Managing Weight Loss using your Tempo Power Meter
Using Power to Help Mange Weight
Most of us think of a power meter as a tool to help us ride better and train effectively to increase our power output. While that is true, the other part of determining the quality and category of a cyclist is weight. Ultimately, what determines rider category is the riders power to weight ratio, usually expressed in W/Kg (Watts/Kilogram). If you increase your power and decrease your weight, the jumps in performance increase at a much greater rate.
Fortunately, when used correctly, a power meter can help you lose weight as well. Not only can a power meter help us regulate ourselves during training, riding, or racing, it can also be a great tool to regulate our caloric intake.
After a ride, you may wonder how many calories to intake afterwards. Let’s take an example. If you rode 52 miles at an average of 19.5 miles and hour, you can use an only calculator to determine energy and calories spent if you don't have a power meter: (https://runbundle.com/tools/cycling/cycling-calorie-calculator)
If you go by the calculation, the result shows that 2,729 calories and you will adjust your caloric intake accordingly. You many indulge in a whole pizza. Why not? You earned it! But is this a valid calculation? Let’s see what a power meter shows.
In the figures below, you can see that in Ride 1 , the rider was drafting and in an aero position; the actual energy spent was really 1,109 calories. That is 1,600 calories less than the calculation above and a significant error in caloric intake! A whole pizza would have put a big dent in your weight loss goal. That is because the power meter measures the actual energy you are putting into the bicycle. It accounts for drafting, wind, position, tire pressure, elevation changes, pace changes, etc. If you follow the calculation instead of the true measurement, you will find it difficult to reach your weight goals because you will intake too many calories.
Ride 1 - drafting , aero
Ride 2 – some pulls, windy
Let us analyze these rides a bit further. Both of these rides had similar average speeds. In fact, the longer ride was not only slightly faster, but 10 miles longer. If you went by just calculations, you would assume that Ride 1 required a higher caloric intake than Ride 2. The power meter shows that this is not the case!
Ride 2 was windier, and the rider was pulling for some of the ride, thereby increasing the amount of energy the rider applied to the bicycle. The power meter shows that though Ride 2 was shorter and slower, the rider used more energy in this ride than in ride 1 and is allowed to intake more calories. This would result in better weight management by knowing exactly how many calories to eat back after a ride.
This makes a power meter and essential tool not only for just helping you increase your power output, but by helping you manage your weight more effectively and precisely by reporting to you exactly how much energy you used during your ride. This will help you adjust your meals and caloric intake appropriately.
Until next time, Ride hard, ride fast, dig deep!