Why Training With a Power is Better Than Heart Rate

Power meters have become much more prevalent in bike equipment in the past five years. Prices have come down significantly as the market has become more competitive. Manufacturers are making bikes with power meters as a stock option. Companies like SRAM are even setting up their components as “power ready,” alleviating the need to buy an entire crankset, ultimately reducing costs.


Power meters have been simmering in the background since SRM power meters were first spotted on athletes’ bikes at the 1984 Olympics. However, even though they were initially utilized for professional athletes is not a reason that you can not benefit from the same great technology that a power meter provides. Three of the key reasons a power meter can help you include:


Precision: Due to cardiac drift*, training with heart rate is often challenging when trying to do longer sustained efforts. Utilizing power provides the precision to ensure your first effort will create the same physiologic load as your last effort. You can see the variability in heart rate (red) and power (pink) in the image below. Note the climb of heart rate during the intervals and the peak heart rate increase from one interval to the next.



Accuracy: Heart rate has variability. Fatigue, stress, sleep, illness, and even hydration affect your heart rate. These changes are essential to note, understand and influence your training decisions, but we do not want the inconsistency to impact the workout metrics from one day to the next. On the other hand, barring some malfunction or change in your power meter, power will be the same today, tomorrow, and two years from now, which means that any changes result from improvements in your physiology and fitness.


Caloric Tracking: Last but not least is power’s more accurate caloric tracking. The improved accuracy of calories is because, unlike heart rate, power measures the actual work. If you have been around anyone using power, you may have heard them talk about their “kJs.” When they say this, they are referencing the number of kilojoules burned during their workout, which is a direct reference to energy. This information can help you in your diet planning and fueling strategies for training and racing.


Ultimately, if you will not utilize the data to guide your training, a power meter will be a paperweight for your bike. However, if you do choose to use the data, it can be a tool to propel you to never achieved fitness levels quickly! If you are still trying to figure out where to begin with your power meter search, here are our thoughts on power meters.


*cardiac drift – The body’s natural phenomenon of increasing heart rate caused during exercise lasting more than five minutes. This “drift” is caused by factors such as increased core temperature, the fight-or-flight response, dehydration, muscle activation, and many other factors

What to Look for When Shopping for a Power Meter

With the increasing popularity of cycling power meters, athletes often ask what power meter is the best, and what type they should purchase. There are many different options, and it can paralyze some if uncertain about what to buy. In the last 20 years of using them, coach Brady has tried many different types and brands, and here are his key variables to consider when purchasing a power meter.

Compatibility – This is detail number one! If it doesn’t fit your bike, it won’t do you any good, and there are several variables to consider, such as:

  • Crank Based: Spindle length, spindle diameter, crank arm width, and chainring compatibility
  • Pedal Based: Pedal body type (Speed play, Look, Shimano etc), pedal q-factor (width of cleat/feet), ability to be rebuilt or repaired

Reliability – Does the brand have a history of creating a quality product that is dependable, provides precise data and has good battery life.

Durability – Everything has a life expectancy, but certain details play into it. For example, a pedal is exposed in the incidence of a crash, whereas a crank-based system is a bit more protected in that case. Chainrings are another detail to consider, and if it is a one-piece or if chainrings are replaceable.

Price Point – If it doesn’t fit the budget, it doesn’t matter, but if it fits the budget and doesn’t work, it really doesn’t matter! Right?

Our current “go to” power meters that we have seen our athletes have great success with and personally liked are the Quarq Power meter or the Favero Assioma power pedals.

If you are uncertain about what power meter would work best for your, let us know! [email protected]

What Power Source to Select When Using Zwift

What Power Source Should I use when riding on Zwift?

Over the years, many athletes have become frustrated with the difference between inside and outside perceived effort. During my years in Colorado at CTS, we often heard from athletes how it felt so much harder to ride on the then-popular Cycleops Fluid Trainer. As a result, several other coaches and I began to look into why that may be. Comparing crank-based power meter and hub-based power data, the one variable we noted was that hub torque, when compared to crank torque, significantly increased when indoors vs. outdoors. Ultimately, due to time, and other priorities taking precedence, we concluded that it was likely due to the difference in momentum/wheel speed. 


