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I'm Not Training; I'm Exercising

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I'm Not Training; I'm Exercising

Old 07-25-22, 07:48 PM
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Random11
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I'm Not Training; I'm Exercising

Every morning I ride 15-20 miles over rolling hills. I rarely miss a day. I enjoy riding, but one motivator is that I think it's good for my health. I get occasional advice (and see it here) on what I can do to get faster and stronger, but I don't feel I need to be faster or stronger to maximize the health benefit of riding. I'm no expert on fitness, but here's my logic. I've heard that people should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, and I'm comfortably over that. And I've heard that if you exercise in the morning, it boosts your metabolism for the rest of the day, so I do my rides in the morning. I ride at a pretty good pace, but no power meter, no heart meter, no Strava, just me and the bike. My thought is that while I could do more to train, there would be no real health benefit to doing more. I'm not a fitness expert, but maybe just based on internet rumors, that's the logic behind my riding. Does this make sense? Is there any reason to "train?" I don't want my cycling to turn from a pleasure into a chore.
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Old 07-25-22, 08:12 PM
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It makes perfect sense to me. I do something similar, but I like to do hill repeats once or twice a week to improve overall cardio fitness.
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Old 07-25-22, 11:06 PM
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There are quite a few studies comparing constant moderate effort exercise to high intensity interval training (i.e. where you alternate short high effort intervals with moderate "cool down" intervals in the same workout. Pretty much every one I'm aware of says that interval training improves cardiovascular health and reduces various cardiovascular risk factors much more than constant effort exercise. Here's one of many: https://johnsonfrancis.org/professio...training-hiit/

From my own experience, I can tell you that doing a few intervals here or there during my riding has made me able to ride faster witless effort and has improved my endurance.
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Old 07-26-22, 02:51 AM
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I like to change up the pace almost every ride. My main reason for cycling is simply because I love riding bikes. The mental outlet aspect of it is at least as important to me as the physical aspect. Some times, I am suddenly struck with the desire and need for speed, some times to just stop and get off the bike for a few moments. I no longer pay much attention to average speed and on bike time, but I do still keep a fairly accurate running total of miles in my head. Other than just getting on a bike and riding, by main concerns are comfort and enjoying the ride. I am pleased and grateful to be able to ride at the level I do, whatever that level is.
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Old 07-26-22, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
I don't want my cycling to turn from a pleasure into a chore.
Then definitely don't change what you're doing!!

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Old 07-26-22, 04:57 AM
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Old 07-26-22, 05:10 AM
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High Intensity Interval training (interval) studies are always very short in time duration, maybe 6 weeks on average. Riders who follow them will get fitter quicker and plateau very quickly (maybe 6 months)

HIIT is great if you want hormonal imbalance, CNS imbalance, and to develop a-fib.

The best way to exercise is just to consistently do a lot of long rides of 1-3 hours at a moderate and enjoyable pace. About once a week or so, do some very hard efforts like hills or intervals. In a few years, the difference in fitness to a HIIT program will be huge. Also avoids the tedium of trying to adhere to artificially constructed training zones.
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Old 07-26-22, 06:46 AM
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This is supposed to be fun, don’t do anything to wreck that for yourself.
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Old 07-26-22, 08:18 AM
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I'm Not Training; I'm Exercising
I don't think I train either!

I too just ride for the exercise. However some people think that since I look at my stats and mentally develop a plan to better my time for certain segments and the entire ride that I'm training.

However to me it's not training since, it's just part of my enjoyment of riding since I am sort of a adrenaline junkie and like to ride fast.... well fast for me anyhow. I know some others way older that put me to shame.
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Old 07-26-22, 08:19 AM
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Another way to phrase it is "Am I exercising? I thought I was relaxing and having fun."
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Old 07-26-22, 08:49 AM
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Yeah, perfect. Of course you ride the climbs harder, hard enough to breathe rather heavily. Fine, all you need to do. Keep keeping on and watch the over-performers drop by the wayside with a-fib or whatever. The trick is simply to keep doing it.

