Fitness Tips

Life Outside Bicycle Training

Balancing bicycle training with life has been one of my main problems since the get go. I encounter a problem, solve it and then encounter another problem. It’s frustrating because I just want to find my groove. The struggle to balance life with bicycle training has been a roller coaster ride. As I’m typing this I’m still not sure if we found balance.

I guess I will start off with explaining a few things mainly the problem we’ve encountered. So the main problem is time. Onno has a long work day and sometimes he ends up working late. So he will get home anytime from 18:00 – 19:30. If I know he is working late I make sure to have dinner ready by the time he arrives so we can still eat relatively early. On average we’re finished with dinner by 21:00 the latest. The gym closes at 22:30 and we can’t go immediately after eating dinner because well I get sick to my stomach when I exercises with a stomach full of food. Now the solution seems obvious right? Go after work and eat dinner afterwards. There is two things wrong with that idea. One we need to time our food throughout the day so we can somehow have the energy to bicycle for a hour straight after Onno gets home from work. The main thing with this is even if we try to eat something small around 5pm half way through the workout we’re starving. I’m not even kidding. My stomach growls like hell. The second problem is attached to the first one. By the time we finish and get home we are absolutely starving and the idea to cook and wait for an easy 45 minutes is anything but pleasant. That and we just bicycled for over a hour. The last thing we want to do is cook. So we tend to get junk food because it’s quick and easy. We basically shoot ourselves in the foot. Now  a solution to the dinner problem is that we can meal prep but alas our fridge is beyond tiny and can barely keep enough ingredients for two different dinners. I guess I can cook before we go to the gym but again we’re hungry halfway through the workout.

Another problem is motivation. Due to life being a bit on the busy side for my husband and myself too if I’m honest and the fact that we genuinely struggle to get to the gym. Every day that goes by that we haven’t been able to get our bicycle training in, the worse I feel. There is this pressure to keep it up and just get it done but yet it’s Thursday and we haven’t been able to get it done and then comes the weekend and by now I feel well the week is basically behind us how are we going to get all the kilometers for the week in the weekend? I know this is the wrong way of thinking. EVERY WORKOUT COUNTS. Let me just repeat that not for you but for me.

EVERY WORKOUT COUNTS.

EVERY BICYCLE SESSION COUNTS.

EVERY KILOMETER COUNTS.

Oh I feel a lot better. I’m always my hardest critic. The thing is when we started this bicycle training we did so well. We got so many sessions in every week. The weather was a dream on most days and it didn’t get dark till 11pm. It was a lot easier but somewhere down the line it started to feel like the only thing we’re doing is cycling. Onno gets home, we eat, we bicycle, shower, talk a bit and go to bed. The next day the same thing happens and the weekends comes around. Wake up, errands, couple time, eat, bicycle, shower, eat, couple time, sleep. One day I just snapped. I don’t want the bicycle training to take over our lives. We need to find balance. I’m not sure how we’re going to balance everything out and as I’m writing this now we’re not even close to balance but I have an idea.

So as our main problem is time I figured why not get a stationary bicycle for the house. Onno can bicycle on his own time when his ready after work and now he even has the option before work and I can cycle whenever it works for me throughout the day. It seems like a perfectly good solution. We just need to find a stationary bicycle that will fit inside our apartment and more importantly budget. After some researching and comparing our options we settled on a Tunturi Cardio Fit Bike E35.

stationary bike

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Setting up the machine was easy but difficult at the same time. The instructions could have been better but the job still got done. The machine feels quite comfortable to cycle. The seat is wonderful, so soft and the support is good. What is there to say really? It’s comfortable. It will get the job done and it solves our problems. I’m very excited to have my solution in action. For the future I’m going to follow my own advice. I will just take a deep breath and if we have the time or it works out we will go to the gym and if it doesn’t then well that’s just life. I am going to try to get some strengthening workout in just to still get moving. It will be good for me. Everything will fall in place.

Links to connective blog post:

Bicycle training week 11 – 12 — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/10/09/bicycle-training-week-11-12/

Bicycle tour update | mini-tour — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/19/bicycle-tour-update-mini-tour/

Challenge: 3000km bicycle tour — https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/10/challenge-3000km-bicycle-tour/

Fitness Tips

Bicycle Training: Week 11 – 12

So it’s been three months. My oh my does the time fly. I contemplated even writing this blog much less post it online. I will be honest as I’m writing this with only 44 words in I have no idea how this is going to turn out. Maybe I should start with why I’m hesitant. So life has been crazy and well let me just be up front with it – I have a life outside bicycle training. Life sometimes doesn’t make it easy to get out and get my training in. I’m encountering more and more problems. I plan to make a full post about it so expect it literally five minutes after this one goes online.

week 11

Week 11 started of as a promising week but very quickly the same old problems arose. Time. Onno was working late every day of the week and we just couldn’t balance everything.

