Joe writes: With fall just around the corner, cycling outside is becoming more difficult, are there any videos or other practices you would recommend to maintain cycle fitness?
Fall is here (and winter soon after) and that means cooler temperatures, shorter days, and at times weather that isn’t conducive to riding outside. But just because some of us live where there is cold, icy, and snowy weather (or maybe we just have a low tolerance to chilly weather), it doesn’t mean we can’t maintain our cycling fitness. So what do we do when we can’t ride outside? We get on the trainer, of course! Here are a few reasons the trainer is a great tool:
1) Controlled Environment - no traffic, no wind (except for your fan) and it is as climate controlled as your home.
2) Efficient Workouts - consistent pedaling (no stopping at intersections and there is no coasting downhill on a trainer!) makes a shorter workout possible for the same fitness benefits.
3) Safety - no cars or big trucks, pedestrians, or wild animals (well, maybe some furry friends) to cross your path and it’s a much safer environment to put those headphones on and blast away!
When it comes to choosing a workout, there are a multitude of workouts videos out there. Just google “indoor cycling videos” or “indoor cycling workouts” and you’ll get a lot of options. But before you pick a video or workout that looks good, consider the following:
1) Have a goal for your indoor training sessions. Do you want to improve pedaling efficiency, endurance, power, or just maintain the fitness level you have? Find workouts that match your goal.
2) Make sure the workouts you choose are progressive. It takes several similar workouts to get significant adaptations, so if you are working on a specific skill, make sure to repeat it with similar workouts that get progressively more challenging. It’s even OK to do the same (or similar) workout several times to get your body to adapt. You’ll see gains doing this over picking random workouts.
3) Don’t neglect nutrition, hydration, and recovery! Just because you are inside doesn’t mean you can skip eating and drinking! In fact, because we are without the natural cooling effect we get from riding outside, we will become noticeably more sweaty. (Tip: have a fan, open a window if you can, have a towel, and even a headband to keep the sweat out of your eyes.) You’ll need to consume fluids, take in calories if it is a long or intense workout, and of course plan recovery weeks during your training.
But if all else fails, simply put on your favorite movie and simply pedal on...