Cycling Fitness Coaching For Interval Training In Endurance Training Programmes
Strength and Endurance Training Programmes can give you high threshold power, good recovery ability, aerobic endurance, muscular endurance, core strength and upper body muscular endurance. All these are quality attributes for elite cycling fitness. Your training programmes need to be varied and balanced, with outside road training, yoga, indoor exercise bike training and plenty of rest.
Here let’s focus on gaining elite cycling fitness from interval training, both on the road and indoors on your exercise bike. In three sessions of 30 minutes, Interval Training can give you as much benefit and improvement as five sessions of 60 minutes of steady tempo or aerobic training. Why is this? Working your muscles during High Intensity Interval Training combines two of the most effective fat-burning methods. First, through working your muscles to a level of fatigue that prompts the highest amounts of oxygen use during a quick burst. Second, at this level of ‘VO2 MAX’, triggering an afterburn effect which can last for up to 48 hours after your workout.
So interval training accelerates your elite fitness goals through boosting your metabolism and building lean muscle tissue, faster than steady state training. Why is this? Normal tempo cardio training just maximizes your aerobic fitness, but very gradually between essential conscious occasional days of rest (we recommend every third day should be a rest day). But High Intensity Interval Training taxes and maximizes BOTH aerobic and anaerobic fitness. Aerobic respiration requires Oxygen to generate energy, while anaerobic training does not. And High Intensity Interval Training affects mucle tissue at a cellular level, actually changing what’s known as the ‘mitochondrial’ activity in the muscles themselves. This is why Intervals can get your muscles in better shape but in less time.
Find a quiet circuit near your home with minimal junctions or exit driveways – because you will be accelerating from 15 to 45 mph (25 to 65 kph), over 300 metre spurts. If there are plenty of hills nearby, you can do sessions of around 50 minutes, with 3 minute efforts on the rises, followed by around 8 minute rest periods. But you can be more intense on the flat. For around 40 minutes on a flate circuit, keep sprinting for trees or road signs that are about 300 metres ahead. Jump out of corners for these landmarks in gear of 53x16 and put maximum pedal power to accelerate until you can gear up to 53x14 and keep the power on. For a racing cyclist this will simulate how you will have to be able to accelerate to close gaps or gain the right position near the end of a bunch sprint.
Soft pedal with no effort between the sprints, for around 400 metres. Then accelerate again and repeat this for 12 to 16 times during your session. At the end, do two close 300 metre power sprints ahead of a ‘Big Finish’, where you will be on maximum power. Then your interval session is complete and you can rest and warm down, by soft pedaling over the next few kilometers home.
Home Interval Training
Use your home exercise bike or turbo trainer for lots of easy suppleness spinning to relax, together with aerobic tempo and interval training. For home interval training, get used to counting your pedal revs and using a build up routine, where you count for 20 revs hard, 20 revs soft, then 30 revs hard, 30 revs soft and so on, building up to 200 revs hard and 200 revs soft. This is maximum intensity and then come down to 160 revs hard, 160 revs soft, then lesser sprints in jumps of 20 revs, until you get to just 20 revs hard and 20 soft. Give yourself our final spurt of 100 revs on full power as ‘The Big Finish’ (visualizing,say. Your sprint victory like Mark Cavendish or Sir Chris Hoy would do it!). Then take 500 revs of warm down and relax.
So on the road or on your home exercise bike, High Intensity Interval Training will improve your Elite Cycling Fitness in double quick time.
Here are Two rules on drinking more water and restricting your caffeine to the morning
No caffeine after 3pm. Let’s be clear. Caffeine is a type of stimulant. Most of us want to kick-start our day with a strong tea or coffee. Again, moderation is the key. One proven fact is that caffeine de-hydrates your body faster. So again, just as with any alcohol that you are tempted to drink, try to always have two glasses of water, for every cup of strong tea or coffee that you consume. Another proven effect of caffeine is to stimulate insulin production, so that your system is then working over-time to process your blood sugar and get needed glycogen into your muscles. But it takes unused glycogen out of your muscles faster too. So you will feel hungrier, faster. The more coffee you have in the morning, the worse your hunger before lunch. And the bigger the temptation to load up your lunch, over the threshold fist size…
So cut back on the coffee and keep some nuts handy if you are feeling that 11am blood sugar low. There are some who also say that a little caffeine in your system can aid the fat-burning process during training. But even if you have an evening training ride or race, do not have normal tea or coffee after 3pm, or there will be too much caffeine in your system – and your sleep is likely to be affected. Late afternoon try to drink organic fresh mint tea, or lemon and ginger. Avoid Earl Grey, which can be high in caffeine. Then in the evening, make your own fresh mint tea in a pot (you can buy the leaves fresh growing in a pot from any supermarket). Camomile tea is also good for relaxing your body and mind, particularly after evening training, again to suppress appetite. But only one cup is recommended, even then only if you are not under any other sort of medication or anti-depressants. Please take medically qualified advice if you have any concerns.
