We recently sat down with Owenhouse Cycling team member and serious cyclist, Luuk about what kind of training he does in the winter. We chatted off-season tips and tricks to have a solid base when summer hits and his must-have winter gear for those days when he ventures out into the cold.
Thanks to Luuk for his thoughtful answers! Do you have a question we missed? Be sure to stop by the shop, he’ll be happy to chat about off-season training.
Find A Plan
OC: Hey Luuk! Thanks for joining us today to chat about your off-season plans. Do you follow a training plan in the off-season?
Luuk: Yes, I like following a plan in the winter months because it keeps me accountable and gets me ready for the bigger work in the summer. I enjoy the process of getting faster and keeping the work going through the winter months.
OC: Does your off-season plan include strength training and seasonal cross-training options like skiing, swimming, etc?
Luuk: Yes, I like to strength train on my own. Nothing fancy, I just try to be consistent. Squats, deadlifts, step-ups, etc. The winter is a great time to spend more time in the gym, focusing on getting stronger. I typically take 3-4 weeks off the bike when the winter hits, just cross-training and strength training. Then I slowly ramp training back up on the bike.
My goal in the winter is to keep it fun. That’s really important. I nordic ski a lot. We have the Nordic Center you can ski at and also a lot of in-town trails. Some golf courses make trails, and the Lindley Center has groomed trails as well.
OC: Do you have a favorite resource for finding an off-season training plan?
Luuk: TrainerRoad is great. It’s easy to use, affordable and gives you a lot of different workouts to keep you from getting bored. I keep my road bike ready to go on the trainer to get those workouts in during the winter months.
Get An Indoor Trainer
OC: So, you mentioned that you ride a trainer pretty often during the off-season. What do you think are the positives and negatives of riding an indoor trainer?
Luuk: There are a lot of positives to using a trainer for your winter riding. It’s easy to follow your training plan and keeps you moving on the bike throughout the winter. The key is to keep it exciting and keep it engaging. The workouts really help!
The negatives are what you’d expect. You’re inside riding your bike, staring at a wall, and it can get pretty monotonous if you aren’t following a workout. If you don’t have a plan, you end up just soft-pedaling and not getting many benefits.
OC: We sell trainers at Owenhouse Cycling! Can you tell people what type of trainers we sell and what options they have when looking for an indoor trainer?
Luuk: You have 4 options when you’re deciding on a trainer.
- Fluid trainers. As you pedal, the more resistance the trainer gives. The resistance will feel the most similar to the resistance of the road, and the flywheel will enable you to coast without feeling an abrupt stop.
- Magnetic trainers. Magnetic trainers are simpler, and because of that, they are usually less expensive. You manually adjust the resistance with a magnetic trainer.
- Smart trainers. Connect to an app like Zwift, which is a virtual world where you ride against other riders. As you ride up a hill in the app, the tension gets harder; likewise, when you go down a hill, it gets easier.
- Rollers. The OG trainer. There is a learning curve. It forces you to stay focused because you’re not attached to a stand. It teaches you to pedal smoothly. Otherwise, you start bouncing.
We sell mostly Smart Trainers. Riders that are looking to do their workouts indoors without the hassle of dealing with cars and streetlights can use the trainer to get stronger year-round. Riders that are injured or just looking to use a trainer in the off-season tend to purchase magnetic or fluid trainers because they plan on using them for short time frames.
Keep Up Your Nutrition
OC: Let’s talk food! Do you follow the same nutrition plan in the off-season that you do in-season?
Luuk: Yeah, generally, I just try to eat healthily. Counting calories or macros can be tough for people, so it’s good to just focus on eating healthy. If you do want to lose weight, the time to do it is in the off-season. In season you should focus on eating enough calories to fuel your workouts and getting stronger.
OC: Do you have any nutrition tips that help keep you on track in the winter?
Luuk: It’s so important to stay hydrated in the winter! People tend to get behind on their hydration in the winter because they aren’t sweating as much, and it’s cold outside. I like to put orange Skratch in my bottle to keep things interesting so I don’t get bored with water. Apple cinnamon Skratch is also great warmed up!
Another tip is to use protein shakes to help meet your protein goal. Be sure you’re eating enough carbs. Keep your carb intake high during workouts so that you feel good consistently throughout the workout and don’t bonk!
Bonus Tip: Keep Riding
OC: Although it can be pretty tough to ride outside in our Bozeman winters, sometimes you just need fresh air! Do you have favorite gear items that keep you riding outside in the winter?
- A water repellent Windbreaker to keep my core warm
- Booties are a must. They are neoprene shells that go over your foot and block the wind.
- Skull cap under your helmet so you don’t get a brain freeze.
- A great winter wind tip is to use a grocery store bag over your socks.
- Lights! It gets dark in the winter. If you’re commuting, a handlebar light is enough, but if you’re headed out on a full ride, you’ll want one on your head and one on the bike.
Get Stronger This Off-Season!
Hopefully, this article has given you some insight into what it takes to stay in shape during the winter months. It can be a tough time of year to get out and train, but with the right mindset and preparation, you can come out of the off-season stronger than ever before. If you have any questions about getting started or what kind of gear you might need, feel free to stop by Owenhouse Cycling. Our team is always happy to chat and answer any questions you may have. Thanks for reading!