WHY GO INDOOR? By Cheryl Sinitz, Cycling Instructor at Hartland Movement Center.
Indoor cycling has benefits for all riders, not just elite athletes or racers. Sometimes getting “faster” is about fitness, weight loss, event preparation, and addressing strengths and weaknesses in our cycling. Having a structured indoor workout is the most time-efficient means to achieve your goals. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t professional athletes. We all have demands of family, work, and other responsibilities. Outdoor riding is great, in good weather, but a lot of our outdoor riding time is just that – time. While long-rides do help us increase “time in the saddle” and build fitness and endurance it can be challenging to really build our power and strength. With a well-planned indoor season, fitness gains can happen with as little as 3 hours per week.
The structure allows us to train specific energy systems and put progressive demands on our bodies. Over time these focused workouts enhance our performance by boosting our FTP (functional threshold power), our aerobic capacity, and our muscular endurance. Power-based workouts (FTP) allow us to work within our current level of fitness. Every workout is tailored for us rather than simply repeating the same workouts over and over. Structured workouts also build appropriate rest and recovery to allow for adaptation. Without these progressions we eventually plateau.
Indoor workouts allow us to control our efforts and our environment, manage our time, improve quality over quantity, measure our improvements, and help us become mentally tougher. Indoor workouts often have the added benefit of being performed in a group setting. While some prefer indoor riding for safety reasons, we all know that working out with a group improves our motivation and accountability, helps build focus, and enhances social relationships. Some of the relationships we have built-in our own cycling community have been developed and maintained for years.
Whatever the season, whatever the reason (you ride), indoor cycling is a staple in your workout plan. Focus on the purpose of the rides, ride consistently, ride with friends, and enjoy the ride!