Training + Recovery = Fitness

Do you understand this formula?

I mean really, do you understand this basic formula? Because it all begins here, and it will always come back to this:


Everything about being an athlete is based on this equation (you're not just a cyclist, you are an athlete). We manipulate the formula properly, and we'll increase our fitness - no matter what your ability. Abuse this equation, and you'll quickly flush your fitness down the crapper!

Hammer this formula into your mind. As an athlete, plan your life around it. Respect it and it'll respect you. Now let me break it down and look at the basics.


Training is anything you do to improve your muscle function. It has everything to do with your endurance, sustained power, maximum power, strength, skills and flexibility. You know this. These are the workouts you do.

But proper training also sets you up for proper recovery through your body's own natural release of the following anabolic hormones: thyroid hormone, human growth hormone and testosterone.

You must also consider the psychological aspect to training. Improved mental functions will definitely support your improved muscle functions. Sometimes being able to suffer just a bit more than your opponent is all you need to win, especially when you're a highly functioning elite athlete competing against elites much the same as you.


Your body needs to repair the damage you've done to it during training. Yes, you read that right - damage. Training done properly should cause muscle damage. You become stronger when your body repairs that damage. Repair processes require proper nutrition and adequate sleep. Your recovery processes will be much more efficient when happening in the presence of the anabolic hormones that your body will naturally produce for you as a result of your training. And you must keep at bay the devilish catabolic hormone cortisol. It increases your body's breakdown of muscle protein as an energy source. Not what you want when trying to build muscle tissue.

Insulin is another key hormone in your recovery process. Respect the timing of its presence and your muscles will have all the stored energy needed for your next training session. This energy store comes in the form of muscle glycogen. Insulin helps both with the creation of glycogen from the carbohydrates eaten in your diet and the transport of that glycogen into your muscle cells.


This is what you're after. Understand, though, that fitness is not an always increasing function. It will have plateaus, some valleys, and then increases again. How you manipulate the inputs to the formula (your training and recovery) will determine the degree of control you have on your fitness outcome. Testing is key to tracking your progress. Races and other competitions serve as tests, but periodic specific field and laboratory tests will also help you make adjustments to training and recovery.


So does the formula mean anything to you now?

As your Bicycling Blogger, I will try to shed more light on this formula for you. I'll provide you with the intelligence you need to become stronger, faster, fitter than you were before. No matter your age, no matter where you are in your journey as a cyclist, with this intelligence you'll be in control!

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