Moderator: Moderator Team
FIJIGabe wrote:I hate riding riding without my HRM. It definitely gives you more complete data about your ride. That being said, if you are going to drop $100 on a monitor, might as well get the Cycleops PowerCal, so you can get some idea of the power you are outputting. DCRainmaker gave it a pretty good review, given that it is a less expensive power measuring device, and for someone looking to lose weight, it definitely works.
totally agree. i replaced my Garmin HR with the PowerCal...although not as accurate as a dedicated PM, it fine for my purposes.
- Parlee Altum + DA9150 + Enve SES 4.5 carbon hubs
- Parlee ESX + DA9150 + THM SRM PM + Enve SES 6.7 CK hubs
- Independent Fabrication Ti FLW + DA9100 + Enve 3.4 CK hubs
Here's the TrainingPeaks breakdown of zones/levels and the respective percentages and what adaptations they yield.
http://home.trainingpeaks.com/blog/arti ... ing-levels
Personally and professionally I have seen that the PowerCalc is a monumental waste of time. If you can't work off power then a hideously inaccurate estimation of power isn't going to help you.
As mentioned one of the issues of HR vs power is for short duration intervals. Having compared both HR and power for these type of brutally short intervals the HR is slow to rise (comparatively) and then just stays high, thus not not providing any sort of objective feedback to the amount of effort.
For example a 30 sec on/off protocol putting out 500 watts vs 450 may yield an average HR of 97-99% of max yet the physiological demands and adaptations will be better with the 500 watts. But both show a similar HR...so how do you know?
Given the availability and choice of power meters means that the second market is well flooded with cheap and reliable options. Seriously look into it.
"I'm not a real doctor; But I am a real worm; I am an actual worm." - TMBG
So ... you're in a forum here with a bunch of people who count tenths of grams and tenths of watts. Obviously you don't have to be so .. weight weenie, if we dare use the word ... to improve and become a superb rider. However, is that even your objective? If you just want to ride above a certain threshold so you can burn fat most efficiently (hence the question about target range, and about it being narrower than what you cited), a HRM can do it reasonably well (say +/-10%). For a rider who wants to measure his performance in a racing context, that 10% means you may be overdoing it and wearing yourself down half of the time and may not be working as hard as you need to half of the time -- not by much, but enough that you aren't going to become your very best. If you are riding at your aerobic limit, +/- 10% is the difference between gasping and burning out on a ride, versus riding at a conversational pace and not burning quite as many calories.
Some of us, the undersigned included, like to work out at the limit. Many people can do that without a power meter and frankly, once you've used a power meter for a while, you have a pretty good sense of how your body is feeling and whether you are riding at so many watts or not. I may put away the power meter part of the year if my goal is not to tune that last 10% right then (and you can't really expect to ride that very top 10% or closer all the time, or you do just wear yourself down). But that's about race training or about fine tuning a fitness plan that you have assessed and experimented with and refined.
I don't sense you're there. So my recommendation is basically to read some literature on power meters and threshold testing and all the other jargon -- there are a couple paperbacks on power meters, plus a number of websites (Google's Wattage forum is there if you are at the point of tattooing your wattage numbers up the side of your cheek), and so on. To use a power meter or really to understand target ranges and thresholds in any refined way, you have a lot of learning to do. Until you have that commitment and level of interest, a HRM is more than enough. If you can measure HR, miles, and perhaps cadence, you are going to be pretty happy with your results because you will push yourself onwards -- not necessarily to what you could be capable of, but enough to lose weight and enjoy the process. Any of the Garmin bike units works well for that and they're pretty much indestructible, plus the recent versions tend to be compatible with just about everything. Wahoo is coming on strong but you want your display to be on your handlebars, not in your pocket, so just getting a sensor that feeds your iPhone isn't as useful unless the iPhone goes on your bars. There are other brands like Suunto and Polar, and they work well enough but my only proviso is that they often aren't compatible with the major trends in HRMs and power meters. So why buy something that doesn't have a future as you improve and want more? Remember, yes, this is weight weenies (now I've gone and said it) and if you're here, you're about to become an addict to bike equipment. You'll end up with that power meter. And probably an expensive one. You'll sell a kidney for it, or your oldest child if you are truly serious (though losing the kidney does save weight on the bike). But for now, for you, I'd just learn and start simple. You'll lose weight and be able to decide what you really want before you start spending a lot of money. Make the power meter a reward for losing 20 lbs. If I had done that enough, I'd float by now.
But if it's really primarily about weight loss, the most important thing is to get the hours done. To that end, what helps most, is to find joy in the workout. If you like to work by numbers, by all means, do it. If you find pleasure riding in the early morning, being on the road when the sun comes out, do it. All out group ride, let's go. Heck even a long ride in the rain can be very satisfying. Love the ride, vary the efforts.
Also, there is a lot of wrong information out there, with regards to heart rate, exercise intensity, and burning fat. Often times the old recommendations of low intensity for burning fat are repeated blindly. Do not make that mistake. That's not to say one should only ever ride all out. But there's nothing wrong with hitting a climb (too) hard every once in a while, and if you have a HRM, have an eye on it. You will learn how to pace yourself.
- Graph your weight and miles or hours per week. Look at trends over 4-6 weeks and adjust food / rides accordingly to get weight loss
- Eat standard meals or weigh ingredients and use meal planning services to calculate calories in with some accuracy
- Use a PM to measure your exercise output. Estimate efficiency of 25%, so that KJ on bike = Calories expended.
- Record input energy, output energy and weight over a few weeks. Assuming all weight loss is from fat, use the fact that 1g fat = 9 cals to solve the energy balance equation to find your base metabolic rate.
- Adjust food and riding to create imbalance of up to 500cals per day
- Lab test for bodily efficiency by measuring O2 versus power output
- Lab tests on body composition to avoid assumption that weight losses are from fat
Don't ignore fuelling your longer rides to increase calorific deficit. Riding at 20kph after an hour because your body has nothing in the tank is both miserable and won't help fitness. Your stomach can intake about 300 cals per hour, so taking a sports drink and some solid food will help you maintain the quality of your rides and thus fitness.
And if you've used 220-age for your maximum, it'll be even worse. That's around 30 bpm out for me. And most people i ride with find it (at best) to be 10 or so bpm out. The only person i know who relies on that little gem is always asking how he can so easily exceed his maximum heartrate. Then worries that he is damaging himself.
93-157 for a "zone" actually looks more like two or three zones. Or a really badly put together calculator.
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