Posts tagged exercise

7 ways your stationary indoor trainer can truly change your life

benefits of indoor ridingOK, so we all know by now that cycling is good for your health. And with the weather starting to turn over the fall, indoor bike training is the perfect way to reap these health benefits.

But if pressed to name exactly how cycling improves your overall health and fitness levels, even the most ardent cyclists of you might struggle. So we’ve done it for you, by wrapping up the 7 ways that indoor bike trainers can truly transform your health below.

Help you lose weight

Obesity is becoming a global epidemic, and the associated health consequences such as diabetes and heart disease kill hundreds of people every day. Indoor training is one of the best ways to shed pounds, especially during those off-season months when we often pick up a few extra pounds. To burn even more calories, try high-intensity interval training, or just read this post for killer weight-loss tips or this post for tips on how to use your trainer to shed some weight.

Recuperate from injury

Although most injuries require some bed-rest, if you stay immobile for too long you run a real risk of making things worse with some muscular deterioration. Low-impact exercise (with your doctor’s approval, of course) is the best way to speed up your recovery and maintain as much fitness as you can. Even a few minutes of indoor bike training can make a huge difference – it can get blood flowing nicely through the muscles to promote muscle healing.

Reduce the risk of cancer

Although we’ve poured billions of dollars into cancer research, there’s still little we know about this cruel and debilitating disease. One thing we know for sure, however, is that all studies indicate regular exercise helps to prevent cancer. General medical advice seems to point at getting physical at least a few times a week – many cycling experts recommend getting on your trainer at least three times a week to seriously reduce that cancer risk.

Improve your mental health

Research by Hillman (2007) found that elderly people who exercised regularly had a much lower chance of succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease. It’s not just the old folks who stand to benefit, though – cardiovascular exercise like cycling can improve situational awareness, boost creativity and even stave off depression. The health benefits of cycling clearly go beyond the merely physical!

Improve your cardiovascular health

High blood pressure and heart disease are far more likely to develop in those with sedentary lifestyles. If you cycle for as little as 10 minutes a day (e.g. by cycling to work), you can reduce your chances of developing both ailments by as much as 10% – that’s a great investment in anyone’s book.

Extend your stay on this planet!

Do you often lament that by the time you retire, you’ll have too few “golden years” left to reap the rewards of a lifetime’s hard work? Well, regular indoor bike trainer sessions might just be the solution to that. A study of Tour de France cyclists revealed that many professional cyclists tended to live around 5 years longer than the general population. OK, so you don’t need to register for the Tour each year, but get that trainer out for some serious training sessions while you still can!

Look better – and sexier!

Alright, so this isn’t strictly a health benefit – but having muscular legs and a toned bum definitely never hurt anyone’s health. Cycling can do wonders for your physique, and in turn for your confidence. If you’re looking to do better with members of the opposite sex, starting a rigorous cycling regime by investing in a good bike trainer may be the best way to go! And read this if you want to know the BEST time for your training sessions for optimal sexiness and good looks!

Any other benefits we might have missed? Drop us a line if you can think of any!

3 killer ways your indoor trainer can help you lose weight!

how to lose weight with your indor bike trainerOK, the health benefits of cycling are well-documented – higher muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness levels, better blood circulation and yes, effective weight loss.

This last benefit is a particularly important one, given that those of us a little overweight are more statistically likely to develop a whole host of ailments ranging from diabetes and high blood pressure to kidney failure and heart disease. So yes, keeping the pounds off is vital in a world that seems intent on feeding us food that is ever higher in fats and sugar.

SEE ALSO: FIVE awesome nutritional tricks for cyclists and Ride early in the morning if you want to stay lean and sexy!

One of the most effective and efficient ways to burn those nasty, evil calories is with a bicycle – and an even better way of losing those pounds during the winter months is with an indoor bike trainer. Indoor trainers are superb in assisting you squeeze in fat-burning workouts whenever you can, regardless of what the elements are throwing at us outside.

We’ve dug a little deeper into this topic ourselves, as we’ve been down the road of trying to effectively lose weight, so here are THREE killer tips that worked for us and will hopefully do the same for you if you’re looking to turn your saggy waistline into a solid six-pack.

TIP 1: Exercise at 50-60% of your maximum capacity 

Imagine a spectrum that measures physical effort from levels 1 to 10, 1 being a slow stroll and 10 being “so exhausted you can barely walk”.

It may seem intuitive to cycle at levels 8 to 10 as they would appear to be the most effective in burning calories.

However, the “effectiveness” of a given workout depends on your fitness goals. Cycling at high intensity may be good for building cardiovascular fitness, but if fat-burning is your aim, it’s best to cycle at low to moderate intensity (somewhere between levels 4 to 6).

A good gauge is whether you can maintain a conversation throughout the session. This encourages your body to burn lipids rather than muscle and as an added bonus, leaves you less sore the next day so you can work out more often for faster results.

A golden tip for ensuring your trainer helps in your quest to lose weight: tweak the resistance!

