Simply enough, it’s the relationships between your power output (measured in watts) and your bodyweight (in kilograms).
Here’s an example:
If you weigh 70kg and your average power output for an hour is 300 watts then your power to weight ratio is 300/70, which equates to 4.2 watts per kg body weight. If you weigh 90kg and still average 300 watts your power to weight ratio would be 3.3 watts per kg body weight. Professional riders may be able to average 5.5 watts per kg for an hour with those capable of winning a grand tour averaging 6.4 watts per kg for an hour.
It is thought that losing one kilogram of body weight is the equivalent to gaining 7 watts when climbing a significant gradient. Even if you do not train with a power meter or plan to climb Alpe d’Huez any time soon, the concept is still worth taking into account.
Anyone who needs to lose weight can do so, it’s about putting your body in a state of negative energy balance – expending more energy than you consume. However, for those in training it is important you lose fat mass and maintain lean body mass; power to weight ratio is as much about muscle mass as it is about overall weight. Merely restricting calorie intake may end up in weight loss, but this can be skewed if your body is breaking down your muscles as an energy source, not the positive weight loss we are looking for.
For more information about how’s best to tackle weight loss then click here.
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