How to customise your cycling workout program
Realistically, there’s no such thing as too much cycling, however, be wary about getting stuck into a routine that could potentially take any enjoyment away from it. If you’re setting aside time in your day/week to cycle then it’s vital you do everything you can to prevent it getting stale and creating a negative outlook towards cycling. If you get stuck into forcing yourself to get on your bike then it’s time to take a look at what you’re doing that is making you look negatively at cycling and try to shake it up a bit. Things like changing your routes, setting targets or switching up the type of cycling can all help with keeping your cycling fresh.
As well as this, understand that it is ok to take a break from cycling. If you’ve had a stressful week at work then don’t force yourself to spend your free time cycling because while there are many mental benefits that exercise brings, it is also a very strenuous activity. If you want to get home and lay on the sofa all night then don’t push yourself into cycling and take away your spare time doing an activity you love at a time where you will not enjoy it!
One area to focus on when planning your cycling workouts is your intensity levels. While it may be easier to head out at a leisurely pace every time and take the time to enjoy yourself, the bottom line is that you won’t be seeing any signs of progression anytime soon if you do not push yourself on occasion. By no means should you throw yourself into a rigorous exercise routine that exhausts you every time, but try to balance your intensity levels across days/weeks. Whether you want to time yourself aggressively once a week and spend the rest of the week taking in your surroundings a bit more, or if you want to alternate sessions to provide a mix of high and low effort - try to find a good schedule to balance it all out.
Focusing often on your intensity levels will provide you with a plethora of rewarding experiences and skills. It can help you understand your limit (whether that be distance or time), improve your stamina levels and also will allow your body to benefit from periods of high levels of fat burning. If you’re just looking to keep cycling as an enjoyable hobby that you want to use as a healthy past time, then don’t force yourself into a high intensity focused workout plan, but it certainly doesn’t do any harm to give it a go every now and then!
If you’re new to the cycling world, you probably have no idea how to plan a cycling program. You may have learnt the hard way, heading out on your bike and pushing yourself immediately to the limit and burning out. This is why you need to pace yourself and engage with a plan to create a foundation and build upon, otherwise you’ll just push yourself away from enjoying your cycling. This is where Google can be your best friend by assessing other’s cycling plans and moulding their ideas into your cycling lifestyle. There are plenty of beginner programs online for you to pick and choose from, the best thing to do is give one a go and see what you like/don’t like about it - you can always adapt it to your choosing!
Google in general is a great tool for any cyclist to use and enhance their cycling talents and practices. Using forum-based websites like Reddit or Facebook Groups can be a very beneficial way to share tips and make friends with others, as well as discussing various cycling plans for you to take on board and get first hand feedback from other cyclists to help you structure your own routine.
It’s vital that you approach a cycling plan with a mindset that expects a variety of struggles. You are not going to nail your routine with perfect balance and comfort straight away, but the important thing is that you learn what works best for you and your lifestyle and the only way you can discover what is the most effective way to fit in your workouts is by trial and error. You might discover that one particular session is too intense, or perhaps it is too leisurely and doesn’t give you a push - then you have the freedom to mould your plan so you get the most out of your routine.
Not every program is perfectly suited for everybody so it’s not good sticking to one that doesn’t fulfil your needs. If you’re looking for a high intensity workout that you are committed to on a dedicated basis, then persevering with a once-a-week, leisurely plan will do no good to your physical condition or your sense of accomplishment. There’s nothing better than seeing the results of your hard work, and choosing not to push yourself when you’re looking for great results is nothing more than a waste of time! The same applies for the contrary - if you’re finding your plan is a bit too tough for a consistent period of time, then don’t be afraid to dial the intensity down a bit. Pushing yourself to breaking point mentally and physically is going to cause more harm than any physical good that could come your way, so make sure you stay on top of what works and what doesn’t!
Without effort there is no reward. That’s a rule for life in general, but especially for exercise! If you don’t put the time and dedication to a workout schedule then you’re only fooling yourself if you expect to see any results. The important part is finding a routine that works for you and sticking to it, and making yourself stick to it; obviously don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to do, but understand why you’re looking to cycle on a regular basis, and that without pushing yourself into a schedule then you won’t be seeing the fruits of your labour any time soon!
The very least you can do is give it a couple of months. Try different different programs in that time and if you still aren’t finding that it works for your lifestyle, then at least you’ll have given it a fair go. If you give up after one program or one week then you wouldn’t have given yourself or your body enough time to give cycling a fair shot. It might just turn out that regularly cycling isn’t for you, or that you don’t have the time to commit to it regularly and you’d rather use other forms of exercise, but just be sure to try it for long enough to be certain.
Cycling programs can be hard, and they more than likely will be at the start, but they’re certainly more beneficial than cycling sporadically. Sticking to a consistent plan will help with building up cycling skill and experience as well as allow your body to improve on a variety of physical attributes such as stamina, muscle build up and cardio health. Assess different plans that others use through sites like Reddit and other forums to see what works for you on a schedule basis as well as an intensity basis, but understand that not everyone’s lifestyle is the same so you need to adapt and trial different routines around your lifestyle. If you find nothing works, stick with it for a few weeks to allow your body to adapt before giving it up completely, as it’s not going to be easy at first but after a while your body will soon feel the benefits of sticking to a set program.