Midlife return to MTB/conditioning questions.- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Midlife return to MTB/conditioning questions.

    Hello all?

    Ok, so here goes,

    45yo, fatassed, former weightlifter(pre-shoulder and knee pain) former ski instructor, used to ride mtb back when first gen Rockshox were brand new. Tomorrow, I will be sober eighteen months.

    I just finished reading the "quit smoking" thread, and that happens on Monday morning.

    I just bought a vintage Cannondale m900, and going through it. Needing pieces parts to make it...right.

    Met a local-to-me mtb gear head here on the boards who is basically hooking me up with a FS Trek sans a few pieces parts.

    I have taken a couple exploratory rides on the C'dale, and the legs,ass,and 'taint are quickly making it clear that I am needing conditioning.

    I have recently dropped enough weight (275 down to 240-ish) to make riding a sensible next step. I'm eating a 90% veg diet, with a gallon or so a day of h2o...with lemon. No shit food, no processed caca, and no refined sugar. (Cliff bars though....Cliff bars and lots of fruit)

    Also on Monday starts the body weight workouts. 20 min a day or so to start. Push-ups suck with my shoulders, but I'm hoping to power through and get some upper body strength back.

    What I need from you guys is some direction regarding conditioning for riding. I don't drive a car, so MTNB is going to be my primary means of transportation even through the winter.

    I work well with "programs", so I am hoping there is someone here who could help me dial in a full body routine with emphasis on getting efficient and proficient on the bike.

    Most of my biking this summer will be as conditioning for the autumn and winter riding, leading, hopefully, to light trail and single track riding next summer.

    So let's hear it, anyone got a favorite routine for getting back in the saddle?

    P.S. I didn't see a "conditioning"or "workout" board, and this seemed the closest to that. If I have posted here in error,please delete.

  2. #2
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    PPS.....another thought may be to move this thread to the 50 and over board if this isn't the right place. I'm 45, but it might be a better fit there?

    Mods, I leave it to you.

  3. #3
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    I'm in a similar situation, just underweight. Former track and long distance runner, military, and bike commuter. Once I got a car, I got lazy and stopped biking. 127 lbs, despite being a guy that's a shade over 5' 7". I feel seriously underpowered, and also get the saddle sore issue (actual pimples on my ass cheeks). I found that the basics have helped me the most: pull-ups, push-ups, and situps. The heat is killing my motivation, but I seemingly knock them out whenever I'm about to hit the showers. I'm up to about 25-35 pushups, 15 pull-ups, and 40 full situps (resting abs between reps, can do many non-stop if I keep abs engaged without my head going all the way back) in my first set, trying to crank out as many as I can in secondary sets, to exhaustion.

    I find my issue is I just don't eat regularly. I generally just have 1 *huge* meal, with coffee or some other drink, and maybe some fruit to keep me alert during the day. Be it a whole large pizza, or 2 cups of rice (measured uncooked) + a can of sardines, or 8 oz of pasta (measured uncooked) with sausages and half a pack of Italian mix frozen veg. Sometimes, I neglect eating at all until after a workout, and my performance on the bike greatly suffers, unsurprisingly feeling like I'm running with my fuel tank on E. I have just switched to just snacking on anything convenient, like straight out of a crunchy peanut butter jar. Just too lazy too cook, and don't want to eat out regularly. I do a lot of work at the computer... not sure how I'm staying so thin, maybe my brain burns all the calories.

    As for riding, I think the best thing is just to find a nice time and route to follow, making it quick and easy to head out. I even keep a spare set of clothes right by my riding shoes. Here, it drops down to about 80F at 6 PM, even if it were 100F during the day. It gets too dark to ride without lights at 8:30; that's plenty of time to squeeze in 15 miles or so, at a decent pace (trying to keep it over 10 MPH average). I try and hit the climbs whenever possible, and try to get at least 1200 ft of ascending, sometimes squeezing out 1600 ft, but that's a bit much for me with my current fitness. I started off with 8 miles, in about 1 hr, and worked myself up to this amount over a few months, with some seriously rounds of sleeping like a log, after an relatively intense workout. I felt that just riding didn't help enough, but I also noticed that having only 1 serious ride a week wasn't culminating to any real aerobic progression, in fact I think I was losing progress doing only 1 ride a week, so I had to fit in quickies to try and prevent that loss.

