Top Apps for Cyclist in 2018

January 18, 2018

Looking in the rear view mirror – there are the holidays.  Sure, it was fun. The festive spirit of the holidays, time off from the bike, spending time relaxing and enjoying are all good things.  

But now, as we look towards the future, we are well into the New Year and many are greeted with a few extra pounds, poor weather, and perhaps a lingering feeling of dread to get back into cycling shape.  

Motivation can be hard this time of year, but with smart phones and technology, motivation is only a finger tip or two away.  Apps that is – and not the type that you eat! Following are our picks for fitness apps  and cycling apps to help you stay the course.

The post, Choosing the Right Indoor Cycling App lists the top indoor training apps including Zwift, Rouvy, and the Sufferfest.  It’s a  great read and we suggest taking a look at it for the pros and cons each app has to offer for indoor riding.  Off the bike, there are apps to support your training goals as well.  Whether your goals are to drop a few pounds, stay hydrated, get more sleep, there’s an app for that.  Following are our favorites from our post, Top 5 Apps for Cyclists for Off Season Fitness Gains

Lose It! 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.

Pumping Weight 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.

Strava  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.

Sleep Cycle  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.

Cardiio  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.

iDrated  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.

BikeFit App and Bike Fast Fit  What are they? Apps to help you with a bike fit.  The BikeFit app is designed more for professional bike fitters; however, the Bike Fast Fit app is a bit more useful in that it enables you to capture a video clip, measure key riding position angles and distances use video analysis tools to find the ideal riding position that’s both powerful and comfortable.  Keep in mind, if you are using these apps, most likely to get the best fit, you’ll need to replace bike parts and cycling accessories. For all your cycling needs, check out our online store BikeParts.com.

Overall, apps will never replace the joy of cycling and training outside; however, they can help you stay on track with your fitness goals and give you data driven feedback to keep you motivated. Do you have any favorite apps you would add to the list?  Let us know! Follow us on Twitter and Facebook

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5 Training Strategies to Survive the Holidays 

December 3, 2015
Happy Holidays from BikeParts.com

Happy Holidays from BikeParts.com

The holiday season can wreak havoc on maintaining any kind of structured training plan.  Even when you make a solid commitment to staying fit through the holidays, even the best made training plans go awry.

Holiday parties, work demands, family obligations, illness, injury, and weather challenges all take a toll on training.  How do you make the best of it?  Stress out? Freak out? Beat yourself up? No! Get your game on with strategies to survive the holiday season.  These strategies will help you maintain fitness, manage your weight, and set you up right for the New Year. 

Strategy 1: Eat Well.  The holidays offer irresistible food temptations adding extra pounds to our waste lines and robbing us of precious energy.  Instead of reaching for the holiday goodies, opt for nutritious snacks. Eating poorly during the holidays can affect mood and motivation towards training.  Focus on good nutrition and choose your bike nutrition when you need it most- on the bike.  Being mindful of your food choices can positively affect your energy levels and help maintain your ability to ride and perform better.  

Strategy 2: Log your intake and outtake.  Many cyclist already track mileage or training time, but consider keeping a food log to track your caloric intake as well.  A free and favorite app to help do this is 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.  A great way to stay motivated to eat right.  An added gain, is that 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 making it easy to track your caloric intake on the go.  

Strategy 3: Maintain focus and control.  The flurry of holiday activities makes time precious.  You may not have time for a lengthy ride, so make the most of the time you do have. Increase your focus.  Focus on what you can control and let go of things beyond your control.  What can you control? The intensity, duration, and consistencies of your workouts.  You can also control the elements surrounding your training, as in, your bike parts, bike functioning, and being well prepared nutritionally to get the best out of your workouts.    

Strategy 4: Buddy Up! Use the ride to catch up with friends, training partners, and others.  Ride with friends, join a spin class, or host your own trainer session.  Committing to a time, place, and a friend creates structure keeping some consistency to your training. 

Strategy 5: Relax: If you just can’t find the time or motivation to ride during the holiday season, at least feed your velo passion with pictures of new road bikes , new mountain bikes, and cool bike parts.  It will feed your spirit and breathe life into next year’s bike season.  In fact, the post, Missing training – Adjusting the plan, reminds us, “ It’s easy to beat yourself up over missed training, but if you have been steady with training, give yourself a break. Gaining fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days and losing fitness doesn’t happen in one or two days. It takes months of steady training to gain good fitness. A few days missed or logging a fewer less hours than planned for a week is a small blip on the radar.”

There you have it! Strategies to survive the holidays.  Maintaining a holiday fitness plan doesn’t have be hard.  Be flexible, mix it up, and enjoy!


Battle of the Bulge: Weight Control in the Offseason

October 9, 2014

unnamedAs the cycling season draws to an end, many cyclist find themselves at their goal weight or race weight.  It feels great, doesn’t it?

There’s ease in choosing the right foods, maintaining portion sizes, and eating a few treats here and there doesn’t seem like a big deal.  Yet, for many, the transition to the Fall and Winter season means exercise volume decreases not only in sport but in life as well. There are fewer long rides, no lawns to mow and less walking about outside.

Combined with that, daylight hours decrease and it gets colder which leaves most of us less motivated and reaching for more processed, lower nutrient foods, eating bigger portion sizes; and as a result, we gain wait. Ugh! The dreaded Winter weight gain!  It warrants the question, Do Weather Changes Warrant Nutrition Changes?  Do hormones play a role? Experts say that cold weather increases the appetite for foods that warm the body quickly, like sugars and carbohydrates. Cold salads are less appealing. Creamy clam chowder and buttered cornbread is a much more pleasing choice when it’s chilly out.

But managing your weight in the off season isn’t a lost cause!  The post, 10 Ways to Manage Offseason Weight Control, offers suggestions to keep the pounds off.  Suggestions include easy options, as in, writing your food down in a food journal; consider the timing of your meals and intake; and limiting calories on easier exercise days.  As we’ve written previously, there are apps for cyclist to manage off-season gains.  Which ones are our favorites?  The Lose it app.  Lose It! allows 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. The bonus is that 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. Best part – it’s free!

And Winter riding can be equally as fun as Summer riding given you have the right cycling apparel, you know how to dress for winter riding, and you have the right bike parts in your winter toolkit.  And while the trails may be covered in snow and the roads less scenic than the Summertime, have no fear of the trainer.   Don’t be a hater! There are means to overcoming trainer woes to keep activity up.

Just as much as the Spring cycling season inspires us to get in shape, tackle new challenges, and reach new cycling heights, the Fall season can inspire us too. Discovering new ways to nurture our bodies, maintain the gains we’ve made during the season, and re-energize for the season ahead.  With a little mindfulness, battling the Winter bulge doesn’t have to be such an effort.


Top 5 Apps for Cyclists for Off-Season Fitness Gains

November 14, 2013

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.

Lose It!
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.

Pumping Weight
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.

Strava
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.

Sleep Cycle
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.

Cardiio
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.

iDrated
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.