Now that the sun is sticking around later in the evenings, it is time to start getting on the bike! Over the past few years, the winters in Colorado have been conducive to outdoor riding year round, but not this winter—at least not for this fare weather rider. So, basically, I took the entire winter off the bike. When Bicycling Magazine contacting me about reviewing one of their new cycling books, Bike Your Butt Off!, it couldn’t have been more perfect timing.
Each individual chapter focuses on one cycling concept, providing appropriate tips and skill drills, and has a workout to reinforce the concept. At the end of each chapter there is supporting nutrition advice from from Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD, the director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Center for Sports Medicine—hello dream job! After spending the last 5 weeks reading through the chapters and doing some of the workouts, here is what I have to say about it:
- Great for beginners or seasoned cyclists. The first few chapters focus on topics such as getting the right gear (including a bike), changing a tire, hand signals, and general rules of the road, all of which are important for a beginner to learn and seasoned cyclists to review.
- The workouts can be done indoors or out. Each chapter has a separate workout for indoors or outdoors. The indoor workouts could easily be performed at a gym or at home on a stationary bike or on your own bike with a trainer. This flexibility prevents crummy weather from getting in the way of a workout.
- The workouts ease you into it. Cycling can be challenging, and so can getting back into it. These workouts ease you into things, teaching you skills for improving form and minimizing the risk of injury. Again, great for the beginner or seasoned cyclist looking to get back into things.
- Emphasis on strength training, core strength, and stretching. In conjunction with a cycling program (or any program for that matter), cross training, core strength, and stretching are extremely important for preventing muscle imbalances and reducing the risk of injury. Each workout has a corresponding core workout and suggested stretches for afterwards. The indoor workout has you jump off the bike in the middle of the workout, do the core workout, then get back on to complete the workout—a concept called cardioresitance (CR) training. CR training has been shown to build fitness and strength in about half the time it usually takes to do both! Win and win!
- Practical and relevant nutritional advice. Leslie guides you through “gearing up for healthy eating”, keeping food logs, a healthy eating plan, portion control, and fueling for rides, all of which would benefit anyone looking to improve their eating—cyclist or not. Her advice is clear, and the fact that it is broken down chapter by chapter helps with making small, lifestyle changes that are sustainable for supporting an active lifestyle.
- Personal testimonials give extra motivation. Reading about others in your same shoes who have overcome challenges and achieved their goals is inspiring. Throughout the book, you will read about others who have found success with the program, which may come right about when you are ready to give up.
I have enjoyed everything about this book. It has motivated me to get on the bike inside, given me ideas for outdoor rides, reminded me of basic bike maintenance and safety on the road, and inspired me for my future dietetics career. Thanks Bicycling Magazine for the opportunity to read, try out, and review Bike Your Butt Off! Check out their website and the book on Amazon!