Does Watts expenditure correlate to fitness level

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Does Watts expenditure correlate to fitness level

Postby ittiandro » Tue Feb 24, 2015 10:10 pm

I am 73, male, and I train on an elliptical machine. I have been training ( in and out!) for many years. I do windsurfing and cycling. Overall I am in a very good shape and I am very comfortable in going over the age-chart limits, even though I don't overdo it and I am very cautious.
I restarted training a month ago after a few months interruption. I can already see my improvement from my heart rest rate, which has gone down from 75 BPM to around 60 bpm at wake-up.
I train about 4-5 times per week with 40 minutes sessions.
I keep my H.R. at a cruise speed of about 130 bpm, with spurts of 140-145 which I still feel relatively comfortable.
My machine calories reading is way off and I use my Polar cardio watch for a realistic reading. Usually my calories expenditure over a 40-45 minutes is about 400-450 cal and I keep the Watts at about 80 with spurts of 120.
I noticed though, that with the increased fitness, the watts reading tends to decrease for the same resistance level. ( I can keep it at about 5-6 for cruising, but it has become easier and easier to step up to 8 or 9 for shorter spurts).

THree things I'd like to know

1. Is the watts expenditure correlated to the overall fitness level? In other words, does my increased cardio-vascular and muscular strength require LESS effort therefore a lesser watts expenditure for the same resistance level? I wouldn't have thought so, but the reading on he machine seems to indicate this.

2. Any comments about the appropriateness of my settings. Suggestions to improve?

3. In the summer I train on a very steep staircase in a local park, which goes from the lower street level to the top of the mountain, about 100 ft vertical drop . What I find strange is that a H.R. of 140-145 bpm while briskly climbing the stairs ( I can't even run!) is much more strenuous than 140 bpm on the bike or on the elliptical machine. I seem to be TOTALLY out of shape after months of training, when it comes to climbing the stairs!

Thanks for your comments


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Boss Man
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Re: Does Watts expenditure correlate to fitness level

Postby Boss Man » Thu Feb 26, 2015 6:35 pm

Hi Ittiandro, good to talk to you.

In relation to the third question, you will be encountering more resistance on the stairs due to you having to keep lifting your legs up all the time to climb the stairs and thereby you're pulling your legs away from the gravitational pull below you, whereas on a treadmill you're mainly cutting across the gravitational field, so this may account for why the two circumstances produce differing fitness results despite the similar BPM.

Increased wattage on the machine may possibly be accounted for by more muscle yes, as the more muscle and power you have the more you can potentially work the machine harder to produce more wattage, assuming your power to weight ratio has gone up, but if your power and strength increases are tempered by water retention and / or fat gains to the point that power to weight ratio remained similar to before, then effectively the wattage churned out on the machine would remain similar if you were using the same cadence and tempo.

I'm not certain why added fitness would decrease wattage produced on the same setting, but it might be that the extra strength and power you have makes things easier, thereby you might not need to move your legs as quickly to get the same speed going, so it might be like making the belt move further with every step, rather than smaller movements of the belt but more of them by running faster, but with less meaningful strides.

I would not worry too much about things like wattage or BPM, because when you have settled into a rhythm first time and you seem to feel in that rhythm every time, then you'll probably be performing consistently.

It would be like your body had found a way of acting every time, that feels comfortable and natural.

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Re: Does Watts expenditure correlate to fitness level

Postby toddhicks209 » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:39 am

I don't understand how a person with your fitness level can get winded after climbing a set of stairs. It may help you to climb stairs and hills more.

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