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Bicycle Training and Fitness

Yep, It’s Winter. Take Your Work-Out Inside…

by Leah Barrett - Wednesday, November 24, 2010 norway

and Reap the Benefits. By Leah Barrett, Nutritionist and Wellness Counselor at become fit in Fort Collins, Colorado

OK, some of you are hard-core and no matter how cold or wet or windy it gets out there, you will not come inside to train, no matter what. The rest of us? Well, let’s just say, we aren’t so hardy (or maybe we are smarter?). Nonetheless, let’s talk about the benefits of taking advantage of indoor training when the weather out there is “frightful”.

Indoor Cycling (a.k.a Spinining) is a natural companion to outdoor cycling.  You could ride your “Trainer” or your “Rollers” and that would be considered Indoor Cycling. Or, you could take some Group Cycling classes. There are some clear advantages to taking Indoor Cycling Classes. Here are a few of the benefits:

  • • Climate control! No cold, no snow, no ice, no wind, no rain!
  • • Well-taught classes provide a sound, safe, and effective coached training sessions.
  • • You’ll typically work harder in a group environment than when alone.
  • • Inside training gets rid of stressful distractions like cars, squirrels, pedestrians and other cyclists. This allows for a much more focused experience. See #5 Benefit.
  • • This focused training experience allows for practicing skill sets that might be a bit more difficult to practice when riding outside. For example, focusing on pedal stroke biomechanics: learning how to use a full pedal stroke in order to improve power and efficiency.
  • • A 45-minute ride can be equivalent to a 15-20 mile ride depending on cadence.
  • • A 45-minute ride can burn up to 600 calories. (Consider that a piece of pumpkin pie with whipped cream is 255 calories, and that ½ cup of green bean casserole is 225!).
  • • Did I mention it’s FUN! Friends, great music and high-energy make for a good time while you’re exercising!
  • • You’ll be amazed how this training translates to your outdoor cycling. When the weather finally improves, you’ll be back into your outdoor routine in no time.
  • • Did I mention it’s FUN!

Here’s another indoor training outlet to try: Yoga. OK, before you scowl and promptly stop reading this article, give me a chance to explain myself. I’m 44. No spring chicken. The first time I took a yoga class, I hated it. Why? I’m not flexible. I’m an aging athlete who prefers riding my bike, running and hiking. I had read and heard that yoga was supposed to be good for my body, so I gave it a try. I still hated it. But, then I learned that there are so many types of yoga that I decided to keep trying. Well, my patience paid off and I found an approach that works for me. Whatever approach works for you, here are some of the benefits of yoga for cyclists/athletes:

  • • Increase Core Strength. Yoga poses are all about building core strength. The slow, focused movements require a strong mid-section and the isometric contractions of many exercises will add a new form of resistance training to your typical machine-based workout.
  • • Increase Flexibility and Range of Motions. Yoga routines incorporate slow, steady flexibility exercise that is ideal for athletes. Frequent yoga training may increase flexibility, and range of motion while relieving muscle tension. Whether you are a new cyclist or an enthusiast, improved range of motion can often help improve performance.
  • • Improve Balance. Yoga is a perfect way to incorporate balance exercises into your training routine. Balance exercises are often overlooked by athletes, but are one of the most effective ways to correct muscle imbalance or body mechanic problems. With most sports and weight training routines you tend to perform repetitive motions that develop some muscle groups while others are ignored. Yoga can fix these imbalances.
  • • Great Cross-Training. Yoga is a great low-impact way to cross train. Cross training is necessary for athletes who do the same sport or exercise routine year-round. Adding new exercises can help reduce injury, relieve training boredom, add variety and help recover from hard aerobic or strength workouts. Yoga can be done at a high or low intensity and there are hundreds of postures that can provide a workout for any athletic need.
  • • Develop Deep, Relaxed Breathing. Deep, relaxed breathing is the foundation of reducing performance anxiety and improving concentration. Yoga will help you develop a habit of breathing correctly. Yoga practice integrations the mind-body connection and athletes can benefit from this combination of skills training.

So, when the weather outside is frightful, stay inside and try a little Spinning and Yoga. It will do your mind and body good.

Leah Barrett - Leah Barrett: As owner and director of become fit, Leah is able to put into practice her in-depth experience and education surrounding health and wellness. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BS and MS in Nutritional Sciences. She then returned to graduate school at Colorado State University and completed her Masters in Social Work and went on to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has over 20 years of experience in Nutrition with a unique niche in behavior modification/lifestyle change: a true mind-body approach to becoming fit and healthy. You can email Leah at: Leah(at)becomefitfc.com