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How Can I Stay Motivated to Ride Indoors During the Lead-up to Christmas?

Ask a Pro — Diane Stibbard

Coach, Personal Trainer, and Two-Time Canadian Duathlete of the Year

Diane Stibbard - two-time dualthlete of the yearQ: How can I stay motivated to ride indoors during the lead-up to Christmas?

A: Indoor training always takes a hit during the lead-up to the Christmas season. November is hard. No one feels ready to get onto trainers, or into a spinning studio. Then December arrives. If you haven’t already established an indoor schedule, things start to slide. There are office parties, family commitments, end-of-school events—the list goes on. As a result you have less time to ride and less energy, and you sleep less and eat more, which makes you feel sluggish and even less motivated. So what can you do to motivate yourself this holiday season? I’ve put together a list of ten ideas to jump-start your indoor training rides.

  1. Download 45 minutes of your current favourite songs on a playlist and plug into your iPod. Mix up your workout by using each song to alternate the intensity. Ride at a moderate intensity for the first song, then harder with the next. Continue back and forth like this until the end of your playlist.
  2. Join a spinning class for one of your weekly workouts—the variety and group setting will help motivate you.
  3. If time is an issue, instead of 3×60 minute rides per week, do 3 short 30 minute workouts at a higher intensity. Something is always better than nothing.
  4. Download a movie or your favourite TV show and watch it while you crank out a workout.
  5. Before you leave for work set up your bike and lay out your workout clothes. When you get home, ride immediately before you have time to think about it.
  6. Have an evening event? Set your alarm 30 minutes earlier in the morning, and get up and spin for 30 minutes before showering and having breakfast. It will boost your energy for the rest of the day.
  7. Do the weekly 180 challenge—that’s 180 minutes in one week. It doesn’t matter when or how long you ride for, as long as you do 180 minutes in the week. You can break it up into three, four, or five rides, but the goal is 180 minutes weekly.
  8. Integrate your strength and core training with one of your weekly rides. Ride at a moderate intensity for 20 minutes. Then get off your trainer and do a mini-circuit of push ups, planks, and lunges. Get back on the trainer and ride a little harder for 20 minutes. Get off the trainer and do a second mini-circuit of squats, tricep dips, and bird dogs. Finish back on the trainer with 10 minutes of moderate intensity riding. Spin for the remaining 10 minutes to cool down.
  9. Download a book on your iPod or iPad, and listen while you ride.
  10. Even though this is the time of year to get your base miles in, throw in one interval training ride per week. Warm up for 10—15 minutes then do 5—8 sets of alternating intervals—ride 2 minutes hard and 2 minutes easy. Finish with 5—10 minutes of easy spinning to cool down.


I hope these tips help you when you are struggling to get yourself in the saddle. Just do them, and before you know it you’ll be in a groove, and the indoor season won’t seem like such a drag.  Stay consistent, get motivated, and reap the benefits throughout the festive time of year.

Training for a two-day cycling eventDiane provides training programs for recreational and competitive cyclists, duathletes and triathletes, including nutritional counseling and personal training. Does your company need a fitness consultant? Get in touch with Diane to discuss fitness seminars for corporations

You want personal training but don’t live near Diane? No problem. Diane does email and telephone consultations. To learn more, visit Diane’s website or contact her at

Check out Diane’s e-programs: Keeping Fit in the Off-Season and Training For a Two-Day Charity Event For the Time-Starved Cyclist.

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