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Archives for the day Thursday, June 3rd, 2010

It’s common to see cyclists in the ProTour peloton use power meters to help monitor performance while out on the road, but regular athletes are still unsure if it’s worth the investment.

You can find power meters starting at $200, but it’s not uncommon to see some models top $4,000 — and the power meters used by the pros are obviously top notch.

If you’ve been thinking about investing in a power meter but don’t know the basics, I’d recommend reading this article written by the fine folks at Fit Werx (article originally posted at BeginnerTriathlete).

The power meter doesn’t care about hills, wind, temperature, indoors, outdoors, or any environment you’re riding in. It will always measure the actual power you’re producing on the bike regardless of the conditions. Most power meters will include heart rate straps so you can watch your heart rate response compared to power. Go out and ride at a constant power level for 20 minutes and heart rate can climb nearly the entire time. Harder intervals such as three minute intervals at VO2max power will see heart rate climbing quickly the entire interval and never leveling off.

I find myself dragging people through the wind quite a bit, and I’ve always been curious about wattage and overall power, so a power meter is the ideal tool.  I’m still unsure if I’m willing to spend a few hundred dollars just to see how much harder I’m pedaling than Ted when we’re riding in Coyote Hills — but it could be very interesting to use one of these gadgets some day.

If I could ever learn how to avoid sinking like a rock in the pool, I’d probably be more willing to one day get a time trial bike and attach a power meter.  Until then, I’ll just have to keep dreaming…

Editors note:  That is an engineering marvel!

Eat GU When Not Training?

Most of us use GU, Clif Shots, and similar energy gels when we’re exercising — but what about when we just need a quick burst of energy?  I recently was asked about the nutritional benefits of eating one of these gels even when not exercising.

I don’t eat these products when I’m not working out, but reached out to a few different companies to try and learn if this is something that would actually provide a boost.

“Of course it is fine,” I was told by a GU R&D person.  “It is 100 calories of carbohydrates, there are vitamins in there, amino acids.  In any case it’s going to increase blood sugar and those with caffeine may give you a little perk.”

Good.  We know it won’t cause any weird issues.  The GU employee also added:

“Sometimes when I don’t have time for lunch…I’ll eat a Vanilla Bean…or two….or…..    Anyway, the moral of the story is that if you’re hungry and you like GU…eat it.

Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1

Optimum Nutrition (ON) Very Vanilla is my favorite recovery drink of them all.  I like to mix two scoops with 16 ounces of whole milk and a heaping teaspoon of chocolate milk mix.  This is less of a review of the ON 2:1:1, but is more of why I choose to drink it.

It is a calorie bomb loaded with 35 grams of protein, 79 grams of carbs, 23 grams of amino acids and 36 grams of sugar plus the chocolate milk.  I only use it on very hard days.  I use it after a cardio workout of at least two hours, a second workout of the day, or a hard session in the weight room.

It is so rich, it covers the taste of the whey.  I usually recover well after the ON 2:1:1.  I drink it after hard workouts so I still get sore but it is not as badly as if I were to drink water.  I sometimes drink the chocolate flavored mix with water on lighter workout days.  It does not taste as good with water but I can keep it at work.  I don’t like the vanilla in water at all.