Cycling can get a little scary at times, especially on busy roads or technical race courses. If you find that your training and racing is being hindered by a lack of bike handling skills and nervousness on the roads, we're here to help.
Practice your bike handling skills
This is something that all cyclists should be doing in order to improve their training and racing. If you lack proper bike handling skills, you will find that technical courses are a nightmare and that unforeseen circumstances like bad weather could mean a premature end to your race.
Skills such as riding on loose gravel, on wet roads, down steep descents, and round sharp bends are things that come with practice. Start off slow and somewhere you know well and build yourself up; the more you practice, the more your confidence will grow. Other skills such as single-leg riding can be practised indoor on a Wattbike, turbo trainer, or even just a stationary gym bike.
Ride in a group
They say there's safety in numbers, and this can certainly be true when cycling. When cycling in a fairly large group, you'll find that hazards become less scary as you can watch those up ahead tackle them first and motorists should give you more space.
Of course, that's not to say that cycling in a group is always safer and that you're guaranteed not to have run-ins with cars. However, working together as a team to overcome tough conditions can really help with your confidence.
Other skills to practice when riding in a group include making contact with other cyclists and riding very close to others. Your instinctive reaction when touched by another cyclist will be to look around at the person you've touched, but it's important to stay looking ahead at where you're going. Practice making quick contact with a friend or fellow group rider and then move on to practising keeping your hand on their shoulder as you ride. Skills such as this can improve your confidence in mass start events and will mean you know what to expect.
Get comfortable in the saddle
Receiving a proper bike fit from an accredited bike store can make a huge difference to your cycling, and it doesn't have to be expensive. Unless you're looking to really maximise your power output and aero position for serious racing, a basic bike fit can be inexpensive or even free of charge.
If you're comfortable in the saddle and your position over the handlebars feels good, you will feel much safer on the bike. If you constantly feel like you're over-reaching for the handlebars and brakes or that your legs are overstretched and you can't reach the ground comfortably, you might feel more nervous on your bike. Once you feel secure and like the bike is an extension of yourself, you will be able to handle it much more confidently and co-operate better together. Make sure you're in control of the bike and not the other way round!
Do a sportive
If you're nervous to ride on busy roads or in places you don't know well, it's a good idea to ride an organised race or sportive. These will always be well sign-posted so that you can't go the wrong way and you will be forced to face any challenging conditions that you'd usually avoid on your own.
This will be a great way of getting out of your comfort zone by riding somewhere unknown and having to face challenges head-on.
If you dread your workout, chances are you're not going to do it. Slogging away on a treadmill for hours may be good for your body but it's not great for your mind. We've put together 5 awesome ways to get fit and burn calories without even realising it!
Gardening is a great functional fitness workout as it will have you squatting down, stretching high, lifting your arms, and carrying heavy loads, all of which will challenge every muscle group in your body. A 140lb (10st) woman can expect to burn up to 300 calories from 1 hour of gardening!
This is a great way to keep fit as it is free, you don't have to leave the comfort of your home, and in the summer you will be exposed to revitalising vitamin D from the sunlight. Not only this, it's a great skill to develop and you will have a beautiful garden to show for your efforts!
2. Playing a musical instrument
It may not feel like it, but playing a musical instrument can be a very energetic activity. Especially instruments like the drums where you use your whole body to play, you can expect to burn between 100-300 calories in an hour!
Learning to play an instrument is an excellent skill to develop as it'll focus you mentally and this should help you in day-to-day life. Not only this, it can be very social as you can then join a band or orchestra to share your passion with others.
3. Playing with your children
It can sometimes feel difficult to exercise when you have kids as finding time can be almost impossible. Playing with your children by chasing after them in a park or playing football or another sport with them is an awesome way of getting fit yourself while also allowing your kids to expend all their pent up energy. Forget lifting weights, lifting your kids will give you a great workout without having to hit the gym!
Playing with your children gives you an opportunity to bond and you won't even notice how many calories you're burning. Another benefit is that you'll be helping your kids to get active from a young age which will really help them in the long run.
4. Walking the dog
If you have a furry friend or two, you can expect to burn up to 200 calories an hour by walking them. Depending on how energetic your dog is, you could even go jogging with them to help them exercise better.
By having the company of your dog, you won't feel as self-conscious while out and about and knowing that you have to walk them will be all the motivation you need.
Finally, spending time cleaning your house can be a great way of burning calories, toning up, and you'll have a beautiful sparkly house at the end of it! Just like with gardening, cleaning will act as a full body workout as you'll be squatting down to scrub low surfaces, reaching high, bending and twisting in all directions in order to clean. This will mean that all of your muscles are worked – even ones you may never have worked before!
Imagine your dream and aspiration is to be a lawyer. It means that you have to do a three or four-year law degree in law school. You’ll need to get some hands-on experience in a legal setting and follow the right path that arouses your interests. You’ll then need to follow the right steps that’ll ensure a long and fruitful career for yourself.
This simply means: there are no random actions; success requires a concrete plan.
