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By guest KIT blogger, Dave Andersen

I was going to post a simple twitter note about being grateful and taking stock as I reached the halfway point of my racing (cycling) season. Then I got to thinking that this thought deserved more than 40 characters. Truth is, so far so good for me in 2012. In the first 6 months of the year I’ve cycled 9,000 kilometers, raced 19 times, worked countless hours at the office, and even met a nice lady. Over those six months I’ve been jostled with “close-calls” a few times while on the bike and even crashed once in a criterium. I always walked away physically unscathed, but knowing that others haven’t been as fortunate (my thoughts are with you) has given me an appreciation for my season and life thus far.

Further reflection has me reminding myself to keep endurance sports in perspective. I love to go out and hammer and feel the endorphin rush. Feels…So…Good. But I have to remember that I need to do so safely. After all, A) I have loved ones who want me in one piece, B) people are counting on me at work, and C) I’m an amateur (no ones paying me if I get injured!) So I I try to be mindful of my surroundings (traffic, weather, etc)and vigilant with my fellow riders to keep it tight at all times. I make it a point to follow the “rules of the road” and to wear something bright, use a light, and go slow and easy when in congested areas.

I want the second half of my year to go as well as the first, and I wish the same for you. If you haven’t already done so, take a moment to reflect, be grateful, hug your loved ones, and be safe. And above all, keep it tight.

*Dave Andersen lives in Boston and works in the educational publishing business. He shares his passion for cycling and sport with a wide range of friends and competitors.


By guest KIT blogger, Dave Andersen

Training is like homework in that you gradually accumulate fitness and technique (knowledge) that builds towards an event or race (exam). That’s an over simplification but I’ve often thought there are many similarities. We toil away daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly on the pieces to the fitness puzzle. Maybe you have some pop quizzes (training races or group hammer-fest rides) that lead to some big tests (races). Marathoners and Ironman Triathletes are training for big one-day tests. Their races are so long and grueling that you should probably only do a few each year, so you can’t really re-take the test anytime soon. You get one shot—kind of like the bar exam.

Bike racers have different stresses because they don’t have the pounding of running. Bike racers can and probably should race often to sharpen their skills and get into the rhythm of racing. This gradual accumulation of stresses (physically and mentally) can wear you down. Just try a multi-day stage race in the mountains.

Follow the Curriculum & Set A Goal

Like a successful school curriculum, training must follow some tried and true recipes for success. Tackle the fundamentals first:

• general conditioning
• strength training
• base miles
• FTP training

Build upon these fundamentals by sharpening them with intensity, all the while allowing for appropriate recovery periods. Each component of the curriculum has its own distinct feel and stress (or lack of stress). Maybe your “test” is the weekend group ride or run, or maybe it’s the State Championship race.

Not everyone needs a goal but I’ve found it gives a little more purpose to training.”I must train today because I’ve got a big test coming up and I want to do better than average”. That’s a little trick I’ve used for years to not skip training. On the other hand, listen to the little voice in your head that says you need to rest (and cuddle with that someone special) to absorb that training. I will close with this: Perhaps the key to happiness and the Fountain of Youth is to always keep learning, keep moving (training), and to always strive for a well-balanced lifestyle. This, of course, is KIT!

*Dave Andersen lives in Boston and works in the educational publishing business. He shares his passion for cycling and sport with a wide range of friends and competitors.


Keep it Tight with P90X

by ikeepittight in Blog Comments: 0 tags: Miller

By guest KIT blogger, Nat Miller

This is a review of my experience with P90X, the hardcore fitness program developed by Tony Horton and marketed by BeachBody. Originally, I believed this post would simply discuss specific P90X workouts, the diet, and my results I experienced. However, I began to realize that in true KIT style, I needed to stay holistic in my view of this program and how it played into my overall fitness and lifestyle. P90X is a cyclical, periodized program of high intensity cardio, plyometric, and weightlifting exercise routines. The methods used throughout the program are not rocket science or paradigm shifting: if you commit to performing 1 hour of high intensity exercise 6-7 days a week, you will see results. Period. The exercises themselves are also nothing new as most workouts are built on the almighty pull-up, numerous variations of pushups, curls, and squats. The real difference in this program however is the variety and volume of exercises you fit into an hour. Each workout routine involves a warm-up, cool down, and at least 45 minutes of exercises performed at full gas. Typical rests are 30 seconds twice throughout the entire routine, so it is like performing a giant superset of exercises.

“Biceps Don’t Pedal Bikes”

When I first thought about working out with a “fitness video”, I was skeptical…anyone remember Richard Simmons? Multi-colored, fro-sporting fitness mogul, Tony Horton is not (but he still cracks pretty terrible jokes…). I was pleasantly surprised by how motivating the videos were and how well the program worked. Going into Month 2 I had lost 10 lbs. and leaned out considerably. Through the second month I actually regained the weight I had lost and then some, this time in muscle weight. While I was not completely shocked by this outcome, it does beg the question of how effective the program is for cycling. My back was wider, biceps bigger, and chest broader…which translated into more “useless” muscle on my upper body. I was not complaining, but I was not going uphill any faster.

Following a short hiatus from the program, I have switched to the “Lean” version of P90X (the program can be followed in the Classic, Lean, and Doubles format). My focus is now using P90X as a supplement to my cycling and running program, particularly when I’m unable to get on the bike or out for a quick run. I now do P90X in the mornings, commute to work a few times per week, and train on the weekends to get me around 10 hours of training time per week. This new plan should better prepare me to achieve my goals (lean, on-the-bike fitness) versus just doing P90X alone.

The take away is that P90X is a legitimate program for the time-crunched athlete. It is a well-organized program that achieves results if you can maintain the intensity. It’s a great way to build core strength and tighten muscle groups that often are neglected if your typical routine is centered on solely putting miles in. The only caveat is that it is not a replacement for sport-specific training, it’s simply adds a piece to the overall fitness puzzle. P90X will not prepare you to race without actually spending time on the bike and/or running.

Summary: P90X is a great way for time pressed athletes to stay fit and keep it tight.

*Nathaniel Miller is a full-time technical writer with a passion for the open road, but enjoys a healthy dose of trails on occasion. He prefers gut-wrenching climbs to walks on the beach, 55mph descents to bike lanes, and assumes everyone knows what “riding on the rivet” means. His goals in 2012 include catching a handful more races than last year and riding the same distance the pros do during each stage of this year’s Tour de France.