Getting Into the Best Shape For Cycling
If you want to succeed in cycling there are not only physical barriers but mental ones that you must overcome. As any pro will tell you, buying expensive equipment will only get you so far and the rest is up to you. Of course, we all love this fantastic hobby and there is nothing wrong with enjoying cycling just for the sake of it, but for those that are looking to challenge themselves, it starts with the basics.
A proper diet cannot be understated. All athletes can attest to the importance of rest and recovery and your diet goes hand in hand with this. Whenever you exercise, your body is being depleted of essential nutrients that need to be refilled.
Almost all sports dieticians would suggest a broad range of organic vegetables and fruits to include in your diet. Among some of the most suggested produce are spinach, avocados, sweet potatoes, various berries, and broccoli. Lean proteins like chicken and salmon are the best for clean energy. For your carbohydrate needs, it’s best to stick with simple whole grain options like brown rice, oatmeal, chickpeas and other similar grains or pulses.
A proper diet not only replenishes your body’s energy reserves, but can help improve your concentration and mental endurance. It’s well-known across many different industries that a diet of the best brain foods for memory and concentration can give you an edge during any physical or mental competition. This allows you to maintain your focus and keep the mind-body connection strong, which brings us to the next area you must focus on.
How to Prepare Yourself Mentally
Whether you are talking about long distance running, cycling, swimming or even triathlons, you have to understand that these are mentally demanding sports. It takes an extreme amount of willpower and determination to succeed in these arenas, especially when you are well past the point of exhaustion. It is just as important to train your mind as it is to train your body.
Many professional cyclists have discussed at great lengths the preparation and strategies needed in high-level cycling. Building your tolerance to discomfort is very beneficial as it is something you will constantly be dealing with. On long distance rides your legs will constantly be hurting, you will have irritation and chafing, and your brain will drift in and out of focus as you try to keep the objective in mind.
There are numerous strategies for combating every issue that you may face and they have been written about extensively in mental toughness guides for cycling. Controlling your breathing and pacing yourself goes a long way, as well as setting goals and checkpoints for yourself. Of course, nothing beats rest and recovery outside of these racing events. Anxiety management is also another thing you can work on that will pay dividends in the long run.
Training Your Body
Everyone knows that cycling is one of the most physically demanding sports around. To compete and have hopes of placing well, or even complete some of these arduous races, you have to build up your body and maintain your health.
Overexertion is a big problem with amateur and professional cyclists alike. When you are continuously pushing your body to go farther and work harder, you can quickly burn yourself out. Also, injuries are not uncommon. Whether it is a pulled hamstring or a concussion from a collision, it is of the utmost importance to let yourself rest and recover. It can be hard to wait when you constantly just want to get out there and train.
Of course, there are certain muscle groups you must build up to succeed in cycling. As you may expect, your legs get most of the attention and regular sessions in the gym performing squats, lunges, and deadlifts will help you out immensely when it comes time to climb those hills. On that note, it is important not to skip the difficult portions of your training sessions like hills and other obstacles.
Spending exorbitant amounts of time on a bicycle has a definite negative effect on your posture, and this can be horrible for you long term. Yoga has been shown to help correct this to a degree, and all stretches will be helpful in some manner. Most cyclists spend 10-15 minutes limbering up before they go for a ride, and this is a great habit to get into. With some time spent working on these combined areas, you will soon be on your way to a promising cycling career.