That is the question. For many of us we ride to get fit in the summer and hibernate in the winter. Sound familiar?
I hear so many riders say that, “I ride to get fit and lose the weight I put on over the winter.” I also come across articles with studies proving that riding enduro builds rider’s cardio and fitness levels. Riders have always known this, it’s nice that now there are supporting articles that prove riding is good for you and your physical health, just like playing any other sport.
But let’s analyze the root to the question? Should you ride to get fit or should you be fit to ride?
There is small percentage of us that like to exercise, stay fit, watch what we eat and are religious about our habits that keep us healthy and fit. We know the benefits these habits bring: better sleep at night, less stress and anxiety throughout the day, feeling strong and tight (some might even say it makes us feel sexy no matter how old we get), better mental clarity and focus, and we are just happier people all around for it.
I have a challenging thought for all you riders: do you play a competitive sport to get fit or do you get fit to be able to play? In a team environment, if you are not fit to play, your teammates may look down upon you. You may find that you can’t even make the roster for the team if you can’t keep up. To play a competitive sport, those athletes are fit year-round. So, if we know that holds true for those athletes, why shouldn’t it also apply to riders?
Here’s what we know, and I am sure many of you have experienced it. Your physical fitness is a direct relation to how you ride. As you fatigue your mental awareness and reaction time slows down, you let off the throttle, start riding slower, gasping for air, and your reaction time with agility to maneuver requiring strength is diminished. What usually happens next is we slow everyone down behind us or get into an accident injuring ourselves.
So, if these are the results why aren’t riders doing something about it? It’s the outdated beliefs of what it takes to become fit and the excuses that go with it. People say, “I don’t have time to exercise.” “It takes too long.” “The gym is too far away.” “It hurts to workout.” “I am not that motivated” …
I have heard them all. Did you know it only takes 30 min per day to be fit? Yes just 30 min per day from home and you can do it using your own body weight.
What is the result of being fit to ride from the start of the season? FitRiders don’t have the weekend warrior syndrome of going all out and being completely demolished on Monday. FitRiders do not require half the season to get into the kind of shape they need to be to enjoy their rides. Take the initiative and just do it!
As we know, the older we get, the longer it takes us to recover from riding injuries. Our season is already short, so why shorten it further due to an injury because we were too lazy to get fit?
The right answer is, “Get Fit to Ride!” Become a FitRider!
Karl Tettmann, Co-Founder. Avid health and fitness coach who just loves to ride.