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Book Review: Fitness Cycling
 
By Staff
Date: 8/5/2006
Book Review: Fitness Cycling
 

Book Review: Fitness Cycling
Fitness Cycling: A training guide keeping it real for real people by Michael & Dede Demet Barry with Doctor Shannon Sovndal.

By Ben Lyons

 This summer the uber cycling couple Dede Demet Barry and Michael along with friend Shannon Sovndal M.D. have released a book under the Human Kinetics label titled Fitness Cycling . Interested in what the trio had cooked up I managed to obtain a copy and give a read.

   
     Click on picture for info on purchasing the book.

There are many training programs, websites, software tools, and large fitness companies out there, some are sketchy and impersonal, others are high tech and require and second mortgage to afford. Fitness Cycling is a book, yes a book; requires reading, doesnít upload to your PC, talk to you, make your meals, or provide a draft when the head wind hits you like a wall. Even though it wonít do all those wonderful things it does do a few great ones.

The Simple Life
Collaborating with the hopes of creating simple to understand and easy to follow way of training, this book focuses it attention on making the best of what time the trainee has available. There are a few pages most seasoned riders could skip through, but Iím glad they included them; simple things like bike choice, proper clothing, and sizing, even route choice. Although this section is geared for novices they cover some things Iíve noticed some ďexperiencedĒ riders have been wrongly educated about. The wording is not complicated and the writing is done largely from the authors personal experiences; two very experienced pros and a doctor with a cycling habit is plenty of experience.

Flex Fit
Flexibility is something key to many out there, we all want to ride our bikes instead of padding our employerís pockets at pay below ďThe JonesísĒ, or get the better half to clean the house while we are off doing hill repeats, but thatís not always the case. What was good about Fitness Cycling is that it offers several versions of each workout type (hills, endurance, strength, time trial etc) while using frequency, duration and intensity to allow you to adapt them into your lifestyle.

Sticks and Stones to WMDs
Whether youíre pushing that old Peugeot with nothing but your wristwatch or flying on the latest dream machine loaded with a SRM and HRM you can build a program out of this book, and still use your toys. 60 workouts to utilize so just follow the steps and either piece together what works for you or follow their sample plans but keep in mind it only works if you do.

For the winterized riders they also have off-season advice and workouts to maintain your fitness and avoid being shelled off the back of the first spring coffee ride. Be it hiking, weights, stationary trainer or cross-country skiing combinations there should be something you can workout with there advice.

Post-its of Education
As if to catch all the little things you might have forgotten or not known there are many little throw in's serving as reminders about form, pace, physiology, and technical information to educate the reader about why they are doing what they are doing.

Iím feeling Sick, Whatís for Lunch?
If youíre looking for meal plan and recipes you wonít find them in this book, which might be a drag for some since diet is often one of the hardest parts of a routine and difficult to keep in balance. They do give a brief discussion on proper nutrition and its importance but go no further. Honestly though, there are plenty resources for nutrition, and the likelihood of readers following what they may have told you is about slim to none; like I said diets are often the hardest to commit to. Not a whole lot on illness and training, but seriously of youíre really that sick see a doctor.

The final GC
This is a book written for everyone but not necessarily for everyone. Some people require one on one communication like that of a personal trainer or email coach, someone to review there progress and make adaptive changes; usually those with a very specific goal. Others simply donít have the best self discipline for a program and just enjoy riding whatever route and pace their friends dictate. But this book does offer workouts and a knowledge base that anyone can benefit from, whether they are keen on having a program to follow year round or having a reference to go to when they get off track and need to get back lost fitness or mental focus.

So far itís the most portable and sensible training guide I have referenced; itís a soft cover book with no unnecessary software, tools, and inexpensive. This all ads up to a great guide even if only a little keen, or a excellent Stocking stuffer (is it too early to be thinking Christmas?)

Behind the Book
A
few Q and Aís with Michael Barry

Ben Lyons: Michael, what was the motivation for you, Dede, and Shannon to write Fitness Cycling?

Michael Barry: We have learned a lot about cycling since we began cycling and people often ask questions about training, position etc. When we were given the opportunity to write the book we embraced it immediately as it gave us a chance to share our knowledge of the sport with others. Dede and I have spent a lot of time riding together and Shannon is an experienced Doctor who was able to bring scientific/medical knowledge to the project which made the book both fun and interesting to write.

BL: How long did it take to go from and idea to reality?

Michael Barry: We were approached to write the book and from that day on it took about five months to write and edit and then another couple of months before it went into print. All in all, I think the project took about a year to complete.

BL: You first publication was "Inside the Postal Bus", and now you have this book; is writting something you plan to continue doing even after racing?

Michael Barry: I enjoy writing and it keeps my mind active while I am off the bike. I am not sure if it is a career I will pursue but for now it is hobby I really enjoy as it challenges me in a completely different arena.

BL: Many people have a vice, or indulgence, or just plain old bad habit somewhere in there training, what, if any of the three mentioned do you or Dede find yourself doing?

Michael Barry: I canít really say I have any vices or indulgences when it comes to training although I do have a bad habit of extending my rides and staying out for longer than planned. If I tell Dede I will be gone for four hours, she assumes I will be back in five. Perhaps, I do this because I really enjoy being out on my bike training and the time always seems to pass quickly. Dede was great at training and stuck to her plans and programsóunless of course she was tired or sick.
 

 
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