The Science Behind TotalCyclist Part I

Life is a river, a beginning, an end, and a million different ways in-between. I was fortunate enough to add another bend in my river this winter with an internship at TotalCyclist for part two of the 2019 Winter Series. As a student at UNC Charlotte within the Exercise Science department, my final semester before my Exercise Physiology licensure requires a 340-hour internship of my choosing. With my passion of cycling mixed with a love of physiology, TotalCyclist was a perfect fit. I wanted to bring to the table my skills as an Exercise Physiologist and incorporate physiological science within workouts and the programming of the workouts. I found a lot of athletes not training with heart rate, power, or other physiological data and my plan was to reach out to the athletes and show that not only does it help with their training, but this data can be used to show progress and overall fitness. 


Special thanks to George Rudisill for participating.

Special thanks to George Rudisill for participating.

The initial goal of the study was to choosea group of clients, both new and previously existing, and analyze progress over winter training series two. I wanted to have data from FTP test before and after series, as well as clinical data including, but not limited to: Blood Pressure Pulse, SpO2, RPE, and Pulse Pressure. Having these measurement before, during, and after ought to provide enough data through the ten weeks to paint a picture of changes or lack there of in physiological responses to the stimuli of TotalCyclist workouts. A large part of what I saw from Chad was wanting to maximize the workout in the time given and make the athletes as fast as possible given the constraints of having one to two workouts per week. Loving that we were making athletes faster, my main focus during the study is that TotalCyclist creates a healthier individual and the fitness and speed coming along with that as a subcomponent. 



A total of six athletes were studied for a total of ten weeks. Two subjects were completely new to TotalCyclist, while the remaining four subjects were those who regularly came as part of their yearly subscription. Each workout was consistent in a 55-minute workout time. Intensity factors gradually increased each week by roughly one percent. Subjects were encouraged to refrain from eating or drinking anything other than water at least three hours before their workout session for an even baseline of vitals before exercise. Pulse, heart rate, and RPE were taken during the workout during maximal intervals. Although maximal exertion is subjective between subjects, the vitals were taken at the same interval for each subject during the week. Subjects were encouraged to come in fresh for workouts. Post workout vitals were all taken after five minutes of recovery in a seat with backrest. 



Results from this study reinforce other studies and meta-analysis articles of a decrease in blood pressure following exercise. Although this study is not consistent enough due to missing data and lack of studied subjects to run statistical analysis to prove whether the data is significant or not, trend lines from resting baselines show an improvement in blood pressure following exercise, and a decrease in blood pressure, pulse pressure, and resting heart rate over the 10 weeks in four of the six athletes (two new, two existing). Blood oxygen saturation of the athletes stayed consistent and didn’t vary from the weeks. 



The next update will be a discussion of the study where I talk in depth about the limitations of the study and some of my thoughts!