    Did a group ride recently and didn't feel any ass pain until after the ride was done and I was relaxed on the bike, taking it easy. When I was pushing it, I guess my core was engaged and carrying my upper body weight, less going to my wrists and ass. The upper body strength from push-ups likely helped with going through rock gardens, and pull-ups helped with technical situations where I had to bunnyhop and get back to a centered position after being behind the saddle.

    Kind of vanilla, but figure the training will pay off to the point that I can be more free with my riding plans in the future, without worry about fitness. Thinking about a new bike to replace my old one already. The physics behind riding a mtn bike on raw terrain really sparks something in my mind, as does the technology in the various bike and bike component designs, so the interest in getting into bikes is undoubtedly there. Also looking for a better plan, perhaps one refined by modern sports science. I'm afraid it'll be one that focuses on intervals and pain.

  4. #4
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    I feel you. I'm inching into this to avoid DOMS. I'll get sore no question. I'm just trying, like you, to be efficient and systematic about building this abused body back into a leaner, more flexible, more "useful strength" machine.

    Im Reading tons here. Gear, mechanics, and now ...finally....starting where I should have, with the "engine" of the whole shebang.

  5. #5
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    I got a foam roller to help with the soreness. It's never hit me to the point that I'm like that guy that had a real "leg day" for the first time, but I guess I'm not really doing intervals or anything, and tend to give up easily. Might be something we all do at our age, but I tend to overly dramatize how tired I get.

    Beware the foam roller hurts the first time you roll out some tight muscles. After things get looser, it becomes comfortable enough to keep it up that you kind of miss the pain, and kind of relate the pain to muscle build up. For me, the side of the knees, I forget what it's called, but it's for helping the ACL/PCL (?), hurt the most the first time. Now it feels so good, especially if you get the feeling of things tightening up again.

  6. #6
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    DvXin,

    Foam roller like a pool noodle?

  7. #7
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    I got a trigger point branded one. It's reportedly made firm to target deeper tissue.

  8. #8
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    My wife is 63, had 3 kids and was completely inactive until age 58 when she started mountain biking and fell in love with it. Just go out and enjoy the passion of it and you WILL get in shape!

  9. #9
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    Midlife return to MTB/conditioning questions.

    Couple of tips:

    Don't wear underwear under your bike shorts (noob mistake)
    Make sure your seat height and overall bike fit is dialed
    Don't use regular sneakers (use clipless with Shimano multi release cleats - the silver ones - easy to unclip). Regular sneakers are too soft and you will give up power and stamina.
    Stretch before you go out, especially hip flexors
    Make sure you stay hydrated. - a 16 oz water bottle with just water not enough for 20 plus mile rides in the heat

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    My wife is 63, had 3 kids and was completely inactive until age 58 when she started mountain biking and fell in love with it. Just go out and enjoy the passion of it and you WILL get in shape!
    Excellent encouragement. I have to say, I am loving being back in the saddle. The legs are still pretty weak, and the lung capacity is just not there....duh....but in all I think my plan is sustainable. Just taking my time and working at it with consistency.
    Biggest challenge is getting my head wrapped around the notion that I am not 20 years old anymore. I can't just "be in shape" after a couple weeks of riding like I used to.
    I'm down another 10 lbs as of this morning. I'm feeling better and better. Diet intake is all plant based, and water intake is through the roof. It's been a good summer.
    The plan is to ride year round. In Colorado I can probably expect to be able to ride for nearly the whole year with minimum interruption. So with any luck, and with continued consistency, I should be in a good place to start riding some light weight mountain trails next spring!!!!?

