I started cycling in October due to foot surgery. Lucky for me, because I found a sport I have fallen in love with. Also lucky for me we did not get snow that stuck until after Thanksgiving, so I got a lot of riding time in. Most of my time was spent on my mountain bike riding trails. I want to improve my strength and endurance throughout the winter while I wait for the snow to thaw. I am very confused on how to do this. I have had advice not to cycle every day and other advice that it is okay. Currently I am doing the following:
60 min. Spin class or 60 min. on trainer 6 days a week
Weight training upper and lower 3 days a week.
What I am doing seems to be working so far. I went MTB over New Years and was able to get up the mountain much better than in November, but carido wise I still had a difficult time.
My goal is to be able to climb mountain trails. What can I do to improve my strength and cardio-endurance? Is it bad to cycle every day? Should I be doing other types of cardio exercises?
kc-13, it really bothers me when people tell you not to do something. if you want to ride every day, go for it! however, be smart about it and most importantly, listen to your body. i think after riding everyday your body will tell you to stop eventually. it needs rest. if you must ride everyday because you just love it that much, include easy days or real easy days. these rides will be fun, carefree and with as little stress on the body as possible, and can vary in length. you can go for an hour or :20 min, let your body decide. your body needs rest and recovery, this does not mean nothing at all. although sometimes i find myself hibernating on the couch eating junk food for a day. easy rides get the blood flowing and help heal the body, but do this without tearing apart and fatiguing the muscle so it has a chance to heal from your hard days.
cross training is huge for any sport. again it gives your biking muscles a rest and uses other important muscles in your body that help with overall fitness. especially if it is low impact, or easy on the joints. swimming, rowing, olipticals ect.. i also am a huge fan of weight training. it will strengthen your core and joints. cicuit training with weights is great for strenght and cardio.
as for increasing endurance and strenght there is a formula for it. F.I.T. R = frequency x intensity x time and rest
your frequency is tapped, or maxed out. i_ntensity_, interval training, getting the most out of your workout, pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. and time, increase the time spent on the bike. 2 hours instead of 1 hour. and again rest.
there are plenty of books that will help you make your own training schedule and show you different training methods.
don't ever let anyone tell yu you can't do something. you have to find out for yourself what you are capable of doing. everyones body is different and can handle things like stress and also food differently. speeking of which is another important factor. nutrition. find out what works for you and listen to your body.
stay fit and happy
I'm 44 years old and I've been cycling since the early 80's. I've seen A LOT of fads come and go, but the whole issue of crosstraining has remained a good one to follow.You've just started and I know you won't believe me, but you'll go thru periods of hating the bike, especially indoor training. I'm lucky enough to be able to cycle year round. I'm unlucky to live in a bike hating city so I train indoors a lot. The best crosstraining for me is a stairmaster. I used to run, but 2 R knee ACL recons, the second with removal of the medial meniscus, took that away. I like stairmastering because I can really crank up the hills with the muscle work you do with it.
Weight training is good, but you want to shoot for lots of reps with a low weight. You want what we used to call nice skinny swimming muscles when I swam competitively. High weight, low reps give you bulk and it's just more weight for you to shlep around on your cycle. Don't forget flexibility-I do yoga every morning. I'm plus or minus on the whole core bit-I find situps, pushups and yoga take care of my "core" just fine-you'd be hard pressed to tell I've had 2 kids if you saw me.
The most important point is keep it FUN! Oh, and start road riding, too-we're almost as cool as you MTB'ers;)