Once you turn 40, the butt sags. No point looking around. The vivacious perky behind has aged.
Sadly, other things go along with it. This is why I stick primarily to the butt burning sport of cycling. To keep what’s left firm.
This year’s goal is the RBC GranFondo Whistler on September 7. Now, I’m no personal trainer, but I have asked a lot of questions, read a lot and listened to what the fitness gurus have had to say over the years.
Olympians are my favourite. They are SO focused. This has been my downfall. I get scattered, especially when it comes to training. Like a thoroughbred racehorse, I’m good at being fast out of the gate. All amped and jazzed up to get it done. Then, not so far in – historically speaking – I’ll throw a shoe. And, well, that will be that – until the injury heals.
Age creeps up on us. Flexibility and recovery becomes a challenge. You really have to be one with your body and listen to what it’s telling you. Time and time again I’ve heard, especially with cycling – core is the key. No matter what cycling goal I set for myself, experience has taught me that training consistency is the mandatory manifesto. It’s all about the fitness, such as keeping up on your cardio, core, strength and flexibility.
Over the winter, I jacked up my heart rate by riding my bike to work (yes in all weather, expect snow and ice) and running three times a week. No gym time though, except for my yoga mat at home. I used it for half-ass stretches to warm up before the run, with push-ups and sit-ups. Leg lunges and calf raises were performed afterwards on the street. I’ve tried to get into a routine with squats and the ball at home, so far to no avail. Yoga classes have taken a back seat. Thankfully, I don’t own a car, so time in the saddle happens for the convenience of getting to and from.
For those of you who have decided to roll all the way from Vancouver to Whistler (WAHOO!) – be mindful of your mileage to start if you haven’t been riding over the winter. But first things first, if you’re gearing up to start your training outside, then tune up the bike and make sure it fits you. I recommend getting a professional bike fit if you never have.
I can quickly share what a bike fit did for me. The fitter had my bike set up to some machine that measured my power output with each pedal rotation. I rode for a while. He made some adjustments to my cleat positions, my seat height, the distance between my bars and my seat, and lastly, the position of my bar. Immediately my power output levels increased by almost a third! Imagine how much faster I became! With an added bonus, I am less likely to obtain any repetitive cycling injuries.
If you’re doing the RBC GranFondo Whistler, don’t be intimated by what you read about the ride. Remember, it’s a ride. OK, a big ride. But it’s not a race. Of course you can race yourself or the clock, lots of folks do.
It’s your choice.
What works for me is to visualize the end and that amazing feeling of accomplishment. That “aah haa” moment. The “I DID it!” Do you see all of your friends and family at the finish line giving you a high five? I can!
Find someone with your skill level to ride with.
Help yourself by reaching out. To be accountable, I use Strava to log my rides, and I follow other female cyclists. I can’t keep up with Clara Hughes, but she inspires me to keep going. Last year, when I was training for the Ride to Conquer Cancer, I rode with a gal I met on Twitter. I just put it out there. Another pal I hooked up with I met at Vancouver’s Winter Bike Show.
Logging your workouts helps you to stay true to your training. I’ve seen training programs that have you in the saddle 18 hours a week. Like who has time for that? Other than the pros! Recovery weeks are important. It doesn’t mean you stop training. If you take a look at the RBC GranFondo Whistler’s training program, you’ll notice there is a build up of intensity, then a recovery week.
I want to be fit, not fat and since I’ve got another year to go til I’m 50, I want to be FIT at FIFTY! Are you with me?
Giddy up – let’s GO!
Here’s my tips on getting us there:
- Register for the ride.
- Declare your intentions publicly!
- Check in with your doctor.
- Figure out your family schedule, then your work schedule then what time you have left for training.
- Assess your fitness. How fast can you work up? What do you need to work on most?
- Tune-up the bike.
- If you need one, get a professional bike fit.
- Find someone or a group to ride with.
- Spend at least three days a week in the saddle training. Remember, consistency is key.
- Ride like you drive… defensively and obey all of the rules of the road. At all times.
- Wave at cyclists as you ride by. We’re a community and you’re part of it!
- Be accountable. Use Strava and follow others. Facebook and Google+ work too. Tell your friends what you’re training for and what you’re doing to get there. You may inspire others to join you!
- Always give yourself time to recover.
- Drink tons of water all day every day.
- Eat lots of lean proteins and have vegetables with every meal. I eat kale for breakfast with scrambled eggs (really!).
- Work on core and balance exercises often.
- If you’re working on a computer during the day, take five and spend five minutes doing push-ups (great for core), a plank and/or some sit-ups.
- Do yoga.
- Don’t take the elevator – take the stairs. Do some leg lunges in-between flights (unless you’re in heels, be careful).
- Mix it up on the days you’re not riding – snowshoe, a walk in the woods, running or swimming. Get in the rides though. Work that butt!
- Remember to smile and congratulate yourself often. You’re off the couch!