TIP 2: Try interval training

Interval training involves alternating high and low intensity training within a single workout.

That could involve a 30 second sprint on your indoor trainer, followed by a minute of brisk strolling (say at level 4 on the spectrum we discussed above). This 90-second workout forms a single interval. If you perform 10 to 15 of these intervals in one training session, your fat-burning engine is sent into overdrive.

According to studies, HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) is far more efficient at fat-burning because it sends your metabolism through the roof for up to 24 hours after your workout, ensuring your body is constantly zapping away at your excess fat.

TIP 3: Mix it up!

Invest in a decent indoor bike trainer that comes with adjustable resistance (even better, go with one of these and never worry about resistance again!), as this will give you a myriad of options with which to vary your training.

After a few weeks of interval training, your body might adjust and your weight loss might start to plateau. Switch it up with long endurance sessions at very high resistance but low speeds. Keep your body guessing, and you’ll consistently get results with your fat loss goals.

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With these 3 killer tips and a trusty bike trainer, that extra tire will be gone in no time at all!

Good Luck and Happy Riding!

See Also: The 5 BEST bike trainers of 2017

Use your bike stand to burn that winter belly fat off!

iMagic Fortius TacxSo you’ve bought your brand new bike trainer, it’s all setup and ready to go, but perhaps you’re still wondering to yourself just how the heck you’re going to burn all that winter excess off…because let’s face it, most of us pig out during the winter and don’t really commit to exercising properly over the colder months!

>>>THREE great ways to stay motivated over winter
>>>FIVE awesome nutritional tips for cyclists
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>>THREE killer tips for losing weight

And despite those good intentions – you did buy that stationary bike trainer after all (and if you still haven’t purchased one, check out this guide) – it doesn’t really seem possible to stay trim and even lose some of that belly fat. I mean, not just by pedaling for a few minutes, surely?

Well, yes, you really can burn off some off that winter belly fat on your stationary bike trainer, and here are just a few pointers to help you on your way…

Tip 1: Stretch and stretch again

Prior to getting on your bike, stretch your body to get your body’s muscles warmed up and ready to work. Touching your toes, and trunk rotations are perfect to start with; if you feel the need for more, try some knee highs or leg swings, focusing more on the legs as that’s where most of your energy will be targeting in your training session.

Tip 2: Warm up pedal

Start pedaling, but primarily to warm up your muscles. Get comfortable on your seat,and slowly but surely increase your rate over a period of 4-5 minutes. This should get your muscles nice and ready for a workout.

Tip 3: Increase your pedaling

Start working harder and sweat! You’ll want to feel like your body is really working, and that breathing becomes harder. And don’t let the pace drop, keep at this rate for the whole of your session.

* The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that in order to lose weight, you’ll need to do some 60 to 90 minutes of cardio exercise.

Tip 4: Break in those intervals

To really maximize your training, start using interval training. That means pedal at a very intense rate for something like 30 seconds, and then ease off for the next 30-60 seconds. Keep doing this for up to ten minutes at first, as long as you include it in a much longer session (let’s say 45 minutes). These intervals are perfect for cardio and burning off that winter belly!

Tip 5: Use your trainer’s resistance levels

Most of the bike trainers we’ve reviewed on this site have some kind of resistance level. Use your trainer’s resistance to build up an even more intense session, which will help both your cardio efforts and your leg muscles.

Tip 6: Warm down

Just as you did when you started out, see Tip 2, ease out of your session with a slower intensity for 4-5 minutes. Most fitness experts will suggest this is a must, and it really does help your muscles unwind and loosen up from a particularly intense session.

Tip 7: Workout regularly!

Get on your trainer at least 3 times a week, for something like 45 minutes each time, and you’ll quickly see those pounds dropping off!

GOOD LUCK!

Don’t miss our culinary guide to keeping that cycling body of yours in shape over the festive season!

FIVE things NOT to do before starting your training session!

Want to stay lean and sexy? Start planning a morning bike ride!

morning bike rideThere’s probably a few of you out there looking at your indoor trainer and wondering just what it’s going to do for you and your body this winter. We’ve been there, especially on those days when you’re really looking for some serious motivation to ride that darned machine.

What might be even worse to learn is that you may well have been sweating away at the wrong time of day! We’ve just come across news that various doctors and health experts are now saying that to achieve maximum results, pedal away in the morning – as soon as you wake up!

So if you’re looking to stay fit and healthy (we mean sexxxxy!) over the coming months, wake up early and head over to that trainer!

SEE ALSO: 7 ways your trainer will change your life!

Various studies on fat burning exercises have revealed that we burn stored fat faster and therefore lose more weight when we do our workouts in the early morning, or when we exercise on an empty stomach.

Some research has indicated that when we exercise before eating breakfast, our body burns fat more efficiently, which in turn results to better muscle building. It is also reported that an empty stomach will produce hormones that promote fat burning and the building up of muscles. That’s in contrast to when our stomach is full, as our body’s activity is more focused in digesting the stored food, so the body building and fat burning hormones are not readily released.

