Can 3 minutes of exercise a week make you fit for the 7 Epics?
One of the questions that we at the office are often asked is; what kind of a shape do I need to be in to undertake one of the epic cycling tours and how do I train for them?
There are gazillions of training blogs and general advice out there so I will not add to it – especially as my training consists of getting on a bike and going nice and easy for a few hours, followed the next day by getting on a bike and cycle nice and easy for a few more hours, followed the next day by a long sitz bath. Don’t knock it, it works for me. This approach was good enough to get me through Tour d’Afrique, Orient Express, Silk Route, South American Epic and a few others.
But recently I came across some new research that stopped me in my tracks or rather told me that maybe I have been wasting a lot of my time on unnecessary training – that is if I have the right genes. In a recent article on the BBC titled “Can three minutes a week help to make you fit” Jamie Timmons, professor of aging biology at Birmingham University claims that a few relatively short bursts of intense exercise, amounting to only a few minutes a week, can deliver many of the health and fitness benefits of hours of conventional exercise.
According to Professor Timmins all I have to do is “get on an exercise bike, warm up by doing gentle cycling for a couple of minutes, then go flat out for 20 seconds. A couple of minutes to catch my breath, then another 20 seconds at full throttle. Another couple of minutes gentle cycling, then a final 20 seconds going all out. Repeat three times a week”.
Results? Well here it gets a little convoluted. If my mom and dad gave me the right genes, I will be a “super-responder” and belong to 15% of the population. If my good old dad and mom did not give me good genes I will belong to the 20% of “non responders”. Or I could end up somewhere in between and that means I better get back on the bike.
So what does all this mean for getting in shape for the 7 Epics? As a friend of mine once told me you have to be careful how you choose your parents.
Thinking about the 7 Epics? or have no idea what it is? Find out more here.