Friday, November 30, 2012

How much do you sit per day?

I never realized how much the average American sits on their a$$ each work day until I read a recent newspaper article.  So, I decided to add up the hours I sit (on a normal "work" day).  On an average work day, I'm upright (standing) for only 3 hrs.  That's pretty sad.  Actually, it's alarming.  Naturally, on the weekends I'm probably upright for twice that.  But still, that's an awful lot of time sitting on my a$$.  And, I don't have to tell you the health risks of a sedentary lifestyle.  Here's a good article to read from Men's Health Mag:

Well, what can you do about it during the work week?  Here's a list of suggestions:

1. Take a brisk walk in the morning- at least 1/2 hr.  If you have a dog, there ya go..good excuse.  You may have to get up a 1/2 hr. earlier- so what, just go to bed earlier.  Don't have a dog?  Borrow a neighbors dog.  I'll bet you the neighbor would love to have someone walk their dog in the a.m.

2. Take a brisk walk at lunch- at least 45 minutes.  There's always some place you can walk at work.  And, you still have 15 min. to eat lunch at your office desk or cafeteria.  If the weather is bad, and you can't walk, get in your car and drive some place.  At least you'll get exercise walking to/from your car.

3. Get your hour workout in before/after dinner.  In the Summer you may be able to get a 2-3 hr. workout in.  If not, at least get a brisk 1 hr. walk in.  If you can't get your workout in before dinner, get it in after dinner...just GET IT IN.  If you can't, at least grab the neighbors pooch and go for another brisk walk.  Notice I said "brisk" walk?  There's a big difference.

4. During the day, take more breaks.  Drink plenty of water because it will force you to take pee breaks.  Get up every hour from your desk and walk around.  Every other hour, get up walk outside for 5 minutes.

5.  If/when you talk on the phone at home..stand up..don't sit. 

6. Take the stairs whenever you can.  Stay away from elevators, escalators, etc.  If you have to use an escalator, walk up the steps.

7. Ok, here's one I'm guilty of: opt for the bar stool or chair when going to a restaurant/bar instead of a booth.  By sitting up on a stool/chair you're using more ab/lower back muscles.

8. Instead of emailing or calling a co-worker, get up out of your desk and pay them a visit.  Stand, don't sit while visiting.

9. Instead of rolling your office chair over to a bookcase, filing cabinet, trash can, printer, etc. get up and walk over.

10. If you really want to make a difference, get a stand-up desk or balance ball chair to sit on at work.  Don't laugh, I've seen them..and the people that are using them are fit...go figure. ha  I might replace my office desk chair with a balance ball chair.

Wanna be fit, don't sit!  Power ON!  Coach Rob

Back to Work

Ok, it may not be Christmas yet but it's time to get back to work/training.  The vacation/party is over..especially if you didn't CX race this Fall.  Also, if you plan on road racing in the had better be training NOW...cause you really only have 4-5 mos. to get in-shape for your first race.

Hopefully, the majority of you haven't lost  much FTP over the break.  I was going to say "off-season" but there really isn't an "off-season" per se when you're an amateur/weekend warrior racer.  If you raced CX this Fall, then yes, by all deserve a break.  But a "break" doesn't mean to sit on your a$$, watch TV, drink beer and get fat.

Here's what I recommend for those getting back to work:

Newbies or those just getting back into it- for you, the motto should be "take it easy" at the start.  There is no doubt in my mind that your FTP will be lower than its ever been.  The key for this group is to build strength back into your legs, and develp your Cardiovascular system.  It's going to take months so I wouldn't plan on any early Spring road races.  You can do start by visiting the local gym and engaging in both a weight training program and a spinning class.  No need to be riding outside in the crappy weather.  Besides, your pedaling stroke is probably erratic as hell and a couple sessions of independent leg drills (on the trainer) will do you good.  Keep your workouts brief, no longer than an hour.  I'm talking 1 hr. total- that includes both weight training and spinning. Yes, I realize that most spinning classes are 1 hr. long, but you don't have to stay the entire hour.  Hell, you paid for the can leave whenever you want to.  I'd rather you have a brisk (L3/L4) 1/2 hr. spin class than a 1 hr. L2/L3 class. 

Those who raced in the Summer and took the Fall off-  you are the majority of the cyclists I coach.  Those that mainly just road race in the Summer.  For you, you WILL have lost some FTP.  But, not to worry, it should be minimal- 25-50w.  If you train correctly, you should gain all that back by March and be ready to race in April.  Like the newbie group, I recommend you get back in the gym and engage in some form of weight training program to re-strengthen the legs.  You can also start spin class training, or doing your own workouts at home on the trainer.  And yes, get out on the road.  There is no substitute for riding on the roads..especially the hills.