  11. #11
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    Also, if you ski....
    When I was about 54, I decided that alpine skiing just wasn't keeping me fit enough during the winter. I don't bike year round, so I took up telemark skiing. Boy, talk about a workout. My youngest son (25) and I usually hit Moab around March and it is much easier now than it used to be just based on that.

  12. #12
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    You may want to eliminate flour from your diet to drop weight slowly. (I did) You'll feel better with more energy. After looking into it, it is somewhat similar to the paleo diet...

    Get your carbs from rice, quinoa, potatoes, corn.

    You also may want to get another wheelset and put some slicks on them to do a quick workout when you don't have time for the trails. You just need to ride for 30 minutes or so at a brisk pace. Ride as much as you can and don't pig out after the ride!
    "Don't ride faster than your guardian angel can fly"

  13. #13
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    I'm not going to pretend that I know what it's like to be 50 and over weight and try to pick up biking, but I picked it back three years ago at the ripe old age of 30 and found myself ridiculously in need of conditioning.

    I'm a lifetime skier, athlete, and consulate outdoorsman.

    The thing that helped me the most was running. Run 5k's and 5 miles. Run hills. Run hard.

    The carryover is immense. Leg strength, hammy stability, core stability and strength, endurance, cardio fitness.

    The biggest thing I noticed though is cardiac recovery. Instead of climbing a hill ad being pegged for the next 10 minutes while you try to decend, your heart will calm right down.

    I can't speak to diet, though I'm on an entirely whole foods diet, it's not always the best choices (i.e. almonds and chocolate for days.) And beer. There must be beer.

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  14. #14
    I like mtn biking, too
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    Hey, welcome! And congratulations on all of the positive changes you are making/have made in your life! At the beginning stage of conditioning yourself for mountain biking, I reckon you just want to ride as much as your life/energy allows and shoot for consistency, not volume or intensity. The key is having fun - find some friends to join you. Then gradually shoot for making your rides longer, or longer sections of rides without stopping. Explore some new trails, new quiet roads, flat-ish dirt roads are great. I'd give this phase a long while, maybe a few months at least... Definitely much more than 2 weeks.

    Other tips:
    I find that riding mtb on road really boosts cardio endurance. (Assuming you don't have a road bike)
    Trail riding can get "punchy", and sometimes quick hard efforts are required. Don't be concerned if you have to hike up a steep section right now. It's probably better to keep your heart rate on the low to moderate side while you are "base building".
    After this initial phase, or even now, pick up a copy of Lee McCormack's "Prepare to pin it" for easily digestible, beginning guide to training.
    You can also check out James Wilson's programs for mtb-specific strength workouts (https://www.bikejames.com/). Or just stick with the basics: deadlift, squats, push ups, sit ups, etc.

    Edit:
    Just read that you are on a plant-based diet - awesome! So am I. A great resource that I use is Brendan Brazier's Thrive for homemade sports drinks/gels, nutrient timing & training on this diet.
    Last edited by shredchic; 08-02-2016 at 08:20 PM.
    Half the planet is deep into bloody tribal mayhem. We’re just riding bikes (and drinking beer) here.
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  15. #15
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    Shredchic,
    Thanks for the links. I'll be checking them out as time permits.

    I have been consistent. It's pretty key in getting started. I'm going to be riding through the winter as Colors do winters in general, and Denver winters in particular, make that possible. The goal is to "sneak up" on fitness in an effort to avoid injury/DOMS/and burn out. I don't drive a car, so this is going to be pretty much my primary mode of transportation.
    I'm interested in recipes of all kinds for a plant based diet. But smoothies and energy drinks or recommended teas are especially welcome. Right now I am all about ice water and lemon.

  16. #16
    I like mtn biking, too
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madcapwoodwright View Post
    Shredchic,
    Thanks for the links. I'll be checking them out as time permits.

