A quick introduction and a question: Goal 50 mile ride and improved health

I used to cycle everywhere around 25 years a go. I even completed a triathlon. I have lifted weights and tried to stay in decent shape. About 3 years a go I had a seizure in a small room. My head was the door stop and paramedics could hear my gasping for air so they kicked the door in. I am thankful they saved me but it has left me with some health problems. So for the last 3 years I haven’t had any physical activity. I was down down to 2000 calories a day and still gained 50 pounds. I am now at 280 pounds! I am finding solutions to my health problems and they are working. I am trying to train for a 50 mile event in May. I know it’s a huge goal but so is loosing 60 pounds.

Now it’s time to get to the question. I am using a fluid trainer and I need to calculate a FTP. I am having extreme problems running the smaller flywheel foot slipping and back tire moving faster than my legs can keep up. Can I calculate ftp on the middle or larger wheel? I grew up with what most younger people would consider a “BMX” so I am used to that ratio and it throws off my numbers by a considerable margined. I know I will need to train in the smaller gear if nothing other than to find a rhythm.

I am very passionate about your situation and super happy to try to help. Main thing is don’t do too much too soon. Build up a big base period. This is the health focused approach.

You can use any gear you want for an FTP test. If you are just starting back FTP is not so important. You should use a HR monitor and focus on lots of training below your Zone 2 HR aerobic threshold (not FTP/Anaerobic threshold). So this is typically the place where peoples breadth starts to very slighly change from walking breathing intensity to the slightest change in breadth and then do a little less than that HR. So rather than focus on FTP improvements focus on improving the amount of power you can produce at a specific heart rate. That is your motivation. Let’s say your max HR is about 170 and your aerobic threshold is about 120. You train at 115 hr and say you can average 100watts at 115hr. In a month that might be 120watts at 115 hr. This is called the Maffetone Method, he has books on Amazon and is very health focused which is incredibly important when your health is somewhat compromised.

I have always been “fairly healthy” but had a little extra weight (27% body fat) and blood pressure was a bit high (135/85) and recently found revalations as to how to resolve that and after 6-months I am at a great weight that seems sustainable forever and blood pressure is 119/79. I had fasted glucose level of 102 so pre-diabetic and now it is closer to 90. I still own and ride my 24" BMX :slight_smile: and am 56 years old. So even though I did not have as far to go as you do, I still had to go through the same steps. PS I am the creator of TrainerDay :slight_smile:

The main thing you need to focus on is consistency and gradually increasing your weekly hours to the point of doing about 6-8 hours a week assuming 60 miles will take you 5 to 6 hours to complete or more. You should do 1 long ride a week that also builds up slowly to about 3.5 hours but that should not be indoors as spring rolls around and your rides get longer outside becomes more important.

Ok, I worked with our Coach Jack plan builder and realized it requires a lot of plan tweaking to make what I feel is a good plan for you. We need to create the ability to create shareable jack plans so you can edit it yourself but we do have shareable plans so I created what I think is perfect for you. I could tell you all the changes I made or if you like this plan you can just clone this. I started with 3 days a week but later changed to 4 days a week.


I kept the intensity very low. We could do an FTP estimate, you can read other threads here on how to minimize wheel slippage with your trainer. Or you could do HR focused as I suggested. I could create a video explaining all the small changes I mad to make it so this plan fits your needs and then you could create your own jack plan and tweak it.

Sorry for so many responses but as I said I am passionate about helping you. Since you appear to be an open person (me too) I would be happy to coach you for free (minimalist coaching) but I think it would be incredible if we could leave it open communication here. This might get others involved which would help you stay accountable as well as our communication could be very helpful to others. Let me know if you are interested or just prefer some private discussions that’s ok too.

Thanks Alex I have been playing around with coach Jack and noticed the same thing. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond. What I have been doing to start with was sitting ftp around 65 and working my way up. I am trying 95 for the next week I originally tried 100 and found I many new sore muscles for the next 3 days. Hence the very low ftp at start. I don’t mind keeping our conversations in the forum. I do have a couple of questions concerning Coach Jack and my unusual work schedule. My work schedule is a split shift Thursday-Wednesday with Sunday off for a total of 80 hours working and then the off the same days. I need to do shorter workouts on workdays but my days off I can handle any amount as long as recovery is sufficient. I hadn’t considered the heart rate zone but makes since to me. My workout today hit zone 4 for heart rate 150 but it was a mix of hitt and endurance. I have never coached cycling but I have coached people in weight loss (not professionally) but I have been successful I like to get my heart rate high early and keep it 125-140.

Sensors heart rate cadence and speed.

I see you took the time to create Coach Jack with movable training sessions. I can’t tell you how awesome that will be for me and I imagine many others. Congratulations on making training adaptive to people’s schedules. I want to ride some nearly everyday. I believe I will just add a few active recovery days and maybe a sprint or hitt session. It really is perfect for my schedule.

Ok, it’s just incredibly common to do too much too soon and get sick or injured. Especially with your crazy schedule. I would only do 20 minutes of zone 2 on the days you work. Keep it super light. You are already high stress due to sleep disruptions. Higher training stress can be a negative rather than a positive. It sounds like you know a lot about diets. I have learned lots of great hacks in the last 5-years but will avoid any of that unless you are or get interested. I assume you realize that food is more important than cycling for weight loss and strength training even just minimal is more bang for your buck regarding weight loss as well. The key for me and maintaining optimal weight is finding food patterns that make me less hungry. I have gone from 6 meals a day to 2 meals a day and rarely hungry… But that is my story, one thing about food is it is even more individual than training is :slight_smile:

Training is great for weight loss because it inspires us to eat less and changes how we eat. That is the biggest benefits I see from training regarding weight.

