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Showing posts from 2012

What to do Before the Off Season

After a hard competitive season with races on back to back weekends and little rest, you may be wondering- what now? It may not be obvious at first, but the first critical step is to take a break and give your body time to repair the damage caused by racing.  On the other hand, your bike probably doesn't need a break, but it probably needs a cleaning!
In a periodized training program, this first step is called the transition phase.  Lasting up to six weeks, the number one goal during this time period is to rehabilitate and recover by cutting mileage down significantly.
I'm probably not the only one who thinks that six weeks of low mileage training feels like an eternity, but trust me, it's absolutely necessary if you want a successful off-season.  Starting the off-season without rehabilitating injuries or correcting muscular imbalances will lead to a frustrating off-season riddled with unpredictable recovery days.  This brings us to the next important question:
WHAT'S T…

EAT SMART: Tunisian Vegetable Couscous Recipe

I've been trying to figure out a way to incorporate vegetables into my meals and this was the perfect way to do it!  I found this recipe at allrecipes.com and made some modifications to it based on the comments and the antioxidant levels of some of the vegetables.  This recipe has a large variety of healthy vegetables packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals- nutrients we all need for a fast and effective recovery, especially if we're deficient!  This recipe works well with rotisserie chicken, but not so much with fish.  I'm still experimenting with this so feel free to leave a comment below with suggestions!
If you've never tried Tunisian food before, the ground cardamom might be a little strong on the palate, but personally, I really enjoyed the aroma and flavor of this spice.  Honestly, I was hesitant to buy the cardamom at first because it was almost $13, but it was worth it since I plan to make a lot more of this in the future.
Prep time: 20-30 minutes (I'…

Daily Target Heart Rate Calculator

As many of you probably read in the "Limitations of HR Training" post, there are limitations and inaccuracies related to heart rate training.  From day to day, RHR can change enough to throw off all of your target heart rates.  This means that you'll either painstakingly recalculate all of the zones OR train anyway knowing that the numbers are a little off.

To get around this problem, I posted a spreadsheet that can do all of the calculations for you!  After clicking the "Click to Edit" button above the spreadsheet, all you have to do is enter your age and resting heart rate into the yellow boxes. The heart rate ranges below should automatically update based on your information.  I would bookmark this page for quick and easy reference from your computer or mobile device.

WHY ARE THERE ONLY THREE ZONES?
I only use three zones because there are only three energy systems- the aerobic, lactic acid and ATP-PC system.  Using more than three zones over complicates thi…

Racing Three Times in ONE Day - Indy Criterium Cycling Race & Festival

When I signed up for three races, I thought it was a crazy decision, but looking back on that day, it was a lot easier than what I expected!  Before race day, I had a plan nutritionally and tactically which was all determined by the schedule/ duration of each race.  Here's the schedule of the Indy Criterium Cycling Race & Festival:
Race #1:  Cat 5/ Citizens - 30 minutes @ 10:30 amRace #2:  Cat 4/5 - 45 minutes @ 1:00 pmRace #3:  Cat 4/5B - 30 minutes @ 4:55 pmRace #1 (Cat 5):  Before this race, I ate my usual breakfast and warmed up the same way as I would on a single race day.  However, during the race something unexpected occurred.  Because there were a lot of riders (~50), I was pushed near the back of the group.  I worked hard to move up in position quickly and by the time I moved up to what I thought was the front of the group, I noticed that a large gap had formed.  Apparently, an early attack split the group in two.  Unfortunately, I was in the group that was slowly beg…

Bradley Wiggins New Posture 2009 vs 2012

I was watching Stage 19 of the 2012 Tour de France and couldn't help but notice that Bradley Wiggins looked very different compared to his time trial position in 2009.  
While there were small improvements over his original bike fit, the biggest difference I noticed was his posture!  I don't know if he focused more on posterior chain core exercises or worked on improving the mobility and range of motion of his spine, but his new posture is much better.  If you compare his thoracic spine, it's a night and day difference.  In the 2009 photo, he had some obvious postural deviations, but in the 2012 photo, he's nearly maintaining a neutral spine!  Now all he needs to work on is his lower back flexibility, but most of that isn't his fault- it's mostly due to UCI's decision to enforce Article 1.3.014.

