It’s about November, and the cycling season is drawing to a close for many of us. What to do this winter? Many are your options, and I recommend strength training.
If you are over 40, definitely if you are over 50, I really encourage you to lift weights. Heavy weights. Weights that you (probably) don’t own. Weights that might hurt you if you don’t use good technique. Weights that you maybe shouldn’t lift on your own in the quiet confines of your basement.
To illustrate the point:
- Many years ago, my friend Bryon said, “Muscle is like armor for your body. A nice layer of muscle will keep things from hurting you as much.”
- I often see people who can ride a bike perfectly well, but who quickly shift to an easier gear as soon as the road gets a little bit steeper because they don’t have the strength to push a little harder.
- Bonus third thing: cycling doesn’t do anything for the muscles in your upper body. A strong core will help your cycling. Cycling does not always give you a strong core.
I suggest that you join a gym and/or find someone to train you. What gym? I don’t know, but it should be a place where you can get a good *coached* workout at a time that’s convenient for you. I landed at my crossfit gym because I know the owners, they have a schedule that works for me, I enjoy the workouts and I like my fellow gym members. My friends at Athletic Mentors have coached classes that are quite popular. I have friends with coaches and gym memberships all over town. You will be happier at a place you trust and at which you work out with people you like. I love my gym, but it might not be the right answer for you for very valid reasons.
For many of us, cycling requires a bit of a leap of faith, a willingness to push the bounds of our comfort zone. When you’re thinking about the possibly daunting prospect of weights and gyms and coaches, consider your mindset the first time you met a group at the trailhead for mountain biking or in a parking lot prior to your first group ride. This is not worse, and you probably don’t have to bring your own weights. Wherever you pick, get to it. We’re now starting the off-season, and you probably need something to occupy your time anyway.
To your health!