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When I first started reading about the maffetone method I was concerned. I feel in to the trap of the optimal heart rate for weight loss. I want anyone reading this to know that there is an optimal heart rate for burning fat but it doesn’t equal fat loss. You need to know calories in and out for fat loss. However the maffetone method takes the optimal fat burning heart rate and turns it in to a great tool for endurance. I believe it will be a great tool for me. I have mostly slow twitch muscle fibers and a low heart rate. I know I just got started reading and using the maff method but I have already noticed some improvement. My 135 he was at 70 rpm today I noticed it’s closer to 80 rpm. I haven’t started digging in to the diet part of it but it matches everything I have learned the hard way.

I am carbohydrate intolerant. I bought a blood sugar test kit to figure out what foods was changing my blood sugar levels. Processed potatoes for example are worse for my insulin response than actual sugar. So no frys, potato chips, instant potatoes and so on for me. I can’t or I am afraid to try intermittent fasting. However I have been eating maff method approved foods for quite some time and excluding the foods in his band list. A sugar crash is what has caused my current health situation. It’s never good to have your sugar drop to the 40’s. I had a low blood sugar episode “seizure” in a very small bathroom. My head became the door stop. I wasn’t breathing well so the paramedic kicked the door in and I am thankful he did it. The reason I am sharing this story is to help anyone that has a concussion to seek help if things don’t improve. I literally had rocks knocked in my ears. So for the last 2 years I have had trouble with balance and motion. Physical therapy is helping tremendously with all of those symptoms.

I completely agree with your advice on the training with my work schedule. I had already selected 15-25 minute recovery rides. I do have a question. Does occasionally doing a high heart rate workout interfere with the maff method?

Sorry for the novel Alex.

I prefer the novel, thanks. Details really help. Your direct question was will high intensity disrupt Maffetone? And Maffetone suggests, it’s best to start with pure low heart rate and once you have established a pattern of consistent improvement in your MAF test for say a month, then start adding some high intensity to see if it disrupts your progress. A MAF test indoor cycling is even easer and more accurate than running. The benefit of higher intensity for faster calorie burn is so minimal that I would argue that that is not what is going to be what gets you to your goal. Consistency and diet will.

I have gone into great lengths of discussions with people about calories in/out CICO and I would say this is a rather simple explination of something very complex. I think the nature of it is right but I think that focusing on this does not work for many people especially ones that are carb intollerant/insulin resistant. Also when Maffetone is discussing fat burning this is for the purpose of immediate fueling of your body. It seems well accepted that when you have insulin flowing in your body it will not burn fat. It also seems well accepted that as your intensity increases you shift from using fat for fuel to glucose for fuel. So in a given day creating a calorie deficite requires eating less, but during a working using fat primarily requires being in a fasted or low carb/glucose/insulin state and doing low intensity.

I wore a continous glucose monitor for a year to fully understand my glucose levels even though I was not diabetic. Borderline pre-diabetic though. In Europe I can just order them online without prescription.

It sounds as though you are open to talking about diet. But what I found is some how you can create a shift to occur that makes it so you are not hungry all the time. Once you find this and if you can sustain this it makes everything a million times easier. For each person finding “your way” is the key. I am also easily carb intollerant. I found after wearing a glucose monitor “tricks” for reducing glucose spikes made me less hungry and then shifting to less meals in a day and intermittent fasting became super easy which led to a better CICO balance and hitting my target weight.

I found this lady does a lot of glucose testing wearing a glucose monitor and I tried all her “hacks” which are rather simple to totally work and shift away from my carb addiction. I don’t believe keto is a good long term solution but it is also a short term solution to kick start this process. I personally don’t like and I don’t eat super low carb but try to manage glucose spikes based on her principals.

The biggest thing for me from her tricks is eating fiber, then protien/fat and finally carbs at the end. Don’t eat high glycemic carbs on the own. Never snack on carbs, eat them as a desert at the end of a meal. If you are in a hurry then starting a meal with phsylium husk pills (pure fiber) makes a big difference and simple. Killing these glucose spikes makes you less hungry and eventually you can can to 2 or 3 meals a day. What I see in myself is after I eat it typically takes 12 hours for my body to have flat / low / fasted glucose / insulin levels. So if I eat with less then a 12 hour fast at night then I don’t give my body time to be without insulin so it is difficult for my body to be in this optimum fat burning state each day.

Ok that is my experience. I think you have to find your way but for us that are carb intolerant I think we have to kill the glucose spikes and spend a period of the day in a pure fat burning mode which all of this contributes to a CICO deficit.

If you need any more info on how to do this MAF test but really it’s just your typical daily workout. Slowly bring your heart rate up to a consistent number say 115 bpm (I don’t know yours). And do that for 20 minutes and track the power you produce, within a given workout your power will probably slowly go down at first (heart rate drift) but eventually should totally flat. But the most important thing is you will see that power keep raising week after week at the same heart rate.

Ok there is a novel :slight_smile:

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