Those who have been around the sport and have ridden or raced dirt bikes, will tell you motocross is one of the most physically demanding sports on the planet. You are using every muscle in your body to control and maneuver the dirt bike over terrain that is constantly changing. Fatigue can set in FAST and that is when you either start to slide back in the field, start to make mistakes, or both. Unfortunately, in the sport of motocross, when you start making mistakes, your risk of crashing drastically increases, and with it, the risk of injury. Maintaining, a high level of physical fitness can help you avoid fatigue and injury.
First off, I’m not going to sit here and claim to know the ins and outs of workout programs, diets, scientific data, etc., etc. However, I do follow some basics that work for me and have made a difference in my riding performance. You can start following basic routines to help you begin to reach your fitness and riding goals.
Eating habits have got to be one of the hardest things change. Depending on your current habits, your work schedule, finances and a host of other influences, it can be difficult to all the sudden switch to a diet that you’re not used to. However, you’ve got to start somewhere.
If you’re one of those people that can all the sudden switch up your diet and stop your old ways cold turkey, then great! But a lot of times people don’t stick with a diet because they do too much too soon. If you’ve ever tried a diet plan or had a personal trainer create a meal plan for you, you know it’s extremely difficult to stick with it, and most people don’t. Why? Because you’re changing way too much way too fast. Now, I’m not saying you should take your sweet time changing your diet, but ease into it if you need to. It’s better to start changing things a little at a time to get used to it so you’ll stick with it rather than trying to change everything and then throwing in the towel because it’s too hard. But again, the sooner you can change it up, the better.
So when changing your diet, what foods should you be eating? First off, try to get rid of the processed foods you’re consuming and definitely cut the ties with your fast food love affair. The way I think of it..... if it comes in a packaged wrapper or box, it’s probably not the best. I’m not talking about packaged meats or protein bars. I mean things like chips, crackers, cookies, hot pockets, etc. Also, try to start reading the ingredients on what you’re buying and look for things that have the least amount of additives. An example is peanut butter. Peanut butter can be made with peanuts, salt......AND THAT’S IT! So what is all the other crap most companies put in their peanut butter? Who Knows!? But if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you probably weren’t meant to eat it.
The bottom line, try to get foods in their simplest form possible. I’m not going to tell you what you need to eat or that you need to go on a paleo diet or anything, but the more simplified your food is, the better. Things like fresh produce, lean meats, nuts and grains are a great place to start! Try substituting things you would normally eat with something new and go from there.
Don’t forget, drink LOTS OF WATER. This will obviously keep you well hydrated and help boost your metabolism.
There are so many diet plans out there to choose from. Try to find a healthy one that works for you!
Fitness training for Motocross is a little different than traditional strength training. Going to the gym and lifting weights to build strength is not going to help you much. The best thing you can do, is to get yourself on a training program that will help your endurance. Some sort of cross training workout that keeps your heart rate up is going to translate well onto the track.
Check out this great video of a basic floor workout!
Now, gym memberships and at home gym equipment can be costly. But you don’t need to throw down a bunch of cash just to be able to start training. YOU CAN WORKOUT FOR FREE! A simple body weight floor workout is perfect for achieving your fitness goals. Don’t believe me? TRY IT!! You can do simple exercises in your living room, in your garage or wherever you want for as little as 30 minutes to an hour a day. I would only recommend that you get a workout mat so you have a little cushion if you plan to workout on concrete.
You can use the list below as a reference and pick any combination of the exercises to start with and branch out from there. Or you can do whatever exercises you choose. Use your cell phone or a watch to time yourself and do an exercise for 30-40 seconds at a time and then rest for 10 seconds and change to the next exercise. Do whatever combination you choose. If you’re working out at home, you can even throw in some running to break up the workout. Go through 4-5 exercises and then run to the end of the block and back and then start over. Try to workout for 20-30 minutes to start. Again, any combination you like.
The following exercises are for reference only. Perform them at your own risk.
If you are not familiar with any of these exercises, do a quick google search of the exercise and you’ll find numerous examples and explanations. This list should give you a good base to start from. As you progress, you can branch out to whatever you like and incorporate new exercises and programs.
There’s no substitute for seat time on your dirt bike, but I guarantee you that taking steps toward your overall fitness and health will help you achieve your goals as a rider. Making yourself less susceptible to fatigue will not only decrease your chances of injury, but it will also make riding your dirt bike so much more enjoyable.
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