    I have been consistent. It's pretty key in getting started. I'm going to be riding through the winter as Colors do winters in general, and Denver winters in particular, make that possible. The goal is to "sneak up" on fitness in an effort to avoid injury/DOMS/and burn out. I don't drive a car, so this is going to be pretty much my primary mode of transportation.
    I'm interested in recipes of all kinds for a plant based diet. But smoothies and energy drinks or recommended teas are especially welcome. Right now I am all about ice water and lemon.
    Cool, it sounds like you are off to a good start. The commuting will take care of your easy base miles (well, as long as it's not up and over a huge mtn, lol). For winter, some of my friends use Zwift for doing trainer workouts, and it looks pretty cool, although I haven't tried it yet.

    I have a morning smoothie every day, pretty much. Base is water, organic soy, coconut or almond milk, a number of bananas depending on calories I really need, and then a couple handfuls of greens and berries for added flavor. Optionally, add hemp or flax seeds. Also, I'm not big into protein powders, but I really like this one because of the ingredients and it tastes the best: https://thrivemarket.com/garden-of-l...powder-vanilla

    The workout drink that I use even for 8 hr. races, 100 mile races, etc. is the Lemon-lime sport drink recipe from Thrive (the book). Basically, you blend up dates, lemon & lime juice, sea salt and a ton of water and pour it into your water bottle (with some ice cubes, if it's hot out). I leave out the coconut oil. Maybe if I was skinny as Brazier, I'd put it in, but I don't need it. The result is a ton of magnesium, quick digesting natural whole food carbs/calories, and no cramping ever.
    Half the planet is deep into bloody tribal mayhem. We’re just riding bikes (and drinking beer) here.
    ~Fairfaxian

  17. #17
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    Excellent.....

    Yes, I am dialing in the diet and slowly getting results.

    The actual riding is just all about consistency. I am trying to ride some each day in addition to my commute.
    The body weight workout is just big muscle group exercises. Push ups, wall squats, calf raises, and planks....

    I add one rep to each movement, each day, and one new movement to the routine a month. It's squats and push-ups right now. One long set each. Up to 35 reps on push ups, and 2- 2 min wall squats.

    It's glacially slow building up. It's hell getting old.

  18. #18
    Ride More - Suffer Less
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    Good job for getting back on it! On the push-ups just don't go past 90deg on the elbow, that is when you really start stressing the joint according to my shoulder doc..takes time, comes back though, 45 aint squat bro. keep it up.

  19. #19
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    Wow, your story resonates with me...I'm 45 and a lifelong weightlifter... I used to mountain bike a lot but gave it up many years ago. Had been doing some road riding but moved to an area that allows me to mountain bike ride near my home.

    Losing weight and getting fit has been a priority because I've wanted to get better on the mountain bike. Riding once a week w/ a fit 28 yr old from work helps too...surprised I can actually hang and even test him at times.

    My advice, get My Fitness Pal and enter everything you eat, everything, into it. Works extremely well and ensures you are able to see how different foods affect your hunger/success. It'll hold you accountable and make you think of everything you put in your mouth...even if just a lifesaver or little snack (they add up).

  20. #20
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    M8!! You've concurred some demons! Congratz...

    I got into mtb'ing aged 40, @253lb's...

    Goal weight was 230lbs actually got down to 227lbs (goal was new whip).

    Eating <5g per 100 was key I found to dropping weight quickly (remember beer is low sugar).

    Now I'm 235lbs and quite happy weight wise.

    Fitness will take time in the saddle.

    I use to lift a bit back in my younger days.

    Now, it's mainly Chin Ups and Press Ups for upper body w/ a but of the heavy bag thrown in.

    Lower body is on the bike...

    Pretty hilly where I live. So legs look better now than when I was doing 200kg+ squats o_0

    Mix in 2-3x a week for Martial Arts and the odd game of Football (aka Soccer).

    I like to think my insides look fairly healthy.

    Mix it up and keep fresh/stay excited.

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  21. #21
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    @traxfactory

    Copy that. I have to be careful as my shoulders are fairly tweaked from all the weightlifting back in the day. I take great care in protecting them and make sure to listen to them before they start screaming.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lovespicyfood View Post
    Wow, your story resonates with me...I'm 45 and a lifelong weightlifter... I used to mountain bike a lot but gave it up many years ago. Had been doing some road riding but moved to an area that allows me to mountain bike ride near my home.

