Cycle To A Better Body



Cycling is one of the best forms of exercise for improving cardiovascular fitness. Not only will it get you fit, you'll also lose some serious weight and build killer legs that'll certainly turn some heads. With the Tour de France coming up this summer, it's time to put on your yellow jersey and saddle up. You won't be competing with the pros just yet, but this guide will certainly get you breaking away from the peloton of pretenders in no time!

You'll obviously need a bike if you want to get out and go, but you can also use a stationary bike too. Most recommended though is a turbo trainer/home trainer/spinning trainer, to which you hook up your regular bike. This is the optimum way to train as you will be able to hold exercise levels for specific periods of time...and you're using a bike you are familar with. There are many types of turbo trainers, so shop around for the one that fits your personal needs.

Once you're set up with a bike and turbo trainer, or stationary bike, there are a number of good ways to train and push through some boundaries. Some examples we will talk about here are:

-interval training
-training with heart rate levels
-training with bike computers

Interval training

This is basically going hard for a period of time, then resting. It can be a killer at first, but once you get the hang of it, your fitness levels will go through the roof! You should aim to push as hard as you can (or are able) untill you feel some discomfort and no further. You can either do this by going up to a hard gear, or getting your cadence (rpm) high, or mix it up and do both!

An ideal programme to do is the Russian Step. This is as follows.

-5 min warm up
-Sprint 15 seconds
-Rest 45 seconds
-Sprint 30 seconds
-Rest 30 seconds
-Sprint 45 seconds
-Rest 15 seconds
-Sprint 1 minute
-Rest 1 minute

Then go back down...

-Sprint 1 minute
-Rest 1 minute
-Sprint 45 seconds
-Rest 15 seconds
-Sprint 30 seconds
-Rest 30 seconds
-Sprint 15 seconds
-Rest 45 seconds

That is 1 up/down. Take a 5 minute rest between each up/down set to clear out lactic acid and recover. Aim to do 2 sets to start, building to 3+. You're going really well if you can do 5!

Training with heart rate levels

This is a simple form of training, and you'll need a heart rate monitor to do it.

Basically it involves keeping your heart rate at certain levels/ in certain zones for periods of time. Check out our heart rate zone article to see what zones you can train in. Using a turbo trainer is ideal for this type of training, as you are able to keep a constant speed/ rythm for longer periods of time. There aren't any hills after all!

Training with bike computers

This can be done on the home trainer or when you're out for a good long ride. Ideally you'll need a bike computer with the following functions:

-average speed
-cadence
-distance covered
-time spent

You can use all of these to build a quality workout. For instance you can aim to keep an average speed e.g 25mph for the duration of your ride, or you can aim to keep a certain cadence while going up hills and on flats (best to work this out before you go). Furthermore you could aim to cover a certain amount of distance in a given time, for example 30 miles in x hours/minutes.

The best thing to do is mix it up and keep your body guessing. That way you'll be able to perform at an optimum level and really blast through your fitness goals.

Go ahead, get on the bike and get pedalling today!

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