There are two reasons we don't see all that many over 70 road riders or hikers: indolence and injury. As you get older (or right now, depending), you'll want to add 1 or 2 days a week of weight work to fight sarcopenia and bone loss and thus injury. Really important.
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Old 07-26-22, 08:56 AM
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Need to add amino acids aka protein to help ward off muscle loss. I do not understand why but research has shown us older whipper snappers need more protein than young whipper snappers.
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Old 07-26-22, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
HIIT is great if you want hormonal imbalance, CNS imbalance, and to develop a-fib.
I don't know where you're getting this stuff. Please cite your sources if you are going to make declarative statements about medical outcomes. At least for a-fib, the only studies I can see discussing a-fib in relation to HIIT indicate that outcomes (and overall cardiovascular health) are better with HIIT than with constant pace exercise.

Also, even if one doesn't subscribe to the high intensity aspect of HIIT, pretty much every fitness guide indicates that improved health and fitness comes from varying your effort through various heart rate zones. I don't think there's really any debate about this.

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Old 07-26-22, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
High Intensity Interval training (interval) studies are always very short in time duration, maybe 6 weeks on average. Riders who follow them will get fitter quicker and plateau very quickly (maybe 6 months)

HIIT is great if you want hormonal imbalance, CNS imbalance, and to develop a-fib.

The best way to exercise is just to consistently do a lot of long rides of 1-3 hours at a moderate and enjoyable pace. About once a week or so, do some very hard efforts like hills or intervals. In a few years, the difference in fitness to a HIIT program will be huge. Also avoids the tedium of trying to adhere to artificially constructed training zones.
A couple of questions:

1. Any references to support "HIIT training increases risk of atrial fibrillation"?

2. Training zones are "artificially constructed"? Really?

"All Exercise is Good, and Vigorous Exercise is Better" -- Gabe Mirkin, M.D.
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Old 07-26-22, 10:36 AM
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It's just semantics to me. Exercise connotes general health, but training connotes a specific goal or event.

I race, so for most of the year I'm on a plan for specific races or a series of races. There are specific targets I'm trying to hit, to cause specific adaptations, and if I follow the plan, I get stronger and faster (or at least I don't get any slower).

So, if I were at a cocktail party and someone came up and asked me what I like to do for exercise, I'd say "I ride my bike." But if I were talking to another rider, I'd say I'm training for a particular race, or cyclocross season, or whatever.
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Old 07-26-22, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
Every morning I ride 15-20 miles over rolling hills. I rarely miss a day. I enjoy riding, but one motivator is that I think it's good for my health. I get occasional advice (and see it here) on what I can do to get faster and stronger, but I don't feel I need to be faster or stronger to maximize the health benefit of riding. I'm no expert on fitness, but here's my logic. I've heard that people should get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, and I'm comfortably over that. And I've heard that if you exercise in the morning, it boosts your metabolism for the rest of the day, so I do my rides in the morning. I ride at a pretty good pace, but no power meter, no heart meter, no Strava, just me and the bike. My thought is that while I could do more to train, there would be no real health benefit to doing more. I'm not a fitness expert, but maybe just based on internet rumors, that's the logic behind my riding. Does this make sense? Is there any reason to "train?" I don't want my cycling to turn from a pleasure into a chore.
Makes perfect sense to me.

Agree that much of the advice and gratuitous recommendations about the alleged benefits of various fitness, nutrition and "training" programs bandied about throughout the Bike Forums is best taken with many grains of salt, or ignored, for maximum benefit.
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Old 07-26-22, 10:52 AM
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I call most of my cycling training because I have racing goals but I don't race nearly as often as I used to. When I stop racing altogether, I'll just call it my daily cycling exercise.

If I wasn't racing, I'd still chase PR's on Strava segments for fun I think, so that would keep me competitive to a degree and make me do higher intensity stuff. I'd not call that 'training' though.




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Old 07-26-22, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
There are quite a few studies comparing constant moderate effort exercise to high intensity interval training (i.e. where you alternate short high effort intervals with moderate "cool down" intervals in the same workout. Pretty much every one I'm aware of says that interval training improves cardiovascular health and reduces various cardiovascular risk factors much more than constant effort exercise...
Thanks for that link, and the information, davester. I wonder if I can count the uphill segments of the rolling hills I ride as interval training? One thing I will take from this is that I should probably try to push a little harder going up the hills.
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Old 07-26-22, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by BTinNYC View Post
Then definitely don't change what you're doing!!

