After spending 2 days playing a roller derby tournament in the U.S., I came to reflect on this topic quite a bit. The biggest problem I had was finding enough quality food to eat to fuel my activity. Roller derby can burn up to 1500 calories per hour. I figure I burned 1000 calories day one and 300-400 day 2 (I spent half the last game on the bench with a groin injury).
The hotel had the usual free breakfast: powdered eggs, white bread, pastries, sugary cereal, yogurt. I didn't have a problem with the breakfast options, but what about lunch, snacks and dinner? Our first game was at noon, so we ended up at a Japanese steakhouse/sushi bar for a team dinner. Our 2nd game was scheduled for 8 pm. I knew eating a steak was the wrong choice, and unfortunately, while you might think the veggies were a good choice, it takes a long time to digest vegetables, so sadly those were out. I chose sashimi and a bowl of white rice. My biggest mistake was the soy sauce. I was most likely on the edge of dehydration from game 1 and the soy sauce defiantly exacerbated the dehydration. While the white rice was a good choice as it has low fibre and is easily digested, I ate too much of it. The end result prior to game 2 was not so good. I was sluggish, tired and my gut hurt. I didn't play that well, in fact the entire team felt the same. We were tired from not sleeping well the night before, the long drive and the lack of quality food and choices.
A lot of us brought food but it's not the same. The best choice for us would have been a small plate of pasta and a good quality tomato sauce. The pasta is easily digestible, and the tomato sauce is low in fat and because the sauce is puréed, easily digestible. Both the pasta and tomato sauce contain carbohydrates for fuel and the tomato sauce has some vitamins and minerals.
The large portions you typically get at a restaurant are sometimes over the top. I would have been better off eating half the food I ordered, and instead paired it with a protein shake after game 1 and a banana before game 2.
Every time I go to the gym, play derby or go for a long dirt bike day, I ask myself “what snacks do I need” and “what am I currently eating and how will it effect my performance?”
There are so many diets out there that promise weight loss and other “results” if you eliminate one food group or another. The reality is you need to think of food as fuel for the adventure. You need to think: “What type of food do I need to have the energy I need to perform?”
With all the confusion around nutrition, FitRiders will be working on a cookbook for riders, with nutrition and calorie content for each meal. In addition, it will take the mystery out of what to eat, when to eat and what activity will benefit from different food types. The right food choice makes a difference. Even with the help of a nutritionist I have got it wrong on many occasions. Through trial and error, I have found what works for me. I can't wait to share my recipes for success and hope anyone who is interested in feeling better will use my experiences to help themselves. So, stay tuned sports fans for more nutritional information and the odd recipe here.
Since I started travelling, I don't have access to a traditional gym. I travel with a skipping rope, ab roller, yoga mat, mountain bike and TRX. Which goes to show you, an expensive gym membership is not required, although I do miss traditional weightlifting.
What happens when you are at a stalemate with your workouts or you are just plain bored? You try something new of course. The old saying ‘variety is the spice of life’ is quite accurate in so many facets. When you change up your workouts, such as adding a new move, heavier or even lighter weight, or a new cardio program, your body must learn something new. This allows for some more fat loss because your body is using energy differently. It also uses the muscles differently and can help you become stronger as well.
I thought I hated running until one morning I woke up, strapped on my running shoes and headed off for a run down a dirt road in Arizona. It didn't last very long because I don't usually run but it was ok. It felt good to be out of breath. I ran that 2 km road a few times that week. I hung up my running shoes in Baja because the dirt biking was great. When we needed to spend time repairing said dirt bikes and found ourselves holed up for a while I re-discovered running. Once again, I strapped on my runners and went for a 2 km run down another dirt road to the beach a few times that week. Now, don't get me wrong, running is still not my favourite workout, but I enjoy running when there are dirt roads (because it's easier on the joints than pavement) and cool scenery. One of the great side-effects of my new-found running routine was that I lost the few pounds I gained while in Arizona quite easily and quickly. I didn’t change anything except for a switcher-roo in my workout. Now I've added running to my workouts, and I am beginning to like it.
As a general rule, you should change up your workout routine every 4 or so weeks. A good personal trainer will tell you that. In fact, our FitRiders fitness program has a variety of exercises designed to change and progress as you do over time. I'm always researching new workouts but let me know if you have any interesting workouts you do, let's share and get fit to ride together.
Yes, I do want to ride a dirt bike this summer. Now what?
