Let’s face it, the majority of us have a couple of pesky pounds that we would love to shake. But it’s hard work and requires willpower, not to mention commitment.
If like us, you do not give your weight much thought day-to-day but have noticed that the little bit of extra weight around your thighs or tummy is beginning to be a bit of a nuisance then it might be worth taking action – it can after all have a pretty positive impact on your riding performance, not to mention your confidence.
Here are our top tips on how to make your goals achievable:
1. Make a realistic plan
Set out a couple of goals. It is so easy to become overly ambitious at this stage. So set a realistic plan, something you can stick to. Don’t just say, “I want to lose weight”. Make it specific. We prefer to make our goals performance specific instead of weight orientated. Signing up for an event that seems a little out of your reach is a great motivation. Think of this end goal or motivation whenever your willpower is waning.
2. Make your plan work around your life
Life is busy. Jobs, family, friends and training – it can be a difficult balancing act at the best of times. A plan that fits into your life will be much easier to stick to. Deputy Editor of TWC, has incorporated a training plan which includes both endurance and interval training into her morning and evening commute. We know that commuting in less than desirable weather can be a struggle sometimes, but fear not we have some tips here on how to overcome that!
3. Seek advice from a professional
When setting up your plan, it’s worth have a quick chat with a coach or personal trainer. They will be able to create an effective plan that suits you specifically. Heading out aimlessly on the bike for a ‘training’ session can prove pretty inefficient. Incorporating interval training in your programme for example will help to increase fitness and speed on the bike, while long steady spins in the morning are fantastic for fat burning.
4. Don’t beat yourself up
A lot of people believe that you can only achieve weight loss with by surviving on carrot sticks and celery. Let’s face it, that sounds miserable. We much prefer the ‘everything in moderation’ approach. We try and be good 80% of the time. For the other 20% of the time, we enjoy a little bit of indulgence and don’t feel one bit guilty about it. If we are particularly bold, we just make sure we add a little bit extra onto our next training session.
5. Plan ahead
Planning your food out for the week can really help. If you can get organised, bringing a packed lunch into work will save you from indulging in shop bought lunch options that are often calorie rich and nutrient poor.
As you up your exercise, it is natural to feel hungrier. Try not to fill this void with sugary snacks during the day, but instead plan ahead for this too. Roast some nuts and seeds at home, pop them in a jar and keep them on your desk at work. This is a much healthier alternative to chocolate and other sugary snacks that in reality do nothing to quash your hunger pangs in the long run.
6. Don’t be drastic
Fad diets rarely work. Cutting entire food groups from your diet or starving yourself on certain days can prove particularly tricky when you are training a lot. Make sure your diet works for you. Identify foods you enjoy eating that are healthy and opt for those. You will never last if the food you are eating seems like a chore.
7. Satisfy your sweet tooth
If like me, you crave something sweet after lunch or dinner then find an alternative that will feel like a treat but won’t see you falling catastrophically off the bandwagon. My favourite guilt free treat at the moment is low-fat vanilla yoghurt with a dollop of organic nut butter mixed in.
8. Enjoy your food
Eating on the run when you are not thinking about what you are doing will inevitably lead to diet downfall. Instead ensure that you eat slowly, enjoy the food you are eating and allow time for your food to settle before deciding you are still hungry.
9. Team up with pals
Training with buddies makes life a lot easier. Try a rope a mate in to register for the same event as you. Or better still join a club. We know that the club atmosphere will seem daunting at first but it gives you a great opportunity to meet riders of the same ability. Before you know it you’ll be arranging to meet new friends for a spin on the weekend – your training will never feel like a chore.
10. Keep a diary
Log your training sessions – monitor your heart rate, distances and speed. Seeing your progress in black and white will give you a lift when you need it most. I think Strava is game changer. It takes the hassle out of logging your workout and knowing that others are keeping an eye on your progress is always an added incentive to push that little bit harder.
To keep an eye on how many calories you are burning check out TWC’s calorie counter.
Also worth a read:
Warning: Cycling Can Have the Following Side Effects
Teena Gates Pedals Off the Pounds