The Perils of Training Indoors and What to Do About It

November 8, 2018

It’s tough this time of year figuring out how to get training rides in. The warm, summer days are gone. Winter is not quite here, yet there are blasts of cool days followed by warmer days and yet the days themselves are shorter.

Combine those variables with the fact that the holidays are right around the corner and training rides seem to get shorter or skipped all together.  Perhaps missing a day or two of riding doesn’t seem like much but it does. According to the post, What Happens to Your Body When You Quit Riding, within a relatively short period of time, undesirable consequences result. As in, your metabolism stagnates. Your blood pressure rises. Your blood sugar surges. Fitness declines. And, inevitable wait gain surfaces. Not fun! The goal this time of year is consistency.  It is consistent training that helps prepare your body for the physical stresses of the season ahead. Given the constraints many face this time of year, indoor training becomes the most reliable source.  

Now tell the truth. How do you really feel about training indoors? Most have a love/hate relationship with trainers and rollers but you can find ways to embrace riding indoors to support your cycling training now and all the way through to next season.  Here is how. 

Apps – Fortunately, there are now many apps that make your time on the trainer more productive and entertaining. Additionally, these apps record your workout so you can analyze your effort and get your best bang for the buck workout wise. The post, Choosing the Right Indoor Cycling App, offers a list of apps and a description of how they function to help you decide which is best for you.  Some of our favorites from the list include ZwiftCycleOps Virtual Training, and TrainerRoad.  

Bike Setup – Granted, apps can make your ride more enjoyable; yet, having the right equipment can make a difference too. When we’re talking about equipment, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, and indoor riding clothes.  If you are using a basic trainer, you may also want a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor.  You might not think all of these cycling accessories  add up to a great trainer workout, but  if you’re looking to take your training to the next level, having the right bike parts helps support motivation and training consistency.

Maximize Your Time – Make your indoor riding really count. It’s hard to stay motivated riding indoors for days in a row. So, another way to make riding indoors work is to shorten your ride. In fact, a one hour hard trainer workout will do more to improve your cycling and race fitness than 2 to 4 hours easy on the trainer. So, plan time on the trainer or rollers accordingly.

If you haven’t found yourself on the trainer yet this season, you’re lucky! The indoor riding season is fast approaching.  When you think about it, indoor training doesn’t have to be as bad as you think.  Options are available. It’s all about how you approach it.  

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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


Trainer Techniques for Winter Training

January 19, 2017

Trainers at BikeParts.comAs a cyclist, you can either hate the winter, or make the best of it. Some bundle up and dress to embrace the winter chill while others opt for the dreaded trainer. 

Most cyclist have a love / hate relationship with the trainer.  As a training aid, cyclist love it because it offers training options during poor weather and winter months.  Yet, on the flip side, trainer rides can be boring, lead to muscle- specific fatigue, and basically, offer uninspired riding.  Ugh. Is there a way to make it work?  Yes!  Fortunately, there are now many apps that make your time on the trainer more productive and entertaining. Additionally, these apps record your workout so you can analyze your effort and get your best bang for the buck workout wise. 

The post, Choosing the Right Indoor Cycling App, offers a list of apps and a description of how they function to help you decide which is best for you.  Some of our favorites from the list include ZwiftCycleOps Virtual Training, and TrainerRoad.  

Granted, apps can make your ride more enjoyable; yet, having the right equipment can make a difference too. When we’re talking about equipment, sure, we mean having your road bike on the trainer, but we’re also talking about having a fan, a trainer tire, a riser block, a sweat towel, a trainer mat, and indoor riding clothes.  If you are using a basic trainer, you may also want a cadence sensor, a power meter, and a heart rate monitor.  You might not think all of these cycling accessories  add up to a great trainer workout, but  if you’re looking to take your training to the next level, having the right bike parts helps support motivation and training consistency.  

If you find yourself really averse from riding the trainer.  Break your workout in half.  Spend half as much time on the trainer and the other half running, hiking, or doing another sport. One way to do this is to avoid long rides on the trainer all together. Year round strength training for cyclists matters and substituting your indoor rides with strength training will do more for your cycling later on in the season than doing another trainer session.  In fact, a one hour hard trainer workout will do more to improve your cycling and race fitness than 2 to 4 hours easy on the trainer. So, plan your time on the trainer accordingly.

Indoor rides are not a replacement for outdoor rides but with the right bike parts, cycling apparel, and equipment, indoor rides can be fun and beneficial.