Posts tagged winter
We know what it’s like sometimes, when those legs are feeling tired and you’re just not in the mood for an indoor training session…”tomorrow” we say, and we know that tomorrow may very well end up with exactly the same feelings and frustrations…
But we’re here to help, as always, and have come up with a quick and easy 3 step method for staying motivated over the winter. Oh yes, no more frustrated sighs when you look over at your great, ready-to-please trainer, we promise!
1. First up, head straight for the trainer!
When you get in from work, or if you straight away haul yourself out of bed in the early morning (early morning bike rides are proven to work if you want optimal sexiness and good looks!), head straight for the trainer!
Your motivational level window is fairly small, and if you find yourself distracted for any reason – like catching a glimpse of something interesting on the TV – that window is likely to disappear completely, and within no time you’ll have put that session off until tomorrow.
That’s why we say head straight for the trainer when you walk in the door from work. Have your training clothes and shoes ready at hand, and plonk yourself on your trainer as fast as you can! Be honest, sitting on your trainer is so much better for you than sitting in front of the TV…and if you’ve got your own dedicated man cave, even better!
2. Secondly, have your training program ready
If you’re just happy to pedal away for 30-45 minutes and burn some calories, that’s fine. But if you’re just a tiny bit serious, have that training program ready. It might be via the guys at Zwift, or through the virtual training sessions of CycleOps, or just an inspirational video you’ve caught on YouTube. But get that video/software lined up and ready BEFORE you start the training, and preferably before you head off to work or go to sleep at night.
Wasting minutes clicking away on the Internet or on your hard drive is a sure-fire way to lose that motivation – so be prepared!
3. Lastly, be honest with yourself and your goals
If those missed training sessions are piling up, and you’re really struggling to invoke any motivation at all, it may be the time to sit back and think about exactly what it is you want from your indoor cycling session. What are your goals? Your cycling ambitions? If you’re struggling to even look at your trainer, it might be the time to take a week’s holiday and just forget about it while you take stock of what it is you want from your trainer.
BUT add a note to your calendar/diary that in a week’s time you’ll be back, ready and motivated!
GOOD LUCK – AND STAY MOTIVATED!
So 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!
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!
It’s that time of year again, when those cold nights draw in and the motivation to get on your bike really takes a bit of a beating. But it doesn’t have to be that way, honest! With a little guidance from us in regards to the best trainers and cycling accessories, you’ll be pedaling away like a pro in no time!
Our website sees a big upturn in traffic over the winter months, and has turned into something of an authority in the indoor trainer market over the last couple of years. We know which trainers work, which trainers generally suck, and also know how to get the best out of your training sessions, whether you’re struggling to stay motivated or are desperate to shed those excess holiday pounds as you pound away at those pedals in your very own man cave.
For your winter training pleasure, we’ve collected some of the best trainers and accessories out there in a little list below – get ready to enjoy your winter sessions!
- The BEST trainer money can buy
- The BEST all-round trainer suitable for beginners and pros
- The BEST VALUE trainer (for less than $80)
- THREE must-have accessories
- Cycling shoes to ramp up your cycling skills
The BEST trainer money can buy
We recently compiled a breakdown of the three best trainers money can buy (for those of you less worried about a budget and more intent on getting the ultimate training experience), and the trainer we feel we have to recommend here is the rather tasty CycleOps PowerBeam Pro, which comes with support for ANT+ devices (rather than the version which supports Bluetooth devices).
You could go for the great value Elite Real Axiom trainer, or the nifty BKool Pro trainer too, as both also support virtual training, but the CycleOps PowerBeam Pro has to be your weapon of choice if you’re looking for something top-notch.
It also comes with a top notch price of around $1000, but for those of you investing in your cycling, this could be the best few $$$ you ever spent. The trainer comes with an integrated PowerTap power meter, plus a Mini ANT+ USB stick lets you control the resistance from your computer as you follow the virtual course on your laptop/TV/tablet. Definitely ramps up your training to the next level!
