Stay fit for ADV riding with these proven diets from Daydreaming Fitness
Written by Ron Lieback. Posted in Tech-n-Tips
The dopamine kick of adventure motorcycling is unlike any other, spurring many to pursue broad goals such as riding safer, riding longer, and, for a few, riding more aggressively.
Some ADV racers feel like jumping stumps like Toni Bou. Others are on different missions, such as traveling through Africa safely or learning to ride flat gravel roads with street tires.
Whatever the mission, good physical condition and mental health is key to achieving these goals. This is where “dreaming fitness” surfaces.
But for now, let’s forget the daydreaming part. So where to start ?
In performance-based riding, 80% of the game is mental and 20% physical. Many of you know a few, uh, bigger riders that can outrun many off-road and on-road.
Other typical types need to stay in shape to keep driving safer and our bodies healthier (read: more fitness equals fewer accidents or faster recovery after an accident, and more miles without pain) .
Here are some favorite easy and fun fit diets, culled from over two decades of professional and professional training in multiple riding disciplines.
• an exercise bike or stationary bike
The cycling is low impact and easy on the knees, which most experienced motorcyclists can appreciate.
In 2013, I suffered a terrible accident that resulted in 23 “foreign” objects under my kneecap and required 93 stitches. Once cured, jogging was on the list. But the impact wasn’t too good and the knee pain reached new levels.
Eric Bostrom told me to start cycling, and it would provide needed cardio and help rehabilitate knee issues. I quickly fell for a stationary bike with occasional rides on a standard road bike. I haven’t jogged since.
Whether stationary or traditional, cycling will help you build core and leg strength, as well as healthy cardio needed for endurance for long ADV rides.
That said, make sure your bike is right for you. Many injuries occur because of an improperly sized or unfitted bike.
Another way to cycle on a daily basis? Do it while you work.
Floor-mounted mini bike pedals are available under the desk. I’ve only been using a standing desk since 2016 and modified a stationary cycle with removable handlebars to meet work training needs. When you have long shifts of admin work, aka BS, why not pedal an hour or two?
Various studies have shown that trampolining not only gives you a cardio workout, but also relieves stress and strengthens balance.
Keep one nearby and use it daily; this will help keep the energy levels high and the focus sharp.
Two minutes here, 10 minutes there, whenever you have a moment, you’ll notice the benefits within days and you’re sure to be more energized to ride longer and safer.
And again, like a stationary bike, the impact on the knees is minimal.
A kettlebell is like a gym unto itself and can be used for a quick core, upper body, leg or bicep workout.
Like the mini trampoline, keep one nearby.
Favorite daily exercises are the kettlebell swing and the one-arm kettlebell swing. Men’s Health has a great article that explains the benefits of the kettlebell, as well as effective exercises that will keep you in shape for your next ADV trip.
• Balance training on and off the bike
Besides physical strength, you need balance and the ability to use all four limbs together in unison.
Balance training is simple and you can quickly add it to your daily routine of showering and brushing your teeth.
When showering, stand on one leg, swapping the other for equal periods of time.
Do the same while brushing your teeth. Two minutes means one minute on each leg, every day, morning and evening. Choose a focus point and fix it – balancing is initially easier when you have sharp focus.
Do a few exercises while one leg is up in the air for an added benefit. Other balance practices include getting up and down from a chair without using your hands and practicing yoga or tai chi. I also do this periodically by working daily at the standing desk.
Fancy a real challenge? Close your eyes and try to stand on one leg for long periods of time (without hurting yourself, of course).
Add to that some balance training on your ADV motorcycle.
I have 2x4s placed sporadically around my yard and along some trails I ride, and I practice riding them standing, sitting, then standing with my right foot on the stake, left foot, then hand left on the controls and right hand off while squeezing to let the bike coast.
Think like a child and play. It’s a lesson I learned from Nick Ienatsch at a Yamaha Champions Riding School. Ientasch instructed his students to simply circle the parking lot, stop with one foot on the pole, kick a trash can, roll with one hand while standing, and more.
This helps build balance and mental muscle – two things that can always benefit ADV riders.
• Take a bike ride
Another simple trick that helps with both fitness and balance?
Take your bike for a ride.
When I train new riders on how to use a clutch, I have them walk along the left side of the bike using only the clutch to get it moving.
This helps them feel the clutch quickly on flat ground. The next step is to introduce hills that require proper use of the throttle and clutch. It also helps riders get a feel for the character of the engine.
Every time I test a new bike, I do. And when I practice my ADV riding regimen, I sometimes start by walking my KTM 1190 Adventure R around my house, as the terrain has lots of inclines and declines that force me to concentrate. This practice also helps organize the mind and push it into ride mode, which most cyclists do unconsciously during the first few moments of riding on streets where a lot of danger is present.
Before long rides, push your bike up some hills for an extra workout and the resulting bursts of energy, both mentally and physically.
• Visualize the journey and improve
When completing ADV driving objectives, 80% of the game is mental and 20% is physical.
Note that all of the above diets are suitable. So what about the vital 80% of the mental game?
This is where visualization comes in, which complements all of the physical adjustment regimens above.
Allow me to divert a bit.
Shortly after launching my first business in early 2017, I became obsessed with neuroplasticity. Simply put, neuroplasticity is the act of our brain rewiring itself, forming new connections and pathways based on interactions with our environment.
Mirror neuron thinking argues that brains rewire themselves to think like those around us. I really embrace this argument because I have experienced it time and time again. For example, I stopped hanging out with negative people when I wanted to get away from negativity. When I wanted to learn how to run a successful business, I studied and associated with reputable business leaders.
Same with motorcycles. When I wanted to learn how to ride fast and safe, I tapped into the best, which included training with some of the biggest names in the game, constantly reading/studying videos, and relentlessly practicing techniques.
Mirror neurons probably also work when you literally imagine yourself accomplishing something. I’m far from being a psychologist or anything like that. I just know what works from experience, and before I ride anywhere or tackle any obstacle or trip, I imagine myself achieving that feat.
And it always works. I think it helps remove the fear or idea of crashing. Who knows, but it certainly works.
And the best time to practice visualizing being the best rider you can be, whether that’s rolling over a log on a fat adventure bike or riding 1000 miles straight on an F 850 GS? While completing the physical diets above.
The more you visualize it, the more mentally prepared you will be.
Whether your goal is to dominate a single track on an ADV fat bike or cross Africa in record time, or take on the next stream crossing, try to visualize the real act.
First, imagine yourself on the bike from a third-person perspective, then yourself riding. Imagine the wind, the feel of the controls, your knees gripping the tank, the sound of the engine.
The best time to complete this visualization? While completing the physical training above. I call this “the ability to daydream”. Whatever its name, give it a try.
And expect some weird looks along the way. Adventure riders think differently, so there’s nothing wrong with getting in shape differently.
ADV riders are passionate and constantly on a mission to develop their riding skills. Being physically and mentally fit will help you develop your driving skills much faster.
The above fit diets can help you stay in shape and boost your focus. And the best part? These diets are simple to implement into your everyday lifestyle, and you’ll have fun doing them.