spin class

Aire Urban Passport

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. 

Aire Urban Passport

Measuring Energy Expenditure On The Bike Continued.

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!

Ironman AZ

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!

Saturday Classes

You've asked for it, and here it is....Saturday classes.   Jeanine will be doing her Cy-Core Class on Saturdays starting at 10AM.  Come on in for 30 minutes of cycling, followed immediately by 30 minutes of core centered yoga.  We will also be having Cy-Core classes on Tues & Thurs at 7.  Jeanine is spin  and yoga certified, and will get you through   great workout that will get your cardio system working, and  and make your body lean and strong.   Those of you that already attend 6 AM cycling class on Tues and Thurs are welcome to stick around and get another 30 minutes of cycling at no charge .

Congrats to Matt Buster

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!

Fitter with Friends!

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?