When possible, drink a half litre of water every half hour. Water is really important during a fat-burning regime and so good for you to detox the system. Obviously this may not be possible if you are travelling, or unable to get to a bathroom in close proximity. But when you have a fixed day at home or in your office, just get into the habit of sipping on water. Keep a glass of tap water continually topped up. Unless you have any concerns about acidity, keep a few slices of lemon or lime in your water glass too. Plus add a few extra squeezes of the fresh lemon juice. As well as essential pampering of your very precious and beloved liver, this water concentration can act as mild appetite suppressant. You have to really concentrate to keep this intake going. But try to do it at least three days per week. Again, don’t go crazy. Never go over five litres a day if you have any sort of concerns or history with kidney or bladder problems. It will really help you forget about the taste of your favourite alcoholic drinks too.
How Can You Take One Giant Step to Fitness? Cut Out Alcohol
Rarely touch alcohol - maximum five units per week and never after 6pm. You must respect your metabolism and work with it - not against it. This doesn’t need a Doctorate in Nutrition. Nor deep scientific knowledge. Just discipline. As a serious athlete or cyclist, you commit to a disciplined training regime. You value your health and fitness. You want to feel like an Elite rider or top Triathlete, every time you train. So why not follow the same discipline with controlling your weight and alcohol consumption? And what a difference climbing hills! It’s amazing. Unshed those kilos and you fly up those killer climbs. You recover quicker at the top. You feel so much better that you could go back down and climb that hill again! Seriously. When you cut out alcohol and lose that weight you will think how ill-disciplined you were, to leave it so long, before taking action. And it’s not about fads like Atkins or G.I. or others. It’s about balance, moderation and getting into good habits. Habits so good that you can reward yourself regularly - even to the extent of a bar of chocolate any afternoon! Provided, of course, that you are following the rules carefully, like no other carbs after 6pm.
So we have put together key rules for an active sports person to lose 10 kilos in 5 months - or about an imperial pound in weight every week. These reflect varied pieces of information, advice and learning, over thirty years of fighting excess weight. The key is to keep the rules, all the time. And cut out alcohol. Then you’ll feel great. Rarely hungry. And fly up the hills as if they did not exist! Follow
So reducing alcohol consumption is critical. Even better, just give it up completely. Try to combine this with a life-changing event like a new job, a new home move, or a new relationship. Seriously, this gives you an alternative focus and keeps your discipline. You will find, after a few days, that when you have beer or a glass of wine, that you can really taste the alcohol in it. The flavours that you thought you were yearning for are just not there. They are overwhelmed by the alcohol itself. Why is this so important? Because you must respect the importance of a properly functioning liver. A healthy liver is essential to process your weight loss and regulate your whole body’s digestive balance, especially glycogen. The second you consume alcohol, then your liver switches into self-preservation mode, to get the impurities out of your body as fast as you drank them in! What happens? Well clearly all the other liver activities move back down the queue. So other toxins from training take longer to process out. And other fats in your system take longer to burn. Go to bed at night after a few glasses of wine or beer and you can say goodbye to any weight loss benefits for a couple of days. Yes, it is that important.
But what happens if you slip back into some sociable drinking? A Sunday lunchtime pint is sometimes fine. Or a glass of wine with a good meal. But, if you are serious about weight loss, make sure that you always dilute one glass of an alcoholic drink with at least two glasses of water. The effect will be amazing on your general well-being too. Better sleep, better skin and better late-night abilities for conversation - or other activities that need a healthy body! But don’t some people advocate that a daily large glass of red wine is good for your health? Sure they do. For the fruit and the tannins. But not for the acidity and the alcohol. Better to purchase a really good juicing machine. Then make the most amazing fresh fruit juice cocktails. But again watch the high sugar content, too late in the evening before bed. Remember a pint of lager has the same sugar content as doughnut coated with icing. How many Elite Cyclists or Top triathletes win races by stuffing themselves with Krispy Kremes?