Imagine change. Sleep better …

The better, and faster, we recover, the sooner we can continue to train. And, we recover when we sleep, particularly when we experience “deep” sleep. That’s when the muscles are repaired.

The above video highlighted several sleep positions that have interfered with my sleep. For the past week, I made a simple adjustment to ensure I sleep either on my back or side. I put a pillow at my side under the covers. The pillow stopped any turning onto my stomach, and provided support for my leg when on my site.

The result is remarkable. I awake without neck or back soreness. And, I sleep longer, and more soundly averaging 9:20 hours of sleep per night, with 4:22 hours of “deep” sleep.

Are you getting the sleep you need?

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Imagine. Change. (Ultimate Cycling Legs)

I like body weight exercises.

I can do them anywhere, anytime. In the gym. At home. When travelling. And, I donjt need any equipment.

This video demonstrates 7 cycling specific strengthening exercises – mountain climber,  renegade row, goblet squat, lateral squat, split squat, front plank, back extension – that improve cycling efficiency, and power.

This is my plan. I’ll incorporate these exercises into my daily workouts (I already do a few of them regularly), gradually increase the repetitions and duration, and use the stacked weight equipment less.

Imagine. Change. (Oatmeal every day)

I never knew oatmeal was so beneficial.

I’m lazy. For years, breakfast has meant a bowl of cereal with almond milk, and a cup of black coffee. That’s it. Well, I’m changing that. Oatmeal is easy to make, and I can add fruit, honey, even peanut butter to make it more nutritious, tasty, and satisfying.

Oatmeal is also an excellent pre-ride meal. So, on the days I do longer rides, I’ll start with a bowl. Together with intermittent fasting, a bowl will  make me leaner, and healthier.

Or, so I’m told.

Let’s see.

 

Imagine. Change. (Intermittent Fasting)

I am committed to making positive changes in 2018.

Instead of making unattainable New Year’s resolutions, I am going to keep the idea of positive change forefront in my thoughts throughout the year by regularly thinking “Imagine. Change., the words fortuitously embroidered on the young skater’s right shoulder that I met on the flight home from Phoenix two weeks ago.

It’s my 2018 mantra.

The first change I am making is to revise my diet and eating schedule to help maintain a more optimum cycling weight throughout the entire year, not just during the cycling season.

We all know that excess body weight is the cyclist’s nemesis. And, who doesn’t have a few extra pounds. I certainly do. And, at the beginning of each cycling season, I try to shed them. This year I got down to 152 pounds, the lowest I have been in decades, and close to my ideal cycling weight.

This winter, I want to keep my weight under 160 pounds so that as the season approaches, I won’t be struggling to lose weight, and can concentrate on my bike handling skills and conditioning.

How am I going to do that?

Well, I’m going to give intermittent fasting a try. I like the 16/8 method, where you fast for 16 hours, and then consume your daily calories during the next 8. It is the same schedule each and every day, and enables me to workout in the morning before having my first meal of the day, a technique purported to accelerate weight loss.

Intermittent fasting is controversial. Some like it. Some don’t. Some say it is the quickest, and most effective, way to lose belly fat. Some argue it makes little difference, saying all that maters is to consume fewer calories than you expend throughout the day. For me, the method makes sense, and also conditions the body to use fat stores for energy, something endurance athletes need to learn to do.

After considerable research, I am convinced intermittent fasting is beneficial. Here are 10 evidence-based benefits to consider.

I’ll try this for several months, and then report back. I have a 100 km century ride planned for the first week in April. By then I want to be at my optimum cycling weight, and will know if intermittent fasting worked for me.

Imagine. Change.

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On the return flight from Scottsdale, Arizona last week, I sat between two women. On my right, an acclaimed film maker, and on the left, a nationally recognized figure skater preparing for the Canadian Nationals, and hopefully, the upcoming Olympics.

You would think we would have little to talk about, but we did. And talk we did. The entire 3 hour flight we shared personal stories, a little philosophy, and family histories. It turned out the skater knows my cousin, and had a photo to prove it. And, the film maker produced some of my grandson’s favourite animated movies.

These women had a profound effect upon me. I was impressed with each of their accomplishments but one discussion will have a lasting effect. The filmmaker told me she never makes new year’s resolutions any longer. She used to, but was always disappointed when she failed to meet her goals. Instead, each year she carefully selects a single word, sometimes a short phrase, that best describes the things she wants to accomplish in the coming year. A mantra. Something to keep her focused in spite of the occasional failure. I liked this idea and pledged to give it a try.

As we were departing the aircraft, the figure skater put her red Canadian National team jacket on and I noticed the words “Imagine. Change.” embroidered on the right shoulder. Imagine. Change. These words described exactly what I had been thinking the past week while vacationing in Scottsdale. The types of changes I want to make. How I train. Where I train. What I eat. Where I live. I may not accomplish all of these things, but by Imagining Change throughout the year, I hope to remain focused on the positive changes to my life I want to make.

So, instead of spelling out in detail the changes I have in mind, I am simply going to keep these words in mind each and every day of the year.

Imagine. Change.

The perfect ride 🤔

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I visited North Scottsdale, Arizona last week on personal business, and took my road bike.

I know Arizona as a “Snowbird” destination, a place where Canadian retirees escape the cold, winter months. I never thought of it as a cycling destination. Wow! Was I wrong. I rode most mornings, and completed over 250 km during the week.

The experience got me thinking. What is the perfect road ride? What things make my rides more enjoyable? More memorable? Everyone experiences a ride differently, but for me, these are the things that make the difference.

First, I like warm weather. Yes, I ride all year long, including the cold, wet, west coast winters. But I much prefer warmer weather when all I need is a light jersey, ample sun screen, and sun glasses. Like in North Scottsdale.

Second, I like to roll out the back door, and have several routes of varying terrain available to me. Like in North Scottsdale.

Third, I like climbing, and descending. A good route includes some climbs, some descents, and some flats. Like in North Scottsdale.

Fourth, I like quiet, safe roads to ride. Safe may mean little, if any, traffic. Or, it may mean wide, clean shoulders at the side of the road. Like in North Scottsdale.

And lastly, I like scenic rides, something to look at while I train. It helps pass the time, and keeps me focused. Like in North Scottsdale.

Yes, North Scottsdale is a cyclists dream. Warm. Safe. Challenging. And very scenic. North Scottsdale is a cycling destination. I’m already planning a longer return visit this winter.