One of the riders I have been coaching for several years is training for the SCNCA time trial championship. Last year when he raced there, it was an unusually warm day and the heat really got to him. Steve lives in San Diego, where the weather is quite temperate, but the race is in Lake Los Angeles where it gets MUCH warmer in May. In fact the lake Los Angeles area is typically at least 10-15 degrees warmer in May than coastal San Diego Where Steve lives. So 2 weeks ago Steve started working to acclimitize to the heat by working out in his sun room twice a week. He set up the trainer, turns on the heater and just goes for it. Heat accilimitization starts to occur in is little as 3 days, and full accilimitization can be achieved in as little as 2 weeks. Acclimitiazation adaptations simply allow the body to stay a little cooler AND operate at a higher level when hot. These adaptations include increased blood volume, increased skin blood flow increased sweat rate, and changes in the sweat itself.Steve is off to race in the 50+ category. Good luck steve, those hot trainer sessions should pay off!
Want to see the current Computrainer schedule. Check it out here.
Our January 23rd computrainer course preview of the Oceanside 70.3 course is already sold out, so we will be adding another course preview soon. Stay tuned for details!
Bicycling Magazine recently featured an article by Chris Carmichael on "spin classes" and if they are good for a cyclists fitness. Read the article HERE. It's a good, short read, and we embrace most of the principles that Carmichael talks about.
There are only a few days left to buy the urban passport. You get 2 cycling, 2 TRX, 2 rowing, and 2 personal training sessions for only $49. Read more about it here: or make the purchase HERE choose in store pickup when you checkout.
We are running a holiday special through the end of the month. It is a special package we are doing with the other member of the Aire Co-Op. For $49 bucks you get 2 cycling classes, 2 rowing classes, 2 TRX classes, and 2 personal training sessions. This is an amazing bargain, and costs less than start up fees for a gym membership. If you've got a friend who has been thinking about trying one of these classes, or starting a new fitness program, make sure and pass this on. Added on 12/22/09 Here is a link where you can purchase the Urban Passport.
This is a long overdue follow up to: Measuring Energy Expenditure on the Bike So last time we talked about how indirect calorimetry is the gold standard, and why equipment such as heart rate monitors and GPS units are inaccurate. The next topic to examine is typical gym equipment such as stair climbers, and treadmills. These machines suffer from the same inadequacies as the heart rate monitors, in that they rely on equations and guesstimations to measure your energy expenditure. Just hop on any gym treadmill, and it will ask you your body weight so that it can calculate your energy expenditure as your exercise. The problem here is that there are many assumptions, and that the work you are doing is being calculated rather than truly measured. Something else you should know about the calories as given by these machines, is that they include your energy expenditure due to your basal metabolic rate. Most people burn between 50 and 80 calories an hour even if they are just sitting on the couch watching TV. So the calorie count given by these machines is inaccurate to start with, and then you add an additional 50+ calories that doesn't really count towards your energy expenditure from exercise, because you would be burning those calories even if you were sitting on your butt!
So the most accurate method of measuring energy expenditure is definitely indirect calorimetry (measurement of expired O2 and Co2), but it isn't practical because of these expense involved, and because you have to breath into a mouthpiece containing Oxygen and CO2 sensors. The next best way of measuring energy expenditure is going to be through the use of power meters. Power meters such as Power Tap and SRM, use strain gauges to measure force. The strain guages are little strips of metal at hub or crank, and the amount of deflection is measured. Power is force X distance/time. If you measure force with the strain gauges, you can measure distance with the rotation of the hub or cranks, and then time is measured with a simple clock. So power meters accurately measure power. From power and time you can easily calculate work, and work is measured in Joules. It's an easy calculation, 1 watt for 1 second = 1 Joule. Think of it like this: If watts were miles per hour, Joules would be total miles. So if you measure power, you can quite readily get Joules. At the end of the workout, you can look at your powermeter and and it will give the total joules. One joules is actually a tiny amount of work, so this measurement is typically expressed as Kilojoules, or thousands of Joules, also known as KJ.
Now we can calculate how many calories you burned during your workout. We know how many KJ you did, as it was calculated from watts and time. For demonstration purposes, let's just say it was 1000KJ. Calories and Kilojoules are both measurements of energy. There are 4.18 KJ in every Kilojoule , so you actually did only 239 Calories worth of work. However, the human body about 24% efficient at turning food energy into mechanical energy and pedal power, while the other 76% is lost as heat. So it actually took you about 4.16 times as many Calories to produce that 239 Calories of work. 239 times 4.16 = 996...basically the number of Kiojoules you did. This is why we typically tell riders that the number of KJ they do during their workout is the same as the number of calories burned. Riders frequently ask me if their body weight makes a difference, and the answer is no. A larger rider can typically put out more watts, and therefore do more kilojoules in a given amount of time. But is still takes a 100lb rider just as many calories to do 150 watts for an hour,as it takes a 200lb rider to do 150 watts for an hour. The only difference is that the larger rider will burn more calories as part of his basal metabolic rate, but he would burn those even if he were sitting at his desk typing on his keyboard, so that doesn't really count towards his energy expenditure from exercise.
So.... indirect calorimetry is still the most accurate way to measure energy expenditure on the bike, but power meters are definitely the next best thing, and are much more practical for every day use.
All of our bikes at Crank Indoor Cycling are equipped with powertap power meters. At the end of every ride, you can use your console to examine your data and a d find out your energy expenditure. This has obvious implications for weight management, but it is also one of many indicators of fitness. If you are able to do more KJ of work, and burn more calories in a similar workout, you know that your fitness level has increased.
Have any more questions about power measurement or measuring energy expenditure? Feel free to ask questions in the comment section or come to class and ask me afterward!
I just wanted to give a shout out to Matt Buster and Karl Coleman. Both of these are class regulars who competed in Ironman Arizona last weekend. Karl Came in under just under11 hours and Matt Came in around 11:20. A good bike leg contributed to the success of both of them. They each took 25 minutes off of their PRs for their bike legs, and are convinced that their indoor training at the studio helped them achieve that goal. Good Job guys, we know we'll see you back in class after you've indulged in a little post event R&R!
Only at Crank Cycling/Aire With the unfortunate closing of San Diego Coastal Sports Medicine enter, Crank Cycling now has the only Multi Rider Computrainer System in San Diego. We are still developing our Computrainer program, and will be adding more Computrainer classes soon. Keep an eye out for Saturday Computrainer classes to be added in the very near future. We are creating a special email list for those of you that are interested in Computrainer classes. If you want to stay in the loop on these classes, just fill in your email below. Want the most current Computrainer schedule? Check it out here.
Congrats to Matt Buster who took 25 minutes off of his PR for a half ironman distance at the Soma Half Iron Distance Triathlon Matt has been coming to class twice a week, and told me a few weeks ago that the classes have defintely made him faster. His bike leg was a very respectable 2:38, average watts 218, and average speed of 21.3 MPH for 56 miles. That's pretty darn good....especially when you have to do a swim before and a run after!
There was a great article recently in The Economist about group exercise, and how it is easier with friends. Basically the idea is that people can push themselves harder in a group than when they are by themselves....mostly because of hormonal responses. They go on to explain a possible evolutionary benefits, such as hunting in groups. The researchers in the study used rowers, and if you are into that sort of thing, be sure to check out the Indo Row program with Engine Room Fitness. But the results would likely be just as applicable to spinning, indoor cycling, old fashioned step aerobics, or just about any synchronized group workout. Good news for group workouts huh?