The post-Christmas slump situation is always the same, left feeling tired, lazy and inevitably a few pounds heavier. Well this article isn’t designed to tell you to eat less and move more, because as a keen cyclist and fitness enthusiast that would be plain insulting. Here you’ll find a few extra advanced tips to help torch fat and feel more energetic, both mentally and physically.
Note: this guide is intended as an add-on for those already following a good diet and getting back into exercising. Use these tips to supercharge your 2015 and take your game to the next level!
Switch up your sleep
Getting a good night’s sleep is often a lot more complicated and difficult than just going to bed earlier, there are many changes and moderations you can make to your lifestyle that can all go towards helping you get an optimal amount of high quality sleep.
Cutting out any mentally-stimulating activities or drinks late at night, such as using computers before bed or drinking coffee and energy drinks late, can help to wind you down earlier, so you’re more likely to snooze off sooner. Sleeping sooner ultimately means more rest and more importantly, more rest before midnight, which has been shown to be more effective than getting all your sleep after midnight. To feel great, hit the hay at ten to get two solid hours shut-eye in before midnight.
Burn your fat for fuel
Today, we’re a carbohydrate-fuelled world, living for sugar and energy to drive us through our workouts. As we all know, sugar has now become the new public enemy; it’s making us fat and unhealthy and we’ll do all we can to reduce it. But it isn’t just sugar as we imagine it that’s piling on the pounds and making us sick, it’s all carbohydrates. In excess, too much bread, pasta and cake can, and will, leave you a little thicker round the waist.
Now you may be thinking about the professional riders who stuff their faces with pasta and bread after each stage of the Tour de France, they’re not exactly carrying too much weight right? Well in a situation where cyclists are pedalling 100+ miles day after day, they’re going to need to get as many calories in as fast as possible, and worry about the weight later. In reality, professional tour riders aren’t going to put any excess weight on as they’re riding so much everyday.
For the average cyclist, post-ride carbohydrates can be a lifesaver, especially after a killer four or five hour ride, but in your down time, it can do wonders for your body to cut back on carbs once the recovering stage is done.
Benefits of this in terms of getting back in shape for the new year include:
- You’ll put on less weight when sedentary.
- You’ll have more energy due to less digestive demands. (Time digesting excessive carbohydrates can also mean more sedentary time!)
- A better night’s sleep due to less digestion late at night.
Supplement your diet – get more nutrients and bounce back quicker!
Supplements are a great way to boost your performance on the road, but they’re also a great defence against one of Christmas’s worst enemies: the dreaded flu. Pick up these three for maximum protection and performance over Christmas and in the New Year:
Multivitamin – an indispensable all-in-one supplement to keep your nutrient levels in peak condition, even more necessary in Winter when your defences are low and you need to stay protected against viruses and colds.
Whey protein – a supplement that continues to get increasing exposure in the endurance world, cyclists are becoming very familiar with the recovery shake that goes a long way in keeping your legs fresh for the next go around.
Amino acids – the building blocks of protein, amino acid supplements can be taken during your ride to top up your body’s natural supply and prevent muscle being burnt for fuel.
Not only will the last two choices help your cycling, they’ll also ensure that you’re not left drained and vulnerable to illness post-ride!
Stand up on your own two feet
We’re frequently learning that sitting down is killing us, it seems to be the hot topic at the moment, and with many of us office-dwellers stuck to our seats all day, it’s a growing worry that something nasty could be creeping up on us. While sitting may be the new smoking or fast food, we haven’t seen a conclusive, wide-scale study yet that tells us the facts and what we should do.
To avoid the effects of sitting, our tips to you are to:
- Take a walk on your lunch break.
- Stand up every hour.
- Spend as much time as you can outside of work walking, running, exercising and avoiding sitting excessively!
Cycling is already a demanding sport on your posture and body, often leading to muscle imbalances, cross training or following the above steps can go a long way in evening yourself out and could leave you fresh for more cycling – which is the important part!
Relax your mind and wind down
At the end of the day, if you can’t relax, you can’t work hard. Sounds like a strange paradox doesn’t it? In reality, it’s true, if we never allow our bodies to completely relax, and switch off our minds, then we’re never going to be able to rest enough to full re-cooperate. It’s worth kicking back a couple of evenings a week if you can find an hour to unwind naturally without television, computers or alcohol.
Good things to try out here are:
- Yoga classes and meditation.
- Taking time to read a book or magazine.
- Chatting with family and friends in a comfortable environment with the lights low.