How Many Calories Can You Expect to Burn?

The harder you work, the more calories you burn. This may seem like an obvious statement but results from certain studies which looked into substrate use during exercise were often misinterpreted, thus it became popular to advocate lower intensity bouts of exercise in order to burn the most amount of fat. Indeed, many exercise machines made by the top manufacturers would specify 60% of your maximum heart rate to be the 'fat-burning zone'. This is still oft repeated today. The fact is simply that you burn more calories from fat relatively at lower intensities; but as you increase the work rate, you burn more fat from calories in total overall. The rate of increase is exponential: work harder and burn many more calories.

The trick is to keep the work rate high for an extended period however. This is where other types of gym-based exercises fall short in comparison to indoor cycling when it comes to fat burning. Take for example, a set of squat jumps in Crossfit. If you were to perform a 60 second set, your heart rate may have rose to somewhere around 170bpm by the end of the set, but then drop rapidly as you move onto the next exercise. If for example the next exercise is something like push ups or similar, your heart rate may well drop below 110-120 quite quickly. The total amount of time your heart rate would be elevated throughout the sessions (e.g. >160bpm), would be actually be fairly short. Indoor cycling would expect to raise the heart rate >150bpm throughout the session, aiming to elevate >170 or even >180bpm for short bursts. Therefore significantly more calories would be used.

So exactly how many? Well, The Lab technology is highly accurate. We use the same type of tech that Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins and the Sky team would use when getting ready for Tour races (if it's good enough for those guys etc). Without an accurate power reading you simply can't determine how many calories you can expend accurately. Most devices use algorhithms to guess, but a guess is all it will ever be.

Below is a graph depicting the results of studies by Sjogaard et al (1982) and Swain et al (1987). To give you an idea how these figures relate to road cycling; average power outputs above 350W are the preserve of elite cyclists. So let's assume at one end of the scale you may have an 80kg male experienced cyclist who exerts a great deal during an outdoor ride and averages 300W/hr. This would burn around 1800 calories per hour. Another example may be a 60kg female who is untrained and exerts 80w/hr, thus burning around 400 calories per hour (still a significant amount by most exercises' standards).

However, indoor cycling classes, particularly The Lab style of instructing, are primarily high-intesnity interval-based sessions where you don't need to worry about traffic, wind resistance or slippery conditions. As such, during a 50 minutes blast, it's not inconceivable to attain very high power outputs even if you're not an elite cyclist. The only way to tell though is to get on the bike. All the data will be stored on the tech at the studio and the app on your tablet/phone ...(pretty cool eh?).
How many calories can I burn