How does a Professional Cyclist Work Out?
Every professional athlete has a different work out schedule and routine that works for him or her. Some athletes work with world renowned trainers to become the lean machines they are; others have their own systems of training and their preferred trainers.
Rick Scott, a PR rep working with the Amgen Tour of California (a professional cycling tour in California akin to the Tour de France), spoke with professional cyclists about what it takes to turn pro.
- Exercise: cyclists spend between 2 and 6 hours per day training-that means, time on a bike, time in the gym, time cross-training. The type of training they do is outlined by their coach or training partner to work on specific parts of their cycling power.
- Nutrition: Professional cyclists, particularly those who compete in the long-distance races, burn thousands of calories per day. It's important than those calories are healthful fats, carbohydrates, proteins, along with plenty of fruit, vegetables, and other foods that provide necessary vitamins and minerals. Additionally, a professional athlete must stay hydrated with water and other electrolyte-enhanced beverages.
- Recovery: it's important for every professional athlete to have a period of recovery lest they find themselves plagued with overuse injuries. Cyclists take approximately four weeks off from cycling (during which time they may cross-train or hit the gym) to give themselves a mental break. Additionally, during training season, cyclists often have massages to work the lactic acid from their legs to help alleviate aches and pains from the days ride.
I can't imagine undergoing the grueling schedule of a professional cyclist-48 weeks of near constant training interspersed with tons of travel to races. Even if you aren't interested in becoming a professional cyclist, we have a few exercises you can undertake to get yourself in top shape and avoid injury as a weekend warrior.
Hop on that Bike: Get yourself on the stationary bike at the gym and bike for 30 minutes at 60% of your maximum heart rate. Work on increasing the speed at which you can remain at 60%. This is the core of any beginner cyclist's exercise routine. After several weeks you'll find that you can speed along at a good clip and keep your heart rate relatively low.
Get into the Gym: work on strengthening your leg muscles, your abdominal muscles, and your back muscles to improve your overall cycling training. Professional cyclists spend a good portion of their training in the gym, you should too!
Avoid Injury: ERs see more cyclists than any other type of athlete in the United States-don't be one of them. By keeping a consistent work out schedule, proper nutrition, and enough recovery time before work outs, you should be able to avoid injury wherever possible. Remember, another key part of cycling injury is having good gear-make sure your gear is right for you and your size.