Preparation of a Different Kind

JS - not his favorite test

JS – not his favorite test

Considering both of us are exercise physiologists, we thought it might be interesting to undergo some fitness testing prior to our next leg of our Norway and beyond bicycle adventure.  We start traveling on Sunday, January 18th making our way to New Zealand, the starting point of the Down-Under segments of our tour. We will spend three months exploring New Zealand, hop over to Tasmania for a few weeks and then ride up to Sydney from Melbourne. We arrive back in the US in late May and will ride up the Sierra’s, through Yosemite valley and Tahoe, making our way home sometime in July.

In preparation for our next leg, we spent Tuesday in the Physiology Lab putting each other through fitness and anthropometric (body measurement) tests (I know, a romantic way to spend a day): We collected the following data:

  • VO2 max (on bike, of course- ramp protocol) – including Max HR, VO2 (ml/kg/min) lactate threshold, RER.
  • Resting HR, Blood Pressure and fasting blood glucose
  • Plank (core strength)
  • Curl ups and Push-ups (muscular endurance)
  • Sit and Reach (flexibility)
  • Height and Weight
  • Waist and Hip Circumference measures
  • Body fat: by bioelectrical impedance and 7-site skin folds.
JS getting his VO2 on

JS getting his VO2 Max on

JP getting her VO2 on.

JP getting her VO2 Max on.

Both of us will wear a Garmin Vivofit with heart rate monitor to keep track of our physical activity while riding. We will also log, on random days, our caloric intake via MyFitnessPal which is a free food tracker that syncs nicely with the Garmin Connect web site. There are a ton of fitness trackers out there – Here is a good review of many of the fitness trackers.  So why did we pick the Garmin fitness tracker?? We wanted a simple solution that did not require any charging and interfaces with software we are already using – (we use Garmin Connect for our GPS system). Its slim design is not imposing on the wrist. Plus, we got the devices at a steal of a deal through Groupon. (No we are not sponsored by Garmin: although we would be more than happy to be sponsored considering all the Garmin gear we use).

There are no guarantees to how diligent we will be in collecting data during the next leg of our tour or how long we will wear the fitness trackers – we are committed to enjoying the ride with no strings attached.  We plan on completing follow-up fitness testing once we return in July.  It will be fun to document the physical changes that occur simply by spending most of the days being physically active.

Bike touring is a great way to live a healthy and fit life with the benefit of exploring the world.  Back country, front country, local or distant, adventure by bicycle is more than a mode of transportation it is a way of life.

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