You can use your powermeter to help with your weight loss goals by paying attention to your work expenditure in kiloJoules. Fo example, a 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 (3,000 calories)! 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 lose .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 [RMR*] + calories you eat – calories you burn exercising.
A Calorie is a Calorie
All food, whether it’s a 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.
*Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
Your resting metabolic rate or RMR is the number of calories your body needs to live and breathe. The amount of energy for 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 (0 kiloJoule bike ride) .
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 own a powermeter, 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 (1,000 calories).
Ride 3,000 kJ and that’s a lot of food. Kinda gives meaning to Eddy’s famous quote, “ride more, eat less” eh? You still want to Win in the Kitchen!
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 + kiloJoules = Total Daily Caloric Requirement
Add up up your RMR and the number of kiloJoules you rode and that number equals your total daily caloric requirement. Then (!) consume 250 – 500 calories less than your total daily caloric requirement to lose .5 – 1lb per week. I recommend creating a spreadsheet with your consumed calories in one column and your kiloJoules in the other. This is the weight loss by math. Your overall strategy is to undercut your total daily caloric requirements by 250 – 500 calories per day, every day for weeks to lose weight. Consistency is king and don’t let one day of breaking even or going slightly over discourage you.
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 and body composition change. Winning in the Kitchen is 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.
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