To reduce the tension at any friendly starts and amateur competitions, we often remind ourselves and those around us that the main thing is not victory, the main thing is participation. And then we stomp on the Self-locking Pedal with all our might so as not to screw up and show our maximum. And even if it is very far to victory, you always want to jump over your head. And there is such an opportunity. Even without doing sports on a permanent basis, you can count on the best result for yourself if you prepare for a responsible start correctly and reach the peak of your current physical form. The advice of an experienced master, personal trainer of Falson Club, a physical therapist with more than 10 years of experience, Marina Medvedkova, will help to do this.
How to prepare for a bike race
Various cycling competitions, in which everyone can take part, motivate people of different professions, accustomed to their lifestyle, to take up the bike and strive to be both faster and stronger, to be the best version of themselves.
The program provides for various starts for runners and cyclists. And it is not at all necessary to classify yourself as an advanced athlete in order to go to the start and show a decent result that can delight family and friends, surprise colleagues at work. You just need to prepare: correctly, thoughtfully, and responsibly.
Is cycling just about legs? No
Physical fitness on a bicycle is, of course, very important, but the general physical fitness of a person also matters, and in this cycling is no different from any other type. To achieve the best result, functional strength exercises, strengthening of vector muscles will be important. It is clear that the muscles of the legs are under severe stress while cycling, but it is incorrect to work only with the lower torso. It is necessary to engage in both the press and the back muscles because the forced position on the bike is a load on the entire musculoskeletal system.
It doesn't matter if you are competing, riding for health fitness, or just for fun, you need to be prepared to be in the saddle for a long time, sometimes for several hours at a time. And for an unprepared athlete, this in itself is a certain test. In an unusual position, the body becomes numb, and the muscles of the back stiffen. Very often the neck gets tired even more than the legs after such rides, although it seems that it does not experience any specific load. Strengthening the muscles allows you not only to increase strength but also to feel more comfortable on the bike, to focus on applying effort, rather than finding a comfortable position.
What specific workouts in the gym can help?
There is no clear protocol, but it makes sense to work on weight machines, gradually increasing the load. We can also perform various functional exercises with our own weight and with weights in the form of dumbbells, balls, rubber shock absorbers, lunges, squats in concentric and eccentric modes of work. Correct technique and healthy self-esteem are very important here because otherwise there is a serious risk not to strengthen your body, but to get or aggravate the injury.
Do you need a coach or can you do it yourself?
A clear control, at least at first, is still needed. The trainer will help you work out the technique of performing the exercises, make the necessary adjustments, and draw up an individual training plan taking into account your personal characteristics.
Is there an opinion that supervised work is more productive, or is it a myth invented by coaches?
It's about psychology. Firstly, it is always easier to come to a training session than to go there yourself. He's waiting, you can't let him down. Secondly, when working independently, there is always a temptation to feel sorry for yourself somewhere, to be lazy, to do fewer approaches, for example. Plus, there are distractions: phones, Instagram, laces are untied, and thirsty. That is why independent training always lasts for one and a half or two hours, while with a trainer the same exercises are performed in an hour - this is the result of more concentrated work. When the process is under the control of another person, it is no longer possible to shirk, you have to give all the best.
However, this does not mean that independent training will not bring results or we do not believe in your willpower. Everyone decides for himself what he needs to achieve the goal. Many people start with a coach, and once they get involved, they go into free-swimming - quite an effective method.
Have to start small
From experience, I can say that even those who have never been involved in sports, who have never attended physical education at school, by the age of 30, unexpectedly for themselves, discover that they want to become honored athletes. After all, now it is prestigious, you need to be in trend. At the same time, most of those who have no experience and no idea about physical activity make the same mistake: they take on too heavy weights or exhaust themselves too much, hoping to quickly achieve the desired result. But, firstly, it can lead to injuries, and secondly, it has a detrimental effect on the result. A person acquires only a feeling of fatigue, but there is no result, - says the specialist.
The conclusion is simple: you should not overestimate your capabilities and expect quick results. Strengthening physical fitness will require patience and perseverance; it will not be possible to force the process. This rule also applies when preparing for a competition: it is impossible without prejudice to accommodate a larger volume of load in a shorter period of time. Better to go step by step, lower expectations, and prepare calmly at your own pace.
Need a training plan
In what proportion should the training on the bike and on the ground, in the gym be distributed?
The question is in the initial level of physical fitness and how much time we have before the start if we are talking about reaching peak shape. The most effective personal plan will help you draw up a trainer. To get an idea of what it looks like, I can simulate an example like this:
- the first day - intense cycling;
- the second day - strength training, but a change of activity, we work on the ground;
- the third daylight recovery cycling and myofascial release (exercises on rolls also for recovery) or some exercises for the back, but not with large weights, but rather a general strengthening complex;
- the fourth day - again intensive cycling.
- Thus, we form a wave-like load with an increase. This method will allow us to prepare more effectively, regardless of how much or how little time we have before the start.
Should you take a day off or should your vacation be active?
I would say that training seven days a week is overkill. There are those who practice this, but can such a load be considered a blessing for the body? Most of the tips give themselves full days off. Another thing is that everyone rests differently. If we are talking about productive physical training, then this day should not turn into a tough violation of the regime. The idea is to give yourself an opportunity to unload: think about a massage or some relaxation activity.
Warm-up and cool down - what are the beginners wrong about?
