’t really see the need to lose weight specifically for cycling to get to 4w/kg, am I wrong here?

I imagine that you have to be really careful combining a weight loss program with a cycling training program (not saying you can’t do it), I think for most of us, getting enough good calories in during a demanding training program is a big enough challenge already, no? I think trying to do both at the same time could result in failure for a lot of people, unless you are very calculated about this approach.

This focus on being slim in cycling is also starting to be challenged by many, we’ve heard from many female cyclists who aren’t traditionally ‘slim’ but were told to keep weight off that this negatively affected their ability to compete. These are thought patterns that I think and hope are changing.

What is your ‘covid15’ holding you back from? I completely understand wanting to lose the weight but it is also ok if losing the weight is a long and slow process so that you can also achieve other goals such as getting fitter (if that is one of your goals too).

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Weight loss has definitely been a big part of it for me. I was definitely too heavy a couple of years ago and needed to lose some but I’ve been surprised how much I lost in the end. At this point i’m trying not to lose any more as my BMI is hovering around 20 (it was around 29 back in 2019) and to focus more on building power.

Current FTP is around the 3.7 mark (or at least I held 3.7 for an hour in a recent 25 mile TT, it might be a touch higher on the road bike).

Wow, this is amazing! I currently hover in this weight range, and despite being a generally “strong person”, I cannot fathom seeing numbers over 250. Can I ask, how long have you been cycling or do you come from another background of sport?

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Sure! I was a high school runner but then did nothing athletic until I got into triathlon in my early 30s. I did pretty well at that but had knee surgery that curtailed my running so got into bike racing at age 40 (7 years ago). I’m an ok climber and sprinter but I think I’m best at the 20 min- hour efforts or long endurance (6-12 hour) stuff so my ftp generally looks good but it’s not the whole story. This year I’m doing more dirt events so other skills are becoming more important than ftp for sure :slight_smile: