How to Stay Fit While Working From Home

Since moving to North Wales a few months ago and working from home on a regular basis, I have found that working a lot from home can affect you in more ways that you would expect. Since I used to cycle to work on a regular basis, clocking up 250 miles a week, fitness is one aspect that's changed dramatically for me.  This blog focuses on fitness while working from home -and in particular cycling on a turbo trainer.

Obviously COVID-19 has forced many of us to make changes to our daily life. Everyone has a duty to protect themselves but more so, a duty to protects other more vulnerable people in our society. The point is, if I do what I would normally do, go out on my bike, I would likely come into contact with others (that essential coffee and cake stop...), but also if I were to have an accident, I may have to face the reality that I would be adding to the already heavily strained NHS, and may not even get the same quality of care as usual.

So below I have listed a few tips for how to get the best exercise from a static turbo trainer.

1 - Buy the right turbo for you. There's nothing worse than buying the wrong kit. I would advise you to do your research, look at https://www.dcrainmaker.com/ for the best one that suits you. Personally, I wanted a 'smart' one (which means it connects online via a laptop or phone, and you can use a range of software like Zwift or trainer road), so I opted for the Wahoo Kickr Core. The program sets the power, so you don't have to think about adjusting levers or knobs; it’s pretty robust and doesn’t move even when you’re out on the hoods sprinting; it’s extremely quiet -which means you can do it while multitasking (looking after a baby!). Although, having said this, I do have another turbo which is a very cost-effective one; it’s great for instant spinning and only has 5x adjustments. Personally I hate the setup time, but because of Corona, I am bearing with it!

2 - Make sure you have everything you need before you start. Non-exhaustive list:

  • H/R monitor,
  • Shoes (obviously),
  • Water bottle,
  • Towel -essential!
  • Fan (yes, just get a cheap one, no need for an expensive one that changes speed based on your power that costs £200!). If it’s an extremely hot day, you may want to have a water spray to use 90 degrees to the fan, cools you down much quicker.
  • Garmin or use the app or laptop.
  • Sweatband! You don’t need a helmet indoor, so why not look like the characters on 118118.

I have to have everything right before I start or I get distracted during the ride!

3 - Have a plan on what you want to achieve, or have a minimum time you want to spend working out before you start. I highly recommend high-intensity training (also known as HIT), which means intervals (see today's ride, below). But there are various training plans available online, or you can even race against other online riders. Spice it up, and don't do the same thing every day, or you will get bored.

Indoor Training
Fitness Working From Home

4 - If you don't achieve the target power on the last few intervals give it a rest. 4x 'quality' intervals is much better than 5x with the last 2x at sub-power.

5 - Try to end the interval on a high. In other words, don't start with all guns blazing. Ease into it and end on the higher side of the scale. This way your legs get used to keeping more power near the end of the interval where, in races - it counts!

6 - Listen to your body.. Some days you wont feel like it (and I'm not talking about you know what!), but some days you will feel invincible! If you've had a long day try to have an easy session, but if you feel agitated for whatever reason, sometimes a tough session can be a frustration-eraser and clear your mind!

7 - Talk to others, and get some tips on how they motivate themselves.

8 - This may be the best one: If in doubt about whether to train or not, my top tip is -get changed to your lycra right now!! Put your shoes on, slip on your shades and jump on the bike -then you can decide what to do. 99% of the time you will stay on the bike, and do at least 10mins of workout; that has to be better than zero! Another positive about training on the turbo is it never rains inside…!!

9 – Listen to music!! Make sure it’s loud enough to keep you motivated and engaged but not too loud that the baby wakes up..

10 – Some people have a poster of some of the world greats in front of them for motivational purposes. Bernard Hinault is a classic example. If your partner is ok with it -go for it!!

Fitness is a vital part of working at home, especially if your not used to it! Physical activity has been proven to not only boost your immune system, but also to help with mental health in these trying times. At the end of the day, any form of physical exercise is better than none, and even if you don't manage to achieve as much as you thought, you will have still done yourself some good! A healthy body means a healthy mind!

Happy cycling!

My ride today:

  • 10mins warm up easy, building up to 300W;
  • 1min 'on' (400-430W); 1min rest (easy spinning 100-200W); repeat 5x times;
  • 3mins at 280-300W;
  • Easy spin to finish.

Bear in mind that actual power values will change. The threshold I assumed here is about 340W...

30 mins is better than sitting on your bum in front of a screen!

From the current Welsh TT Champion

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