From multi-metered, Strava subscribing, BTinNYC
I'm happy to give lots of credit to those who are motivated to train. Maybe my initial post was trying to justify my lack of motivation. But if I thought a change in my riding habits would improve my overall health, I'd certainly consider it.
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Old 07-26-22, 12:11 PM
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It sounds like you're trying to decide whether to ride for a greater or maximum health benefit, or to keep it pleasurable and enjoyable. You wrote that you're enjoying the riding you're doing now and that you find it a pleasure. You're also getting the benefits of excerise from it and wrote that the health benefits are a motivator for you. You could change your practice in an attempt to gain greater health benefits, but it might not be as pleasurable or enjoyable, or you could continue to ride for pleasure and joy and the health benefits might not be maximized.

I won't tell you what decision to make, but I can say for myself that I decided to ride the way I enjoy it. I'm sure there is a benefit to exercise, but I am not motivated by that at all and take no interest in straining myself any more than what is necessary to get around the places I enjoy. I suppose if I didn't have anywhere to ride more interesting than a stationary bike in a closet, then I wouldn't do it at all.
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Old 07-26-22, 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
The best way to exercise is just to consistently do a lot of long rides of 1-3 hours at a moderate and enjoyable pace. About once a week or so, do some very hard efforts like hills or intervals. In a few years, the difference in fitness to a HIIT program will be huge. Also avoids the tedium of trying to adhere to artificially constructed training zones.
This seems to work for me, too, and is about what I do. I donít have the willpower to do intentional HIIT on a bike, but for most of the last two years I rode only single speed, and I kinda still do, despite having installed rear clusters on both bikes. That forces a sort of existential need to work harder on hills and into headwinds.

So several days I will do relatively easy work in my normal SS gear on our MUPs that have mild features. Once or twice a week I do a hilly route that requires more watts on the climbs. And if Iím really feeling it, Iíll do an hour long tempo ride, which always feels like it lasts about a geologic age.

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Old 07-26-22, 02:02 PM
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Everything we know about exercise suggests that you should be achieving a very high, nearly optimum level of overall health benefit with this regimen, assuming that you do push into higher heart rate zones for spurts of varying intensity and length on most rides. The idea that you can either do 'what you're doing' or something 'optimally healthy' is a false dichotomy.

Now, if you're somehow staying at strictly 70 percent of max heart rate and making sure to never vary then, sure, this could be improved but riding a bike usually just isn't like that.

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Old 07-26-22, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
Thanks for that link, and the information, davester. I wonder if I can count the uphill segments of the rolling hills I ride as interval training? One thing I will take from this is that I should probably try to push a little harder going up the hills.
The theory is that one should go much easier on the flats, using an effort that's below VT1 (google) so that one will have the energy to go harder on the hills, hard enough that one is breathing heavily going over the tops. Of course that depends on the height of the rollers. IME it takes at least 100' of steady rise to get a good response in terms of cardiac effort. If this seems interesting, you can try to reduce your time on a common route by going slower on the flat and faster on the climbs. That usually works, just don't turn it into a Thing. There's a balance there that's interesting to find. It can be something with which to amuse oneself.
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Old 07-26-22, 04:58 PM
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You all can do your own research. Moderate exercise for a limited amount of time is overall good for one's health, excessive HIIT training is really bad for older people. Like all "medicine", what is the right dose? I only ride 15-20 hours per week and do much less than an hour of intensity per week (beyond zone 2), that works for me. What works for others? Start reading and make your own decisions.

"At low to moderate levels of exercise, there is a lower risk of AF.3,4 However, rather than a linear benefit derived from increasing levels of exercise, there appears to be a threshold beyond which increasing exposure is associated with an increased risk of AF.5-12"

https://www.acc.org/latest-in-cardio...itive-athletes
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Old 07-26-22, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Random11 View Post
One thing I will take from this is that I should probably try to push a little harder going up the hills.
That is good advice you have given yourself. But in all of it your original attitude still applies, keep it fun! One thing I have found after a couple years of more regular riding and being in better shape, the big hills are what makes it fun for me now. The longer and steeper the better! But it took me several years to get to this point.. don't overdo it and kill the fun.
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