The same applies to fitness. When you establish your fitness goals and how you’ll achieve them, you’re sure of success. You may have your goals written out and detailed. Maybe not. But know this, without these goals, you’re just like someone walking through the Sahara without any compass or guide. There’s no way you’ll find your way. You’ll only continue to wander around without reaching your destination.
To ensure fitness success, you need to take charge. There are sure-fire tips you can adopt that will help you stay on track and get the best out of your fitness training. Want to know more? Stay with us.
Identify and set your goals
The first step is to identify your goals. It’s useless wanting to achieve goals you haven’t identified yet. To identify and set your goals, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do I want to keep fit?
- What should I expect in the end?
- For how long am I going to do this?
Since your goals are futuristic, it is all you should think of. You need to note that there are short-term and long-term goals. To make it easier, you can set your long-term goals. These are the goals you want to achieve in the long haul.
After setting your long-term goals, you need to identify how you’ll achieve them in bits and pieces. The results you look forward to in the short-term, are your short-term fitness goals.
Write down your goals and make yourself accountable to achieving them. Place the paper that contains your goals somewhere you can see it regularly. It’ll serve as a constant reminder for you.
Besides, ensure your goals are measurable. It’s the best way to determine if you’re right on track or you’ve lost your way.
Enrol in a gym
Even though more trainers are moving to online personal trainer certifications, you’ll have a higher chance of achieving your goals if you enrol in a physical gym. First, you’ll have access to state-of-the-art equipment. Also, socialising with others who are trying to get back on track with fitness won’t be an issue for you.
This way, you can share insights and learn different tips and methods of getting the best out of your fitness training. Also, when you meet people who share similar objectives with you, your confidence level soars.
Furthermore, enrolling in a gym means that you won’t come up with flimsy excuses that can impede you from achieving your fitness goals. You’ll be amongst other training enthusiasts. That means you’ll have to engage in fitness programs too. It is vital that you have more confidence in the gym too.
There are general misconceptions that all supplements are bad for the body. This is not entirely true. Supplements like vitamins and minerals are beneficial for the human body.
For instance, if you ever feel stressed as a result of fitness training, you can use these supplements to get back in the swing of things. Also, you need food to ensure your fitness training is productive. If you ever struggle with eating, you can use supplements to boost your diet. However, you should be careful not to replace your meals with these replacements.
Eliminate or reduce stress
No matter the amount of training you undergo, you might likely not reach your fitness goals if you’re always stressed. Stress impedes productivity. It is why you need to avoid it at all costs.
To eliminate stress, you need to engage in fun activities. These activities ensure you loosen up. You can watch movies, visit friends, go to public places, play games, have meaningful conversations, etc.
Furthermore, you can engage in enough rest to eliminate or reduce stress. When you’re idle, some of your body systems aren’t functional. You’ll feel relaxed after and raring to go.
That’s not all; sleep is a good way to eliminate or reduce stress too. When you have a night of adequate sleep, the body repairs cells and replenishes energy in the body. The recommendation is that you should have a quality sleep every day, especially after engaging in fitness. You can have seven to eight hours of quality sleep every day. You’ll feel invigorated and motivated to participate in more fitness training. You can learn how to manage stress with exercise too.
The truth is that engaging in regular fitness training isn’t an easy thing. No one wants to stress himself or herself on purpose. The main reason people are willing to participate in fitness training is the benefits they are poised to get.
Therefore, motivation is crucial in ensuring a person reaches his/her fitness goals. One way to stay motivated is by getting support from the right people. When your loved ones encourage you constantly, you’ll find enough motivation to continue your training.
In the same vein, you can watch sports movies from which you can get motivated. Movies like Creed, Creed II, Rocky, etc. can help you stay motivated and learn the importance of regular fitness training.
Hire a Personal Trainer
The best way to reach your fitness goals is to hire a personal trainer. Personal trainers possess the necessary skills required to provide premium fitness training to clients. Asides that, they’re the best people to motivate you. It is because they understand the rigours associated with fitness exercise.
Furthermore, personal trainers help you set up a training regimen and alternate them to avoid you hitting a training plateau. With a personal trainer, you’ll achieve your fitness goals in due course.
About the author: Tyler Read is the owner of ptpioneer.com which is a website dedicated to helping people get started in the personal training industry. He helps people discover, study and pass their fitness exams.
Resistance bands are a great way to get a workout in wherever you are. You don't need expensive equipment or even a gym membership, just a resistance band and your body weight. Follow this resistance band workout with exercises for arms and legs for a full body workout that will get results.
What are the benefits of resistance bands?
There are many benefits to using a resistance band to workout. They are very convenient and portable so you can take them with you wherever you go for an outdoor or home workout. You could even take your resistance band on holiday to keep your fitness and strength ticking over while you're away.
Body weight exercises are great, but adding resistance will really ramp up your workout and give you better results. By using a resistance band you can increase the return on your workout and get better results in a shorter time. They are not only great for strength workouts, but also for lower intensity training like stretching and physio.
