Any tips for an obese beginner?

I am a total beginner to cycling and well, I’m obese (222 lb, 5’9.5", >30% body fat). I just got my gear set up (Wahoo Kickr snap and my trusty Marin Fairfax 1 I recently got for commuting) and have a cadence sensor on the way. Any training plan recommendations? I’m pretty lost.


Hey egnomic…Welcome to Sufferlandria and all things suffering! Sounds like you’re on the right track so far. I’d suggest investing in a heart rate monitor as well. I personally use a wahoo tickr.
When I started I made the mistake of not doing the full frontal prep plan (mostly because I was so gung-ho to get training and wasn’t even aware it was available until seeing fellow sufferlandrians reference it. ) then do your Full Frontal.
Since you are using a smart trainer try to match the cadence targets and let the kickr provide the proper resistance for power targets.
Once you do the FF (full frontal) then the worlds you suffering oyster…maybe the fitness Kickstarter.
I’m 8 weeks into my all purpose road plan and have become an absolute believer and get grumpy if I don’t get my proper dose of suffering weekly.

Also there’s boat loads of info and support in this forum as well…

Welcome once again


I’m new to SUF but not to cycling. Don’t go crazy. Just get on your trainer and ride. Ride for 30 minutes every other day or whatever your schedule permits. But try to get into a routine you can maintain. The first week or two will be the hardest. Most people go all in, and find the hardest program, and within a week they burn out (too hard, too sore, too out of breath, too something). Ease into the joy of cycling and the strength, speed, and fitness will come. Enjoy!


Welcome @egnomic!

Agreed on doing one of the power tests (Full Frontal or Half Monty) some time relatively soon to get your power numbers. These will make all of the other sessions more meaningful as the app will set the intensity based on your test results. Half Monty is the easier one to start with, as you don’t have to try to pace yourself over different time intervals. HM uses a ramp test where the resistance goes up each minute until you can’t turn the pedals any more.

Also, I agree with @Lisa_Perry that it’s fine to just get on the trainer and ride to start to build up your cycling fitness. Personally, I find time goes much quicker when I’m doing one of the structured sessions.

Finally, if you don’t already have some, a pair of cycling shorts with the chamois will make your time on the bike more comfortable. You wear these direct against your skin (no underwear). Chamois cream is the other tip I’d give, especially as the trainer doesn’t allow the bike to move under you in the way it normally would when you’re outside. Sorry if I’m making suggestions here for things that you already know.

Please feel free to ask any other questions you might have.


Welcome egnomic.
There are a few options. It depends how much you have already been riding. As @Lisa_Perry said, take it easy and get used to indoors. Enjoy the videos. You could at first go by RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) until you get a feel for what you can do, then do a fitness test and then do a plan.
You could also start off with one of the Transition “Ramp Up” plans as a way of gently easing yourself into Sufferfest.
Have a fan or two.
Have a towel or two.
Plenty of water (maybe with electrolytes if you lose a lot of sodium).
Comfy chamois, seat and chamois cream (spot on @way9e0).



  • sort of

Honestly this will be a total life changer if you stick with it! Congrats on already taking the steps to make it happen.

My advice would be to take your time and ride at a comfortable pace for at least a few weeks before starting to ramp up the intensity. Pay attention first to the basics like your position on the bike and particularly your saddle height. Cycling is a very repetitive fixed action and so you want to make sure it doesn’t cause any joint issues. Cycling shoes and shorts are also very important for your comfort on the bike. It all takes time to get it right and sometimes requires a bit of trial and error along the way. For example certain bib shorts simply don’t play nicely with my butt/saddle, causing immense discomfort after a couple of hours riding. Likewise badly fitting shoes can be a real show-stopper. Listen to your body and don’t ignore any complaints it might make!


I haven’t seen this yet and I’m not a doctor but …

Have you checked with a doctor before embarking on such training? You stated you were obese but haven’t mentioned (understandably, perhaps) what your training history is.

My advice would be get the OK from your doctor first and then take it slowly and gently. As others have mentioned, get used to riding first before hitting Full Frontal and training plans.

Congratulations on choosing the Sufferfest - you will see improvements but make sure you are in a good position first.


Thank you everyone for the very warm welcome and all the advice, I’ve read everything and here’s my plan:

  1. Get the okay from my doctor! I had a barrage of cardiac tests done very recently and it all came out okay (I’m 25M btw, forgot to mention). So I’m sure I’ll be fine as long as I take it slow.
  2. Ride slowly for the next couple of weeks, Open 15 or Open 30 – daily or every other day, occasional Igniter, etc. Just to get myself into the groove and figure things out, get used to the trainer and to cycling itself.
  3. After the holidays I’ll prepare for and do my Full Frontal or Half Monty.
  4. Start a Ramp up or Kick Starter plan afterwards.
  5. Set up my cadence sensor and buy a HR monitor (got a Tickr on the way).
  6. Chamois, Chamois cream, fans, towels, water, proper cycling shoes, etc.

Let me know if there are any other thoughts! Thanks again everyone, I’m looking forward to our co-suffering!


Seems like a solid plan - best of luck! We look forward to hearing about your journey.

Yep, sounds like a good plan. Get comfortable on the bike and listen to your body! It will all be worthwhile. So good luck and enjoy the ride!

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The other thing is, you’ve joined at a great time in the year. In the middleish of February is going to be the 2021 Tour Of Sufferlandria. That’s a week or so where there’s a video workout (or two… or maybe even three … ) to do each day, and loads of people all around the world are doing the same sessions over that week. The community excels at that time, and at the same time we raise money for a good cause.

Do try to stick around for that, because it’s really special.


Welcome to the nation. Lots of solid advice here and looks like you have set yourself a good plan to ease yourself into it.

Did anyone mention that you can never leave?


I’m also a bigger dude, using a dumb trainer, Kurt Kinetic. I’ll echo what others have said, make sure you’ve got water/electrolytes on standby. Get a couple of fans. Set it up in the coldest room in your house. Get your doctor’s approval. Most importantly, have FUN!


You might consider doing the Mental Toughness Program, too… it offers lots of guidance on setting goals and holding yourself accountable. It doesn’t require an aspiration like winning a race or riding a century… the goals can be small, too!


Welcome Ergonomic! You are doing the right thing for yourself. I echo everything the other Sufferers have said and would strongly emphasize the need to get a good heart rate monitor and use it consistently.

Ergnomic: have you considered the role of nutritional composition as to “good” fats, proteins and carbs and their respective macro intake ratios in your goal of reducing body fat? If not, you would be well advised to do that. Good luck to you.

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It is better not to change too much too fast. If you are doing diet changes, then take things steadily until that has stabilised. Get used to exercising first, get used to riding hard later.If you are losing weight fast end get the fat circulating in the body, it can cause problems, so it is little steps followed by little steps, adjusting and adapting as you go

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