Archive for December, 2015

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What do you have there Dad?

December 31, 2015

“What do you have there Dad?”

This is what my 16 year old daughter said to me last night after poking me in the arm. She said “It’s like there’s a muscle in there or something.” LOL

OK not the best compliment but I’LL TAKE IT!!!! – I’ll take it because I’ve been putting in the work. Not only in the gym and on the bike but also in the kitchen. I’ve revamped my eating and it is making a huge difference in so many areas. I’m recovering faster, adding muscle and frankly just blowing away some of my previous best early season numbers. So far I’m already at 95% of my best one minute power output and 95% of my best one hour output as well. These are best ever numbers!! I’m thinking 2016 has the chance to be one of the very best ever.

Yesterday was a gym day – I did deadlifts again (2nd time) and I’m finding my low back to not have a lot of strength when doing this exercise – good to know as I go into 2016 – I’ll be working this area a lot. My squat is terrible – my position is all over the place and I barely have any weight on the bar – another good learning opportunity and one that will get a lot more attention in 2016.

Today was a bike workout – a great one! Here what the protocol was:

  • 10 minute warm-up
  • intervals increasing in time from 1 minute up to 6 then back down 1/2/3/4/5/6/5/4/3/2/1
  • recovery time between intervals of 50% of worked time
  • on the way up stay at 90% of FTP
  • on the way down increase each interval by 5 watts
  • Last minute 110% of FTP

It’s a tough workout (mentally and physically) for sure but totally worth it once it was done! Let’s keep pushing forward into 2016…. I have some very good feeling about what’s coming ahead!

Ride safe my friends!

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training smarter

December 28, 2015

In today’s post I try to communicate my progress and how I truly believe I am cycling better because of the changes I am making.

Here is a list of what I’m doing now that I wasn’t previously:

  • Planning
  • Tracking
  • Eating
  • Logging
  • Supporting myself
  1. Planning – I am now spending time planning out a week in advance what my workouts will look like. How much time I will spend on the bike and in the gym. There is still a lot of room for improvement here but I am getting the basics planned ahead of time. I know when and why my rest days are where they are (as tough as they are to take some days). I know what the next workout is each day so I can start looking forward to them.
  2. Tracking – I am tracking my food again. I’ve done this before but am being very serious about it this time – everything goes into myfitnesspal.com now. This can sound daunting but in truth doesn’t end up being too bad at all since I make it log it and then eat it – easy as pie – (no pie, sorry)
  3. Eating – I am eating more than I have in years. But not crappy foods bogged down with terrible ingredient lists. I eat a vegan diet and have increased my protein and fat goals while also bringing my carb number down a bit (quite a bit). I was usually around 100 grams of protein and under 50 grams of fat daily now I am up to 175 for protein and 100g for fats. It’s a whole new world of eating – It’s not been long (3 weeeks) but I can already see differences in my reflection. I’ve not gained a pound yet but I am stronger both during my bike workouts and my gym workouts. It’s kind of fun seeing these things happen although to be totally honest some days I have to do some math to make sure I’m eating the right combinations at the right times. I’m still learning.
  4. Logging – different than tracking in that I am logging every workout in my training peaks account – both bike and gym time – I am watching my training loads and starting to see my fitness coming back up albeit gradually so far – improvement is a positive thing and I will stay with that!
  5. Supporting myself – this has been the tough part at times. It’s hard to keep pushing along when you don’t get much in the way of support in these areas. Instead there is a lot of “you’re going to get fat”, “why are you wasting time on this?” etc. this is where what we want needs to be important to us and be made time for – be strong everyone. You can be great but it’s not easy – it takes work. I’m doing all I can to be great and strong this year. If you every want help – let me know I’ll be support for you.

These are a few major points I’ve learned and am doing. I hope they help you in some way as you working to be a better cyclist.

Ride safe my friends

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Fasted Cardio – sounded like a good idea

December 24, 2015

This morning I put a hurt on myself – It was a good hurt, the kind that allows you to learn something about yourself and about your training. Not unlike a really long endurance ride that cracks you and teaches you about your fitness levels and if you are fueling correctly. My ride today though was short, it was indoors and it was hard. Let me back up just a bit – yesterday my nutrition plan called for a lower carb intake than normal – unfortunately I didn’t eat most of the carbs just before going to bed as I should’ve. Then I was doing an early morning workout today and no real time to eat before getting on the bike. Just a few sips of water.

Fasted and depleted cardio at it’s finest. I got hungry, not like a normal “I should eat something” hungry but a full on Hangry moment waiting to happen. Luckily for me, nobody was up when I finished and rushed into the house from the garage to find something to immediately shove in my mouth. This is where having food prepared would come in handy, but I grabbed a protein shake and slammed it down – whew! crisis averted for sure. Now time to make a proper after-workout meal

I’m totally going be honest here and say this morning taught me how weak I am. I was mentally weak today. I gave into too many excuses to stop and catch my breath. Normally I would push right through these points without issue but today I couldn’t get me head right. I had little to no power for most of my ride as well. I didn’t have the energy to push hard and my averages showed this at the end when I went back to review my effort. Some might call it a waste – but not me. No way. this was a teaching moment if there ever was one.

So what did I learn? If we want to be great for a workout, a race or just a focused day of training we must have energy. Not only for our muscles to perform but also for our mind to perform. Fasted cardio has it’s place for sure – longer steady rides where the goal is only to ride fasted and burn extra fat in a workout. Fasted cardio does not belong on a hard training day like I had planned today 2 x 20 at 80% of FTP and 2 x 10 at 85% FTP. Let me tell you that plan was out the window today! I’m really glad I had the day I had this morning – plus I get to share it with you. That’s all for today – live, ride and learn – we’re all just looking for ways to cycle better.