Resistance band exercises for legs
Using a resistance band when you train your legs can not only strengthen the muscles but also the joints and supporting muscles which will lead to better balance and reduced risk of injury. Try some of these resistance band exercises for the legs and feel the burn!
Place the resistance band around your ankles and stand square with your hands on your hips. Find your balance on your left leg and lift your right leg out to the side as far as you can. Make sure you keep your foot facing forwards and squeeze from the hip. Repeat 10 reps on each leg.
With the resistance band still round your ankles, this time squeeze your bum and lift your leg out behind you, keeping the leg straight. This will really challenge your glutes and hamstrings as well as working your core. Do 10 reps on one leg then swap and do 10 on the other.
Lie on the floor and bend your knees so that your feet are flat on the floor. With the resistance band just above your knees, lift your back off the floor and squeeze your bum into the air. Keep your arms and hands flat on the floor and use them to help push you up. Keep your knees out and push them against the resistance from the band. Do 10 repetitions.
This is a great exercise if you've got flat feet or if you struggle with your squat form. Place the band just above your knees and make sure you use a fairly light weight. Drop into a squat, but keep your knees pushed outwards against the resistance of the band the entire time. You'll notice that they want to cave in, so stay strong. You'll realise how much you need to use your glutes to fire you back up, and this will highlight any muscle weaknesses. Try 3 sets of 10 reps.
Having little ones at home can leave you feeling like you don't have a spare second in the day. How can you fit in exercise when you have no time? We give you all the tips you need along with with a home workout for you to try.
How can I find time to workout with kids?
Finding time to exercise as a parent can feel almost impossible, but it doesn't have to be. Try some of our ideas and see if you can fit exercise into your busy day.
1. Get a training buddy
One of the best ways to stay motivated is to partner up. Whether it's a work colleague, your husband/wife, a friend, or a family member, working out together can make things more fun and interesting. Not only this, but if you have someone to be accountable to and someone who you will let down if you skip your session, you'll be more motivated to get that training session done!
2. Utilise playtime
When it's your child's playtime, get involved and burn some calories too. If you have an energetic toddler, run around with them by playing adrenaline-fuelled games that involve running or chasing. If your children are a little older, find games where you can both get active, especially in the garden if it's summer time as there are lots of benefits to training outdoors.
3. Try dancing
Dancing is something that burns a lot of calories, will get you up and active, and can be very fun. If your children are very energetic, put on some music and dance away. This will not only help them burn off that extra energy and get you moving, it can be a great bonding experience.
4. Swap your car for walking or cycling
By combining your errands with exercise, you can make the time to get active without compromising any of your daily activities. Try walking or cycling to the shops instead of driving, or walking to the local park or playground. It may be easier than you think to get around without your car.
5. Exercise before you start your day
By getting up 30 minutes earlier than usual, you could fit in an entire workout and start your day right. There are lots of workouts you can do in under 30 minutes, like this 5-minute punchbag workout, 10-minute tabata workout, or this 20-minute home workout. Even a short workout is better than no workout at all, and it'll energise you for a productive day. If you don't want to get up earlier than you already do, try this lunchtime HIIT workout instead.
How can a stay at home mum lose weight?
There are lots of tips and tricks to losing weight if you are a stay-at-home parent. Follow these dos and don'ts to make sure you're staying healthy while at home with the little ones.
1. Don't eat anything you wouldn't feed to your kids
There are lots of things you wouldn't feed to your children because the salt or sugar content it too high, so why feed them to yourself? A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you wouldn't give it to your child because of the ingredients, you should avoid it yourself too. Stick to whole foods and try to avoid anything overly processed or pre-packaged.
2. Don't snack mindlessly
If you find yourself in a rare moment of calm when your child is playing happily alone or watching a television show, it can be tempting to mindlessly eat food that you don't really need. Avoid temptation by not having snacks in the house, and stick to eating at set times.
3. Do make mealtime an occasion
If mealtime is an occasion to look froward to when you eat together with your kids, you'll be less likely to have an unstructured day. Try to have at least one meal a day together as a family where you sit at a table and focus on what you're eating, rather than grabbing whatever is nearby because you're so rushed off your feet. This might mean deliberately making time for it in your day, but it will be worth it ultimately.
4. Don't eat through stress
Being at home on your own with the kids all day can get pretty stressful. If tempers raise and tantrums ensue, make sure you're not reaching for food as comfort. Comfort eating is something that many of us do without realising and can be an almost impossible habit to break. As above, not having any temptation in the house will help with this and always count slowly to 10 before you eat a snack so that you're not eating it out of a stressed panic.
5. Do make food fun and creative by getting the children involved
Getting your kids to help in the kitchen is a fantastic way to bond and to help them develop vital skills for later in life. Let them get creative by coming up with new recipes and help them with the cooking. If you really want sweet treats, bake cookies or cupcakes together so that you really feel you've earned them and can have fun in the process.
Home workout routine for parents
If you have kids at home or are pregnant, try this home workout routine by Sundried ambassador and personal trainer Carly Newson.
Looking to get a great workout done at home? Make sure you have all the kit you need!