Spring might not be showing its true colours just yet but that doesn’t mean you can’t shape up your ride, ready for those longer, sunnier days. In fact, now is the perfect opportunity to shake off the sluggish feeling of Winter and shape up your ride in anticipation of the brighter days to come. That means that when Spring does show itself, you’ll be ready to seize the moment and power down the bitumen feeling fit and fresh.
Shrug off the comfort food and get back to well-balanced healthy eating which includes lots of veg, protein, fibre and olmega-3s. Make sure you eat at least three vegetables with your dinner, go for a salad at lunch and get in plenty of good fibre at breakfast with wholegrain or porridge.
Get rid of those packaged and processed foods and stick to foods that come as close to original source as possible. Home cooking takes a little longer but is more satisfying and far better for you.
Cut back on sugar and sugary drinks. Kicking the sugar habit is the best thing you can do you’re your body to give you more energy and effectively burn fat.
Jump into the green season with abandon and fill your shopping cart with kale, cabbage, broad beans and lettuce for a nutrient boost that covers most of your vitamin and mineral needs.
If you are not keen to have greens on your plate then blitz them into juices, smoothies and protein shakes, you won’t even know they are there.
Be sure to enjoy some lightly steamed asparagus while it’s in season, it’s great for just about everything from healthy urine tract to weight loss.
Hydration not only helps you feel good when you exercise, giving your blood plenty of fluid to help it do it’s work, getting oxygen to your organs, it also helps remove toxins and cleanse your system.
Drinking water will also help you feel fuller, so you are less likely to snack unnecessarily.
The cold season isn’t quite over. A change of weather can bring on the worst of the cold and flu symptoms, meaning that the up and down days to come can bring a new dose of the sniffles, or your first case if you’ve managed to dodge illness so far. To avoid getting knocked off your spring exercise routine before you even get started make sure you do the following:
No matter how good you feel when you jump on the bike, if your mechanics are gummed up with road grit and rust after winter, you are not going to have a smooth and enjoyable ride.
Give your bike a much-needed tune up and go over everything in detail from tyres, drivechain and cables to handlebar tape and light batteries. Lubricate moderately and replace anything that’s too rusty to oil out.
No time or motivation to clean up and change to lighter tyres? Get a professional service if you don’t have time to give your bike the attention it needs to perform its best on the road.
The right gear is important for protecting your chest from chilling winds or a spray of rain and for warming your knees, which might be feeling the pain of motion after some hibernation time.
If you do want to switch to your summer cycling kit include knee warmers, arm warmers and spray jackets that can be removed after you have warmed up. Also make sure you include a quality base layer with your outfit to wick sweat and keep you dry.
Going out hard might feel like the best way to get back into shape and set your mindset for exercise but your muscles and joints will be looking for a softer approach. Start out with some shorter rides, which might mean getting out twice a day on quick stints, building up to your regular long distance rides, or staying on shoreline roads that are flat and have plenty of break opportunities.
This one is really important if you have been spending a lot of winter cycling time on an indoor trainer. While apps like Zwift have been fantastic for motivating people to ride indoors (and making it interesting) your turbo trainer doesn’t help exercise your balance and cornering so even though you may feel strong, take it slow as you will need a short adjustment time to get your real-life legs back.
Cooler weather might be a bit of a downer but with the right attitude we can turn it into an opportunity to do great things for our body and get back to our fittest and best with comfort and ease.
Spring riding with less layers? That’s freedom!
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