Fitness - whats is this really?

plastic_cyclist

Active Member
Location
Angus
So, Feb 2020 saw me step through the wonderful Narnia like doorway into the Cycling world, and it's been a blast, that much of a blast I ditched my Brooks Ghost around May time (was having recurring pains from the knees down after every run, hence the diversion into another form of fitness).

Taking the feet off the road has been a sensational move, albeit more time consuming. So 1400 miles later, I wonder how much fitter have I become and what has this done to my overall cardiovascular weight/ability/state....(one point to mention here is I haven't changed my eating habits, and I don't follow a strict protein/carbs/fat specific diet). Well, I decided to dip my toe back into the running world this week, first time since May, purely because I haven't got a turbo and my road time has been cut considerably and to halt my juggernaut like speed of turning into Jim Royale !!......well, I thought I had never run before in my life !! Talk about towing a caravan....more like a static home....felt awful, pace was way down, legs still hurt, the stiffness the next day as well! I didn't expect to pick up the baton from May, but I thought with the biking it would have been a bit easier.

Just what kind of fitness does the cycling bring? It certainly doesn't help with jogging thats for sure....I'm starting to think you can buy all the gadgets you want, all the smart watches under the sun, track all the stats you want, spend ages looking at pointless Strava maps, spend £££££'s - but if you don't focus on the food, you won't get anywhere......my weight hasn't changed either....13.5 stone, and still 13.5 stone !! I think a diet focus in 2021 will see a major contribution to this.
 

DCLane

Found in the Yorkshire hills ...
Running is a different type of fitness and uses different muscles. Having done triathlon running and swimming helped cardio-vascular fitness but that was all; I got slower on the bike as additional muscle groups developed.

Cycling brings stamina and long-range fitness, or at least much of mine does. It'll depend on the type of riding you do; my son does track and road races so there's a lot more high-intensity efforts compared to me who's much slower on the track.
 

GoldenLamprey

Well-Known Member
Like all exercise, it makes you better at what you do... In this case, at cycling the distances you typically do. There may be some minor crossover between disciplines, but don't expect too much.
 
OP
plastic_cyclist

plastic_cyclist

Active Member
Location
Angus
I suppose its like anything, things like martial arts have their own fitness benefits, which would also be different to running and cycling, Boxing alike, Tennis and racquet sports bring different things to the table, I wonder if there is some sort of ideal out there, which is the best kind of fitness for our everyday living. Example, would a heavyweight boxer be able to cycle 50 miles? or would a footballer be able to go 12 rounds ? Would Andy Murray be able to last 90 mins on a football pitch?? even though he is an absolute fit specimen.
 

GoldenLamprey

Well-Known Member
There must be some aerobic carry-over, but I suspect it just means it takes less time to acquire fitness in a new sport, rather than arriving ready-made as an an athlete in that sport. Sadly, instant success is not the way it seems to work.
 
OP
plastic_cyclist

plastic_cyclist

Active Member
Location
Angus
But I also think that all the data crunching, watch stat uploading, Strava bragging and graph mapping, does nothing if you don't eat right !
 
Good morning,

My experience has been of two types of cycling.

"Walking on a bike" by this I mean that you exert yourself about as much as if you were walking most of the time.

This can easily be for a couple of hours and 30-40 miles and in my mind generally counts as healthy exercise but it is more health or enjoyment orientated rather than high level of fitness orientated.

On a road bike without luggage on a flat ride without any hills this would be an average speed of less than 16mph.

"Running on a bike"

In this mode you are breathing as deeply as if you were running. With your body weight supported by the bike and no arm movement it is much harder to cycle at this level than run.

On a road bike without luggage on a flat ride without real hills this would be average speed of 20mph plus.

This leaves the 16-20mph on the flat as a half way house and the more hills the better as they can get you from "walking" to "running" on your bike.

My thoughts would be if you can't jog for as long as you want, jog rather than run, then you may have been "walking on a bike". :-)

Do you know your average speed/how deeply you breath when cycling to discredit the above. :-)

About 20 years back I went from not having run for a few years to a 6 mile jog without any major problems, quite a lot of aches that took a couple of days to subside but that seemed quite reasonable.

Bye

Ian
 

mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
I think it really depends what you are trying to achieve fitness wise.

Whether you are after specific goals, for competitions, or just want a general all round fitness that can carry you through life well.

Anything that gets you out of breath will be improving your cardiovascular fitness, so both running and reasonably energetic cycling will do this.

As you build fitness, the speed and distance you are able to go will increase.

If you want to lose weight you do need to be aware of what you eat, and moderate that.

I try to minimise the amount of 'empty' calories I consume - ie refined carbohydrates - such as sugar and alcohol.

I find that keeps me at an acceptable weight - I don't own any scales but my trousers tell me if I'm increasing in size.

My 'fitness goals' - if they could be called that . Are to be able to continue doing self supported, multiday mountain hikes carrying all that I need for that, and the same for longer distance bike touring.

I keep fit by cycling and running and hill walking.

But I'm not looking to break any speed records.

I also do a lot of yoga, to maintain flexibility, strength, alignment, and general mental well being.

The effect it has on the muscles, joints and bones is very good for relieving aches and pains, and minimises the risk of injury from other activity.


I run a farm (mostly using manual labour) so that takes care of the 'weight training' side of things.

There are lots of training programmes out there aimed at specific goals.

But for general all round fitness you probs just need to find a few things you enjoy, that get you out of breath, and do them regularly, plus watch what you eat.

I suspect all those purveyors of 'fitness gadgets' are after your money more than anything else.