Those who have raced Road in the Summer and CX in the Fall- of the three groups, you're most likely in the best shape and FTP loss was kept to a minimum. i.e. no more than 25w FTP loss.  Your leg strength is probably still good too.  So, instead of a weight training program (for strength) which I recommend for the other two groups..a 1-2x per week maintenance program is all you'll need to keep the legs strong.  Also, since you race in the Spring/Summer and're no doubt a die hard that is riding all the time..and probably would rather have a root canal done than train on a trainer.  That's fine.  For you, keep riding.  And, when you do the hills.  You just don't need to be going that hard this time of year..nor do the training rides need to be marathon sessions.  Keep em brief and keep em semi-intense.

Regardless of what group you're in- it's time to GET BACK TO WORK!  Don't wait for the Holidays or the New Year.  There is no better time than now. 

Power ON!  Coach Rob

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Never too old or out of shape to ride/race's been a while since I've updated my blog.  What's worse, it's been even longer since I've been on my bike.  This past year was anything but ordinary: I built a house in the Pocono Mtns of PA on Lake Wallenpaupack and I worked for three different companies.  Yes, that's right, THREE!  As a result, I had little to no time for riding..let alone training.  When I worked in Philadelphia (at the Navy Shipyard) I was up at 5am and out the door at 5:20am.  I didn't return home until 4:30pm (and trust me), the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was get on a bike and ride.  It was much easier to grab a glass a wine (or a beer) and take a quick cat-nap on the couch before my wife came home from work.  Ride after dinner?  Forget about the time dinner was over it was near 7pm..and I had no energy.  Besides, I was in bed by 9:30pm, ready to do it all over again the next day.

I've been off the bike for about a year now.  To be honest, I've been lucky with my health.  Other than gaining 20 lbs. since I stopped racing..I'm in "excellent" health (at least that's what my latest Physical Exam said- Thank God).  I haven't taken a prescription drug in close to 10 yrs.  I attribute that to riding/racing, eating well..and relatively good genes.  Now that the house at the Lake is finished, and now that I have a stable job (stable is a scary word in this economy) it's time to get back in the saddle.  I know it's going to be tough to get back "in-shape".  After all, I'm no spring chicken.  I'll be 54 yrs. old in less than 6 mos.  When I say "in-shape" I'm talking "racing" shape.  If you race, you know there is a BIG difference between being "in-shape" to ride with your buds in a group ride and being "in-shape" to race.  To get back into "racing shape" I know I'm going to have to lose the 20 lbs. I gained, and I'm going to have to increase my FTP back up to a minimum.  Right now, I don't even want to guess what my FTP is.  Rather, I don't even want to know what my FTP is because it will probably de-motivate me.

For me, I need goals to motivate me to accomplish anything in life.  Cycling is no different.  If I don't set a goal, then I'm NOT going to get there.  So, as of tonight, my goal is to compete at the Tour of the Battenkill for the 2014 Season and hang with my group to the finish?  2014?  Yes, I'm skipping 2013 for two reasons: 1) I know it's too soon for me to get back into racing shape and 2) for the 2014 season I'll be riding in the Masters 55+ Category.  Wow, just typing that makes me feel old..ha.  The Tour of the Battenkill is the same race I competed in 2011 and crashed 10 miles into the race.  I completed the race on my own..solo (completely glycogen depleted and dehydrated), because I was never able to catch back on to the 50+ Masters Race Group and draft.  And, I never thought I'd be out on course a 1/2 hour longer than planned.  I trained hard for that race, harder than I ever trained for a race.  Power-to-Weight ratio was up (w/kg=3.7).  For me, that's a good watts per kg- smack in the middle of Cat 3 power.  I was at my all-time low weight too..since high school.

So, I'm off and riding..on the trainer that is.  I started this week.  I'm taking it easy for starters..nothing but Tempo miles on the trainer..with an occasional Threshold effort.  When my heart rate starts nearing LT, I back it down or terminate the ride after 20-30 minutes.  Easy does it.  Hell, my a$$ hurts from riding every night for less than 30 minutes.  I've got to get that hardened again. ha  I'm looking forward to cross-training over the Winter.  I can't wait to get back in the gym and can't wait to go X-Country Skiing up at the Lake House.  Not to mention Mtn Biking.  I love Mtn Biking in the Winter because the speeds are much lower and it's not as cold as riding 20+ mph on the open roads with a road bike (which are usually all salty, cinders/gravel, etc.).  I love Mtn Biking when there is 1-2" of fresh snow on the ground and the sun is out.

If you're in a similar boat as me..been off the bike for a while and need some motivation to get back me at  We can share each others pain.  You're never too old to get back in-shape either.  It will just take a little bit more time.  Forever young!

Power ON!  Coach Rob