I am a cyclist.
I was late to the party – didn’t purchase my first road bike until my early 20’s. I started because I needed to lose weight, and never really stopped. I have trained, toured, commuted, raced, and still enjoy organized, century events.
When I began, I would not have called myself a cyclist. In fact, it is only in recent years that I think that way. For me, a cyclist is someone who is fully committed to becoming leaner, faster, stronger, and more efficient on the bike. Everything I do is tailored to that end. That includes, when, where, and how I train, eat, and sleep. Some say I’m foolish. An addict. Perhaps. But to me, it is a preferred lifestyle; a simpler one that leads to better health, a cleaner environment, and greater appreciation.
Here’s the thing. There is always room for improvement, no matter how good you may think you are, or how old you may be.
Here is a list of my daily habits that continue to make me a leaner, faster, stronger and more efficient cyclist. I only wish I knew about them in my 20’s 😂
- I ride every morning for at least 90-120 minutes (except rest days). The duration doesn’t change often, but the intensity does. Sometimes I do hill repeats at threshold, sprints at VO2 Max, or recovery rides. And sometimes, when the weather doesn’t cooperate, I stay indoors on the spinning bike.
- I strength train every day for at least 15-30 minutes – 100 squats / day, and a variety of progressively more difficult planks. Bodyweight exercises are sufficient for the endurance athlete. If you don’t agree, I suggest you read Strength and Conditioning for Cyclists, Phil Burt and Martin Evans.
- I have adopted a 16/8 intermittent fasting regimen to maintain an optimum cycling weight. I know of no better, or faster, method to reduce weight.
- I always break the fast with a bowl of oatmeal – steel cut oats, a sliced banana, blueberries, and a tablespoon of peanut butter. There are a lot of benefits but what I like it has a high GI, and is sustaining. This way, I only need 2 meals a day – “Following training an athlete’s glycogen stores are depleted. In order to replenish them, the athlete needs to consider the speed at which carbohydrate is converted into blood glucose and transported to the muscles. The rapid replenishment of glycogen stores is important for the athlete. The rise in blood glucose levels is indicated by foods Glycaemic Index (GI) and the faster and higher the blood glucose rises the higher the GI. Studies have shown that consuming high GI carbohydrates (approximately 1grm per kg body) within 2 hours after exercise speeds up the replenishment of glycogen stores and therefore speeds up recovery time.“
- I maintain a regular bed time routine that results in at least 7-8 hours of sleep every day.
- I rest at least 1 day / week. I learned this way too late, and still have trouble with overtraining.
- I watch GCN (and numerous other YouTube channels) to hone my training, climbing, descending, and sprinting skills. I have never had a coach, but if I were to do it again, I would have gotten at least some coaching in my earlier years.
This is what I have learned after 4 decades of cycling – consistency is key, and training, nutrition, and sleep are equally important, interdependent, and inextricably linked.
Do you want to become a cyclist?