Realising that I’ve been riding for over 40 years and still have a passion for motorcycling, especially off-road, is kinda cool. Not many things in life last that long, let alone passion.
Through the Covid restrictions I’ve found some solace in watching the AMA Pro Series SX and MX champs. Even watching from half the planet away I’m surprised how attached I become to the fortunes of the riders. For instance this – troubled – season I’ve been keenly following Justin Barcia – he’s been on the gas through the MX season which is great to see. He’s such a talent but just has not had the fire to run up front consistently over the past few years. But since Covid he has been on it. In fact, the pass he put on Adam Cianciarulo on the first lap of Moto 2 at Red Bud was an involuntary ‘holy shit’ out loud moment. I loved it. And now he’s heading up the Gas Gas attack for 2021 – that will be interesting!
Watching the stars of our sport is totally motivating. It motivates me, at 54, to get out of bed and go and train. Not because I’m dumb enough to think I can ride like I could when I was younger, or that I could even then ride like these super-talented young guns, far from it. It’s because I know that if I don’t, I’ll crash more often than I otherwise would, but more importantly I like knowing I can remain cognitive when I ride, it enhances the enjoyment. A lack of fitness robs you of the enjoyment of riding, especially when you just can’t think past your gasping breath.
Fitness on a bike has a placebo effect on your confidence and rather than just being fit and getting the benefit of that, it has an exponentially greater impact than just fitness alone. Of course, life and general wellbeing is also improved and looking good and in shape as an older bloke certainly is not a bad thing either. Besides, if you’re a little OCD like I am then you sort of demand it of yourself.
I like cross training best – it just seems to work well for riding. Riding requires an all-round fitness program and while I may be motivated enough to set out my own program I have found that I don’t need to. I’ve been training at F45 TCR (Tottenham Court Road) in London for over a year and a half (when I’m in the city) and it’s been a revelation to me.
I previously set out the principles of F45 in RUST #45 (here). At F45 TCR Mike and Amy along with Tom and Lou make the killer 45-minute sessions a pleasure, pushing you when you need it and congratulating you on a good effort when you’re done. The group of regulars, and there are loads of us, are proof to me that this type of training works – the group dynamic when you can train in the studio is like racing, it pushes you to push yourself. Even as Covid happened they kept the sessions going by Zoom – and although the studio is (okay, was) open again with all the necessary precautions in place they are still running their online programs. For me, as a person who travels frequently, this is a complete win.
Before Covid it was harder to stick to the routine since they had no online classes available but now it’s a breeze. So, if you don’t have a studio near you, you can access the online programmes to do at home, a hotel room or in the park. If you’re unable to do the class live (7:15am every morning) you can download the classes to do them in your own time. No need for weights – the home workouts are body weight only so there’s no excuse. The training sessions are varied between cardio (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) and hypertrophy strength programmes (Tuesday and Thursday) with an hour-long ‘Hollywood session’ on Saturdays which is combination of both – it’s hard but fun, and it’s worth it.
THE TIME IS NOW
Give this program four weeks and I challenge you not to feel a huge benefit on the bike and off. If you would like to give this program a go, get in touch with the guys at TCR (here). Of course you don’t have to do this through them, there are plenty similar training facilities you can work with, but now as we go into winter is a good time to get started – get that body ready for the Spring.
This is not a paid or sponsored plug, just an honest opinion on how to help yourself improve your fitness and feel good. Fitness means more fun and no doubt it will help improve you as a rider.