Zwift: How To Stick To A New Program

bike zwift May 10, 2020

Now that we've launched our first 6 week program on Zwift, we thought it was important to share a few tips from people who have 'been there'. Whether this is your first structured program or your thousandth, this week’s blog is about how to not overdo it- and give yourself the best chance of finishing the program instead of tapping out midway!

Perhaps you’ve been to the gym at some point after a long absence or maybe it was your first time ever. You do a few exercises, some weights, go for a jog on the treadmill or a ride on a stationary bike… “I’m feeling good!”, you think to yourself. “I don’t know why I don’t do this more often!”.

Then, the next day, you’re wrecked. Your muscles hurt. Your joints hurt. Your whole body feels as tough you’ve been hit by a truck. And then you don’t go to the gym for another 12 months.

That’s what we call overdoing it.

Being forced to stay inside more has made us realise how badly we miss doing things like riding outside, so we tend to throw ourselves pretty vigorously at things like Zwift and indoor exercise.

Though our 6 week zwift course is beginner friendly and is aimed at working at whatever level you’re at, it’s also meant to be a challenge! It was written by a cycling coach specifically to push you, little by little, week by week.

So with that in mind, here are some top tips on how to find balance in your training schedule, and why it’s important!

1. Stick to the Program

With only 3 sessions per week (well, 5 with the two optional rides with CWRB as well!), it's important that you stick to these, complete them as well as you can and don't add anything new yet.

It's easy to be tempted into thinking, "That wasn't that hard, maybe I'll go for a run afterwards to really get my heart pumping." Don't do it! These sessions were designed to help you get fitter, and you're supposed to recover in a specific way to get the most benefit.

If you add other activities, like running or gym exercises that you're not already accustomed to doing, your body will get pushed into "OverDid It Zone", which we're trying to avoid.

2. Reflect on how you FEEL

A great way to stick out a new program is to keep a journal of how you're feeling while completing the sessions. 

Humans are funny creatures, and there's a lot of studies to show we have what's called a negative bias, meaning we tend to focus more on the worrying and the bad than the satisfying and the good. There's probably an evolutionary reason for this, but it can mean we don't stop to appreciate what we've accomplished.

To make sure you don't overdo it, and stick with the program, keep a journal of how you feel BEFORE each training session, DURING the session, and AFTER the session. Take note of your feelings, your state of mind, your general wellbeing.

If you're not a writer, use the daily journal downloadable which will help you out!

3. If THEY can do it, YOU can too!

It's normal to watch fitness videos or start a program and get totally discouraged because you're unfit, or not feeling strong. You might even start to create a "us" and "them" mentality about achieving new things.

"They can do it because of their genetics. I'm not like that. I'll never be able to do it."

If you're a Harry Potter fan like I am, there's a scene in the 6th movie where Harry has started the Dumbledore's Army and is training a group of stuidents what it's like to fight evil. When encouraging the students to keep trying, he says something that stuck with me:

"Every great wizard in history has started out as nothing more than what we are now, students. If they can do it, why not us?"

Similarly, every great athlete. Every fitness instructor. Every single person who is - or has ever been - great at what they do started out as nothing more than you are now. Someone taking the first step.

If they can do it, why not you??

4. Accept Where You Are In This Moment

This is a biggie. As someone who has been super fit in the past, but isn't now, it's very easy to overdo it because I try to do things at the same rate or pcae as I used to. I suppose part of me hasn't truly accepted where I am at this time and in this moment.

That takes some courage, because we carry a lot of emotions with an acknowledgment like that. How have we lost so much fitness? What have I been doing all this time? I can't believe I let myself get so LAZY!

All of this negative self-talk needs to be flipped on its head. We need to extend ourselves some universal self-love to accept who we are in this moment. You are you. And you are Wonderful!!

5. Building Fitness Takes Time

Remember Rachel Hunter's Pantene commercial? "It won't happen overnight, but it will happen?"

We've all become so accustomed to getting what we want NOW. Whether it's instant gratification through social media, ordering things online and having them arrive yesterday, even accessing information and having non-stop entertainment through Netflix and the internet.

We forget that sometimes the process of earning things is better than just "getting them".

When building fitness or starting something new, it's super important to remember that things take time. That's another good reason why it's important to keep a journal... because looking back on how you felt in Week 1 will make you feel pretty damn good by Week 6!

6. Stretching is PART of Training

It sounds like common sense, but so much of the power of training our muscles comes through stretching and relaxing them afterwards. Your body literally NEEDS time to rest or it won't heal, build muscle or do any of the things we want it to do.

Starting a sustainable stretching routine is a great way to get the absolute most out of the program without undoing all of the good work you've done in these sessions. If you've never stretched before, or you really just don't know what you're doing, check out the video via the link below to get you started!

Have a wonderful week!

Stick with it, and as always - let us know how you're getting on!

Katey & Jordana