Every few weeks we bring you a blog on your approach to training and general preparation for your summer of cycling activity. This blog is brought to you by Willie Healy, training guru and nutritional adviser with Mind & Body Fitness, Ennis.
Nowadays we are blessed (and maybe cursed) with an overload of information. Thanks to the World Wide Web, we can Google any topic under the sun and have hundreds or thousands of articles, blogs and websites on the subject at our fingertips within seconds.
Having access to vast amounts of knowledge has many obvious advantages, but I feel that it has some negative consequences too. The topics of health and fitness demonstrate that when it comes to information on a subject, more is not always better.
Unfortunately the internet has more than its fair share of Keyboard Warriors. These self-appointed “experts” often give training or nutrition advice with little or no experience or educational qualifications. This type of information has been dubbed “Broscience” and is generally based on opinions, anecdotes and hearsay rather than scientific research or clinical experience.
But Broscience isn’t the only problem. Scientific research has often given seemingly contradictory advice. For years we were told that consuming fat in the diet was a recipe for heart disease, whereas the Atkins Diet was one of the first to demonize carbohydrates and recommend that the vast majority of food should come from protein and dietary fat.
Similarly, when it comes to training, the fashion for aerobic exercise as the main weight-loss and conditioning tool has been replaced by weight-training and High Intensity Intervals.
In many cases the sheer volume of information has led to what’s known as Paralysis by Analysis. I have seen this on many occasions with my clients and have been known to suffer from it myself.
With so many options screaming for your attention, it can be difficult to know which one is “the best” and the end result is often that you end up feeling more confused than ever and decide to do nothing rather than make the wrong choice.
To remind myself to avoid this situation I use the following quote from Kahlil Gibran as my laptop wallpaper: “A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more that much knowledge that is idle”
To that end, let us look at some basic knowledge that can be put to action when fat loss or improved fitness is the target.
Decide What You Really Want: Sometimes we confuse ourselves by wanting to have everything all at once: reduced body fat levels, increased strength levels, improved sports performance, speed and endurance. Please understand that you can improve all of these components of fitness and there is a certain amount of carry-over between them. However, it works best if you focus exclusively on one aspect at a time. When working with clients, who don’t know where to start, I generally recommend reducing body fat first.
For cyclists, “getting the miles in” is a great way of killing 2 birds with one stone. Gradually increasing the amount of time on the bike will help towards reducing body fat as well as building your endurance/aerobic base.
Identify Your Main Obstacle: This is probably the easiest part. Over the years that I’ve been conducting nutrition consultations, I’ve yet to meet a client who doesn’t have enough knowledge to start a weight-loss or fitness regime and they usually have a fair idea about what’s preventing them doing it.
In many cases it can be work or family commitments and sometimes it’s down to a lack of motivation or the aforementioned information overload. By removing, or working around this obstacle, you can free up time and energy to reach your goal.
Get The Necessary Support. Everything is easier when you get a bit of help. It may be as simple as asking your spouse to hide the biscuits and other “goodies” in the house or getting a friend or family member to go training with you.
If you decide to join a gym or hire a trainer, make sure that the person you work with has the necessary qualifications and experience to get the results that you’re looking for. There’s a saying that Success Leaves Clues. Therefore your gym or trainer should have a proven track record from using tried and tested, scientifically-backed techniques.
If you want to join a cycling club or training group, make sure that you can train at a level that’s appropriate to your current level of fitness. Constantly cycling at a pace that’s either too fast OR too slow for you will not help you to improve.
Take Action! Even taking the smallest of steps towards your goal can be a great motivator. Start small and as you begin to see signs of progress, your confidence will grow and allow you to be a little more ambitious. The best exercise or nutrition programmes won’t happen overnight. A large amount of consistency and habit-forming is required, so just be patient and keep plugging away!
You can contact Willie Healy on 087 9963518 and http://www.bodyandmindfitness.ie
© Willie Healy 2018