Fat, slow, and out of shape... Where should I start?

Everyone on this platform seems to be die hard cyclists training in the off season… Where do the noobies hang out? I’m fat slow and out of shape and looking for some beginner routes to get started.


I picked up a Kicker Core to go with my Cannondale Mountain bike.

I’m not sure how people do these long rides… I did Richmond flats for an hour and… ouch… 30mins in and my seat was already sore! I made it an hour and couldn’t take it anymore!!! lol

Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you,


Assuming you have some level of fitness in the past, you might consider doing the “1 bidon” routes from ZwiftInsider’s route badge list (Google “Zwift routes checklist” for a link, I’m still not cool enough to post links here).

ZwiftInsider also has a route badge plan but it kicks you off with a decent amount of riding off the bat, at least if you’ve spent quite a bit of time away from the bike and need to get your rear used to longer rides :slight_smile:

Some of my favorite shorter routes from when I started are the Volcano routes, London classique, and basically anything that has no hills (Tick Tock, Volcano flat, some of the newer rides). You can sort the route lists by elevation ascending and go from there.

If you’re like me and are basically starting from scratch, the key is to take it slow and easy. Shoot for as many days as you can ride but start really small, like 20 minutes at a time. You’ll start to build up fitness quickly and pretty soon the seat pain will diminish or go away.

Also worth saying you should invest in a good saddle if you don’t have one already, and a bike fit if it’s been some time since you last rode. And good bike shorts and chamois cream - as a larger dude I’ve had good luck with The Black Bibs and Chamois Butt’r for longer rides.

And get a decent fan if you don’t already have one. Unless you’re taking a recovery ride, rides longer than 20 minutes are pretty awful without some serious air movement to cool you off. If you want to skip the middle steps look for the blower-style fans like the Headwind or something like the Lasko blower if you think that is overpriced (hint: it probably is).

Congrats on the new trainer and good luck!


Oh and of course don’t forget about the group rides. There are several beginner-friendly ones from DIRT, PACK, HERD, etc. Look for “recovery” or “beginner” rides (google “ZwiftHacks event list” for a nicer search/group rides interface). These are great for motivation, and to connect with other Zwift folks who are also not running marathons/riding centuries every other week.

If you do group rides make sure to stay close to the yellow beacon (the rider with the big yellow aura over their head). Some people join slow rides and “race” way above the ride’s advertised pace. Just ignore them and stay close to the leader, ideally as close as possible. Most people should be able to hang with the 1.0-1.3 w/kg rides even as a beginner. If not, just try to hang on as long as you can and keep doing it until you can finish. Then you can start looking for more challenging rides, or even do some races!


Thank you for the replies Johnny, great information. So far I’ve been working out over lunch (work provides an extra hour for fitness a few days a week) so I haven’t had much time to play around with findings things like group rides or other features. Knowing what routes to look for that you suggested will help me to “know what I’m looking for” until I have time to figure the rest out so I really appreciate it!

I just discovered DIRT on Facebook and joined their group. Hopefully with community support I won’t give up! Need to lose 60lbs in 6 months!


@BDog another resource to look at is ZwiftHub. There you can see every route, the length, amount of climb, profile and a map of the route. This can help you select routes of appropriate length and elevation gain. ZwiftInsider has more in-depth descriptions for every route, but you have to click on each individually to get there. ZwiftHub can be far more convenient for a visual quick look.

As for saddle soreness, that comes along with restarting on a bike after a long time off. After a week or two it will no longer be an issue if your saddle and bike fit you properly.

Happy Zwifting. May it be enjoyable and help you reach the conditioning you are looking for.

I was born in 1940. I started with a FTP of 75 and rode around the volcano circuit a couple time. I got used to everyone passing me. I checked into the training section and found “Back to Fitness” and have been doing it for 10 week, twice per week. I have not done much gear change after the warm up. The workouts are fun, I am much smoother with better star results and the FTP is now at 126 moved up by Zwift. I have been riding TdZ for 4 stages. I have not lasted with the group passed one mile. I have finishes at the bottom of the pile on most rides. My last ride, I finally averaged 102w for 12 miles. A first!
Enjoy the ride.


Wow, thank you for that ZwiftHub link. I’m going to check that out tonight!

The dealer sized our bikes when we bought them… Not sure how I would know if the saddle is right or not… I’ll give it a couple more weeks and see. I do have the padded shorts but those were little help the last ride! lol… More seat time… got it!

John, great story Thank you! I will check the training section… Wasn’t sure what I would find in there so I kinda just started with maps. I’ll check out Back to Fitness tomorrow! Or the Volcano if I can find it. Still getting used to the menus.

What is “FTP”? I’m not sure what my XXXw average is, but I’m averaging about 12mph on the Richmond flats.

@BDog If the bike is new to you, and you are new to cycling, your butt is going to be sensitive for a while, this is normal. Sounds like this is your first serious bike thus limited prior experience - If any aspect of your body gets painful, that is a solid indication something is not appropriately sized or adjusted. Most commonly knees, legs like your IT Band, etc… If a bike shop sized and fitted you, you can be pretty confident the bike is properly setup for you and it is just going to take a little time to break in your butt. Don’t over-do it. There’s some tender tissue there. Increase the amount of riding each day slowly until there is no more tenderness.