Monday: 23km

Friday: 21,01km

Saturday: 23,01km

week 12

Oh what to say here…what to say… Okay I’m just going to rip off the band aid and just get to the point. We didn’t get one single bicycle session in. Monday to Friday it was a shared fault of time and a cold and over the weekend it was the motivation. I explain everything in detail in the life outside bicycle training post. Just go there. At this point this post is just the usual two week bicycle training update.

Here is the post I keep referring to: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/10/09/life-outside-bicycle-training/

This post is ridiculously short so here is a cute picture of a doggie…

chihuahua-624924.jpg

 

Fitness Tips

Bicycle Tour Update | Mini-Tour

So I’ve been mentioning the change in plans all over my previous post which is bicycle training week 9 – 10 in case you were wondering without much explanation. I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to lay it out for you all but I’m going to try my very best. First I should probably explain the entire tour briefly for those who are new here. The link will be below for all the finer details but to sum it up: The plan is to cycle the Netherlands in May 2018. Approximately 3235,4km. 100km in 31 days. 145 towns. The first original plan was to cycle 180km everyday in two weeks which is absolutely ridiculous and far from reality. Okay so now that you know what the current plan is I can explain why things have changed.

First I’m going to go into detail with what’s wrong with my plan. I didn’t take any rest days into account. Which is a big problem on my part. So I brainstormed on how we can adapt our current plan to where we can take a few rest days but still stay in our 4 week time limit. As Onno can only take 4 weeks off from work we really had our hands tied. Now the most obvious solution was to just simply rack up the daily maximum kilometers. This however pushed it into the impossible realm. So I had to come up with a different solution. I spend days trying to figure this one out but nothing came to mind. How can I do the entire trip, take rest days and still do and see everything I want to do and see. I then asked myself how long would it take me to do this tour correctly? If I had all the time in the world; how long would it take me to complete the tour? I worked it out. It would take us 8 weeks easy with a decent amount of kilometers per day everywhere from 100km to 50km with rest days and time to explore and enjoy the towns we cycle to. There is no way Onno can take a straight 8 weeks off from work so my next idea was to split it up. To do one half so 4 weeks in May and the other half somewhere later in the year, when that would be I haven’t figured out yet. You see this is when we encounter another problem. In September my studies start and then my schedule will be in the hands of my university. Another problem we face is the winter season. We want to avoid doing the tour when it’s absolutely miserable outside. We also want to avoid the busy season of the summer. Our problem just wasn’t being solved. It threw me for a loop.

So I asked myself why did I want to do this in the first place? Was it the big goal of the challenge? Or is it a little more than that? Originally the idea behind it was I wanted to see and experience the Netherlands. My new country and why not do it in a different way than what could be expected? The Netherlands is all about their bicycles so the steps my brain took was understandable. Plus like I mentioned before. I love challenging myself. I firmly believe that the best things that happens to us is when we challenge ourselves. I brainstormed for another few days. How can I solve my problem? Eventually it clicked. I don’t want to just race trough the route, spend two minutes in a town before getting a move on. I want to hear nature. I want to smell nature. I want to hear my tyres on the road. I want to drive my husband crazy with my singing and nonsense. I want to stop in every town and take my photos, move in the town and get a feel for it. I want to take a moment and just enjoy. I want to stop aside of the road in the middle of the country and just enjoy the scenery for thirty minutes. I want to slow the entire tour down because in the end it’s not a competition or a challenge that needs to be completed immediately. I can take my time.

When this year started one of my new year’s resolutions was to move a total of a 1000km  for the year. This included walking, running, dancing, swimming, cycling anything that can be considered LISS. By the first of August I completed my goal. I still challenged myself. I still got up and moved. I still crossed that finish line. I had a few good months were my average kilometers was sky high and then I had a few months where I averaged with 2km a day. I still got the job done. I still completed my goal. So I’m going to incorporate that exact same mindset because as we all know…

Rome wasn’t build in a day.

So if you’re still with me here is my new plan. We’re going to cycle only a third of the Netherlands next year in May. 35 towns (we crossed out 4 to make the route smoother). Approximately 835,5km with a wide range of kilometers per day. Our maximum will be a 100km and so far our minimum will be 50km. Without any rest days so every day on the move we will complete this mini tour in 10 days. Onno will still take 3 weeks off from work and we will have all the control in the world. We can decide when and where we will stop for the day and how long we want to stay in that town. We go out and experience new things and these different parts. We can do so much more now. We can even add a few towns and go up to a 1000km and make it the near perfect third. This way when the mini tour ends we will have the room to have Onno rest a few days before he goes back to work. It’s brilliant and the ideal situation. If I could do the big tour like this I would do it in a heartbeat but a third is still a tour, just a mini tour.

