How to stay fit this winter
March 24th, 2010 by Ashleigh Moolman Pasio
With winter fast approaching, the thought of how to stay fit during the miserable winter months is a question bound to be on many people’s minds. The easiest solution to this problem is to start cycling indoors. The challenge however, is how to make indoor cycling more interesting and fun. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Invest in a good indoor trainer. There are numerous indoor trainers on the market, ranging in prices from approximately R500 for a very basic trainer to approximately R15 000 for a comprehensive computrainer including power features and visual simulation. Although it is not necessary to spend as much as R15 000 on an indoor trainer, it really is worth the while to shop around for a good quality one. It is important to make sure that the indoor trainer you choose best replicates outdoor riding.
2. Add intensity. To get the most out of your workout, you must integrate various intensity levels into your indoor cycling session. Break your session up into intervals with a mix of the following intensity levels:
Zone 1( easy/comfortable): 50% – 65% of your maximum heart rate (HRmax) or 5 – 6 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)
Zone 2 (challenging but comfortable): 65% – 75% HRmax or 6 – 7 RPE
Zone 3 (challenging and uncomfortable): 75% – 85% HRmax or 7 – 8 RPE
Zone 4 (breathless – not maximum but winded): 85% – 90% HRmax or 8 – 9 RPE
3. Add variety and visualisation to your workout. An example of how to add variety and visualization into your indoor session is as follows: Start off with a warm up in zone 1 for 10 minutes. After the muscles are nice and warm, get out of your seat and kick into zone 4 for 2 minutes, imagine you are making an attack and breaking away from the bunch. Settle back down into your seat and cycle in zone 3 for 13 minutes, to drive the break and establish a lead on the bunch. When your lead on the bunch has grown, chill off in zone 2 for 10 minutes to recover.
The bunch is catching you again, so kick back into zone 3 for another 10 minutes. Make sure you stay in your seat. The final climb of the day hits, get out of your seat and power up the climb in zone 4 for 3 minutes. Settle down into zone 3 for 1 minute, as the climb flattens over the top. Free wheel for 1 minute in zone 1, then cool down in zone 2 for 10 minutes. Have some fun, use your imagination.
4. Break your session up. If you are very serious about your cycling, and are planning to do sessions of two to three hours, break your session up into shorter sessions of no longer than an hour to an hour and a half at a time. Do one session in the morning and the other in the evening.
Finally, and most importantly, turn up the music and have fun with your indoor cycling this winter!