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.
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.