    Losing weight and getting fit has been a priority because I've wanted to get better on the mountain bike. Riding once a week w/ a fit 28 yr old from work helps too...surprised I can actually hang and even test him at times.

    My advice, get My Fitness Pal and enter everything you eat, everything, into it. Works extremely well and ensures you are able to see how different foods affect your hunger/success. It'll hold you accountable and make you think of everything you put in your mouth...even if just a lifesaver or little snack (they add up).
    Indeed, I have used that app in the past. Ill look into getting it again. Good to know I'm not on my own here.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by targnik View Post
    M8!! You've concurred some demons! Congratz...

    I got into mtb'ing aged 40, @253lb's...

    Goal weight was 230lbs actually got down to 227lbs (goal was new whip).

    Eating <5g per 100 was key I found to dropping weight quickly (remember beer is low sugar).

    Now I'm 235lbs and quite happy weight wise.

    Fitness will take time in the saddle.

    I use to lift a bit back in my younger days.

    Now, it's mainly Chin Ups and Press Ups for upper body w/ a but of the heavy bag thrown in.

    Lower body is on the bike...

    Pretty hilly where I live. So legs look better now than when I was doing 200kg+ squats o_0

    Mix in 2-3x a week for Martial Arts and the odd game of Football (aka Soccer).

    I like to think my insides look fairly healthy.

    Mix it up and keep fresh/stay excited.

    Sent from my kltedv using Tapatalk
    You sound like a brother from another mother Targ,

    Funny you should mention martial arts, Monday was my first workout back on the mat in 25 years.

    I'm starting all over as an unranked white belt again. I studied Aikido for many years back in the day, and decided to go back.
    I'm glad I didn't mention what rank I used to hold, or that I had studied before, my technique is woeful. Better to start all over as the body I have now, is not anything like it was back then. Just moves a lot different. Good to relearn and take my time.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madcapwoodwright View Post
    You sound like a brother from another mother Targ,

    Funny you should mention martial arts, Monday was my first workout back on the mat in 25 years.

    I'm starting all over as an unranked white belt again. I studied Aikido for many years back in the day, and decided to go back.
    I'm glad I didn't mention what rank I used to hold, or that I had studied before, my technique is woeful. Better to start all over as the body I have now, is not anything like it was back then. Just moves a lot different. Good to relearn and take my time.
    Bro ^^ I used to do Aikido (many years ago now)... ended up starting family and moving house, so it never really took off.

    Now, I do Kung Fu - training for Brown belt at the mo.

    Don't think I'll make it to black as my hips are starting to give me grief.

    Might move into Tai Chi after getting my Brown.

    MTB'in is my first passion though, absolutely smitten w/ it.

    Other things give me balance (literally and metaphorically).

    Sent from my kltedv using Tapatalk
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  25. #25
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    Indeed,
    I took up mtnb again after selling my cafe bike. Pedal power instead of horse power now.

  26. #26
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    Find pretty enough places to ride where you're totally OK with hopping off and walking for sections of it. Not being under pressure to keep pedaling does wonders for enjoyment, and taint tenderness.

    Start off there, and stick to a post-ride stretching regimen.

    It's not a rush to get into shape, it's about enjoying each incremental bit of progress. If it's fun, you'll keep at it, keep going farther/faster, and exploring new places.

  27. #27
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    Maybe you should look up basic skills clinics in your area since you do well in routines and structured settings. Could help to get you into it more. Also, consider a coach? I don't know how much money you have, of course, but that sounds like it would work for your motivation.

    Suggestion: invest in sugar-free gum to stay off the smokes. Keep the pack with you at all times.


    For saddle problems, I recommend checking into Specialized. Don't limit yourself to the mountainbike models. The road saddles have better cutouts, which sounds appropriate to the symptoms you describe. Also stay away from the soft, squishy ones.
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