Monthly Archives: November 2015

How to Stay Bike Fit during the Fall/Winter Season? How to minimize the effects of “Detraining”?

Being an athlete and a coach, the effects of Detraining is something I have to deal with every year. Here is a typical scenario: As a cyclist living in the Vancouver area, riding from early April until the end of September is fun. Sun is out and the weather is warm. The regular and constant stimulus of long, fast and hilly rides increases everyone’s ability to ride strong and the majority of the riders have their best rides in late July, August and September. They feel strong and have good endurance.   Now that the wet weather and shorter days are here, many cyclists will put their bikes away and not think about cycling until next March or April. And then, it will be the same thing that happened in the past years. The first few rides will be rough! Hills will seem steeper; Keeping a certain speed on the flats will seem harder than the previous year; Butt will, once again, hate the bike seat; … You get the picture?

You will also be able to notice the difference which not exercising regularly for six months will make:

  • Increased body weight and body fat level
  • Your muscle mitochondria becomes less efficient at using oxygen to produce energy in your muscles. This decline can be up to 25 to 45 per cent after a 12 weeks period of inactivity.
  • After 2 to 3 months of detraining, you will begin to notice more stress hormones are released during exercise. This means that the exercise intensity you used to manage becomes more stressful for the body, which in turn increases recovery times.

The good news is that you can definitely make a difference of what your 2016 riding season will look like by making changes to the your fall/winter workout plan. And yes, you guessed correctly, I am talking about keeping your bike out for some winter riding.

It is simple really. Researches and studies have proved it: To be a strong cyclist you MUST get on a bike and ride on a regular basis all year long! “Use it or Lose it”!

Yes, I know that when it is wet and dark outside, it is hard to get on the bike and go for a ride. And I do completely agree with you!

How ever, there are many other ways for you to maintain and even increase your cycling fitness and strength without having to get wet.

  • Indoor bike trainers. They vary from the most basic trainer to the virtual indoor trainers which will make you feel like you are part of a group ride on the roads.
  • Spin classes: There are a large numbers of spin class centers in the Lower Mainland area:
  • Indoor Track: We even have our very own Indoor Velodrome:
  • And yes, you can always get on your bike and go for a road ride whenever the weather allows you to.

Regarding how often and how long each rides should be, there’s strong
evidence that even smaller volumes of the right kind and intensity of training can reduce the effects of detraining to a minimum.

Research shows that reducing your training volume by two thirds won’t harm your fitness, provided you include some 
very intense work, such as 
intervals, in the remaining one third.

My advice is to sit down and write yourself a weekly training plan and to try to include 2 to 3 hours of riding per week, minimum.

For example:

  • Tuesday and Thursday: spin classes
  • Saturday or Sunday: plan for a road ride if the weather is good or simply put your bike on your trainer and do a similar workout under the roof of your house.

By varying the type and intensity of these 3 weekly workouts, you will be able to maintain your hard earned riding strength and fitness and will be able to reach a higher level of riding in the summer of 2016!

See you on the roads.

Michel Pelletier/Bodyage Fitness


Keeping your body weight down through the winter time

November is here! The days get shorter, colder and it rains more.   There just seem to be less opportunity to exercise on a regular basis, right? And then soon, there will be all the Christmas parties… Finally, by the end of January 2016, the number on the scale will much higher than they were last summer.

We all know the story. Every year it happens to some of us. Let’s change the script of the story this year and make it a goal to keep your body weight within 1 to 2% of your pre-winter level. Deal??

Here are some simple tips you can use to help:

  • Drink more water: Being well hydrated is always important but drinking extra water will help in curbing your appetite. 2 glasses of water before leaving for a holiday party will be a valuable ally in controlling your caloric intake and also help counteract the dehydrating effect of alcohol.
  • Never arrive at a party hungry: Planning ahead and eating a small amount of food before you leave will help you maintain your discipline and avoid the temptation to over-indulge on the goodies.
  • Take it easy on the starches and instead go for the fruits/veggies and lean meat/seafoods: When looking at the buffet table, pass on the breads, white rice, sauces, cookies, cakes… and pick more tomatoes, peppers, grapes, kiwis, chicken bites, shrimps… They are all very tasty and much lower calories per bites.
  • Pace yourself when eating: Since you will not be hungry when you arrive, there is no need to try to eat as much as you can in the first half hour of the party. Try to sample only 1 item at the time and walk around the room to talk to different people instead of standing by the same table and picking food from it consistently.
  • Please limit the drinking of alcoholic drinks to one serving: In case you did not know, wine, beer and other alcohol all contain between 100 to over 200 calories per serving. And since alcoholic drinks are usually paired with food, these extra calories quickly add up.
  • Get plenty of sleep: Research has proven that not getting 8 hours of quality sleep will affect your body’s insulin and ghrelin (hunger hormone) levels, leading to overeating. Improving the quality and duration of your sleep will enhances growth hormone release and helps your immune system stay strong.
  • And of course, there is the “exercise before/after you go out to the party”: By burning some calories through a cardio-vascular and/or resistance training workout, you will indeed create a small caloric deficit and you may then indulge in one maybe 2 of your favourite treats!

Stay fit and lean this winter! Your body will thank you for it.

Eat Smarter – Train Better!

Svetlana & Michel