With smart trainers, many athletes say their power indoors and outdoors has a different perceived effort. As coaches, we want to make sure we compare apples to apples. There is always a slight variability in power data collection, and we want to ensure that your power numbers always come from the same device. Because of this, we want to ensure you select the proper power source. 


When you log in to Zwift, a prompt will ask you to select a “Power Source” this is the device that will determine how the trainer responds to your efforts. We recommend that our athletes use the power meter on their bikes for the power source. By doing this, we know that the data that we are receiving will be from a consistent device, whether you are indoors or outdoors. 


It may sound silly because most trainers, and power meters boast a +/- 1% accuracy, but we have seen variability of up to 10% in trainers of all brands and among the same brand when using the same power meter.

What to Look For When Searching for A Massage Therapist

How to Find a qualified massage therapist

Finding a massage therapist who works well with athletes can take time and effort. There is a wide range of techniques, levels of experience, prices, varying personalities, and most of all, let’s be honest, you are lying in various states of undress that may make you feel uncomfortable in the wrong setting.

To help you out, we went straight to the source and contacted our trusted massage therapist to understand better where to begin in your search for your massage therapist and answer the often feared concept of clothing. Lori Padgett, LMT, has been our go-to massage therapist in Tallahassee for the past five years. She has helped many of our coaches rehab after injuries and kept many athletes functioning at incredibly high levels.


As coaches with in-depth knowledge of physiology and anatomy, we are big on our massage therapist’s understanding of the science behind massage. Due to the highly technical nature of massage therapy, we wondered if there is an accreditation that stands above all others and would be an excellent place to begin your search. Lori informed us there is no specific accreditation to look for but stated that she “stresses the importance of the continuing education classes that a massage therapist has taken.” This continuing education is an excellent indicator of a professional continually trying to improve their craft.


Each of our coaches and many of our athletes have mentioned the wide range of costs for massage therapists they have experienced over the years, with varying inconsistencies in the outcomes. So much so that we began to believe you didn’t always “pay for what you get.” From Lori’s perspective, “many therapists do not know their worth, or they become afraid because they don’t want to lose their clients by raising their rate.” The theory that “you pay for what you get” may not always be true; she did state that she believes “based on the amount of CEUs and experience,” a massage therapist has does justify a massage therapist to have higher rates. 


The often and even more feared question is, “Do I have to be naked for my massage?” For some, there is not a second thought about disrobing and hoping underneath the massage sheet; for others, it is a very nerve-wracking experience and leads to a great deal of confusion about what is common. “It is best for you to feel comfortable and be able to relax, so if that means you have your underwear on, that is what you should do,” says Padgett.  Added tension makes it harder for your massage therapist to do their job correctly, ultimately decreasing the results and the quality of your massage. At the end of the day, as athletes, we are in a massage for results. So, disrobe to your level of comfort and ease your concerns.


As you are looking for a massage therapist, Lori does want our athletes to know these key details:

  • It is important to share as much as possible. The client information helps to know when you are hurting, what hurts and what your history may have created.

  • Listening and asking open-ended questions about your health and injury history are skills your massage therapist must possess. The in-depth knowledge they can attain will give them insight into what to do.

  • Communicate with your massage therapist. This communication can be as simple as you prefer it to be quieter during your massage, you do/don’t like the bed to be heated, or even if pressure is too light/hard.

  • You should begin to feel improvement within three sessions.

  • Do the homework (self-care)



If you live in the Tallahassee area and are searching for a massage therapist, Lori may be the fit for you! You may contact her at 850.274.7947

How do I Calculate FTP?

Functional Threshold Power has become an important detail to know with the substantial increase in the utilization of power meters. However, we have found a few clear and concise locations to find out how to calculate your FTP based on your field test results, so we wanted to help you make your training more accurate.

