How Does Mental Fatigue Affect Watts?   

Most of us have slaved over improving our functional threshold power (FTP) via countless hours of structured power-based training.  Likewise we’ve geeked out and spent lots of money looking for ways to save watts using the latest aero bars, wheels, bars, skin suits, shoe covers, wax chains, helmets and even water bottles.   Of course,  these are all valid and worthwhile…ok maybe the water bottle is debatable 😉   But what if there was an even more significant way to improve performance and watt output on the bike?

In this 2018 study scientists set out to measure the impact of mental fatigue on critical power and watt output.  They found that under mental fatigue conditions, cyclists didn’t lose any critical power but had a significant reduction in watt output over the control group.  Since the test group also had a lower lactate accumulation during the testing these findings suggest that they had some untapped potential left on the road.  Just how much you ask?   

It was a Staggering 33% Reduction in Watts due to Mental Fatigue   

OMG!!  This easily beats out all of the aero gear and then some in terms of potential gains in performance. Clearly mental fatigue training is an essential component to getting faster and developing mental toughness in sport.  

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