Article 1.3.014 restricts all cyclists to a saddle tilt position of +/- 2.5 degrees from level with a margin of error of +/- 0.5 degrees.  This means that most of…

Happy 1st B-day MyPlate! Goodbye MyPyramid!

If you're one of the many people that typed in "mypyramid.gov" into the search bar, you might have noticed that things have changed!  MyPyramid has been retired and replaced with MyPlate, a simple and easy to understand icon.  While MyPlate doesn't visually encourage an active liftestyle like MyPyramid, it makes the idea of "eating healthy" seem a lot less overwhelming and complicated than the latter.

Just look at the two icons together- my eyes almost automatically shifts away from the pyramid and to the plate.  I think the stick figure would agree since it's seeking high ground to escape the massive pile of food!
Jokes aside, I think MyPlate has the potential to positively influence what people eat, especially since it's pleasantly familiar (unless you have square plates like me) and makes portion sizes easier to manage.  Even though there are no steps or a running man reminding everyone to try to become more active, it's very rare to hear p…

Endomondo Koar Calorie Challenge Winner

Although I didn't think I had any chance of winning any of the challenges posted on Endomondo, I won the Shatter your calories challenge by Koar!  The winners were given the option to get either two tops or one top and one bottom- I chose to get one top and one bottom.  Here are my picks:
Compared to a lot of polos out there, this one has the professional-look that I need for Personal Training.  I like that it's a solid color without the obnoxious and distracting "sporty" lines/ graphics like my Fila polos.  Even better, it's fitted so I won't look like I'm drowning in the shirt... It's hard enough trying to look fit and not like a skinny endurance athlete!
I've been meaning to write a post on recovery methods to show just how lost researchers are about what recovery method reigns supreme.  Off the top of my head, the methods of recovery include (the one in bold is the one I haven't tried yet):

Light aerobic activityMassageDeep tissue massageC…

Eagle Creek Classic Circuit Race Results 06.02.2012

I can finally and officially say that I can comfortably keep up with the peloton in a Cat 5 criterium!  Hopefully this will also be the case in my next race (Cat 4/5) on 06.23.2012.
I placed 11th out of 20 people and was behind the leader by 4.602 seconds.  I could have placed top 10 for sure if I didn't have to recover from a little mishap near the final lap.  I'll cover the craziness of what happened in more detail below.  With the help of the group, I covered about 12 miles in 28 minutes and 10 seconds-- a 25.56 mph average speed.  FYI, I can't hold this average speed solo...  Drafting within the group helps A LOT.  Just to show how much it helps to be sheltered in the group, my best solo average speed is about 20.2 mph over 32 miles in 5-10 mph winds.  I Instagram'd my cycling computer to celebrate my first time averaging over 20 mph. PRE RACE:
A quick tip for anyone registering for a race in a large park... always ask the employees at the front for a map and dire…

Village at Winona Lake Road Race Results - Cat 5 28 miles

I think my theory on developing an immune-to-weight physiology might have some validity to it!  I not only kept up with the peloton, but kept up with moderate effort and didn't feel nearly as fatigued as I normally would during my solo rides.  During the last lap, I considered breaking away on the steepest climb about six miles from the finish line!  Although it was extremely tempting to breakaway, I held back because my number one goal was to finish with the pack.  I think it's also worth mentioning that during the uphill sprint to the finish, I passed about 10-12 people who ended up re-passing me because I had to slam on the brakes for some riders who were slowly approaching the finish line- not sure if they were even in the race...  Realistically, I would have been around 10th-12th place- still not enough for points to move up to Cat 3 so it's ok!

PRE RACE:
The Village at Winona Lake Road Race was one of the most well organized events I've gone to.  Registration was…

When is it OK to Stop Worrying About Bicycle Weight?

You might have noticed in my twitter updates that I recently bought a carbon fiber road bike to replace my heavier-than-most-steel-bikes Fuji Roubaix 3.0.  Honestly, my Fuji Roubaix 3.0 was a great bike, it just had some major drawbacks in race conditions.  Most of the problems involved the Sora groupset and the others involved the total weight and stiffness of the aluminum frame combined with a tiny... tiny bottom bracket shell.  I'll cover this in more detail with a full review on the Fuji Roubaix 3.0.


