So, here we are; nearly the end of October (it comes around fast, huh!?). For most of us now the racing season is over and the darker mornings and evenings are the harbingers of doom – or at least of off-season training. It’s time to reflect on the season just gone, take stock, and work out how far you came, as well as what you want for next season, which will come round just as fast…
Be honest with yourself: how did your season go this year? Did you get the results you wanted? Did you make the gains you were hoping for when the season got underway all those months ago? I hope so. But I suspect the honest truth is: not entirely. If you did meet those goals, I bet you’re wondering if you could have pushed just a tiny bit harder. Made those marginal gains – well, less marginal. Maybe you could have set those goals just a little higher. Maybe you could have tweaked your schedule a bit to make your training work a little harder for you.
But how? Put simply, if you’re not varying your workouts, and interspersing your time on the bike with comprehensive strength, stretch and cross-training sessions, you’re probably missing out. So many amateur athletes pour their all into their chosen sport, and neglect the rest of their bodies.
Fit Fridays with Rat Race Cycles
That’s what this new series is going to be about. In regular Friday posts, I’m going to give you hints and tips on cross-training and nutrition which will help you to push your riding to the next level, and Pete is going to drop by with some technical tips and on-the-bike ideas to push you even further.
I’m not talking about buying a bottle cage that’s 13g lighter (although we have some awesome cages in stock if you do want a new drinks holster!). I’m talking about simple exercises and corrections to add in to your off-season training to help your body work like a smoothly oiled machine when the gun goes off on next season’s race calendar.
I’m never going to be Alex Dowsett, why should I bother?
Don’t worry if you’re not a racer. Even if you just ride for fun or as part of your commute, these blog posts are for you as well. Chances are you ride your bike – rather than, say, take the tube – at least in part to get fit and maintain that gorgeous physique (yeah, I’m looking at you). These strategies and exercises will help you get more fitness gains from your riding. It will help you up your calorie burn, shred some fat and – ultimately – make you look better. 6 pack anyone?
If you’re riding for fitness, cross training can help you leapfrog over any plateaus. The body gets used to training – you have to mix it up to keep things moving. It’s no good being able to touch your toes or do the splits if you can’t climb a flight of stairs without getting out of breath. That’s an extreme example, but it stands. Overall fitness comes from overall training. Makes sense really when you think about it like that.
So we’ve established why you should be reading this, but why should I be writing this? Well, put simply, I’m a massive geek. I’m fascinated by fitness and physiology, as well as food and nutrition. I also have a level 2 qualification in Group Exercise instruction and a level 3 specialism in Ante- and Post-natal Exercise, so all the exercises I give you here will be safe, although that’s not to say that you don’t need to think carefully about your own limitations before attempting anything.
On top of this, we’ll be drawing on Pete’s biology and physiology degrees, as well as his qualification in Cyclefit and years of riding experience. Plus, we watch a lot of cycling on TV, so, you know, we’re practically Dave Brailsford by osmosis.
So, join us every Friday for killer exercises, tips on training techniques, and a weekly idea for healthy filling snacks and meals to help fuel your workout. And we won’t just be telling you what to do, we’ll be telling you why you should be doing it, too. I’ll also be sure to make clear any contraindications for any exercises, so you can avoid any which might not be right for you. Above all, though, listen to your body. You know it best.
We’ll kick it all off next Friday with a post about the importance of a good core strength workout, and we’ll throw in a few planks while we are it (ah, the plank – an oldie but a goody), plus we’ll include a favourite recipe for a tempting low-calorie meal to work on your fitness from the inside. See you then, I hope.