Proven this summer racing the Tour & Giro, Swiss tech company CORE wants to help elite athletes better manage their training & race efforts by live-monitoring core body temperature. Previously limited to lab-only monitoring (and generally more invasive setups), Core’s unique new wearable body temperature tracker gives access to live-updated temp data to help athletes optimize their efforts and cooling measures during training & racing.

How can CORE body temperature monitoring improve performance?

The general basis for the rationale behind CORE body temperature tracking is that at a certain point, when your body cannot shed excess heat during intense efforts, your power output will decline.

CORE Body Temperature Monitor, non-invasive internal body temp tracking to improve cycling performance, live-tracking

c. CORE

That’s a pretty basic concept that anyone who has ridden in super hot weather will understand (even weather over 25°C/77°F starts to noticeably impact endurance athletes.) Yet, unless you wanted to insert an internal thermometer or swallow a temp-tracking pill, real body temperature tracking was out of reach for most athletes.

CORE Body Temperature Monitor, non-invasive internal body temp tracking to improve cycling performance, indoor training

And while heat affects all of us differently, tracking the real impacts & correlation of temperature to other training metrics like heart rate & power output, can surely help cyclists figure out how to better deal with heat. That could mean optimizing training efforts (like introducing thermal stress to increases training load), better acclimating to riding in heat (say to prep for anticipated hot racing), or determining when best to employ additional cooling techniques (like riding with ice vests, or even choosing specific clothing.)

CORE Body Temperature Monitor, non-invasive internal body temp tracking to improve cycling performance, Deceuninck–Quick-Step training photo by Wout Beel

c. Wolfpack racing, all Deceuninck–Quick-Step photos by Wout Beel

Core worked with a couple professional World Tour cycling teams this summer to verify their capabilities in race situations, with riders tracking body temps at the Tour de France & Giro d’Italia. Deceuninck–Quick-Step was most interested to track their riders’ body temperature during while racing to better gauge their efforts. After success at the Tour de France, now Bora-Hansgrohe will use CORE next season to help their riders “advance racing performance”.

Tech details – How does the CORE temp tracker work? 

The little stick on Core sensor isn’t actually just a thermometer (as we/I might have guessed). Instead it is a tiny “energy transfer sensor” developed by Core’s parent company greenTEG, that measures the amount of energy being transferred from your body, out into the environment.

CORE Body Temperature Monitor, non-invasive internal body temp tracking to improve cycling performance, heat transfer sensor

Essentially it is measuring the heat loss of your body, and extrapolating that to calculates your core body temperature – with claimed accuracy of +/-0.21°C comparable to real internal measurement (more detail on the tech here).

CORE Body Temperature Monitor, non-invasive internal body temp tracking to improve cycling performance, rechargeable

What Core does with that tech is pack it into a tiny 12g, 4x5cm by 8.35mm thick tracking device that can be either stuck directly to your skin or hung on the heart rate strap you are probably already wearing.

CORE Body Temperature Monitor, non-invasive internal body temp tracking to improve cycling performance, stick-on or strap-on

With a USB-rechargeable li-po battery, the IPX7 water-resistant sensor will transmit your core temp for 6 days on one charge – or 6 weeks in sleep mode. It communicates with both Bluetooth BLE & ANT+, and is directly compatible with a number of effort tracking apps on iOS, Android, WatchOS, Wear OS, Garmin ConnectIQ & Wahoo devices.

CORE Body Temperature Monitor, non-invasive internal body temp tracking to improve cycling performance, heart rate strap

CORE Body Temperature tracking – Pricing & availability

CORE Body Temperature Monitor, non-invasive internal body temp tracking to improve cycling performance, gadget

In the end, the real innovation of the Core temp tracker is simply making it small, easy-to-use, and affordable enough that more athletes can have access to body temperature monitoring. Starting at $275 / 250 Swiss francs (~230€) for the Core tracker kit, real-time monitoring of body temperature isn’t going to be for everyone.

CORE Body Temperature Monitor, non-invasive internal body temp tracking to improve cycling performance, Deceuninck–Quick-Step training photo by Wout Beel

photos by Wout Beel

But as we’ve seen the explosion of power meters in the past few years among competitive amateur cyclists, this is likely another valuable data stream that athletes can use to optimize their training and race efforts.

The Core tracker is available consumer-direct for much of the world, or via TheFeed in the US.

COREbodytemp.com or TheFeed.com

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Varaxis
Varaxis
1 year ago

Yes, my peak output is limited by an overheat situation. My average output isn’t really as affected as I thought though, based on the time/numbers. It just *feels* that I’m pushing harder than usual due to how I perceive heat and sweat are associated with intensity.

Klaster_1
Klaster_1
1 year ago

How is this not a glorified thermometer for a whopping 230 EUR? Doesn’t “energy transfer” is basically a definition of temperature? Even their website says “thermocouples are the building blocks of thermoelectric elements”. Maybe a thermometer can help with the training regime, but the manner the products is presented reeks of marketing BS.

Christopher
7 months ago

Thank you for your feedback @Klaster_1

It would be a pleasure to explain – a tradition thermometer like an ingested electronic pill or the rectal thermometer measure internal temperature and specific contact the temperature at the point they measure.

The CORE sensor in contrast is worn externally, and although we measure skin temperature, this doesn’t correlate to the internal core body temperature. With our sensor technology which we make on location in Zurich and supply for the photonics and medical industry (there are even our sensors on the international space station in orbit) this is measuring the “Thermal energy transfer”. In other words it means the heat going from or into the body. This however is not the core body temperature. To determine the core body temperature we have developed an algorithm which was the result of 6-7 years R&D that uses reference data (billions of data points we have collected from clinical tests, lab and field tests) to determine the corresponding core body temperature.

On the website we describe how the sensor technology works in more detail. Of course when introducing the CORE sensor for athletes, there is only so much detail (and often level of interest) in being able to explain how it works – in practice, athletes want a convenient and reliable solution and a priority is also addressing for them how sports people can use the core body sensor data they have to advance their training and racing.

Regarding the latter, the benefits of heat training / heat adaption are very well documented so it is not a ‘maybe’. Indeed, because the thermoregulation of people and their responses to cooling in very individual – it is also well documented that ‘knowing’ the actual core body temperature for training and also for preventing heat stress is a big advantage over guessing based on perception.

If the presentation of the CORE sensor is not to your liking, I can understand. We avoid bold and superlative claims although it is worth considering, core body temperature was only really accessing to elite athletes and scientists and now it is available as a far more accessible price point. As it was not easily accessible, the value of core body temperature in sports is not as well documented as, for example, heart rate or power output which have both already been established over many years.

One thing to consider is that since the article was published, we supply 6 men’s and 2 women’s teams although at the 2021 Tour de France, riders from 19 of the 23 teams were using this technology. At the olympics, athletes who trained with the CORE sensor won gold in numerous events including Men’s and Women’s Road Races, Men’s MTB, Track events, Men’s Triathlon and even team-sport events.

I hope that this has answered the questions you have raised. At Eurobike I had the pleasure of meeting the author of the article, Cory Benson in person and it is possible that he may share some updates at some time to provide another viewpoint.