You might still see a problem with my perfect solution or well not a problem just a hole. What about the other two thirds of the tour? When will you get that done? Honestly I have no idea yet. This entire tour has been a learning curve. I think we will try for late summer before school starts for the second part of the third but otherwise we still have next year. It might end up taking us a little longer to complete but again, in the end of the day if I still cross the finish line and I still honored my promise. Tour the Netherlands.

bicycle route website

Links to connective post:

Bicycle training week 9 – 10: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/19/bicycle-training-week-9-10/

Challenge: 3000km bicycle tour: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/10/challenge-3000km-bicycle-tour/

 

 

 

Fitness Tips

Bicycle Training: Week 9 – 10

10 weeks. It’s hell of long time and we are kind of scratching the surface with the whole bicycle training thing. I’ve never really been able to stay motivated for 10 weeks straight. Something I hope will change in the future.

week 9

We did okay this week. With only a few gym visits on the stationary bicycle with a semi high resistance and keeping up a somewhat high average speed. It took us awhile to get started and the first day I didn’t feel so great but it was one of those bleh days. To be honest we were hitting this wall. Motivation was dimming and it wasn’t as exciting to go for a ride. The miserable weather didn’t help as we made the switch to the stationary bicycle at the gym instead of going out in the cold on our bicycles.

Wednesday: 13km

Saturday: 21,01km

Sunday: 21,9km

week 10

The week passed without a single bicycle training session at the gym or outside. To be honest a part of it was laziness. I didn’t feel like training mostly because my motivation was completely gone. I’m not ashamed about it. It happens. I chose to climb of the wagon. I really don’t want to glamorize laziness or seem like I’m making excuses even thought I definitely do that sometimes. We’ve been slipping up these past few weeks. We started off with the bang; excitement was still oozing out of our pores, but as time progresses slowly that excitement started to burn out. It started to become a chore to get every single bicycle training session in with the husband at night. The tight time schedule, the never ending kilometers we need to ride. It just started to feel eh and the driving force was the fact that the big plan was changing. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. It’s just one of those things but the important part is how are you going to get back to it. How are you going to honor your promise? So I gave myself one entire week off, never once even considering a bicycle training session.

I made myself a promise to use this week to reevaluate things and shape the plan to fit reality and still honor our goals. I took some time to test my loyalty to the promise and goal I made for myself. I wanted to see if it’s truly just a chore or is it something I truly want. Do I have a passion for this tour? I also asked myself why I was doing this tour in the first place? What started it all? Once I found my answers I was able to become motivated again. My excitement grew once more and now I know that this is truly what I want. Yes some of the big plans are going to change but the big picture will stay the same.

For a very full of depth post about the new plan please feel free to follow this link: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/09/19/bicycle-tour-update-mini-tour/

 

Fitness Tips

Bicycle Training: Week 7 – 8

Two months. Eight weeks. 56 days. 80 640 minutes. 4 838 400 seconds. It’s been quite a journey. I will be honest. There has been a few moments where the idea of throwing in the towel sounded absolutely dream worthy. Those moments passed and I’m sure they will come back, but I’ve set a goal for myself and I plan to honor my challenge. For myself.

Below you will find all the details but if you want to get updates as it happens, follow my Instagram page. There I share all of our routes. If you have no idea what I’m talking about then here is the short version. The plan is to cycle the Netherlands in May 2018. Approximately 3235,4km. 100km in 31 days. 145 towns.

week 7

The previous week Onno and I (mostly me) was out for the count with some serious cold. I like to think that my gum infection and the antibiotics made the healing period longer and it has nothing to do with my somewhat all over the show diet. It wasn’t bad but at the same time it wasn’t good. Monday I was still fighting the sniffles which set a large amount of panic as my wedding day was the day after. The rest of the week we took things slow and for a few days we barely moved. It was heaven! We did however got some bicycle training in. I mean if you don’t believe me then give it a few seconds.

