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Pushing Myself - What are Realistic Goals?

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Pushing Myself - What are Realistic Goals?

Old 07-16-13, 08:25 AM
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Pushing Myself - What are Realistic Goals?

Hi Bike Forums!

Ok, so recently I've given myself a bit of a kick up the backside regarding health and fitness. I'm also in a very good place with the opportunity after just leaving University and job seeking to have a real good crack at setting up my fitness for a good few years to come. I've been into cycling for about a year and a half, nearly two but only very haphazard and sporadic. Aside from a few training rides and recreational ones I've only completed a couple of charity rides of around 60 miles each with plenty of climbing (the last one had 6000ft of climbing in that 60!). So I'm not starting quite from zero.

I really want to kick on now and become very good on a bike but also to create a bit of a physique at the same time, whilst balancing this with other sporting commitments. It will be tough, and that is why I need help setting targets and sorting out training plans and the like. I also want to know just how much progression is possible, which is probably what I've to find out myself, I know that I'm not going to be a professional rider or even amateur. But what can I expect to achieve? I can't ride 5 days a week and I don't want to. I want to become much more rounded than just a good cyclist but with no body.

I don't want to make this first post too confusing, I've deleted a lot of info which I'll look to repost later. I just want a few quick questions and to see if there is anyone on here with similar goals or the expertise to help out

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Old 07-16-13, 08:38 AM
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It is said that a new rider won't reach their potential for 7 years. I think this is about right. So it's a long term thing. How much progression and how fast will depend on your genetics and your commitment. How much can you achieve? Depends on your definition. Lifetime enjoyment and health, almost certainly. Peace and mental clarity, maybe. Winning RAAM, probably not. If you want to get middling decent in the mildly competitive environment which is recreational sport riding, 100 miles/week year 'round is kind of the minimum.
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Old 07-16-13, 03:02 PM
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Excellent response Carbon, exactly what I was looking for. It's unlikely that I will ever enter competitive races but that level of fitness would be a good long term goal (with a slightly shorter one being to ride one 100 miler per week). But, is that possible without total dedication to the bike? I'm thinking realistically I could ride twice a week balancing the other commitments. This would make gym work twice a week, riding twice a week and my other sport training twice a week with one complete rest day. Is this sounding reasonable so far?
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Old 07-17-13, 06:05 AM
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100 mile per week is total distance, you can do it over 3 or 4 rides.
General advice when starting out is to just do the mileage. After a while you can start mixing up hard rides and recovery rides, long steady efforts and interval training.
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Old 07-17-13, 06:29 AM
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Ok, translating English to American, I think you are saying you are young, currently unemployed, riding a couple-three days a week, a bit out of shape, want to get faster on the bike, improve your body composition and how you look, and have been riding for 2 years. You are not willing to ride 5 times a week.

By the way - no reason you can't be an amateur racer. If you are the least bit interested, go find out about your local races, sign up and race.

What can you expect to achieve - don't limit yourself with an expectation, just go do stuff!!!! Try to achieve whatever you want!!! I started racing 2 years ago, at age 46.

Here's what I would do:

1) clean up your diet. weight is controlled more by what you put in your mouth than your exercise. Sorry. You can eat in 5 minutes more than you can burn in 4 hours, so you must pay attention to this. If you want a good physique (= visible muscles, right?) you have to remove the layer of fat over the muscles.

2) Buy or check out from your library a book about cycling training plans, read it, and come up with a training plan. There are a lot of books. Racers like Friel's Cyclist Training Bible, but it's rather sophisticated and takes a lot of work to build your plan, so you could use something much simpler like Carmichael's Time Crunched or Carmchael/Armstrong 7-weeks to success. Start with something pre-built, so you don't bog down in the planning and fail to get to the execution.

Many training plans will have you doing some thing like 2 days of intervals, 2 longer days and an endurance or recovery day per week. I really see no reason not to ride 5 or 6 days a week, by the way. It's good if you have a goal, like a century or a race, but if you don't have an organized one, make it up.

The training plan will make the riding you do more effective in building fitness and speed.

3) to execute your training plan you will probably need a heart rate monitor, those can be purchased for pretty cheap. when it gets to be winter, you might also need an indoor trainer, try to buy a used one.

4) do some strength training to build muscle. this can be weight lifting in a gym, weight lifting at home, pilates, crossfit, boot camp, body-weight exercises.... lots of choices. Lots of info on the internet. You'll probably want to start with lighter weights and build up. I strength train 2 days a week, but you could do more. If you have the option to join a gym or fitness center, that would probably be good.

5) supplements, powders and specialty foods: my advice on supplementation is - don't. waste of money, mostly just a scam. use Michael Pollan's advice: eat real food, not too much, mostly vegetables.

OK, that's all I got. Do that stuff for 6 months, a year, the rest of your life. Take a 'before' picture now, you will definitely see a difference in a few months.
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Old 07-17-13, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by valygrl
You are not willing to ride 5 times a week.

3) to execute your training plan you will probably need a heart rate monitor, those can be purchased for pretty cheap. when it gets to be winter, you might also need an indoor trainer, try to buy a used one.

5) supplements, powders and specialty foods: my advice on supplementation is - don't. waste of money, mostly just a scam. use Michael Pollan's advice: eat real food, not too much, mostly vegetables.
You won't get much of a physique from just riding, unless your ideal physique is Andy Schleck.

