If you’re ready to get serious about cycling, your first move is to set some goals.
“Goal-setting is the most important component of any fitness program, because your goal defines what you do,” says Melanie Melillo, CPT. In the case of cycling, what you hope to accomplish — weight loss, fitness, performance — will ultimately dictate how and when you ride.
Here’s how to set better, smarter goals for your cycling routine.
1. Set SMART Goals
Setting SMART goals (ones that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) can significantly increase your chances of reaching them. Here’s how to get SMART:
Here’s the fun part: Figuring out what you want to achieve through your cycling routine. Is it fat loss? Crossing a virtual or actual finish line? Or how about keeping pace with your avid-cyclist best friend?
Whatever the goal, make sure it’s specific. So, instead of “weight loss,” pinpoint a particular amount of weight (ex. 5 pounds, 15 pounds, 30 pounds). If you’re training for a race, pick out your event, so you have a date and distance to aim for.
It’s okay if you have multiple goals in mind, but you’ll see the most success by focusing on one to start.
Once you’ve identified your big goal, you need to break it into smaller pieces. Breaking your goal up can make a large goal feel less daunting. “Give yourself smaller chunks to work with so you can see your progress,” Melillo says.
Take your goal and split it into smaller weekly goals. For example, if you hope to cycle for a full hour, aim to meet a new time goal by the end of every week. Breaking up your goal this way can make your big goal more approachable.
“It also gives you a sense of urgency, because if it’s this week’s goal, you can’t really put it off until next week,” Melillo says.
When you create a plan to reach your goals, be sure to start where you’re at and build gradually from one week to the next.
If you’re new to the bike, it might not be realistic to expect to cycle for 30 minutes three days per week. Even if you have a good base of cardiovascular fitness, it still takes your body time to get used to the new demands of cycling.
“Just because you can run five miles doesn’t mean you’re ready to jump into an hour-long ride,” Melillo says.
If you try to skip ahead in your training, you’ll only hurt your progress. “The biggest mistake people make when they start a fitness routine is they bite off more than their body can handle,” Melillo says.
Do this and you may wind up too sore to work out regularly, or even increase your odds of injury.
“You want to build on that foundation, so take it slow,” Melillo says.
Think of the “why” behind your goals and make sure they’re personalized to you.
You’re likely not competing in Tour de France, so there’s no need to aim for 10 miles every day. If you’re just looking improve your overall fitness, three to four days of cycling per week can be plenty.
Prefer lower-intensity workouts to high-intensity ones? Opt for endurance rides instead of HIIT rides.
Chasing your goals is far more rewarding and enjoyable when the journey is specifically tailored to your interests and motivations.
Setting a reasonable timeline for achieving your goals can help you stay on track.
For example, if you’re doing workouts on the BODi Bike, maybe you want to make your way towards completing a 45-minute class before it’s time for your next zone calibration ride.
Whatever your goal is, a deadline can help motivate you to seek measurable progress every day or week.
You know yourself best, so give yourself enough time to work hard for a few weeks or months, but not too much time to the point where you lose focus or get bored.
2. Strategize Your Workouts
Smart workout selection is key to reaching your goals. That’s why we offer trainer-led rides via the BODi Bike on our platform, allowing you to recreate the studio cycling vibe in your own home.
Choose from a wide selection of live and on-demand cycling workouts, all led by certified trainers and personalized via heart rate-based training.
For example, if you’re training for a race, you’ll want to check out the endurance-focused workouts and the high-intensity interval training rides, Melillo says.
3. Find a Community
To stay on track and keep your goals in sight, connect with other people who love to cycle.
“It’s a nice way to check in with people who like the same things you do, and are also doing the same things,” Melillo says. “You can touch base with people who are choosing the same experience.”
Look for cycling groups in your area if you prefer outdoor rides and the camaraderie of a group.