Ramp Test: In analyzing your results your test results, you will find your one-minute peak power and take 75% of this number to find your FTP.
Example: 300W (peak 1 minute power) x .75 = 225w (FTP)
2×8-minute field test: You will find that 90% of your best 8-minute power is where FTP lies. If there is a large discrepancy between your two efforts (>10%), it may be wise to average the two numbers and calculate them based on the average.
Example: 250W (best 8 minute power) x .9 = 225w (FTP)
20-minute field test: 95% of your 20-minute field test results will provide you with your FTP.
Example: 250w (20 minute power) x .95 = 237W (FTP)

The Importance of Cardiovascular Training in Motocross Athletes

We often receive funny looks when we tell people that we work with motorsports athletes. It isn’t something many would think about if they have never raced a motocross or ATV motocross event. It sounds simple, right? Twist the throttle, turn a couple of times, go through some rough stuff, and then over some jumps. So why would you need to be cardiovascularly fit? During a race, these athletes are not only taxing their bodies, maneuvering their bikes, and absorbing the roughness of the track, but their respiratory rate can be incredibly high, and their heart rate can see numbers in the upper 190s. If this were momentary, we would say that cardiovascular training is not as essential, but most motos can last 8-30minutes, making them the definition of an aerobic effort.

For a triathlete, cyclist, or runner, benefits are faster times, an improved FTP, or quicker pacing. For motorsport athletes, this improvement is slightly more difficult to quantify on the bike(motorcycle or ATV), but we see improvements in these four key areas:

  • Staying power: This is the most apparent result that athletes can see and quantify. They feel better during their Moto and most noticeably find that during their races, they become less fatigued in the final laps, ultimately allowing them to maintain more consistent lap times.
  • Mental clarity: When pushing your machine to its limits while your body is also near its limit, each decision you make is crucial. Being more cardiovascular fit has been shown to improve cognitive function. Whether passing a fellow racer, selecting a line, or even choosing when to brake, we want you to be at your best.
  • Reaction time: Riding at 50+ mph, side by side or wheel to wheel, a fraction of a second can be the difference between making a pass or being passed. Research repeatedly shows that athletes can work at a lower percentage of their VO2 max, and their response times are significantly better.
  • Heat acclimatization: A large number of races occur in the summer months. The benefits of cardiovascular training in the summer can include decreased time to onset of sweating, increased sweat rate, increased blood plasma volume, and much more.

All of these physical adaptations mean that you become more efficient at cooling, increasing your time to fatigue.

So, suppose you are a motocross athlete and are not focusing much on your cardiovascular fitness. In that case, we strongly encourage you to upgrade your engine to improve your race performance.

Maybe you are not sure how to do this correctly. We can help! Contact us to sign up for custom coaching with one of our experienced, professional coaches or sign up for our EDGE membership for motorsport-tailored training plans.

Early Summer Slump

Being headquartered in the South, we experience some of the harshest elements to train in, with high temperatures and humidity that will make you sweat just walking out the door. Over the years, we continue to notice that every season, after the “Spring” weather comes to an abrupt halt, we receive a great deal of feedback from athletes that their intervals become increasingly challenging to complete. If you experience this same feeling as summer temperatures set in for you, these are several things that you can and should do to help you have a great summer of training:

  • Decrease your intensity for two weeks – This time period of exercising in the heat will allow your body to acclimate to the change in temperature and cool more effectively. 

  • Make sure you consume more fluid – Part of the heat acclimatization process increases your blood plasma volume. If you are not pushing drink mix during training to allow your body to acclimate this will take longer.

  • Complete a new Field Test/Ramp Test – It may just be that due to the heat, your body is having to work harder to cool, and therefore your FTP has decreased slightly.

Remember, heat can be very dangerous when exercising and heat stroke is not something we want any athlete to experience. Listen to your body, stay on top of fluid consumption, and, if necessary, cut your workouts short and get out of the heat.

Learn From Your DNF

A DNF (Did Not Finish) can sometimes be hard to swallow. However, when you take a step back, sit down, and thoroughly analyze what happened, what could have been improved and how you can do better next time, you can turn a humbling experience into a great growing opportunity!

Learn how Coach Kristin Halley did just that!

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