Ride safe my friends.

 

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The most overlooked part of improvement

December 23, 2015

You’ve heard this statement from every single training guru or coaching program out there. Rest days are extremely important! So why are we still not taking them correctly? This is a question I get quite a bit from people as I talk training. Why do I need to schedule a rest day? or I feel so good I want to just keep training, is that ok? The answers vary –

I believe we should schedule rest days into our training plans so we have something to look forward to – it helps me dig a little deeper on the day before a rest day knowing I have a full day to recover after that training day. it also makes me take stock of where I am in my training. Have I been working hard enough? Am I ready to amp up an area? Or, am I training with a blind spot? (you’re not sprinting in training ya big Oaf)

But can you keep going and not rest? Of course but be cautious, very cautious. As your ability to do more training grows you will want to challenge yourself and do more work – my suggestion though is to not miss a rest day. These are the days your body needs to be ready for the next set of training days. These are also the days that your mind needs. Instead, increase the workload on training days and allow the rest/recovery to happen. We all know the feeling of power that comes from a day off or even two days sometimes. Hold onto that imagine and feeling in your head when your mind is trying to convince your body to skip the rest day. You’ll be glad you did

Ride safe my friends

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We are good enough

December 22, 2015

The title picture rings perfectly true – I’m sick of it. I look in the mirror, go out for a group ride, walk down the street, sit in class, check my bank account – the list could go on and on. But here’s the truth:

Not only are we good enough, we are f’ing awesome. We are badasses! Look in that mirror once again and really look. Look into those eyes and realize how far you’ve come in your life – there are a million negative things we could think of right now but I want you to see the greatness that is you as you live and breathe right this moment. Now this doesn’t mean we have to stop being better than we were yesterday. We can keep pushing for further greatness, our next promotion, leading the group ride up that last hill and then dropping them (this is a cycling blog after all).

I did the mirror exercise last week and I DID IT WRONG. I was done in about 30 seconds and when I walked away I felt no better than I had when I started except to try and pat myself on the back by saying “right on you did that”. I thought about what I had done (not done) later in the day and vowed to do it right the next time. But truth be told, I couldn’t get my head into the right space. Yesterday I finally found the right space for my head. The mirror took me almost 10 minutes of staring into it before I saw what I was looking for in my eyes. Actually it wasn’t in my eyes at all if I’m writing for full disclosure. It was so much deeper inside me where I found it. It was really something to find that part of me within the depths of what felt like my soul.

Today I feel great! I got up early, set my intention for the day and started to work the plan I’ve set. I will first and foremost be kind today. Kind to myself and others I meet during the day. This is how I can change my part of the world one interaction at a time. I will be generous with time when I can and with my attention. Investing in these interactions, building relationships or just providing support. It is not about just me.

Today try the mirror exercise for yourself – I’d love to hear what you’ve come up with for yourself or if I can help in any way. We are one people spread across this world – let’s reach out to one another and build greatness.

You are more than good enough!!

Ride safe my friends

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A work in progress

December 21, 2015

We are all exactly what the title suggests, a work in progress. We are either going up, staying the same or going down in our lives and/or performance.

Today I’m going to talk about training more than I normally do. How can we cycle better? It’s a question I think we all ask ourselves all the time – I know I do. The easy answer is ride your bike more. But I have to work, I have a family, I might be in school, (insert your answer here). we have to find our best training time in the most limited amount of space some days.

Intervals!! These are the best things you can do to drive performance. This year I intend to ride less than I ever have and have the best year I ever have as well. All through the power of intervals. I’m starting off with a warning right now – these aren’t fun most times and they do hurt-A LOT! They also provide our bodies with the biggest bang for the buck in terms of time spent/results gained. I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different times so far this training season. I’ve done 60 second intervals, 5 minute ones and also 10 minutes intervals as well. I’m fortunate enough to own a power meter but I also love training with pure HR when on my trainer (see the bottom for the ones I’ve ridden for 10+ years). training with HR while on a stationary trainer is great because you are always having to pedal, no coasting. This provides a very stable accurate way of doing the work needed on any given day. With a power meter I have good days and bad days and I seem to let myself off the hook on both at times by not riding to the correct HR I am shooting for. My suggestion is to use both set your goals for each workout. One might look like this:

60 total minutes of training; 10m warm-up, 30 x 60 seconds @90% of functional power (FTP) then 60 seconds @recovery power, once completed spin easy for the rest of the workout cool down the last 5 mins. This workout kicks your butt and also builds your ability to recovery faster – 1/2 times per week if you are training 4 x week is more than enough.

Plan around with the length and intensity of your intervals but I know you’ll see results coming pretty quickly from these! Enjoy.

 

Ride safe my friends!

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Just when things are going the way you want…….

December 20, 2015
BAM!!! Yesterday was tough. I didn’t sleep super well and frankly might not have eaten how I needed to the day before – I had a holiday party that we attended and was out late and of course nobody makes Vegan food at a holiday party – I ate a bit before I left the house thinking it would be enough 20+ grams of protein and about 40 grams of carbs, then gorged a bit on simple carbs at the party – then I woke up and felt just exhausted. No energy and a very tired feeling body – I ended up skipping my workout and felt terrible almost all day long.
Truth be told – I’m a bit glad it happened. I’m not sure if it was nutrition or just good solid workouts that stressed my body to a point where it needed rest – but it helped me learn to take nutrition off the table as a possible issue – focus on eating and then let the body feel as it may.
This morning’s workout felt good but not as great as the other day – mind and body were a bit disconnected today, lots on my mind but I feel like I put in good work. I like the learning I am doing and the struggles are all part of the process. Take it easy on yourself and relax