Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

For me, the New Year is about leaving the past behind and looking forward to a new start.  2012 was NOT a particularly good year for me with respect to fitness.  Not only did I lose fitness but I also gained 20 lbs...not a good combination for a cyclist.  That is why I'm looking forward to 2013.

Most of you should already be a month or two into your cycling training for 2013- especially if you're training for the Tour of the Battenkill or other event in the early Spring.  If your event isn't until May/June then NOW is the time to get started...don't procrastinate any longer.
For NEW athletes, i.e. ones that haven't engaged in a hi-intensity cycling training plan before, the key is to start slowly.  If you start too quickly you'll either burn out or injure yourself.  If you're a SEASONED athlete, i.e. you've been racing/training the last 5 years and riding continuously through the Fall, the key is to start with higher intensity workouts.  You can skip a lot of the speed/skill drills and Tempo rides that the newbies normally engage in..and start right into Sweet Spot Interval Training.

For everyone, now is also a good time to visit the doctor and get an annual physical..especially if you're over 40.  Get a full blood workup too. If anything, you can use these blood results to compare from year-to-year.  It's a good baseline- if you will.  This year, I was surprised that my cholesterol wasn't high.  I expected it to be off the charts since I pretty much stopped training and started eating/drinking crap for a year.  I was lucky I suppose..but I'm not going to press my luck.  It's time to knock off the alcohol (ok maybe not knock it off but limit it) and start eating "cleaner".  When I say "cleaner" I mean NO junk food, desserts, sweets, etc.  Nothing but good Carbs from fruits/vegetables.

When starting a cycling training plan, it's imperative that you not only start eating better but resting/sleeping better as well.  For supplements, I don't go overboard.  This is what I take during hi-intensity cycling training and why:
a. Multi-Vitamin and Mineral- normally you get all the Vitamins and Minerals you need with a good diet.  But, sometimes I'm on the road for business and can't eat as well as I need to.
b. Whey Protein- I mix whey protein  with chocolate milk for a good post-workout recovery drink.  I actually drink 1/4 before my workout and 3/4 post workout.
c. Omega 3 Fatty Acids- these are good for your immune system..especially during the Winter when everybody seems to be hacking/sneezing/coughing/etc. and sick with a cold.  Getting sick will set you back in training..so it's imperative you have a strong immune system during training.
d. Nitric Oxide/Creatine- I take this prior to hi-intensity workouts (Threshold and/or Anaerobic Capacity)..not normal (Tempo or Sweetspot) workouts.  Taking this really does allow me to go harder/longer.  Hell, even if I just think it does..it helps.
e. Baby Aspirin- I take one a day.  Just make sure it's baby aspirin not full strength.  There is medical evidence that shows that aspirin is linked to lower cancer risk, heart attacks and strokes.

That's about it for supplements.  No need to go overboard.  The important thing is to eat healthy.  The only other thing I do during the Winter months is to reduce my Carb intake.  As most of you know, Carbs are vital during the racing season...especially if you're an endurance athlete.  However, if you're looking to lose 20 lbs. (like I am) reducing your Carb intake is a quick way of doing it..especially since most of your Winter Training consists of workouts that are less than 1hour in duration.  I never heard or saw anyone bonk in a hour spin session or interval training class over the Winter due to Carbohydrate/Glycogen depletion.  I've come close on an empty stomach..and felt like dogsh$t..but never truly bonked where I was completely glycogen depleted and couldn't finish the workout.

Good luck to all of you this year.  I hope you meet your 2013 goals.  Happy New Year.

Power ON!  Coach Rob