If you?re like us, you look forward to summer all year long. After all, long days, more free time and good weather all mean more time to spend on your bike. But what fun is it if you are huffing and puffing up every climb and dreading riding with your buddies (who out-sprint you every time). Or maybe you?re in good shape, but your goal is to be in great shape. Maybe you?re even looking to win a race or two this season. Face it, we all want to improve our strength, endurance and power. But being fit isn?t just about having the endurance of Ned Overend or massive biceps. It’s about having a body that can perform the way you want it to and is free from injury. To be fit, you need to focus on four main areas: cardiovascular fitness, strong muscles, flexibility and a healthy diet. Most of us are weak in at least one of these areas, but each plays an important part in helping you be at your best. Whatever your fitness goals, we have a plan to help you achieve them. So get serious, pull out your calendar, count off the next 28 days and make a commitment to use our four-part plan to get you where you want to be. CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS
The enemy of cardiovascular fitness is routine. Do you go on the same ride three times a week? When you don?t vary your speed, distance and ride time, your body quickly adapts. The quickest way to increase your aerobic fitness is to spice things up. There are three types of rides that should make up your week: long, slow endurance rides; rides with intervals; and high intensity rides. Endurance rides should be at least two and a half hours and you should aim to keep your heart rate at about 55 to 65 percent of your maximum. Besides increasing endurance, long slow rides allow your body to recover from the more intense rides in your schedule. Intervals are added during the middle of a ride. They are made up of a series of fast sprints (called jumps) interspersed with slower recovery periods. Sprints only have to last for about 30 seconds but they should be done at your maximum effort. Intervals force your body to adapt to using less oxygen and raise your lactic acid threshold. They also help you learn to recover faster between sprints and climbs. High intensity faster rides last about an hour or an hour and a half. Force yourself to keep up a good pace?about 75 to 85 percent of your max heart rate. The focus is on consistent speed. If you have the opportunity to ride more than three times a week, spend some time working on technical skills or just play ride. Take at least one day off. It is also a good idea to mix things up and go for a swim or a hike?anything that encourages you to use different muscles than those used for cycling. STRONG MUSCLES
Strong, lean muscles help you ride faster, longer and avoid injury. The quickest way to develop strong muscles is by lifting weights. There are a million strength building routines out there, but you don?t need to be a slave to the gym. A half-hour, two or three times a week, is all it takes?and you can skip the three-set routine. Studies show that all but the most serious body builders get just as good a workout by only doing one set. The trick is to make the most of that set by using weights that are heavy enough. If your muscles are not fully fatigued by the twelfth repetition, then you need to increase the weight. It is important to focus on your upper body, torso and lower body. Cyclists often forget to work their upper body and torso, but a developed upper half can add speed and technical ability and can help you avoid many common injuries. Spend at least two days a week on these areas. Most cyclists can afford to spend just one day a week on their lower body if they are spending a fair amount of time in the saddle. Make sure never to work the same group of muscles on consecutive days. This decreases the amount of recovery time for the muscle, which is where the increased strength comes from. FLEXIBILITY
Flexibility is the ability for a joint to move through its full range of motion. People who are flexible are less likely to get injured and may actually be able to more quickly increase the strength of their muscles. Unfortunately, this is one area where too many of us either rush through the motions or don?t even bother. Many of the aches and pains that cyclists suffer could be avoided if they spent more time stretching. Of course, the ultimate question has long been: when is the best time to stretch? Most of us have heard that stretching cold muscles is more dangerous than not stretching at all, but who wants to stop 15 minutes into his or her ride to stretch? Fortunately, studies seem to indicate that the best time to stretch is after a ride. When you skip the post-ride stretch, you actually decrease the flexibility of your muscles because they begin to constrict from being worked. Static-strength, versus ballistic (bouncing), stretching is considered to be the safest. Positions should be held for about 30 to 45 seconds at the mid-range of tension, not where they hurt. Repeat each stretch two or three times. FUELING UP
Summer is the time for trips to the ice cream shop and for hamburger and hot-dog barbecues. You don?t have to give up these treats, but a few simple tips can help give you an energy boost and lighten your load for those climbs. KEEP YOUR BODY HYDRATED
Although our bodies need lots of water all year long, our need (and, fortunately, desire) for fluid rises with the temperature. How important is getting enough to drink? Every cell in your body depends on water to keep it alive. Experts recommend that you get at least 64 ounces of water a day. But in the summer, and when you are kicking your workout program up a notch, you need even more. Make sure, in addition to your eight glasses a day, that you drink at least eight ounces before your ride, a few gulps every 15 minutes during your ride and about 16 ounces after your ride. For the next 30 days, make a commitment to drink up. After that, it will be a habit that will help keep you healthy. FILL UP ON FRUITS AND VEGGIES
On a hot day, nothing sounds better than a plate full of cool fruit or a big crunchy salad. Unlike during the cold days of winter, when our bodies tend to crave warm comfort foods like pasta and potatoes, in the summer our bodies naturally crave lighter fare. Listen to your body and enjoy the seasonal produce that is available. All of us can benefit from adding more fruits and vegetables to our diets, but if one of your goals is to lighten up around the middle, make sure that at least one meal a day is primarily a fruit or veggie dish. Feeling deprived? Throw some chicken into your salad or add some yogurt to your fruit. The added protein will help you stay full longer. WATCH PORTION SIZE
Studies show that thin people rarely give up foods they love in order to stay thin. But what most thin people have in common is that they don?t eat when they are not hungry. Eating too much or eating for the wrong reason is the quickest way to sabotage a good eating plan. Don?t eat just because the clock says that you ought to. Also, halfway through your meal, think about whether or not you are still hungry. If you?re satisfied, quit eating and save the rest for later. FORGET THE GET-THIN-QUICK SCHEMES
Whatever you do, don?t try to lose 20 pounds in the next 30 days by starving yourself. Losing weight too quickly causes a host of problems. First, if your body senses that you are taking in too few calories, it will try to hang on to your fat cells. This will slow down your metabolism and it will remain slower, even when you start to pick up your calories again. Second, if you lose weight too quickly, your body is likely to lose muscle rather than fat. The worst part is that when you gain the weight back, it will be fat, not muscle. That means that you end up being fatter than before you went on the diet. Also, if you don?t take in enough calories, you won?t have the energy to ride?which is the reason for eating healthily in the first place.
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.