Zone 2 training with Iñigo San Millán, part 2

Attia is kind of crazy if you all haven’t noticed. He must have very dedicated patients. He throws out numbers like his patients “only having” 7 hours per week to exercise. He says he “only” exercises 10 hours per and he’s not training for anything. This is not at all representative of the average population!

Attia also said that he rides his zone 2 at just under 3.0 watts per kg. That’s pretty fast! Either he’s very light weight or he has a pretty high FTP or both. My FTP is like 2.8 watts per kg. My zone 2 is more like 2 watts per kg. 3 watts per kg at Z2 would put me at pro level numbers (I think) so I wonder if Attia has the numbers right.

My point is that the prescriptions vary widely depending on whether they are talking about a diabetic patient trying to improve metabolic health, a recreational athlete, or a WT athlete.

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The Z2 they are talking about (lower end of tempo) is 3.5 w/kg for me. I’m riding for a bit over a year and am nowhere near pro level.

Attia seems like a pretty fit guy, so his numbers don’t seem crazy at all to me.


Yep I’m nowhere near the front end of the fit guys around where I ride and my z2 in a 7 zone model is right at 3w/kg. I don’t think it’s unusual to have a moderately fit individual with a high z2/low z3 of around 3w/kg.

Doesn’t sounds that impressive unless this math is wrong:

4.0w/kg X 0.75 (upper zone 2) = 3.0w/kg
Better numbers than mine for sure, but 4w/kg isn’t that uncommon, and far from pro level?


Maybe I’m calculating incorrectly? If I got to 3 w/kg I’d be riding at 280 watts at just my zone 2. Wouldn’t that put my FTP at 375ish?

Maybe it’s just because I’m a bigger guy. At 56 years old, I’d be thrilled if my FTP itself got to 280.

It could be that Attia himself rides at an aggressive zone 2? He’s basing his z2 purely on lactate numbers. Or maybe he’s riding a peloton bike with a generous power meter? :slight_smile:

Are you that big? I’m 91kg / 200lbs and 3W/kg is 273W ftp. Last field test put me around 270, and various models just a handful of watts below that.

Increase ftp and Z2 will increase as well. Or decrease weight and w/kg will increase. I don’t know why you are looking for something outside the obvious reasons: Attia is a fit guy, wirh lots of years in sports and dialed in nutrition. Nothing here strikes me as odd

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I could have sworn that I read one of his athletes saying that he wanted them in that zone for like 20-30 minutes per hour only, but can’t find it anywhere.

My lactate testing established first turnpoint (last point of baseline, not 0.3 or 0.5 mmol above baseline or even 2mmol or any make-me-feel-greater-than-I-am points) is at ~270W. At 70kg. However, my FTP is nowhere near 360W. You can move LT1/AeT independently by just riding a lot (at/around LT1/AeT)

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I have relatives with obesity, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes. The secret sauce would be to get them even walking every day. The group here are all exercisers, and most trying to optimize their genetic potential. A different group altogether. I currently do my zone 2 rides at 82% of my FTP, and I can talk comfortably. (5 hrs/day on a cross country trip is real helpful for training this zone). Now if I could only increase my ftp…

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exactly. My ftp is 3W/kg and when Attia said his z2 was ~3W/kg, San Millan said 'congrats that’s impressive" and I thought W/kg was a stupid thing to bring into a conversation without giving your ftp in W/kg. Regardless I did the quick math and figured Attia was around 4W/kg.

I’m right around where you are. I guess I was just surprised that his z2 was 3W/kg for a guy that claims he doesn’t train for anything, lifts a lot, and does 4 hours per week in Z2.

A quick google search says he’s 5’ 9" and 143lbs (65kg). He said almost 3W/kg so if his almost is actually 2.8 then 182 watts for his zone2 is not out of the ballpark.

I certainly do wish that the middle of my Z2 was 3w/kg!

You can drive yourself crazy making comparisons to others. They aren’t you. You know that. You can only be you.


This thread might be of interest: W/kg at high endurance pace/upper Z2/first lactate turn point?

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It’s only interesting to compare as % ftp. No ftp or W/kg required.

He does have a history doing pretty crazy stuff, so one can assume his couch ftp is on the skinny end of a bell curve. Also your comment about his clients being ‘dedicated’ is probably something as well. It is my understanding his practice is pretty boutique and if you are seeing him you are okay with 6 figure bills.

peter attia crazy swimming stuff

I am totally torn about him. Some of his interviews and insights are amazing, his ability to help one understand T2 diabetes and atherosclerosis are simply the best out there. He was the spark that led me down an educational path that let me control those parts of my life and probably added decades to my time here. Then after that, he gives people like Taubs and many other total quacks access to his microphone and lets some of their bs just slide on past. As long as you keep your critical thinking hat on and smell for quack-y-ness I think its net positive though.


I agree. He’s had some amazing podcasts.

I noticed. I like Taubs’ book a long time ago. It was a good theory when he first wrote his book but the science seems to have come around on him.

He’s made a cottage industry out of making carbs evil and can’t seem to turn back. You wonder if Taubs believes his own BS.

I think Attia even said at the beginning of the episode that some of Taubs’ views were controversial.

I do applaud Attia for saying that all the NAD precursor supplements are basically worthless.

I apologize.

As I’ve mentioned previously I’m just not that bright and kind of a lower class blue collar type guy. I’m not real adept at leveling up my posts to match the quality of many on here plus a lot of this stuff goes over my head.

I get frustrated easily because of information overload, it’s my own issue to resolve, and when I type out what I’m thinking in my head that seems to makes sense to me, but instead comes across as…a rant. It appears to perturb some people.

I’ll try to focus a bit better and not vent my frustrations to strangers. It’s a bit presumptuous of me to write out my incoherent thoughts and wrong conclusions on a subject I’m confused about and expect people to understand my baffled tripe.

I don’t like to upset people.


This stuff is confusing. Your earlier post? I agree with you that one is not a coach. I’ve said it too. No disrespect to the professor, but few if anyone was paying him to prescribe workouts. Now he is part of some FastTalk thing, so I guess he is now getting paid in some coach-like capacity. Dunno, I haven’t found much value following the polarized fad.

However the other one (ISM) actually had real world athletes show up to his lab at Univ of Colorado in Colorado Springs. For years and years. And that guy is employed by a world tour team. So he works with elite athletes AND competitive average Joes. This guy has some actual insights to share. IMHO.


Bud, as noted earlier, I definitely apologized if the tone was misunderstood. No need to apologize and I hope I didn’t come off as appearing to believe I have superior intellect - my wife will tell you I definitely do not.

Personally, I find the San Milan stuff interesting because because he’s coaching a rider who is at the top of sport, almost without question, not to mention he’s brilliant as a Dr/lecturer/etc. I also nerd out on a lot of this stuff because my first degree was Ex Phys and it’s interesting to hear things I’ve learned about physiology applied to training - ISM does this so well.

Beyond that though, if you’re looking for training advice - sifting through the mountains of various ways to do things is absolutely a major task. For me, as a 40 year old with 20 years on a bike and 15 years of year round basketball prior to that (high school and some college), I’ve found what ISM says, as well as what Steve Neal says seem to work really well for me. A lot of this other “stuff” (I.e. Seiler polarized) leaves me flat.

It’s a matter of experimenting and then picking what works for you, and literally filing the rest away.