You can use your powermeter to help with your weight loss goals by paying attention to your work expenditure in kiloJoules.  Your ride for 2 hours producing 1,000 kiloJoules of work equals roughly 1 Chipotle chicken burrito. Ride for 5 hours and 3,000 kJ’s and that’s a lot of food!  What high octane gasoline is to a Ferrari, carbohydrate is to you, the athlete & cyclist.  Fuel your long rides but cut back by 250-500 calories per day to loss .5 – 1lb per week.   You can eat and lose weight at the same time by calculating your daily caloric expenditure and subtracting your kiloJoules.  Here’s how:

Calories required to live and breathe + calories you eat – calories you burn exercising.

A Calorie is a Calorie
First off, let’s dispel any myths out there. All food, whether it’s a hot ‘n fresh glazed Krispy Kreme donut or a plate of pasta, has a caloric value. You can figure it out by looking at the values printed on the back of food labels or consulting an online food database such as MyFitnessPal which integrates with our partner TrainingPeaks.

Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
Your resting metabolic rate or RMR is the number of calories your body needs to live and breathe. I’m talking about vital functions like your heart beat, brain activity and respiration. If you were to lie on the couch all day and barely move, your RMR would represent your total daily caloric requirements.

Resting Metabolic Rate may be measured in a lab from your respiratory gases or it may be estimated with an online calculator from your age, height and weight.

Caloric Requirements of Exercise
Your RMR represents what it takes to lay around, but what about exercise? Estimating your daily energy expenditure from walking, working, and riding is more complicated but do-able. Estimates may be made again from a variety of online calculators but all of them center around duration and intensity. The more you exercise the more calories you burn. And the higher intensity at which you exercise, the more calories or “fuel” your body consumes.

If you are fortunate enough to own a powermeter (did I mention how handy these are?) your energy expenditure is represented by the total workload of your ride in kilojoules. Kilojoule is a unit of work that by a quirk of nature handily converts in a 1:1 ratio to calories. So for every kilojoule that you ride, you’ve also burned 1 calorie of food. Ride a thousand kJ’s and that’s good for one burrito.

For those of you who are so inclined, here are the conversion factors:

Ride 3,000 kJ and that’s a lot of food. Kinda gives meaning to Eddy’s famous quote, “ride more, eat less” eh?

Putting it all together
Take the number of calories burned during exercise and add that to your RMR. Poof, you’ve calculated your total daily caloric requirements.

RMR Energy Expenditure = Total Daily Caloric Requirement

Energy in = Energy Out. Simple, right? Now what to do with these numbers?

Log it Down!
Now, take this number and eat 250 to 500 kcals or calories less each day and watch the lbs disappear. Simple huh? Yes, but you’ll need to calculate your total daily caloric requirements each day and then count every calorie you eat. That is asking a lot of athletes but it is nevertheless important to understand the numbers behind process. All the successful diets in the world adhere to these scientific principles whether it’s the South Beach diet or cyclist’s Krispy Kreme diet.

The other, more moderate method to track your energy intake is to do a three-day dietary log, where you record and calculate your food intake on a combination of weekday and weekends. If your diet is generally stable throughout the week, these three days will give you a good average value to work from. The other benefit of dietary logs is that it becomes a self-reinforcing practice. Nobody wants to look bad even to their own diaries, so you end up skipping that extra bowl of chips because it ends up looking darned embarrassing entering it into the log!

Long Term
By cutting back 250 to 500 calories per day, everyday on a consistent basis, you can expect to lose 05.-1 pounds per week. Over the course of 8 to 10 weeks or more and that’s a huge lifestyle change. And I’m here to tell you, it’s the single greatest improvement you can make for your cycling performance, besides increasing your power output. Count calories if you must but also conceptually consider your food choices. Together you have a winning recipe.

Copyright 2016 , FasCat Coaching

Frank is neither a registered dietitian nor a meal planner. But he can help you integrate a weight loss strategy into your training plan. For more information and to have a coaching consultation fill out the New Athlete Questionnaire or email frank@fascatcoaching.com

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