Monica MacDonald
Customer Relations

Why Train With Power?

October 12, 2023
Monica MacDonald
Customer Relations
Why Train With Power?

Heart rate training has long been our go-to method for measuring fitness and gauging progress. Heart rate monitors are accessible, user-friendly, and affordable, providing valuable insights into the intensity of your workout. This makes it convenient to calculate the calories burned during exercise and customize your training to better align with your goals.

Heart rate training equips you with the tools necessary to observe improvements in your fitness over time. If you can complete the same workout with a lower heart rate, it signifies that your body is becoming fitter and more efficient in energy expenditure. Additionally, a decrease in your resting heart rate indicates enhanced cardiovascular fitness.

While heart rate training is a fantastic tool for tracking and analyzing workouts, it’s not the only option available. As technology advances and becomes more accessible, new avenues for fitness tracking are emerging. With the Apple Watch, it's now possible to track your Power metrics during workouts, providing an entirely new dimension for evaluating your running and cycling sessions.

Heart Rate and Power Data in FITIV Pulse

What is Power?

Power measurements quantify the energy you expend (measured in Watts) while propelling yourself forward, either directly through your feet on the ground while running or via the pressure applied to your bike’s pedals. Cyclists and runners have utilized Power measurements for years, although the devices used to measure this data weren't always widely accessible. Fortunately, the Apple Watch now supports both native running power and external Bluetooth power meters, making it easier than ever to measure and utilize Power data.

Why Power?

Unlike heart rates, which can be affected by various factors such as hydration, ambient temperature, and fatigue, Power provides a precise measure of the actual energy used during your workout. While heart rate data represents your body, Power data primarily measures your performance.

Power data is particularly valuable for cycling workouts, where speed and heart rates might present an incomplete picture of your ride. Higher speed readings could be due to downhill sections rather than increased effort, and elevated heart rates could result from exhaustion, caffeine consumption, or heat. Incorporating Power measurements into your workout tracking provides a more comprehensive view. Power values offer a precise look at your intensity and performance, unaffected by external factors that might influence heart rates or speed.

How Do I Track Power?

Getting started with Power data on your Apple Watch is straightforward. For running workouts, you don't need any external devices; power is directly supported by your Apple Watch. Simply record your workout as a Running-type workout with the FITIV Pulse app, run as usual, and review your power data in your post-workout summary in the FITIV Pulse app on your iPhone.

For cycling, you'll need to connect an external Bluetooth cycling power meter to your Apple Watch. Fortunately, this process is extremely simple:

1. Open the Settings app on your Apple Watch and tap Bluetooth.
2. Under Health Devices, tap the sensor you want to connect.
3. Tap the (i) icon below Set Up Device to edit the wheel size or crank length of your bicycle.

To ensure accurate Power tracing data, it's important to set your Functional Power Threshold (FTP) in the FITIV Pulse app. For detailed information on finding and setting your FTP value, check out the article here: FTP Guide

How Do I Use Power Data?

Now that you’re tracking and reviewing your cycling power, you might be wondering how to best use this data to enhance your workouts. Fortunately, utilizing your power data is as straightforward as using heart rate data for training. Your running or cycling power will be categorized into zones corresponding to your FTP value set earlier.

Your power data can serve both to measure workout intensity and tailor your training to your personal goals. Aiming to improve endurance? Target zone 2 during your workouts to maintain a sustainable pace. Looking to increase speed? Experiment with higher zones to challenge your body's limits and adapt to higher intensities.

Power Chart in FITIV Pulse
Power Zone Breakdown
Power Zones Overlay on GPS Map

Do I Still Need to Measure Heart Rates?

While power data provides an objective measure of your performance, it doesn’t offer a complete picture of your workouts alone. By combining power data and heart rate data, you can measure improvements in objective energy output as well as your body’s enhanced fitness and conditioning from your training. When it comes to fitness data, we believe the more, the merrier. Tracking as much fitness data as possible ensures you can always review past workouts, monitor your progress, and comprehend your training successes and needs moving forward.