I think the heart monitor is a total waste of money and time if you are riding less than 5 days a week.

On the supplements, good advice. Real food is highly underrated. Look into the supplements after you are training 16+ hours a week and becoming fatigued from over-training.
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Old 07-18-13, 05:51 AM
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Yeah, still struggling a little with the 'flu I picked up at the weekend but that's only giving me chance to think about how I'm going to go about this and not dive in head first.

I've sorted out a couple of gym days for next week, I need to be getting there and doing weights twice a week, full body. I'm going to go down the cross-fit/ circuit training route and see if that brings size too along with strength, fitness and explosivity (which will come in handy for my other sports). I'm also going to check if I can gym it and go to regular training on the same day which will free up another cycling day to probably three per week. That way it can be a very light 30m, 30m, 40m split whilst I get to grips with this amount of training.
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Old 07-18-13, 06:16 AM
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Cross-fit/circuit training isn't going to build huge bulk, though it will give you definition and, potentially, explosive power.

It spunds as if you aren't really looking for a cycling training programme so much as a general strength/fitness programme that uses cycling as its cardio/aerobic component. Nothing wrong with that, but as time goes on you may want to get more specific about your goals.
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Old 07-18-13, 06:29 AM
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Initially, yes chasm you're right there. My physique at the minute is on the skinny side so that's why I want to have a push on the size aspect for now. A goal would be a classic sprinter's physique I think, like Kittel. At the moment I'm good on the hills but lack power, and gaining a physique like say Kittel isn't going to hamper my hill cycling, it's not like I want to climb like Froome.
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Old 07-18-13, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Leeds Lad
Initially, yes chasm you're right there. My physique at the minute is on the skinny side so that's why I want to have a push on the size aspect for now. A goal would be a classic sprinter's physique I think, like Kittel. At the moment I'm good on the hills but lack power, and gaining a physique like say Kittel isn't going to hamper my hill cycling, it's not like I want to climb like Froome.
You're quite wrong about that, Kittel can't climb worth a damn. Every pound of upper-body muscle you put on will slow you on the hills. That's what I meant about specific goals. If you want to maximise your cycling performance you don't want to gain weight. If you want big pecs, you are compromising your cycling performance. Again, there is nothing wrong with that, but you need to be aware of what compromises you are making and where your priorities lie.

Power on the bike is not about having big muscles unless you want to be a track sprinter and are all fast-twitch.
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Old 07-18-13, 07:14 AM
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I haven't explained myself properly here. it's all relative, true compared to the climbers Kittel/ Cav/ Greipel and co can't climb. But I think that's just relative to the GC contenders. If we were to witness them tackling a hill I'm sure they'd be much, much quicker than most club riders or amateurs. True, genetics will play a part but the commentators on Eurosport have literally just said that Greipel is alright at climbing, and he's a big chap! So therefore, If I had Kittel's physique but could climb like Greipel I'd be more than happy.
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Old 07-18-13, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by chasm54
You're quite wrong about that, Kittel can't climb worth a damn. Every pound of upper-body muscle you put on will slow you on the hills. That's what I meant about specific goals. If you want to maximise your cycling performance you don't want to gain weight. If you want big pecs, you are compromising your cycling performance. Again, there is nothing wrong with that, but you need to be aware of what compromises you are making and where your priorities lie.

Power on the bike is not about having big muscles unless you want to be a track sprinter and are all fast-twitch.
I'd bet Kittel would drop any club rider or amateur racer on any climb, period. You need to aware of making ridiculous comparisons to professional athletes. On the other hand, there is nothing unrealistic about attaining Kittel's physique if you are willing to to do the work required to get there.
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Old 07-18-13, 10:36 PM
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I'm 58 and ride about 3000 miles a year which isn't a whole lot but keeps me going. Most of that mileage is late April through October and I back off during winter but keep base miles. I ride hard, do intervals and my July goal was 150 watts steady state (about 17 miles an hour) and I'm right there. Took me 2 years from a long layoff to get there. My next goal is 200-210. I'm unsure how long that will take but I hope to be knocking on that wall by spring of 2014. I've a favorite 45 mile loop that I want to complete in 2 hours flat so that's a goal two years away. Riding is a life thing and having goals, achieving them makes you smile.
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Old 07-19-13, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by sprince
I'd bet Kittel would drop any club rider or amateur racer on any climb, period. You need to aware of making ridiculous comparisons to professional athletes. On the other hand, there is nothing unrealistic about attaining Kittel's physique if you are willing to to do the work required to get there.
Yes, fair enough, I didn't make myself clear. Obviously Kittel is in a different category. My point was that at whatever level you ride, more weight = more difficulty in the hills. If you bulk up you are going to climb more slowly.
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Old 07-20-13, 06:05 AM
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Point noted about more bulk being more to lug up the hills. I'm practically over my little illness now and will be back training tomorrow, the excitement!
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Old 07-20-13, 11:07 AM
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OP: if you have time on the interwebs, start reading material at bodyrecomposition.com run by Lyle McDonald.

It is an excellent resource on nutrition and training, though mostly for bodybuilding, and cuts through the BS.
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Old 07-22-13, 12:50 PM
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Thanks for the link Rob, I'll find time.

I haven't been online for two days but this isn't dead. I've just been training a lot. Aching pretty bad right now but it feels good!
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