The BEST all-round trainer suitable for beginners and pros
If you’re not looking to drop a thousand bucks on something top-notch, then how about the awesome CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer? We purchased the revamped model last year and have been delighted with the results we get in our training.
It’s perfect for beginners as it’s simple to setup and get started with, but also great for pros with its new, larger flywheel for an improved road-like performance, and an infinite resistance curve that increases the power output as you increase speed.
Typically priced at around $300, this one is highly recommended by us; if you’re looking for alternatives, the awesome Kurt Kinetic Road Machine is also worth a mention, as is the CycleOps SuperMagneto Pro (a magnetic based trainer, but with technology to match the very best of the fluid-based trainers (more about the differences between fluid and magnetic trainers here)).
The BEST VALUE trainer (for less than $80)
We know that many of you are also looking for a great value beginner trainer, before you start spending the bigger bucks on a more fancy model. We’ve been there too, and fully understand…which is why we can safely recommend the Magnet Steel trainer.
We’re still not sure quite how they do it, but this trainer is regularly priced at under $60 and there are a ton of happy customers out there – and it’s also an Amazon bestseller!
It’s a great trainer to get started with, has a great price tag and also five resistance settings that are more than enough for a beginner-like level of training. It’s also pretty solid, and surprisingly quiet. The only thing we will say is that you get what you pay for… so don’t expect a virtual trainer package complete with computer controlled resistance!
If you’re still not impressed and looking for an alternative, don’t miss our guide to the best trainers under $80.
THREE must-have accessories
There are a whole ton of cycling accessories out there today (you might want to check out our Top 10 accessories for Christmas), but we’ve decided to whittle down the list to three musts.
First up, we can’t recommend a training mat highly enough. As well as the fact that they can protect your floor from scratches and even your salty body sweat, they also help to reduce noise greatly and provide a stable base for your training. The best one we’ve come across is the Kurt Kinetic floor mat, which is priced around $60. Others come in cheaper, but for pure looks and quality, the mat from Kurt Kinetic won us over completely (it’s also a perfect match for their awesome trainers). Check here for some alternative options.
Next up, we’re going to recommend the rather awesome Travel Stick, a massage stick that goes to work on those tired muscles you’ve been tormenting during your training sessions. It’s an innovative little stick that comes in a variety of sizes, and starts at under $20. However, the winning element for us was it’s physiological effects; the Travel Stick is fitted with round plastic rings that do an excellent job of alleviating crippling muscle aches which can lead to long-term injuries. Easily usable and easy to take with you, this is a great option for winding down from an intense session. More about the Travel Stick HERE.
Lastly, you’ll need the CatEye Strada Wireless cycling computer, which is great for knowing what you’re doing in your current session (if you’re not using a virtual trainer with all that data displayed on your laptop/tablet/TV automatically). And in this generation of touch-screen technology, we want quick access to all the relevant info – the CatEye Strada fits the bill perfectly! Together with its touch screen interface, it also has a great sensor that measures cadence, current speed, max speed, average speed, 2 trip distances, and elapsed time! It also fits on any handlebar or stem. Costs around $80-90. Read more here.
Cycling shoes to ramp up your cycling skills
Let’s be honest here, many of us will probably think that a pair of sneakers will be more than adequate when training indoors. No-one’s looking, there are no roads or muddy tracks to worry about, so hey, why the heck not?
Well, indoor cycling shoes might seem a little extravagant, but a pair of the right shoes will take your training session to the next level…you might not be aware of it, but the correct footwear is going to have a big role to play because cycling stresses your lower body in a very different way from running and you need footwear specifically designed to counteract that stress.
So yes, the correct shoes are an essential investment for any cyclist who takes their training and performance seriously. We’ve covered some of the very best options out there in this little guide,but if you’re going to go with something like the Pearl iZUMi Men’s All-Road II shoe, or the Shimano Venzo Mountain Bike Bicycle SPD shoe, you’re very definitely on the right track. And your feet will thank you much later!
We came across this post from the guys at CycleOps recently and had a chuckle. It just kind of sums up perfectly why an indoor bike trainer is the ultimate solution for staying fit during the rainy season. Have you bought yours yet?