How important is managing your training and nutrition in the off-season? Is it a time of cross training, weight training, and core-strength training? Is it a time for the non-competitive or transitional season of your cycling plan? Or, does the off-season mean all fitness and weight control efforts are optional?
You’ve spent most of the year working hard, putting in long hours on the bike, sacrificing ‘bad’ foods to keep your weight down, and done your utmost to get as fit as possible. Surely, that affords you a good rest period; those long training hours must keep your fitness for quite a while, right?
Well, what you do in the off-season can mean the difference between winning and losing during the cycling season. Maintain your fitness just enough to avoid weight gain and you’ll set yourself up for a slow start. But if you use your time off the bike to gain strength, speed and stamina, you’ll power out of the gates when the weather warms up. What can you do to maintain fitness? The obvious answer is to keep training. However, for many people, the off-season will means taking a break. But, with a little help, managing the off-season can be a little easier. Following are 5 +1 bonus fitness apps to help you stay the course.
What It Is: Want to drop some pounds? Lose It! users get a customized weight loss plan and then use the app to track food, measure activity levels, and connect with peers for group support to reach their goals.
Why It’s Cool: Lose It! can sync up with most of the popular fitness tracking devices and wireless scales on the market. It also has a large food database for easy reference.
Cost: Free. Available for iOS, Android, Kindle, and Nook.
What It Is: Weight training can get complicated, but Pumping Weight helps to make tracking workouts simple with an easy to follow, smooth interface. View your workouts in calendar mode to see the weekly sweat schedule, and record individual reps and sets with their intuitive tracking system.
Why It’s Cool: While Pumping Weight keeps things looking simple, the app gives users access to a goldmine of data on their progress. The app graphs strength gains over time and can remind you what muscle groups you’ve been neglecting.
Cost: $2.99. Available for iOS.
What It Is: Track bike rides and runs without lifting a finger. Strava lets users upload data from their iPhone, Android, or Garmin, and the app automatically logs workouts in its personal system. Users can then compare their workouts to previous runs and bike rides or see how they fare against other users.
Why It’s Cool: This hugely popular app makes it easy to track progress in biking or running, with the option to get a little competitive. Other fancy features include the ability to find the most popular routes in a new location and to record the age of gear and equipment to know when it’s time to get some new stuff.
Cost: Free for iOS and Android.
What It Is: Waking up is hard enough, but this app makes it a little less traumatic by analyzing users’ sleep patterns and rousing them when they’re in the lightest phase of sleep. Plus users get to go through troves of data showing how well (or poorly) they slept during the night.
Why It’s Cool: Most sleep-tracking devices are pretty pricey and involve some fancy headgear. But Sleep Cycle’s just about the app. Users place their smartphones in their beds and the app senses what phase of sleep they’re in based on how much or little they’re moving.
Cost: $1.99. Available for iOS.
What It Is: Cardiio gives users insight into their health and fitness via one simple tool: heart rate monitoring. The app’s dashboard allows viewers to track their heart rate throughout the day, before and during various activities, and across the course of weeks, months, and years.
Why It’s Cool: The app works by what can only be described as “magic” (or, you know, advanced technology). To measure their heart rates, users simply look straight into the front camera of their iPhone (4 or higher) — no chest straps or finger clips involved. The app also analyzes users’ heart rate data, assigns them a fitness level rating, allows them to set personal goals for their resting heart rate, and even estimates potential life expectancy.
Cost: $1.99. Available for iOS.
What it Is: A hydration monitor, water log, drink alarm designed to keep users hydrated. The app is easy and simple to use. Thanks to a built-in tutorial, users don’t have to waste their time trying to figure out how to use it. Once launched, users must select either male or female. With the tap and press of a finger anywhere on the screen, users can then begin filling bottles with water to the appropriate amount of water that they just consumed by sliding up or down. Water may be measured in either liters or ounces.
Why It’s Cool: The app then tells users how much more they need to drink along with an actual time estimate for when they should drink more water. iDrated keeps track of the current week’s hydration levels, and users earn medals for staying hydrated.
The most impressive feature about this app is the design and layout.
Cost: $.99 Availavle for iOs.