Here in South Florida we are lucky enough to have weather that allows us to use our bikes all year around with only minor adjustments to our wardrobe choices, as well as a number of trails, routes, a large network of stores, shops and biking communities that makes it even more appealing to join the ranks of those who choose to move about on two wheels. A lot of these places have been mentioned in the Patrick Dwyer Weebly blog.
Riding a bike can be much more than simply a method for traveling around, and very few people take advantage of all the range of fitness benefits that these machines provide.
For starters, there is no better way to enjoy a sunny Florida afternoon than getting out there and pedaling. Even if you are just taking it easy, a smooth and light bike ride burns a lot more calories than a brisk walk. Remember that is a lot better to keep a steady pace throughout the ride as you slowly improve over the course of a few weeks and ramp up your pacing.
Diet is probably the most noticeable factor that influences weight loss and overall fitness. You will see results quickly and you will feel a lot better when you eat healthy, thus getting motivated and keeping up with your exercise routine. Doing intervals when you ride is a great way to accelerate your body’s fat burning abilities. Try going slow and then speed up for short bursts of time and switching up days in which you may ride for a long period of time at a moderate speed and days when you ride stronger but shorter.
Fat is an important part of your diet, make sure you don’t simply cut out fats all together because your body needs them in order to repair muscle tissue quickly and to provide cushioning for your feet and organs.
Something most people don’t realize is that when you are overweight but shed some of that weight off, you may end up with some more muscle strength than you expected, making it quite rewarding when you start to feel all the pushing power you had within you as your rides become faster, stronger and longer.
Protein is another very important part of your diet, probably the most important part if you consider the fact that you are trying to build more and more muscle. Lean meat is great protein, as well as legumes and grains if you are a vegetarian. A mix of both would be ideal. Don’t forget nuts due to their high healthy fat contents.
Hit the weights.
Don’t underestimate what weight lifting can do for you as a cyclist. Improving your muscle power means riding longer and muscling up climbs that used to destroy you before you gained some of that muscle mass. Another reason why building muscle is extremely important is for avoiding injuries. Knees and lower backs are commonly injured when you overexert yourself due to being very motivated, but not being having the body preparation to undertake the efforts you are making. This workout is excellent for cyclists, or anyone in general who wants to build muscle mass.
Using a fixie.
A “fixie” is a bike without a freewheel. A fixed-gear bicycle will work wonders in your legs, glutes, back and your entire core. Track bicycles are usually fixed and they are the reason why track bikers are incredibly strong.
Fartlek is your friend… and your enemy.
The name means “speed play” is Swedish and is a game you can play as you ride and it will become a serious workout if you are serious about it. Simply set small goals for yourself at first: “I will pedal as fast as I can to that tree” and little by little make your goals farther apart. This type of interval training is fun and it will make a huge difference in your body and your training performance.
Prepare your mind as well.
Relaxation, yoga and breathing exercises can help your body adjust to the physical changes you will go through if you are serious about turning your biking habits into a fitness activity.
Make sure you sleep well and avoid large meals before going to bed. Short sessions of meditation or afternoon naps are great ways to energize your body and help recovery.
The activity increase will release endorphins and make you feel awake and alert all day long. Once you are hooked, is hard to go back to the way things were before you discovered this amazing method of getting in shape.