But I'm sure they have their uses.
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
But I also think that all the data crunching, watch stat uploading, Strava bragging and graph mapping, does nothing if you don't eat right !
Good to read you enjoy cycling - this should always be the first target. Your first few points have no connection to weight loss. For most it's just a bit of fun.

You are correct diet is important and this is true whether one exercises or not. It's equally true diet without exercise has little impact and it is a much harder to lose and maintain weight loss by diet alone. Have you considered 13.5 stone is your optimal weight? Mine is 69.5kg, I'm probably 70.5 this morning, I can drop it to 68.5kg but the gaunt look isn't good!!

As for fitness? The figures you give, 1400 miles over 48 weeks, are what? Roughly three hours exercise per week? Excellent this is more than many people do. To get fit far more than 30 miles at say 10mph is needed.

Cycling does make one fitter for cycling. I don't run and have never been able to do so comfortably. At about 10 miles walking becomes uncomfortable much to the surprise of my companions. I know many cyclists who have targeted duathlon, triathlon and Ironman - all found taking up running impacted their cycling initially.

I am though extremely fit thanks to cycling.
 
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Teamfixed

Tim Lewis
Another question is... after your period of running had it made you into you a "competetive" or "good" fast cyclist?
I've done both, cycled a lot on and off, and had spells of running which at times involved some pretty intense training with a club. I've got pb of 3.27 marathon (London) and 1.29 half (paddock wood) when I was 46 and 10k 41mins (Whitstable)
Now, ask me which I like or which I would do without the other and I would choose cycling everytime.
My cycling performance I have always found more difficult... never very fast etc despite some pretty intense club riding.
I purposely got very light when running with a very careful diet.
I guess I found/find the very high intensity of muscle endurance harder to achieve on a bike.
Just my two penneth worth.... not very scientific I know!
 

Ming the Merciless

There is no mercy
Location
Inside my skull
Fit for what , as pointed out by @mudsticks , is what you should be asking.

Fitness is such a wooly term. It’s only once we drill down into what we are trying to achieve that you start to get a grasp of what “fitness” you want.

So ask yourself what type of cycling do you enjoy, or want to enjoy? What demands will that place on your body? How do you get to a place where your body is able to meet those demands without developing niggles or injuries?

I am keen on durability and repeatability in my cycling. So the ability to not just endure but enjoy long rides without fading, getting fatigued, or injured. Plus the ability to do it again and again. To do it again and again I need to be able to recovery quickly from the long rides.

A friend summed up some different attitudes to fitness.

He wants to develop the ability to do multiple 100 mile rides , day after day. He’s not interested in doing them faster. He is interested in the ability to recover quickly and do them repeatedly. So he can enjoy a long tour such as Lejog.

A friend of his is interested in being able to do 100 miles as quickly as possible. But has no interest in repeatability. He just wants to set a PB. He has no interest in touring. He is after bragging rights with his mates, was what he said.

Both valid aims but a different kind of cycling fitness. What are you after?

I do similar to @mudsticks cycling and walking but without the running bit. Where I’m not so good, is doing the strength work she does. I know I should do it, as it’ll improve or at least help retain my physical resilience as I age.
 
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mudsticks

Obviously an Aubergine
Fit for what , as pointed out by @mudsticks , is what you should be asking.

Fitness is such a wooly term. It’s only once we drill down into what we are trying to achieve that you start to get a grasp of what “fitness” you want.

So ask yourself what type of cycling do you enjoy, or want to enjoy? What demands will that place on your body? How do you get to a place where your body is able to meet those demands without developing niggles or injuries?

I am keen on durability and repeatability in my cycling. So the ability to not just endure but enjoy long rides without fading, getting fatigued, or injured. Plus the ability to do it again and again. To do it again and again I need to be able to recovery quickly from the long rides.

A friend summed up some different attitudes to fitness.

He wants to develop the ability to do multiple 100 mile rides , day after day. He’s not interested in doing them faster. He is interested in the ability to recover quickly and do them repeatedly. So he can enjoy a long tour such as Lejog.

A friend of his is interested in being able to do 100 miles as quickly as possible. But has no interest in repeatability. He just wants to set a PB. He has no interest in touring. He is after bragging rights with his mates, was what he said.

Both valid aims but a different kind of cycling fitness. What are you after?

I do similar to @mudsticks cycling and walking but without the running bit. Where I’m not so good, is doing the strength work she does. I know I should do it, as it’ll improve or at least help retain my physical resilience as I age.
It will definitely help maintain your bone density if you do it right too - particularly important as we age - recovery from broken bones is quicker if we should have an accident - theres a reduced risk of breakage in the first place.

The type of yoga i practice (and teach) emphasises the building of long strong muscles rather than those ' bulky' ones beloved of bodybuilders.

These are far less prone to injury to themselves and to the connecting ligaments - this is why rugby and football teams that have worked the yoga discipline into their training regimes have see a greatly reduced injury rate - i guess it helps them with mental 'fitness' too.
 
agreed, while sport in general, helps in general, one doesn't necessarily help a training effort in another. brings back memories when I was weight training, running, swimming & cycling (oh, almost forgot racquetball). would love to go back to 2009-2010 for a reset!

related?: a FB friend had a heart attack, after a bad workout on her Peloton spinner. she's fine after calling 911 & getting a cpl stents put in
 

screenman

Legendary Member
2k swim done, 5 mile walk done, 40 minute turbo interval session done, that will do this 64 year old for today. I aim for overall fitness and find mixing things up daily helps a lot. Just reading back and thanks to Mudsticks I am just about to puta 20 minute yogas session in as well.

Most important thing, enjoy it.
 
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