Life has a way of getting in the way of our routines. Just when you’ve knocked off a string of regular outside workouts, the weather turns bad and your fitness level begins to slip. Or your schedule changes a bit and you’re no longer able to make it to the gym consistently. These are just a couple of ways in which good intentions meet reality…with good intentions getting the short end of the stick.
I’ve never been a guy who goes to the gym, so when bad weather hits (in our area bad weather means snow in the winter; but it may be sweltering heat in the summer that slows you down) my fitness level takes a nosedive.
At least that was how it was until I found out about riding on an indoor bicycle trainer.
What’s An Indoor Bike Trainer?
I’m with you on that one…until about six years ago I had no idea either. It turns out that a bike trainer is a portable resistance unit that you attach the rear wheel of your bike to so that you’re able to turn your bicycle into a stationary bike.
There are a few advantages associated with this approach.
• Making your bike ‘multi-task’ reduces the amount of ‘stuff’ hanging around the house.
• Riding your bike on a bike trainer allows you to be getting in your pedaling on a bike that is (or should be) ‘fit’ to your body, rather than pedaling on a second-rate stationary bike with a fat, turtle seat, an upright posture, and too little or too much of a reach from your seat to the handlebars.
• You can do a workout ‘casually’. By this I mean you don’t have to take a journey to the gym and back, complete with a drive to and fro, socializing with the gym rats, having to make sure you’re wearing the correct gym ‘fashion’, and having to worry what your workout looks like to the other people there.
• A bike trainer is relatively small and folds down quickly so that it is easily stored when not in use.
How To Make The Best Use Of A Bike Trainer
Of course there are all sorts of rides that can be done indoors on a bike trainer. One time I even did a ride that took four hours in an attempt to get some ‘base’ endurance work in before the racing season.
I don’t recommend that approach…it took longer than the football game I was watching.
A better approach to riding indoors is to ride a structured workout…with high intensity intervals being very advantageous. You can buy a variety of DVDs that feature hostile little personal trainers who are more than happy to ‘whip you into shape’.
Alternatively, you can ride a set interval-style workout on your own. The advantage of an interval workout is that your metabolism will be elevated for quite some time after the workout…and all the while fat will be burning. Yea!
Here are a couple of sample workouts that I’ve done indoors before the racing season which are very effective. I’ve cut down the duration of the hard efforts, since it’s not likely you’re going to be banging bike helmets with other riders full of illusions of grandeur anytime soon.
Here’s what a Pyramid workout would look like:
10 minute easy spin warm-up.
One minute hard effort, followed by one minute easy spinning
One and a half minutes hard effort followed by one and a half minutes easy spinning.
Two minutes hard effort followed by two minutes easy spinning.
Two and a half minutes hard effort followed by two minutes easy spinning.
Two minutes hard effort followed by one and a half minutes easy spinning.
One and a half minutes hard effort followed by one minute easy spinning.
One minute hard effort.
10 minute easy spin warm-down.
Here’s what a Descending Ladder workout would look like:
10 minute easy spin warm-up.
5 minute hard effort, followed by two and a half minutes easy spinning.
4 minute hard effort, followed by two minutes easy spinning.
3 minutes hard effort, followed by one and half easy spinning.
2 minutes hard effort, followed by one minute easy spinning.
1 minute hard effort.
15 minute easy spin warm-down.
What Kind Of Bike Trainer?
If you’re going to be doing the types of workouts outlined above, you’d better get a good fluid trainer like the Cycleops Fluid or the Kinetic Trainer. These will be all you’ll need to provide sufficient resistance for even the most intense parts of your indoor workout.
Discover A Bike Trainer And Stay Fit Year-round
Like I said in the beginning…life gets in the way of our best intentions. I’ve found that having a good bike trainer in my arsenal has put me in the driver’s seat of my quest for physical fitness. Do some investigating and you’ll find that you’d benefit, too.
About the author: Ron Fritzke reviews quality cycling gear on his site, http://cycling-review.com. A former 2:17 marathoner, who’s last foot race was way back in the 1984 Olympic trials, he now directs his competitive efforts toward racing his bike…and looking for good cycling products.