Well, it's winter and unless you live where it doesn't snow, then your training starts in the gym. This step will set you up for success before the season even begins. Why wouldn't anyone want to start the season, stronger, faster, and possibly, a few pounds lighter?
Gyms can be intimidating, especially for women. All those machines, dumbbells, big muscular guys in ripped t-shirts grunting and staring at themselves in mirrors. Who wouldn't be intimidated? Visit many gyms and choose a gym you like. There will always be the muscular dudes, but I have found that no one has ever bothered me at the gym, and no one is paying attention to you, and anyway, who cares?
Have a staff person show you around and ask questions about how to use the machines properly. Personally, I don't like using the machines because I'm too short and they tend to strain my joints. I prefer free weights; they work the muscles more efficiently and engage more muscles other than the ones targeted on the machines. If you still feel intimidated but are interested in our programs, drop us a line. Most of our programs can be done at home, without the need for gym equipment. One of us may even be in your area to give you a hands-on personal training session to get you started and feel more comfortable. It's okay to feel uncomfortable, it's a new experience. Learning new skills is uncomfortable and challenging.
So, sign up for a FitRiders program. We can teach you some easy, fun workouts, with or without weights. The free weights aren't as intimidating as you think and are a lot of fun once you start using them.
In the winter of 2015, I booked myself the trip of a lifetime: I was going to go to Mongolia on an epic dirt bike adventure ride! This isn’t something that most people get to do often, and I was stoked! Then I realized, I need to get into shape. 14 days of epic off-road riding, averaging 200 km/day, it was more riding than I had ever experienced before.
I had booked my trip for July 2016. With just over 6 months to get into shape, I hired, Karl, a personal trainer. When I met with Karl, I told him of the type of terrain I would be riding, the number of hours I would be spending on the bike. Not only did I want to get in shape to handle the ride, but I needed a strategy where after a long day of riding, or after sleeping in uncomfortable Ger camps, I would also need some sort of recovery mechanism. With that, Karl helped me come up with a strategy to get fit for the ride, and how to keep the muscle aches and pains at bay while on the ride.
For 6 months, I worked from the comfort of my own home to get in shape. No gym membership, just some basic free weights at home, body weight exercises and a yoga mat for basic stretching. My wife Maria would often join me in the fitness routine, as she found it helped not just with her riding, but all the other sports she loves to play. That was all it took to get into the kind of shape I needed to be in to ride Mongolia.
When I returned home from Mongolia, I wondered if there were many other middle aged guys like me that would love to do the same type of bucket list trip, but what was holding them back from going was the thought that they couldn’t handle the terrain at their current fitness level. In fact, there were many middle-aged guys on the same trip that directly benefited from me showing them some stretches that we all did at the end of the day in front of the campfire. If this program helped me, then maybe this program could help others who also want to do these same bucket list adventures.
And so, FitRiders was born. We have members all over the world, of varying ages, men and women, who know that the key to having better riding adventures is to get into shape. So, what are you waiting for? What’s holding you back from getting in shape for the ultimate adventure ride. Get Fit to Ride! Join the Movement! Join our Community!
I wonder how many people think about grip strength. I don't very often. How many of us are out riding and our throttle hand cramps up or numb? How about our clutch hand? Not all of us can afford a Clake clutch.
If you regularly lift weights or like me, use a TRX then I bet your grip strength is pretty good. Good grip strength allows a rider to grip the handle bats just loosely enough to be comfortable for hours yet have the reaction time and speed to get a good grip when we want more control. Further, a loose grip will help with the dreaded arm pump. I know I seem to blather on and on about the importance of being fit to ride rather than riding to be fit, but it's true. You don't prevent arm pump or good grip strength riding for 4 hours on a Saturday a few times a month.
I am guilty of not stretching enough but I stretch my arms and hands constantly as I suffer from tendinitis. We need to learn how to stretch our hands and forearm muscles. Tight forearm muscles and hand muscles will cause pain and loss of strength. Tight muscles can even cause injury. Think about when dirt biking the pressure put on our wrists. Strong muscles will help take the strain off those joints, reducing any chance of wear and tear as time goes on.
Next time you are at the gym, give some thought to grip strength and forearm strength, flexibility and mobility. If you don't go to the gym, check out the FitRider programs available (no gym required). You won't regret it.
Karl Tettmann, Co-Founder. Avid health and fitness coach who just loves to ride.