FTP stands for Functional Threshold Power. It is the max power you can put out for an hour. Given that you have not ridden much before, you won’t know what your FTP should be. I’d suggest doing the short ramp FTP test in the workouts. That will give you a starting point.

Realize that although you are on a mountain bike on your Kickr Core IRL (In Real Life), you don’t have to use the Zwift mountain bike for your avatar. Using the road bike is far more efficient in the game. Your speed will be higher for the same effort. I’d recommend using the road bike in game.

Happy exploring …

Brian & John,

Just enjoy it, we all started out somewhere and it’s all relative to what you are capable of. Who cares if everybody passed you, you are still getting the training. Keep at it and it won’t be long before you start passing others.

For you Brian the weight will fall off. Remember to adjust your weight in Zwift as it does.

For you John, to be cycling in your 80’s is inspirational to not only me but for many others on this forum I’m sure. If I’m still able to knock out 100w at that fine age I’ll be a happy man. The fact you appreciate the training for what it is makes great sense. Finishing last in a group ride is actually celebrated in the cycling world so congrats.

Ride On Chaps!


FTP = Functional Threshold Power. the average watts for one hour, not hilly or climb. If you start ride, you get a orange menu button in lower left corner. Open, ride will pause and in upper left corner is your name. Open for vitals and FTP will be on the right. I put in 75 because I did not know. Zwift will auto change the FTP as you get better. For me, 75-93-103-113 and 126 after the Mountain Tower route in TdZ, Tour de Zwift. …. Training. I normally use “Tempus Fugit” or “Tick Tock” because the are flat and about 10 miles long. The plan I use, I found not changing gear after the warm up was best. Zwift will add more or less friction as needed. You just need to be steady and smooth with the changes. If you use a hilly route Zwift will slow down. I went for a 41 minute workout in plan on the mountain route and with all the effort I used, I only went 4.6 miles. It’s a learning process. Enjoy, have fun …. Ride On!!

i seem to be in a similar boat just started myself and find myself stopping my ride due to the tailbone pain i seem to be getting - i do hope this starts to ease soon as i spend the majority of my working day on an office chair which has is now causing me discomfort.

Shane / All,

Things have been getting better. My conditioning is getting better. The saddle dance is getting better.

I’ve had padded bike shorts the whole time but that was only getting me so far. I was able to ride for an hour and fifteen minutes Saturday. The saddle dance didn’t start until about 40 minutes into the ride.

But it’s not consistent because it started after twenty minutes or so for my last ride.

On the plus side, I’ve dropped 6.5 pounds in a week with diet changes and riding!



Try standing and riding every 10-15 minutes. Only a few seconds are needed to relieve the pressure points. If after 2 or 3 weeks and it still hurts after 20 minutes I would start minutely adjusting the saddle. SMALL INCREMENTS. The bike shop where you purchased should be willing to help. A new saddle may be warranted.

Standing and peddling is very uncomfortable. Are you saying standing and stop peddling?

Minimal outdoor riding last year wasn’t nearly this bad, but I put on weight since then. So continued seat time and weight loss might negate the need for saddle changes?

Standing and riding on a trainer is hard but a few seconds will relieve pressure. Acclimation is like anything else. Practice and gets more acceptable. Changing saddles is a last resort…try everything else first. But realize, unless you bought a top of the line bike, the saddle is one place to save money for the bike maker.

When you begin tweaking the saddle position, do it in small amounts. If your knees are feeling good, then likely the saddle height and position forward to back are fine. Were those setup by the bike shop? If so, the definately should be pretty close, that is their job. The saddle pitch angle can make a good bit of different on the comfort. Nose up or down can change the amount of pressure on the saddle and where. It will keep getting better as your tender tissue gets more used to it.

Great job on the weight loss, keep it going.

Remember, all you do in Zwift is for YOU. Don’t worry about the speed others are making, or how many miles they ride compared to you. You are doing this because you enjoy both the riding and the results.

When I started Zwifting last year, I noticed that riding indoors is a bit different. Out in the real world I move around on my bike a lot more. This variation in position helps to prevent saddle soreness, at least for me. I usually change the position of my hands as well, but that is probably easier to do on a road bike than on a mountain bike.

Standing up and pedaling is something I find a bit tricky as well. When I start to put massive (ahem, not really) power on the pedals, it takes a bit of time for my Kickr Core to adjust to that. In the real world that is never a problem, indoors I tend to be more careful and aim for smoothness instead of raw power.

The most important thing: have fun doing this and do what you like!

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Re: peddling while standing up

Change several gears up [ harder]. Otherwise standing and peddling with your own weight, I’m with you on this, is hard because it is too easy and you have to pedal like mad while flopping around and your legs hurt before your butt stops hurting.

Outdoors, in real life, there are stop signs, people traffic etc which make you move around on the saddle and standing. My seat never hurts outside up to 60 miles.

On a flat course on a trainer you grind it out sitting down. I get up every 15-20 just to mix it up.

Soon your legs or lungs will give out before your butt.


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I agree, much more stopping in real life. We ride rail trails and established bike routes so there is stopping and standing for rocks / puddles / other obstacles. Since I’m riding alone IE: not group rides… I’ll just stand like I would on a normal out door ride. I just get sad seeing the watts go down =( LOL.

Thank you everyone!


(Down 10lbs already through riding an diet adjustments)

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