Invisible training

 Improve your cycling performance with invisible training!   Whatever your level of cycling, invisible training remains a fundamental component to progress and perform. A healthy lifestyle is just as important as training, talent, genetics, psychology and motivation.  

By Clarisse Nénard, Coach Vivons Vélo

 The invisible training corresponds to all that revolves around the training and that we do not see but which influences in an undeniable way on the performances: hydration, food, recovery, sleep, medical follow-up... To perform, it is not enough to get on his bike and to swallow the kilometers, to develop physical qualities (endurance, resistance, explosiveness, velocity, strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, etc). It is also necessary to take good care of one's lifestyle in order to give oneself the means to reach one's objectives. If you want to go far, take care of your mount!

 Knowing how to train means knowing how to recover The human body is a marvellous, perfectly oiled machine. When we move, all the muscles work in synergy. When we use them, we activate a whole range of physiological phenomena in the body: breathing, heartbeat, increase in blood flow, use of sugar and lipid reserves, release of hormones and neurotransmitters such as endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and noradrenaline, sweating... So many mechanisms that govern and contribute to the proper functioning of the body. Man is by nature homeothermic. The body must maintain relatively stable, even constant, levels of water, oxygen, blood sugar, pH, body temperature ... What is called homeostasis, is the state of internal balance of the various organs.

© photographies alexandre leroy

The 6 main elements of the invisible training :

  • Hydration. After oxygen, water is the second most important element. Even if you can't really see it, 60% of our adult bodies are made up of water! Correct hydration allows us to maintain a sufficient plasma volume (blood volume), providing good oxygenation of the tissues, thus optimizing all the functions of the body. Water is also involved in thermal regulation. All muscular work produces heat. To avoid overheating, the body uses a cooling system, sweating. A slight deficit of 1% of body weight in water leads to a 10% decrease in our physical capacities. Between 5 and 10%, it leads to great weakness. Remember that blood and plasma are made up of water. Do not wait until you are thirsty! Drink before, during and after your bike ride.
  • Nutrition. Whether you are a high level cyclist or not, it is essential to create energy so that the muscles contract, produce an effort to meet the demand and energy expenditure. It is better to anticipate everything that will be lost during the effort. For the organism to function optimally, the diet must be neither too restricted nor too rich, but balanced and varied, while being adapted to the specific needs of each person, to the level practiced, to the intensitý, to the duration of the effort and to the muscular solicitation. You can be the best in the world, if you do not have a good diet, you will not perform. Beware of fatigue, hypoglycemia, injuries...
  • Sleep. The hours spent under the comforter are as essential as hydration and nutrition. By maximizing the beneficial effects of sleep, you will optimize your physical preparation and your results. When you sleep, hormones, cells ... compensate, repair the damage caused during training. Certain biological exchanges of ions such as magnesium, calcium and sodium, as well as muscle cells repolarize, alleviating muscle soreness. GH (Growth Hormone) activates lipolysis and increases the amount of free fatty acids for energy purposes. It stimulates protein synthesis, increasing the speed of penetration of amino acids into the cells and promoting protein anabolism. It also accelerates recovery by activating the reconstruction of muscles, strengthening tissues, tendons and bone density.
  • Recovery. Each effort, each bike ride or each competition cuts into energy stocks, damages muscle fibers, stresses the cardiovascular system, wears out the joints... The whole organism accumulates physiological disturbances according to the intensitý and duration of the training. Common sense dictates that there should be a recovery phase according to the workload provided. It allows the body to regain strength for a future session. Adopt the right reflexes: rehydrate, replenish your stocks of glucose, proteins, carbohydrates, not forgetting antioxidants, focus on active recovery, stretching, massage, cryotherapy, electrostimulation, recovery socks, acupressure, sophrology, cardiac coherence, sleep, naps... all relaxation methods are good. Give yourself days off to take time for yourself, to let go, recovery also happens on the mental level.   
  •  Medical follow-up. Like any sport, cycling puts a strain on the body at the physiological and biomechanical levels (joints, bone tissue, muscles, tendons, etc.). The body must cope with the training load, repair, compensate, regenerate injuries and other imbalances. In this sense, doctors (general practitioners, sports doctors and other specialists), physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, fasciatherapists, podiatrists, etc. are important partners in preventing a grain of sand from jamming this fabulous machine that is the body. Even the dentist and the orthodontist play an essential role. Poor hygiene, excessive consumption of sugar (exercise drinks, energy bars and gels, etc.), and cavities are guaranteed. Poor contact between the teeth can be a source of poor performance.   Chronic fatigue, recurring pain, stagnant progress... what if it all comes from invisible training? Don't neglect it anymore!

More information on vivons vélo website.

© Photographies - Josef Helie