Louisville Wheelmen Newsletter -- March-April 1995

Resistance Training

by Dave Spitler

A number of club members have been heard to remark in recent years that the cyclist's bane, Winter Weight, seems to become more tenacious with advancing age. This little mystery was cleared up at a recent seminar on Resistance Training at the downtown YMCA. It seems that after adult humans pass age 25 or so, they begin to swap muscle for fat. When nothing is done to reverse this process, body fat will increase annually as total muscle declines. Since muscle requires more energy to maintain itself than does fat, metabolism declines and it becomes more difficult to shed extra pounds.

Aerobic athletes (runners, cyclists, swimmers, et al.) may have less to fear from this process, but they are not exempt. The best way to reverse the process is to begin a program of resistance (weight) training. Resistance training builds back muscle to protect vulnerable joints from sports related injury, raises metabolism, and improves strength and endurance. A well designed resistance program can also help to stave off some of the joint problems associated with aging by realigning the body's muscle balance.

Cyclists should begin a phased resistance program at the beginning of the off season, but if you have spent the winter on the couch instead of in the gym, there is still time to act. Pumping iron during March, April and May might seem to retard your progress as a cyclist at first, but it will make a noticeable difference during the heavy mileage months (June, July and August) as well as in the late season (September and October). Want to learn more? Call one of the Racing Team Coaches or contact a personal trainer at the YMCA or one of the area health clubs.

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