MY EXPERIENCE RACING ON A BIKE ~10 LBS HEAVIER THAN THE COMPETITION: With one bottle, my Fuji Roubaix 3.0 weighed 27 pounds and 29 pounds for those two-bottle 50+ mile rides.  I was at a clear disadvantage compared to the full carbon frames about ten pounds lighter- forget grams!  Being as determined as I was to be competitive despite this handicap, I raced on this bike anyway because in my mind, weight didn't really matter on flats and descents- it really only mattered in the…

Measure Saddle Tilt with The Leveler App Angle Finder

Instead of measuring saddle angle the old school way using a plumb line, download the Leveler App to make your life a lot easier.  It's simple to use, free and seems to be just as accurate as a $40 dedicated angle finder tool.


HOW TO GET THE LEVELER APP (ANDROID):
If you go to the Android Market aka. Google Play Store, search "angle finder" and download the Leveler app created by chkuentz.  In order to use the free version of this app, it will require you to download Adobe Air.  If this is a deal breaker, you can download Leveler Pro for $0.99 and avoid downloading Adobe Air.  It's still a lot less expensive than driving to and buying an angle finder at your local hardware store!






HOW TO USE THE APP:
Ok, so it's not exactly a free app if accuracy is extremely important, which in this case it is.  Before using the app, you'll need to calibrate the phone on a level surface- the only way to be sure that you're calibrating it on a level surface is to use a bubbl…

Eat Sleep Train Smart is Coming to a Bike Store Near You!

In addition to maintaining this blog to help fitness enthusiasts and cyclists around the globe, I am going to start working with bike stores around the Indianapolis region to educate cyclists about various topics related to cycling!  Check out the list below to see the workshops that I will be offering.  I would like to know what you guys think, so check out the poll to the right (scroll down a little) OR send me an e-mail, Tweet or write on my Facebook wall and let me know which one(s) sound most interesting to you!  I will write a post related to the class with the most votes.  Thanks!

E.S.T.Smart Cycling Workshops Class #1:  Posture 101Class Details:  Bad posture is the number one reason for one of the most common cycling complaints, low back pain.  It can also be the culprit for other joint and musculotendinous pain.  Learn how to correct posture standing, seated and on the bike.  Specific to the bicycle, each participant will learn about the different cycling postures and how to de…

First YouTube Video Post! Dog Chasing Cyclist

I wanted to have a little fun with my first YouTube post, so I decided to post a video of a dog trying to catch me!  Expect to see exercise tutorials and training rides next!

During the second half of my max aerobic (sub lactic threshold) training ride, a dog spotted me ahead of time and started to run perpendicular to my path to cut me off.  Rather than making a u-turn, I got off the saddle and challenged it to race!  I wasn't exactly sure I would win since the dog already had a five-ish second head start by the time I realized what it was trying to do.  It also didn't help that I was sort of gassed before I started sprinting.  After the dog fell out of view, it was surprisingly able to speed match me at 28 mph for a good 4-5 seconds.  Enjoy!  FYI, the clip at the end without music is real time.

The What, Why, How and When of Flexibility

I have to admit that I'm one of the many people who has a love/ hate relationship with flexibility exercise.  It's boring, uncomfortable and feels like it takes years to hold a stretch for one minute.  If I never learned about the benefits that stretching has to offer, I would have never gotten into the habit of forcing myself to dedicate at least 10 minutes a day to stretching.  Hopefully after learning about the benefits of stretching, you will also decide to start forcing yourself to stretch!

WHAT IS FLEXIBILITY & HOW IS IT MEASURED?
Flexibility refers to the maximum range of motion that a joint or combination of joints can move through.  Range of motion can be measured with a goniometer (see picture below).  Although it seems simple to use, this tool requires in depth knowledge of anatomy to pinpoint the axis of rotation within the joint.  Eyeballing the "approximate" center of the joint is just as useful as guessing without a goniometer.  While personal trai…