I've been a cyclist all my life: Elite cyclist, leisure cyclist, mountain biker indoor cyclist even spinner, I've done them all.
In the early days cycling was just something I loved to do. It was my thing, my sport, my outlet. However, as I have got older and studied the world of cycle training, I have realised that what I've been doing all of my life was actually the best thing I could have been doing for my body.
This has led me on a path of cycle education, to teach people as early as possible how great cycling can be for your body and to get as many people on a bike understanding exactly what happens physiologically, and psychologically, when you ride.
how your body responds to exercise
From a physiological point of view, your body produces power measured in watts for any activity it undertakes. It produces this power from one or more of your three energy systems: Your aerobic energy system is your low intensity workout system, producing power with the use of oxygen; your lactate energy system starts to kick in as your intensity grows and you start using more muscle mass as you start to convert glycogen stored in muscles into energy and power. As you start to reach and pass your lactate energy system threshold with very high intensity activity, you then start to produce power anaerobically, which involves a chemical reaction within your phosphate energy system.
The intensity of your activity and the way your body activates its energy systems will affect the results you get from that activity but one thing is true: We all need three healthy and powerful energy systems to be a completely rounded, healthy and powerful human being.
Very few activities will allow you to activate all these energy systems to the intensity needed to get the results, mainly because we have one force acting upon us everyday - gravity.
This means any activity acting against gravity will place shearing forces on ligaments and tendons as muscles are activated, whether that be running, jumping or lifting weights. Naturally, gravity places a limitation on those activities and also, over time, the negative results of those shearing forces will be felt within the joints and ligaments.
Any activity that can be called truly functional and beneficial to the human body must allow for high intensity activity while limiting the negative effects of these shearing forces.
Now, we all know the swimming is widely recognised as being the best exercise for the human body, due to the buoyancy offered by the water alleviating the effects of gravity and therefore allowing muscles and ligaments and joints to move independently, free of that force.
Cycling can also be classed in this way because we are are seated for long periods of time on the bike with feet clipped into pedals. This means we find ourselves in a situation where, although gravity is acting upon our mass, it is not acting directly up on our body.
This allows us to move relatively freely without the constraints of gravity, limiting these shearing forces.
We also now have, with advances in power meters and technology, the added benefit of being able to calculate and monitor the amount of power we produce whilst riding the bike.
With knowledge of how to utilise cadence and intensity to activate the three main energy systems and knowledge of how to determine where the threshold lies for your lactate energy system in terms of power output, I discovered that I could optimise training for any individual to achieve the basic goal of the majority of those who undertake regular exercise: how to lose weight and gain more mobility through the increase of power output.
The development of CicloZone
With the CicloZone platform, I felt I could take the enjoyment and euphoria felt when undertaking a great group exercise cycle class but include a simple training data and connectivity system, as used by elite cyclists.
CicloZone is a true crossover platform. It offers on-demand and live sessions that give cyclists who want a little more fun in their cycling without losing their power data focus; while also offering a little bit of education to group exercise enthusiasts to start them on the road to discovering exactly what cycling a bike can offer.
Cycling is my passion, but so are people and cycling people are just the best people in the world!
I feel it is my duty to use the experience gained over decades of cycling to give something back to the industry, to continue the Cycle Revolution we are seeing and basically get more bums on seats.
Enjoy the ride!