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UNH researchers develop improved tool for cycling fitness
Date:8/30/2010

d in the original three-minute test with the cyclist's own bicycle, fitted with a power meter and used with a stationary trainer.

Testing 16 competitive cyclists, Francis compared their exercise intensity from the power meter test with classic laboratory-produced exercise intensity measures: blood lactate concentration and oxygen consumption. The power-meter and laboratory-based results correlated.

"You can go out with your own power meter and, for free, in just three minutes, you can do what would cost you $250 and take over an hour in the lab," says LaRoche.

With this data, says LaRoche, a cyclist can develop a range of individualized training zones that a coach will use to prescribe a particular workout. "You can't use heart rate, because everyone's is different, but you can say, 'we're doing a zone three workout today.' As a former coach I see the practicality of it," he adds. LaRoche previously worked with speed skaters and Nordic skiers for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Francis took a more circuitous route toward exercise science. He received bachelor's and master's degrees from UNH in electrical engineering in the early 1990s, then worked in that field for many years while taking up cycling recreationally. He returned to UNH for a second master's degree, in exercise science, to help him pursue his goal of becoming a cycling coach. A self-described "mid-range amateur cyclist," Francis launched his own coaching service in Merrimack upon graduation last year. Its name, FxD Coaching, riffs on an equation that engineering and exercise share: force times distance equals work.

The work he dedicated to his master's thesis paid off. LaRoche says it's unusual for a master's-level student to have an article accepted in the prestigious Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise journal. More importantly, says LaRoche, Francis's work can now have an impact on athletes. "There's so much misinformation out there about how to train
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Contact: Beth Potier
beth.potier@unh.edu
603-868-1913
University of New Hampshire
Source:Eurekalert

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