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Cycling Fitness >> Base Training to Get in Shape

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adidas Runtastic Blog: Running, Fitness & Health


Did you know that your leg muscles aren’t the only ones in play during cycling? Your gluteal, back, shoulder, arm and neck muscles are all activated by this versatile activity — so you really need to focus on total-body training. And don’t forget, base training is just as important if you want to improve your cycling fitness and performance. Set the wheels in motion with comprehensive training and get yourself ready for cycling season so you can enjoy the many benefits of this sport.

Important for Beginners:

You’re usually full of motivation right at the start. Ready to hit the road pedaling, you begin biking under the motto “the more the better”. Put the brakes on that mentality to avoid excessive strain on your back and your joints. Ease into a training routine, gradually increasing the intensity and frequency of your rides.

How to boost your cycling fitness with Base Training

Total-Body Toning with Strength Training

If you want to boost your cycling fitness, the first thing you’ll think of is probably leg training. “Basically, you’re not wrong to think that. But make sure to remember that you’re going to do more than enough leg training while actually cycling,” explains extreme sports athlete Gerhard Gulewicz. “This means you should devote your prep time to total-body training. Try to dedicate only ¼ of your training time to leg strength and focus on your other muscles the rest of the time.

Focus on Flexibility

If you really want to be in good shape for cycling season, make sure to mix flexibility training into your routine. Our cycling expert recommends: “Take at least 10 minutes to stretch properly before every ride to actively support your recovery. Don’t forget: you’ll only see the benefits if you’re consistent and dedicated in your efforts.

Train Your Coordination Skills

If you want to venture into wide open spaces, your coordination skills will come into play. They will ensure you can master most tricky situations safely. “There are lots of different ways to train your coordination skills. You can take a class at your local fitness center or try these exercises to improve balance and stability.” Again, consistency is key is here.

Note!

Coordination training should always be done before strength or endurance training, and after you’ve completed a warm-up.  You can only train your coordination properly if your muscles aren’t already exhausted.

A woman is boosting her cycling fitness with Base Training

Last, but not least: make time for endurance and base training

Don’t underestimate the importance of endurance training during your cycling season prep. Be sure that you don’t overdo it in the beginning — no high-intensity training with unfamiliar levels of muscle strain! “Increase the intensity and volume of your training gradually over time to see slow, but steady improvement. And never forget to include sufficient recovery time – avoid making these mistakes on your rest days!”, says Gerhard Gulewicz.

This approach has two major advantages:

  1. You reduce the risk of injury if you don’t overwork your muscles
  2. You continuously improve, which keeps you motivated.

Tips for Endurance Training:

You should spend more than 80% of your total training time in Zone 1 or Zone 2 — this will help you boost your performance.  

What are these zones? They are used to measure training intensity based on your max heart rate. Zone 1 is 60-70% of your max heart rate and Zone 2 is 70 – 80%. Let’s look even closer at the difference.

How can you tell if you’re training in Zone 1 or Zone 2?

Check your breathing:

  • You’re training in Zone 1, if you are breathing easily. For example, if you can breath for 5 minutes only through your nose, you’re definitely training in Zone 1.
  • You’re training in Zone 2, if you can easily hold a conversation with a training partner despite light to moderate exertion.

Zone 1 Training Info

Zone 2 Training Info:

  • This is how you can really improve your carbohydrate metabolism. Simply, this means that your body will be able to more easily convert carbs into energy. During more intense training, your body will be better able to use carbs from your glycogen stores as fuel. This means you definitely need to replenish those stores after your training session.

How long should an endurance training session last for beginners?

Zone 1: 60 minutes or longer, but no longer than 2 hours in the initial training stages.    

Zone 2: 3060 minutes. For slightly more experienced cyclists, no more than 90 min.

Don’t forget to do at least a 10-minute warm-up before your base training session, and follow up with 10minute cool-down riding at a relaxed tempo.

Summary:

If you want to take up cycling in the future, make sure you don’t take on too much at once. Base training is an important part of cycling fitness, as well as strength training. Don’t forget coordination skills and recovery. “Even if you firmly believe that more is better when it comes to training, that definitely not the case with cycling. While you’re riding, your muscles are being stimulated, but the real improvement to your performance ability comes while your muscles are resting afterward,” concludes biking expert Gerhard Gulewicz.

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What It Took for This Obese Doctor to Take His Own Health Advice

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What It Took for This Obese Doctor to Take His Own Health Advice



Kevin turned to food for comfort as he dealt with the death of his father. He chose a healthier path when his sister was diagnosed with cancer.

