The study, recently published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, comprised of seven male cyclists engaging in various 30-minute stationery trials. Subjects were allowed to ride their own bikes, thanks to the use of a KingCycle ergometer, but what the study ultimately hinged on was that the temperature of the environment was displayed for the cyclists.
The control trial was conducted in a room kept at 71.2 degrees Fahrenheit. A second “hot” trial was held in a room at 88.5 degrees. The final one was a “deception” trial, in which the temperature was displayed as 78.8 degrees but it was actually 88.8 degrees, the hottest of the three. The trials were administered in a randomized way, and all seven subjects performed all three. (Rectal thermometers used to measure each cyclist’s core body temperature were also displayed as being slightly lower than what they were actually were.)
What researchers found was that while cyclists performed better in the control trial (10.33 miles) than the hot trial (9.87), they actually traveled a greater distance on average in the deception trial (10.4) than the other two. And the mean power output — the wattage pumped up by all that exertion and cycling — was actually higher in the deception trial (184.4 watts) as opposed to the hot trial (168.1). There was no discernible output difference between control and deception, even though one was conducted in a setting 17 degrees hotter than the other.
The entire article can be read… Playbook (Wired magazine).