Zwift Insider couch to Cat C (now cat B)

Has anyone been reading about the guy on Zwift going from the couch (120kg) to a cat c in 6 weeks, and now aiming for cat B in an additional 6 weeks? That’s 3.2w/kg minimum so he’ll have to have an FTP of about 320w (an increase of about 100w) and have lost 20kg in 12 weeks.

On Strava, Boone (the zwift insider guy) has been doing about 55km a week. I’ve been doing a lot more than that (sticking to the plan), and on the ToS week, I did over 320km.

I’ve made a lot of progress, but it is a little disconcerting to see this sort of thing. I have a friend who is about a 319w FTP, weighs about 75kg, and he got there over a two year period. I’ve seen his rides/effort, and his numbers were gradual and undertandable.

Am I missing something in the Zwift Insider article?

Is this marketing BS? Genetics? Me not working hard enough?

Martin

It looks legit to me. The guy is obviously naturally quite strong but had clearly let himself go before starting to train. He seems quite committed to the training but he will find it increasingly difficult to keep making massive gains.

On my own personal journey I went from cat C to Cat B over several months and then started to plateau. I found it relatively easy to get from 3 to 3.5 W/kg, but I’ve had to work seriously hard to get to 3.6 W/kg. My target is 4 W/kg and I’m not expecting to get there any time soon, if at all! I’ve increased my FTP by around 30-40W over the last 12 months, but I was quite fit when I started and not overweight. Had I been on the couch it could easily have been more like 100W gain. My last 12 week training block gave me +10W FTP which was hard earned.

What Peteski said.

Also dont forget that some of us are high responders, exactly same training stimulus will not give same results for different people. There are also some so unlucky to see no training benefit at all (no responders). Some people will gain 100W, some 50 and others 25 - all in range of normal. With that in mind I’ve seen a youtube where Dylan Johnson mentioned it is expected to gain about 50 watts a year and than half of that next year and so on.

To give you some perspective - I went from 2.5 w/kg to 3.5 w/kg FTP in about 6 weeks and it took me another 4 months to hit 3.9 w/kg (gaining 2 kg weight). You will always see huge beginers gains when coming off the couch :slight_smile: I gained 60ish watts over last 7 or 8 months and it seems like I;m on a plateau now.

Previously I would have described myself as a fast responder to exercise and getting to 300w was my ambitious 12 month Mt Sufferlandria and I wasn’t at all confident I could get there, but thought if I put my head down and work consistently hard for a year I’ll get there, or at least close but feel much fitter regardless.

Ah well, good on him for doing so well. Maybe I need to head on over to Zwift and do a few races to boost my FTP!

Martin

I would say he’s doing amazing despite following Zwift training plans lol. bad zwift workouts xD

Zwift racing can be quite motivating. I often dig out power PRs in the heat of battle! But it is also easy to over-train if you get too carried away. As I’m training primarily for big outdoor Gran Fondo/Sportive events I focus more on my training plan and use Zwift for longer group rides over the winter and in bad weather. I find Zwift works well with SUF if you plan your rides accordingly i.e. sub in equivalent Zwift rides to the open SUF sessions etc.

I think the key to long term fitness is a consistent, sustainable training regime. Smashing yourself for big short term gains only takes you so far. It can eventually lead to burnout and loss of motivation. This guy could easily end up back on the couch again if that happens. Same goes for rapid weight loss plans. They are usually unsustainable long term.

So my advice would be to just keep chipping away and in the long term you will probably see better results without risk of slipping back into Couchlandria!

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When I started in Sufferfest, with a new year, I’ve jumped from (if I remember well my weight) 206 W and ~75 kg to 245 W and ~71 kg in a 12 weeks plan.
I kept training with some interruptions and by the end of the same year I reached/tested 260 W and same weight.
I started a new year training but the pandemic sent my to couchlandria for about 3 months, went back to 76 kg and about 210 W.
By August I restarted with the plan of reaching the 4 W/kg.
In the middle of this journey I replaced Suf plans by a self coaching using suf workouts.
I got a natural loss of weight by increasing volume, with no reduction of power.
My last HM showed 262 W and my performance is showing more. I did a race on Tuesday with 265 W NP for 1h02’ and 5 bpm average lower than my LTHR. Also I am easily achieving a steady 200+ W pretty much within Z2 HR.
I also reached sub 66 kg, so I am virtually at 4 W/Kg now.

However, in real life (and Zwift) absolute power matters in several ways, so I keep chasing the 300 W FTP (at least).
I know that beyond 4.0 W/Kg the gains are gradually slower. But fortunately this kind of adaptations last improving slowly for years. Although I am 41 yo I still hope to reach my goals.
Finally, it is not only FTP that makes a good cyclist.
Cheers!

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Hi @Fezzek - while I haven’t read the complete Zwift articles, one thing to keep in mind is that A. Life isn’t fair and B. Genetics play a part in A.

Just like some individual’s capacity to quickly learn trigonometry, or others’ ability to quickly play an instrument beautifully, there’s a genetic potential that some individuals have to rapidly and positively response to most any exercise stimulus.

With that in mind, some folks will simply start off with a higher level of fitness and others will make more gains than others doing the same or even less training.

More training isn’t always better, though, so it’s important to assess your personal rate of improvement over time.

For most beginning athletes, we can see gains in a given 4DP metric of 1-2% per week of training for the first couple of months. As you continue to train, nearly everyone sees diminishing returns and gains less per week of training. Elite athletes often only gain 1/4% per week of training…which means while an average person could potentially improve their FTP or MAP by 4% in just 2 weeks of training maybe 4-6 hours/week - an elite athlete might be spending 22-28 hours/week to gain 4% improvement in those values over 16 weeks - 8 times as long, and 4-6 X as much training timer per week!

Also, I’ve worked with athletes who even while doing everything right will never exceed 3.5 W/kg for FTP…and it doesn’t mean that they weren’t trying hard enough or not training enough. It’s just that their physiology (stroke volume, mitochondrial density, etc.) make certain things impossible. While that same person might be a piano virtuoso or have a PhD in molecular biology, their athletic performance has a lower ceiling than their other skills and abilities.

Regardless of what you’ve got, continuing to balance your training with recovery over the long haul is the important thing to stay happy and healthy, regardless of whether or not you reach the highest level of performance that you want to reach.

Hope that helps! Neal

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Thanks Neal.

That’s my numbers so far, and I’m more than happy with them. I’ve also lost 67lb along the way. This has become a lifestyle for me again.

I enjoy it a lot - although at the moment I am training for trainings sake, I do have outdoor riding ambitions (finish some epic rides) once bike supplies resume and I can get a bike.

Martin

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Hi @Fezzek - that’s some fabulous improvement already…keep up the great stuff!