The post What It Took for This Obese Doctor to Take His Own Health Advice appeared first on MyFitnessPal Blog.

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Chipotle Black Bean Burgers With Avocado Salsa

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Chipotle Black Bean Burgers With Avocado Salsa



Chipotle Black Bean Burgers With Avocado Salsa

Easy veggie burgers with a delicious hint of smoky spice. Greek yogurt boosts protein to 10g, but add a fried egg for more!

The post Chipotle Black Bean Burgers With Avocado Salsa appeared first on MyFitnessPal Blog.

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Magnesium for Athletes – Get the Facts

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adidas Runtastic Blog: Running, Fitness & Health


Magnesium is probably one of the first minerals that comes to mind when you think of fitness. But, hardly anyone knows how essential magnesium truly is and how it can improve your physical performance. We have the facts for you!

Magnesium performs numerous functions

Magnesium is a vital mineral: it is present in nearly every cell of your body. Approximately 30% of the magnesium in your body is stored in the muscles. The mineral performs numerous functions: it is needed for aerobic (= with oxygen) and anaerobic (= without oxygen) energy production. Magnesium is also required to form endogenous protein (protein of body origin, rather than dietary origin) and plays an important role in muscle contraction and relaxation. The mineral is also essential to the formation of bone and teeth. In addition, it is involved in the activation of hundreds of enzymes.

How important is magnesium for athletes?

Studies show that the more active you are, the more magnesium you need.(1) Scientists have linked a high level of magnesium in blood to improved muscle performance, such as greater leg strength. This means that you can improve your performance by ensuring an adequate supply of this important mineral. What happens in your body? According to studies, magnesium appears to lower lactate levels in your blood.(2) Lactate (lactic acid) is a metabolite that is primarily produced by intense physical exercise. If it builds up, it can limit muscle performance and you will fatigue faster. Plus, exercising without sufficient magnesium will lead to increased oxygen consumption and heart rate. The mineral also plays a major role in strengthening your immune system. It works similar to an antioxidant by strengthening your defenses and protecting you from diseases.

magnesium for athletes

Increased magnesium intake can be helpful

According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), healthy adult females should get 310-320 mg per day and healthy adult males 400-420 mg per day.(3) A balanced diet is usually enough to satisfy this daily requirement. But, if you like to exercise or work a physically demanding job, your diet probably won’t cover your daily needs because you can lose a lot of magnesium through sweat. This loss has to be replaced, but the amount of magnesium required varies depending on the individual and should be discussed with a sports physician.

You also need to consume more magnesium in the case of stress.(4)

How can I tell if I’m getting enough magnesium?

Pay attention to Magnesium Deficiency Symptoms

  • Leg cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Digestive problems
  • Fatigue
  • Abnormal heart rhythm
  • Headaches

Consult your doctor if you experience the magnesium deficiency symptoms listed above.

Top 9 Magnesium Rich Foods

The general rule is that getting nutrients through your food is the healthier option – as opposed to taking dietary supplements. The same holds true when it comes to magnesium for athletes. A balanced diet gives us (almost) all the nutrients we need. So which foods are highest in magnesium? Here are the 11 best sources of magnesium:

  • Sunflower seeds (395 mg/100 g)
  • Pumpkin seeds (402 mg/100 g)
  • Sesame (347 mg/100 g)
  • Flax seeds (350 mg/100 g)
  • Cashews (270 mg/100 g)
  • White kidney beans (140 mg/100 g)
  • Chickpeas (115 mg/100 g)
  • Oats (139 mg/100 g)
  • Swiss chard (81 mg/100 g)

oatmeal with blueberries and almonds

Good to know:

Mineral water also contains varying amounts of magnesium. You can find the nutrition facts on the label of the bottle.

Magnesium Supplements – Good or Bad?

If your doctor recommends magnesium supplements to treat a magnesium deficiency, it’s important to be careful about the dosage. You shouldn’t take more than 250 mg of supplemental magnesium per day.(5) Magnesium can act as a natural laxative; if you take too much, it may cause diarrhea.

Takeaway:

The more you workout, the more magnesium you need in your diet. Don’t underestimate the importance of magnesium for athletes and focus on meeting your daily requirements with a balanced healthy diet including magnesium rich foods. If you do experience magnesium deficiency symptoms, consult your doctor. Supplements could be a helpful solution. Keep in mind: if you are preparing for a race or competition, make sure to start integrating the supplements into your diet several weeks beforehand to give your body time to adjust.

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