by Angela Reed-Fox
How about Power to Weight Ratio (PWR)? This is simply your average watts for the session divided by your weight in kg.
While one figure isn't going to tell you everything you need to know about your fitness, you can use FTP and PWR to increase and track your fitness. Heartrate is great, but is affected by so many different factors - and not so much by improving fitness, so you wouldn't use heartrate as a benchmark. But using heartrate and watts in your workouts, and tracking changes with your wattage will help with motivation as you see progress over weeks.
Interesting things you can do with watts
All Fox Cycling classes are set up so that you can use purely heartrate, or if you want the extra challenge, watts as well. Watts are great for giving you an extra push and therefore extra results (but you do need to put the effort in or nothing will happen!)
Find your 'sweet' spot
Get a feel for watts by playing with different gears and different pedal speeds in standing and seated positions. The sweet spot is a fine balance between the fastest you can pedal at the highest gear. Having a lower foot speed due to high gear will decrease your power, as will having a perky foot speed but not enough resistance. Have a play - everyone's different, there are no rules.
Focus on your watts in different positions - seated and standing climbs, sprints, time trials. When you get familiar with watts, you'll notice you will have a manageable power output for each - the fun comes with trying to bust each one, even just the tiniest little bit. That's where your fitness will increase. For example, if you have quite a 'hilly' class, use the first hill to test out your climbing wattage, and then use subsequent ones to improve on it - play with pedal speed and gears and see what happens!
Keep a note. There's nothing quite so satisfying as having hard evidence of how much you've improved! (Hey, what's social media for, other than to post brags on?!)
Click the button below to download a Word chart which you can customise for your own use.
Limitations of using watts
What do you think?
If you decide to use watts, or need some help or advice on boosting your fitness - get in touch; happy to help!
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