Winterizing Your Body

Hot off the presses!
It happens every year (and I still curse it!), shorter days and longer nights. If you live in a more tepid climate, you can still go outside and play. In my neck of the woods, we like to MTB by moonlight from time to time.
You want to make an old trail brand new again? Ride it at night!
For those who, well, don’t live in a more weather friendly spot of the country, staying on top of your fitness can get a little trickier. If you can cross country ski, you’re sorted, but if you don’t live in an area where you can, how do you hold on to your hard-earned summer fitness?
Well, its definitely more than possible, and here are some great ways to do it!

Hiking
GASP! CHOKE! HIKE?? What are you nuts? Don’t ride? Seriously??
Hiking is a great alternative to riding a bike, and it allows you to experience the outdoors at a much slower pace making it easier to enjoy nature that much more. Plus, going up steep pitches hammers the glutes and low back support muscles really well.
I like loading up a 100oz hydration pack for extra weight. Want to turn a hike into a core workout? Put about 10-20lbs worth of backpack on. Undulating terrain, climbing and descending will work your core like nobody’s business.
I’ve got a weight vest that I use for “hikervals,” and it is a killer workout!
Get an Indoor Trainer
I like riding the trainer about as much as I like a good root canal, but if you can’t get out to ride and want to keep your fitness up, this is a great way to go. There are a ton of DVD’s you can train to, or you can join an indoor cycling class like the one we’ve got at our facility in Northern California.
The trainer is actually a very good way to work on your breathing patterns, pedaling posture, firing the upper body to power the lower body, pedal stroke form, high cadence work, seated hip hinge and quite a few other things that will make your outdoor riding that much better in the Spring.
Suffering alone on a trainer can be brutal. Suffering in a group is almost enjoyable. Almost. The best part about an indoor trainer class is they are always no drop!
Got to the Gym
You don’t need to be on your bike to get faster. You can very easily hit all of the energy systems you need on the bike in the gym. Plus, you can undo a lot of the damage from a long season of riding in the gym with the right program.
One of the better ways is to do metabolic circuits. These are an incredible way to drive your heart rate through the roof while using just about every muscle in your body, at the time hitting the same energy systems you’d use on the bike doing intervals. It is much more efficient than merely turning theĀ  pedals over on a trainer and it will make you a more explosive rider.
Kettlebells, rubber tubing, ropes, body weight and lighter dumbbells are great implements to pull this off. The scenario looks like this:
  1. Pick 4 exercises that are very simple to pull off and don’t need an elaborate set up.
  2. Do 10 reps/exercise
  3. Set up your circuit so you can get to the exercises as quickly/easily as possible.
  4. Set a clock for 3 minutes and “ride it like you stole it!”
  5. Do as many laps as you can in those 3:00
  6. Rest for 3:00, then do it 2-3 more times
  7. Good luck not wanting to end up in the fetal position after you’re done!
While this is an incredible way to keep your fitness levels high in the off season, there are pre-reqs and conditions you need to adhere to. The biggest caveat is you BETTER BE ABLE TO MOVE CORRECTLY at a slow speed before doing the same exercises at high intensity. If you can’t, adding speed/power to movement dysfunction is a recipe for disaster and eventual injury.
You should NOT start a program like this without a thorough evaluation from a trusted trainer, physical therapist, sports chiro or your doctor. You should especially not start a program like this if you’ve got any joint pain at all, particularly in the back. If you do get an evaluation, and a qualified training/medial professional signs off on you training like this, let the flood gates of fitness fun open!
Once you’ve had an eval, been given the green light for high intensity movement, picking up a copy of “Cardio Strength” by Kevin Dos Remedios is a great way to go. It has a ton of these metabolic circuits that are very well laid out, easy to implement and it will definitely get you sweating.
There is one more thing you need to be aware of. You can’t train like this for more than 3-4 weeks at a time. You need to give your body about 7-10 days of recovery/down time when training like this so it can adapt and get stronger. If you don’t, you’ll set yourself up for an injury. This is where setting up time with a qualified trainer (NASM, NSCA, CSCS, CHEK are the better certifications to look for) is invaluable.
Drop us a line and let us know how you stay in shape over the winter. Thanks for reading!
Al Painter, BA, NASM-PES, CES
President & Founder