Jun 29 2010

Food for fuel

There are a lot of ways to prepare for racing and improve your endurance.  Cardiovascular and light strength training during race season can help you going throughout your motos.  However, the right fuel can make all the difference.  And no, I’m not talking about VP or some pump gas for your bike; I’m talking about the food to help maintain your energy levels.

You can train with the best of the best, but if you do not eat and drink properly on race day, all of that training could fall apart.  During the week, keeping enough fluids in you is very important.  Hydration does not happen overnight; it is a process that takes days.  The same goes for solid foods.  Training and racing on an empty stomach is not a good idea.  Your body does not have enough energy to fuel you throughout your moto.  So when it gets hot and you aren’t hungry, you still need to eat some fruits or some other complex carbs.

As I have said before, there are two branches of carbohydrates: complex and simple.  Eating too many simple carbs can give you a great energy boost, but the crash from the sugars will leave you fatigued and exhausted.  Avoid sugary soft drinks and food.  Pastas, breads and brown rice are some complex carbs that will not let you crash.  If you eat about 75g of complex carbs an hour before your moto/training, you should have plenty of energy and fuel.  This is usually about a cup of pasta or brown rice.

Another overlooked aspect of endurance training is protein intake.  Making sure you are eating enough protein is essential for recovery.  Muscle tissue is broken down and the amino acids in protein help repair the broken tissue.  Building muscle is not a priority for motocross, but keeping strength up helps with your form.

Your bike can’t run without gas and your body can’t perform at its best when you are hungry.  Make sure you are eating every 2 to 3 hours and keep your carbs complex.  You will avoid any kind of sugar crashes and fatigue.


Posted under Nutrition | 2 Comments »
Jun 18 2010

5 tips to train right

When I first starting training for motocross, I really didn’t know much about anything related to fitness at all.  I would run 2 miles a few times a week, do some push ups, crunches and call it a day.  However, when I dived into the topic of athletic performance, I realized I was not training in the correct way.  I thought my hard work out pay off on the track, but it just wasn’t working.  That is why I created site; to help people avoid the mistakes I made.  So here are a few tips to help keep you on the right path.

Periodization

This means cycling your training.  Do not do the same thing over and over again.  If you have a period where you cannot ride the bike, work on your strength and do longer, easier cardio sessions.  However, if you are in season and the races are coming up soon, interval training is the better choice.  This cyclical training method helps keep your body from getting burnt out, you won’t get bored with your training and you specifically train for the conditions at hand.

Compound Movements

If you are moving up classes this year or you are just trying to get stronger for moto, your typical “juice-head” routine is not going to work for you.  A racer and gym rat are opposite sides of the spectrum.  For moto, we need functional and multi joint movements.  For example, some really solid exercises would be dead lifts, bench press, pull ups, front squats and some abdominal exercises with medicine balls.  Your legs, core and back play a huge role in endurance and form on the bike.

Stretch

One of the most overlooked aspects of a training regiment is incorporating some sort stretching.  Stretching before and after any kind of physical activity helps warm up the muscle and gets the joints ready for movement.  Obviously, your flexibility is improved, but it also helps prevent injuries in crashes and can even help improve strength.

Easy Cardio

Don’t be afraid to do some longer, easier cardio when you aren’t racing much.  This lays down a solid foundation for your aerobic capacity and you can build up from there.  Keeping your heart rate around 70%-80% of you maximum heart rate for about 30 minutes will be a good way to keep you in shape, but not over do it.  Don’t limit yourself to just running; jump ropes, stationary bikes and swimming are excellent alternatives to running on a treadmill.

Have Confidence

If you have been putting in the hard work during the week, you should roll up the gate knowing you can run with anybody lined up.  Training hard makes the race the easiest part of your week.  You prepare your body, so why not prepare yourself mentally?  Confidence in this sport will take you a long way, so keep a positive mindset and everything will fall into place.


Posted under Training | 2 Comments »
Jun 16 2010

Slick and Muddy Conditions

High point was pretty crazy this past weekend.  Both classes are shaping up to be epic classics and the conditions are ensuring this.  The previous round at Freestone was absolutely brutal with scorching temperatures and now Mount Morris provided us with a slick, muddy track.  As a Florida boy, I dread slippery conditions.  The main lines were slick and as the rain fell, the course deteriorated.  However, racing in these conditions aren’t as bad as you think.