What it is difficult to get used to for those who just come to sports (any sport and cycling in particular) is to warm up before the active phase of the workout and cool down after its completion. Because it is boring and has nothing to do with the species that a person has become engaged in. “Cycling requires pedaling (In our catalog you can choose Professional MTB Cycling Shoes)” the beginner winner thinks and twists them with all his might. Unheated joints, muscles, cardiovascular system go numb with horror and accelerate from afterburner, threatening with almost guaranteed increased wear and tear.
- In any sport, in any workout, warm-up and cool-down must be present. A specific cycling warm-up includes major muscle groups. You need to stretch your neck. Joint gymnastics is also necessary, even the most commonplace: remember the physical training at school. Circular movements in the hip joint will do, you need to stretch your knees. Engage your core muscles, it is necessary to prepare the body for tension, the trainer advises.
A hitch is also often forgotten, but meanwhile, you need to spend even more time on it in order to gently remove the body from the zone of physical activity.
- It can be stretching, and I love active stretching when not only doing static stretching but adding a little movement. If possible, post-isometric relaxation is well suited, you can connect a friend or girlfriend to the process and work in pairs. Calf muscles, quadriceps (front thigh), back muscles - everything needs to be brought into proper condition after the load, - the interlocutor notes.
Cooling down after an intense day in the saddle or in the gym can take up to half an hour.
Morning or evening - is there a difference for workout times?
It is clear that most adults do not have full control over their time. And you have to choose: go in for sports in the morning before work (school) or in the evening, that is, after all, other things.
Is there a physiological difference?
Everything is quite individual, although there are general patterns. We are all dependent on a hormonal schedule: hormone production, circadian rhythms. We cannot fully train at night: the hormonal background is completely different, and this will inevitably affect both achievements and general conditions.
That is, do you need to sleep well for good results in sports?
Of course, this is the most important part of the overall recovery process. Ideally, go to bed for 23 hours to get enough sleep, a person usually needs 8 hours of proper sleep. At the same time, it is important to understand that it is impossible to shift the workout at all by this time. Ever tried an active run before bed? Physical activity will definitely lead to hormonal release, and after that, you will not be able to fall asleep normally. As a result, the whole next day is overwhelmed because you didn’t have a good rest, not to mention the benefits of such a workout.
At the same time, individual biorhythms also work. Larks and owls all take place. If, after exercising in the early morning by mid-day, you feel like your batteries are low, it might be a good idea to find an opportunity for a short extra nap during the day. Sleepers, on the other hand, have the opportunity to train more hours without compromising the quality of their rest.
Eat: what to eat and when?
If we are talking about a balanced diet in the training process, then you need to understand that it should be complete. You need not only proteins but also fats and carbohydrates. A proper sports diet cannot be one-sided. The question is in the use of the body, and the answer depends on the function of the body. Carbohydrates are needed before exercise, especially before long sessions. Squirrels are mandatory. Fats tend to break down for a long time, this must be taken into account. Perhaps, such food is not quite suitable for refueling before a long bike ride - there is a risk of falling into a hypoglycemic crisis, the trainer warns.
This is something that it is better not to lead to, and the question remains entirely on the conscience of the athlete. Chasing with all his might is fun, until, unexpectedly and without warning, he suddenly chops down somewhere 70 km from the house. That's it, gasoline has run out. The blood glucose level falls below a critical level, and the athlete is surprised to find that he is not a machine, but a living person. The issue of nutrition, which in the heat of the moment you can wave your hand before and during training, suddenly comes to the fore with a delay. There is no time for results, the body lights up a red light, desperately signaling the laws of survival. It is probably easier to feel it once so that you never forget to eat normally in the training process, that is, before, after, and during sports.
At the same time, the food should be easily digested. During workouts, some stock up on dried fruits and all kinds of bars from homemade to purchased ones, others put a banana in the pocket of their bike, and others wrap a sandwich with ham or cheese in foil. Anything that suits you will do, as long as you can chew it under load, and if only it will bring the necessary energy to your body.
For more effective training, we must replenish the protein in the body. Chicken breast and cottage cheese - these products, like many others, are well known to everyone who is on the health topic. But cottage cheese is necessarily more than 5%. Vegetable protein is primarily legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas. Animal proteins - lean pork, beef, turkey, chicken. You need to be careful with seafood: oily fish before the start is not the best choice. Give preference to lean white fish, - lists Marina Medvedkova.
After training, the athlete is confronted with a closed period organism - the so-called, when the body directs the received proteins and carbohydrates specifically for the restoration and strengthening of muscles. Here, everyone has their own approach, depending on the goal: someone wants to lose weight, and someone wants to gain muscle mass. Among the most popular options for reducing carbohydrates, the window is sugary drinks, fruit drinks, marshmallows. Don't forget about high-protein foods.
How long does it take to reach peak form?
There is no definite answer and cannot be: it all depends on the current form, the power of training, the set sports goals. But a tangible result can be obtained in a couple of months, and in six months, and in a year and a half, - says the specialist.
We remember the wave-like principle of training, about starting with a small and forced increase in the load.
And one more important point is the timely reduction of loads in order to rest before the start and not to miss the very peak of the form.
- We should not exhaust ourselves with training, therefore, immediately before the start, we should not overload. Nobody cares how well you are prepared if you are already tired at the start. You need to adhere to the training plan and pay more attention to recovery, accumulating energy for a week and a half or two.