Success is hardly ever gained without blood, sweat and tears. No pain, no gain, right? Most athletes may think that continuous high-intensity levels of training is key to becoming an endurance sports champion. However, the opposite has proven true for Team Bestmed, whose members have taken the podium time and time again in various cycling races.
The truth is that continuous high-intensity training could lead to burn out. Chris van Rooyen of Team Bestmed recommends exercise physiologist Dr Stephen’s Seiler’s advice on “How ‘normal people’ can train like the world’s best endurance athletes”. Dr Seiler, who has spent years studying the training habits of some of the best endurance athletes, recommends 80 to 85% of training should be of low-intensity levels, while the remaining 15 to 20% should be high-intensity levels of training.
When you ride at about 50-70% of your maximum heart rate at a steady pace for two to three hours, it is considered low-intensity training. Your heart rate may be influenced by various factors, such as the weather (temperature) on the day, illness and/or if you have over trained. During low-intensity training, “You should be able to hold a conversation while cycling,” states Chris, “making it perfect for a social ride!”
High-intensity training (HIT) generally involves intense cycling for 30 seconds to a few minutes at a time, at 80-95% of your maximum heart rate. HIT usually leaves you breathless and speechless during the brief bursts of training. “You need to be fresh in order to do it,” recommends Chris.
This training method could be applied sustainably to other endurance sports. “It is a highly beneficial training method with great performance gains,” states Chris. Team Bestmed’s great results is evidence enough.