Tomorrow we officially hit the half way point of our 16 week Winter Training program at the Global Ride Training Center.  We”™ve employed the Keiser M3 power indoor bikes and Cycling Fusion principals to maximize our use of the indoor environment.   However, the foundational basis of all this training is anchored in the most important engine we are tuning - the cardio vascular system.  For that, we are major proponents of the Heart Zones Training methods.  Twenty four of us are preparing for personal bests and new levels of performance in the great outdoors on two wheels.

Those that have read my Cycling Fusion manifesto know that I”™m passionate about pulling the indoor and outdoor world of cycling together.  In our 16 week Winter Training program we have a third who have never done any significant rides outside, a third who are on my USA Cycling race team (men and women sanctioned races only), and a third who are just avid cyclists.  Most however, have never really trained inside, so this program has been a big experiment for the bulk of the class.

Consequently I felt it important to give them some motivation to fuel the second 8 weeks since we are moving out of a 90% focus on Heart Zones training, and moving into a 75% focus on Power Training.  Nothing speaks louder than results, so I retested some of the class to show the real facts of our progress so far.  I retested a small sample, since the entire class will be retested at the end of the 16 weeks.

Fat Burning & VO2

Part of the requirements for our Winter Training program was to be tested with the New Leaf Metabolic system to establish our baselines (an essential requirement if you want to prove that your training methods actually work). Our 1st goal was to train our metabolism to burn more fat, and to burn it longer.  Our 2nd goal was to increase our VO2 max - even before we begin the hard VO2 work.   I”™ve seen posts on various sites saying you can”™t do that; train your metabolism and VO2.  I think these posts are mainly done by those that have never been able to get definitive results in their own training methods, because the tools now clearly exist to validate that this is indeed very possible.

The graph below is for Nina, my daughter and the captain of our women”™s racing team.  You will see a white line that shows where the 50% fat utilization is on each graph.  What stands out is that most of the graph (and thus fat burning) is below the graph when we started the program, and now we are well above the line after just 8 weeks of solid Heart Zones® training.

Secondly, look at the shape of the graph.  The deep diving of the first graph indicate that her body was forced to burn glycogen early in zone 4, where as now she is holding on to her fat burning machine longer, well into zone 4 before she has to tap her glycogen stores.  This is good stuff folks!

In addition, New Leaf provides your actual caloric burn rate in each heart zone.  Just as we all have unique metabolisms, we thus burn calories at different rates as well.  The results showed that Nina is burning on average .5 calories more per zone now.  That may not seem like a big number, but remember, this is in every zone, and for every minute of work - there is a cumulative affect that will apply for every workout.

Finally, Nina”™s VO2 increased 3 points.  In just 8 weeks, these type of results would be very hard pressed to be gained without indoor training. Our stated goal for the entire 16 weeks is 5 points, and the more serious VO2 work has yet to begin.  Our Power work should help kick that another 3 points or more before we are finished.  Our next post will talk about moving into that Power Zone of training.


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