At this point in your off-season, if you haven't been minding your weight, it's time to start. Here are 7 ways to get control as shared by Tyrone Holmes on Active.com.
- Keep Riding - The no-brainer reason: manage the calories-in/calories-out equation. The hidden reason from my perspective? You've created a habit of daily (or almost daily) workouts, so don't break that habit. New habits are hard to establish. Working out is a healthy habit to have. Cherish it.
- Ride Long and Hilly - You need some longer moderate intensity riding each week. Plan for one long ride and one hilly ride. If weather prevents these from being rides outside, see the next idea...
- Cross Train - This is the winter saviour of icy-weather cyclists like me. Any aerobic activity will do: cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, skating, running, swimming. Even a bout of snow shoveling counts! I've filled many of my winter Sundays with a long cardio-combo session of snowshoeing, followed by classic cross-country skiing, finishing with an hour of clearing my driveway.
- Strength Train - Cycling is not a weight-bearing sport. Our bone density will benefit from strength training year-round. Your peak power generation will also benefit. And a strong core provides a stable platform for your legs to push against while riding. Off-season is the best time to begin strength training if you haven't already done so. And when you return to in-season? Keep it up once a week. See the power of habit in idea #1 above...
- Stop Eating So Many Carbs - Riding less than 2 hours at a time? You do not need sports drinks or energy bars. Water is good enough. Perhaps in the hour before or after you ride you can have a few higher glycemic index (GI) carbs. Outside those time-windows, keep them low GI, like you get from most vegetables.
- Have a Holiday Eating Plan - Set eating rules in your mind before you go to holiday party meals. For example, follow the Michael Pollan Plan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Another way to look at it: If vegetarians can define themselves by a rule of never eating flesh - and live every day by that rule - can't you create an equally self-empowering rule (or set of rules) for yourself when you go a-partying?
- Do You Know About the 5-Pound Rule? - Don't expect to maintain your race-weight all season long. 5 pounds of weight gain is okay - but no more! When real in-season riding returns, 5 pounds can come off quite easily. But if you've got more than that to lose, an in-season weight loss plan can muddle up your efforts in real power gaining workouts. You won't have the energy in your tank for high-quality workouts. You might also want to read my article about the issues of asymmetric weight loss.