One quote, that is truly an oxymoron, can be applied to these circumstances says to go slow to go fast.  That couldn’t be any truer.  Bombing into corners and sliding in does not work.  If you do that in every corner, you need to look through this site on cornering techniques immediately.  When lines get beat down and harden up, traction is scarce.  Therefore, controlled braking between both the front and rear brakes is essential to ensure a smooth entrance to any corner.  Chattering your rear brake helps conserve your forward drive and doesn’t lock it up.  In both slick and muddy conditions, you want your corners to smooth arcs with steady throttle application.  And if you are still having trouble, you can drag your rear brake when exiting corners.  This will help weigh down the rear and force the wheel into the ground.

Getting on the gas is just as important as the braking.  Avoid stabbing the clutch when you are leaned over or anything like that.  The excessive wheel spin will spin you out and potentially send you to the dirt.  So, a steady right hand in any situation will keep you upright.  Another aspect that plays a role in smooth drive is your gearing.  Not so much sprocket rations but the gear you are actually in makes a difference in traction.  If you are too high a gear, the rear does not hook up as well.  So, making sure you in a higher gear will help you get a solid, chug out of your bike will help avoid any wheel spin issues.

One important thing is stay loose.  Riding tight only leads to arm pump and mistakes.  When you are loosened up, you will be able to react and flow through everything rather than fight the track.  Working against the course in the conditions like High Point will not work.  And most important, keep it fun!


Jun 10 2010

Heat Exhaustion Prevention pt. 2

As a follow up to yesterday’s article, I thought it would be good to dive into heat acclimation a little deeper.  For those of you who live in the southern States, you know how the heat and humidity can play into your motos.  The rest of you, who don’t have the pleasure of riding in these conditions, getting used to the heat is crucial…especially if you plan on racing Loretta’s.  There is more than just riding in a hoodie during the hottest part of the day.

If you are in race ready condition, getting accustomed to the heat will be easier.  Even if you are used to running on a treadmill inside for an hour, you are going to get acclimated much faster than a couch potato.  When you begin to train in the heat, you will notice that you will sweat more (common sense) and more electrolytes are lost in sweat.  However, as time goes on, you will eventually sweat earlier and lose fewer electrolytes.  I am not a huge fan of sports drinks, but this is an exception.  Going half water and half Gatorade is a pretty good mixture.  Replacing the lost fluids/electrolytes are numero uno!

The best (and safest) way to get used to the heat is to do some light aerobic training.  If you are just acclimated, you may want to start out at 15 minutes of activity.  This could be as long as 3 or 4 days.  On average, total acclimation takes about 2 weeks.  For example, if you can normally run 60 minutes, by the end of the first week, you should be able to run close to 30 minutes in the heat.

I know it sucks to train when it’s hot, but consistency pays off.  If you train for 60 minutes in the heat, but miss another 60 minute session, doing 120 minutes the next day is not going to be as effective.  Plus it maybe potentially dangerous.  If you really can’t take the heat, train in the early morning or late afternoon.  Then you can work your way into the hotter temperatures.


Posted under Training | 4 Comments »
Jun 09 2010

Heat exhaustion prevention

This last weekend was pretty gnarly.  The heat in Texas was brutal…not quite as brutal as the Florida heat, but I digress.  Riders were tested physically and mentally racing where everything is bigger.  When the temperatures start to climb, the need to stay hydrated becomes even more important.  Many riders could not stand the heat and were exhausted, but not just from the heat, but from a lack of liquids in their bodies.  The effects of extreme heat on the body can take a toll on you and the rest of your day racing is done.

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are no joke.  Before heat stroke, you get heat exhaustion.  This is when you are losing too many fluids and therefore, your body overheats.  The body’s temperature is raised but not too crazy, maybe a mild fever.  Many symptoms include pale, moist skin, sweating a lot more than normal, muscle cramps, dizziness, feeling weak, and sick with elevated heart rate.  Heat stroke on the other hand is much more dangerous.  Your core temperature is above your average fever.  At this point, the skin is dry and one begins to become confused and hyperventilate.  Sure, this sounds pretty intense, but knowledge is power.

A typical American does not drink as much water as they need.  The “average” person needs about 64oz of water.  However, since serious racers are training, they will need more than this.  And when the mercury rises, you need even more water.  Depending on your size and perspiration rate, you lose about 4 cups of fluid per hour of exercise and this is in air conditioned climate.  If you are training and riding, you need to be drinking a gallon of water a day, minimum.  Summer is in full effect and you can’t be too careful.

My best advice is to get a water bottle and sip on that all day.  The more times you refill the bottle, the better.  I don’t really think measuring out a certain amount of water is realistic or convenient, so make sure that your urine is clear and keep on sipping.  Eventually your body will become accustom to the water intake and you won’t have to pee every 5 minutes!