Friday: 27,3km

Saturday: 19,9km

week 8

This week was so much better. We started going to the gym for their stationary bicycles. It’s moving towards winter here in the Netherlands which basically means it starts to get dark around 9pm. After Onno comes home and we have dinner and that said dinner is settled it’s already 9pm. Now bicycling in the dark doesn’t sound like the worst thing in the world right? We tried that on Thursday and never again. My heart can’t handle it. Quite a big part of our bicycle ride was in somewhat creepy forest. I hated it. So for the rest of the week we chose the gym. It’s so easy; one hour on the stationary bicycle and I can even watch Netflix. It’s a great deal. We chose however not to do our maximum bicycle training which is a ride where we push and see how far we can go in one day. Our maximum ride is 64km at the moment and it’s been a few weeks since our last ride. Since we just recovered from our cold the last thing I wanted is to put excessive strain on our bodies. I did however revamp our overall training somewhat. Our bodies responded wonderfully to all the rest; it was like my body transformed overnight. Leg muscle is slowly becoming more prominent. I will share more on week 10 with comparison between body analysis composition test results. Wow that is a mouthful.

Wednesday: 25,05km

Thursday: 18,8km

Friday: 24,5km

Sunday: 22,42km

boy-2271745.jpg

Links to connective blog post:

Challenge: 3000km Bicycle Training – https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/10/challenge-3000km-bicycle-tour/ (long version)

Bicycle Training: Week 5 & 6 – https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/20/bicycle-training-week-5-6/

Fitness Tips

Bicycle Training: Week 5 – 6

The first six weeks of bicycle training is officially (not entirely) complete. These last two weeks were supposed to be a step up from our first month. Things didn’t exactly go according to plan…The goal was to complete 120 – 140km in a week. One maximum ride which is 60 – 80km and the rest throughout the week. Below you will find all the details but if you want to get updates as it happens, follow my Instagram page. There I share all of our routes.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about follow this link https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/10/challenge-3000km-bicycle-tour/ to catch up, but I will sum it up briefly. The plan is to cycle the Netherlands in May 2018. Approximately 3235,4km. 100km in 31 days. 145 towns. If you want to see how our first four weeks in bicycle training went than follow this link: https://fitcouchpotato.com/2017/08/10/bicycle-training-week-1-4/

week 5

Week 5 was looking very promising. We never skipped a beat with our bicycle training in the week. We hit new personal bests and I couldn’t be more proud with our progress. We planned to do our maximum bicycle ride on Sunday but I woke up to a sick husband. As we train together I didn’t exactly want to go for a ride without him. That and it wouldn’t be right to leave the poor man alone.

20708457_878758745608663_1510460274388971154_n

 

Monday: 10,4km

Tuesday: 16,8km

Thursday: 15,3km

Friday: 20,6km

Total: 63,1km

 

week 6

This week we had no choice but to hold our bicycle training. Things were looking up somewhere in the middle. On Wednesday Onno looked one day away from a clear bill of health and we were quick to plan a ride for the following day. One ride is better than nothing right? However life had other plans. I woke up sick and the rest of the week it was my turn to wallow in self pity with a snotty nose and sore throat. It was a difficult decision to halt our training. I knew it would mess with our schedule but forcing my body in such a brutal activity would only make things worse. I’m already working hard to compensate for our time off to ensure our end goal is still possible. It’s not the end of the world.

We will make it work.

sport-927760.jpg

Fitness Tips

Challenge: 3000km Bicycle Tour

I’ve always loved the idea of challenging myself one way of another. The idea of doing a bicycle tour in the Netherlands popped in my head mid run with the doggies while I was still stuck in South Africa. I was fake interviewing myself; something I do while day dreaming about my future. Anyway back to talking about my hopes and dreams. At first the idea of bicycling the Netherlands was something that was just an idea but after immigrating and settling in, the idea came back to the surface. Very quickly the idea turned into actual planning.

Boy did it take a lot of work. I pulled out my map and just started circling towns; the main towns and cities that stood out in bold and then a few little towns here and there. The South, the North, the little island and all in between. I made sure to make a nice little semi circle. Nothing to be missed. I had the easy part. I just had to look at the map and make a route from town to town that would flow. Onno jumped on the computer and got the actual route. I helped…a little. This is the link of the website we used, we use the same website to plan our training routes: http://fietsroutenetwerk.nl/ The website is in Dutch but is very easy to use. If you need a step by step tutorial, comment below and I will definitely be your translator and knight on a shining bicycle.

bicycle route website.png

After our routed was mapped out, we just had the easy choice of when we will  be embarking this journey. It took some playing around but eventually we decided on a time frame where we feel would be the most comfortable, weather and traffic wise. The month of May 2018. With all of these details at hand we could start doing the math so I can make the big announcement on all my socials and in essence sign my fate. Approximately 3235,4km. At first we were eager to complete the goal of 180km and get the entire trip behind us in 18 days but reality kicked in and now it’s just 100km in 31 days. 145 towns.

If you’re interested to follow my journey as I train for the tour then follow me on Instagram or stay tuned for my other weekly blog updates. That’s about it. There’s nothing more to say but…

Saddle Up!

bicycle-557046.jpg