The science behind burning all that fat…

The science behind all that fat burning is pretty darned interesting too: carbohydrates supply our body with fuel that boosts our energy and keeps us going. It is metabolized into glucose, a type of sugar that is stored in our muscles and liver as glycogen (carbohydrates, or the metabolized glycogen, is our body’s primary source of fuel). When an abundant supply of glycogen is available, this is what our body burns as fuel when we exercise. You may be thinking – and hoping – that you are burning stored fat, but in reality, you are just using up your body’s primary fuel. This is why we have to eat after performing strenuous workouts or doing physical work.

Our blood sugar drops during the period overnight when we sleep, because we’re obviously not in-taking any carbs, so our glycogen level is also lowered. When we exercise early in the morning while the level of glycogen in our body is low, our body turns to the fat stored in our muscles and uses it for fuel. Thus, we burn more fat compared to exercising with a full stomach when glycogen levels are high.

However, that morning training session shouldn’t be too intensive (but just enough to give your heart a good workout) – since fat is metabolized slowly our body turns back to the glycogen if it is really pushed during a hard session, and the adverse consequence is that our body sugar will be depleted. Therefore an early morning bike ride without pushing too much is best for really burning that fat off.

And once you’ve finished your early morning session, be sure to eat food rich in carbohydrates and protein to replenish body fuels. Perfect foods for the job include bread, eggs, baked beans and a nutritional drink; they’ll all help give your body the energy that it needs after your morning workout.

SEE ALSO: 5 Awesome Nutritional Tricks for Cyclists!

THREE excellent techniques for improving your hill-climbing

If you’re looking for some Spring training tips to really improve your hill-climbing, then this is the video for you.

The video is from the impressive CycleCore (aka Graeme Street), who has some awesome training videos (another one we featured here).

The clip features THREE awesome tips for some high intensity hill climbing, including the Climbing Energy Ass Kicker technique – yes, check out the video below to understand more! And yes, his man cave probably needs a bit of work…

Check out more training videos here, here, and here.

And yes, that’s an ass-kicking Kurt Kinetic trainer taking a beating in the video!

FIVE things you should NEVER do before an indoor training session

Getting ready for an indoor training session is always about the preparation (heck, even getting yourself motivated!). There are always things you need to do before starting – but what about the things you shouldn’t do? The things that might just screw up your training session completely…?

Well, here are FIVE things we feel you should NEVER do before a training session if you really want to get something out of it…

fruit_vegetableEat high-fiber and fatty foods

It might seem like a good idea, but high-fiber or fatty foods before a training session aren’t going to do you any good. They are less easily broken down by your digestive system, so will likely be sitting in your stomach when you start training. Something that will probably make you feel a little sick after a few minutes. A better alternative is to go for carbs or proteins, which will help your muscles gain a bit more energy.

bike maintenanceForget to check your bike

Making sure your bike is in peak condition, whether you’re taking it outdoors or indoors, is always a must. Of course, the potential for disaster on an indoor route is much less obvious, but the need for a pre-ride checkup is still paramount. Nothing can be more annoying than starting out on a session and finding your gear changes are all over the place because somebody (ahem…) didn’t apply some oil…

drinkingwaterDrink a LOT of water

If you haven’t had a drink of water prior to starting your session, it’s often tempting to glug down a glass or two, especially if your heating is on full blast (or the summer heat has already got you sweating). Just don’t do it. Your stomach and liver can only process so much water at once, so they will struggle to get rid of that excess water, resulting in untimely bathroom breaks. While riding, we’d recommend something like a few sips every 15 minutes or so.

beer cyclingDrink alcohol

DO NOT have a beer prior to starting your session. OK, we did mention that carbs are a preferred choice of pre-ride nutrients, but the complete lack of nutrients in a beer will leave your liver working overtime, struggling to convert glucose into glycogen, which is the energy source your muscles need. And if you’re like us, we like a nice cold beer after a particularly hard session, just go easy on the cold ones and have something to eat before you drink.

Cyclist #7Perform too many warm-up stretches

If you thought that stretching and limbering up before a session was a good thing, think again. Stretching might not a terrible thing, and we’d recommend 3 or 4 quick stretches to get the blood flowing to those less-used joints, but do not overdo it. Instead, start your ride with a 10 minute warm-up session. You don’t have to push too hard, just get those legs moving and the blood pumping and you’ll be good to go.

See also: FIVE awesome nutritional tips for cyclists!

More awesome video magic for those indoor training sessions!

We posted this video a while back and know that many of you enjoyed it, so here’s another one from the boys at CTXC, who’ll have your legs pumping in no time!

This video lasts for 60 minutes in total, including a 10 minute warm up and 3 minute warm down, so be prepared to sweat! The music will certainly keep you in the groove and the camera angle and street views will have you feeling as if you’re out there on the road with them!

Load this one on your TV/laptop, turn the volume up, and start pedaling!

Check out more video training clips here and here.

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