Staging Your Personal Tour de France
You may feel like the most inactive person in the world, but it is possible to achieve your own Tour de France victory.
But physical prowess can only take these cyclists so far.
Willpower, tenacity, and a never-surrender attitude must also be in the
successful racer's repertoire.
"The race throws too much at you," says Roll.
"Anything can happen out in the road. The weather could be bad, the crowds
can step in front of you, the food can be bad, you might not sleep because
there are parties outside your hotel all night, you might crash on oil on the
road, or you might be taken out by other riders that fall down."
Be Like Lance
You may feel like the most inactive person in the world, but it
is possible to achieve your own Tour de France victory.
"Cycling is a great activity that can be performed by a
wide variety of fitness levels, body types, and body sizes," says Cedric
Bryant, PhD, chief exercise physiologist for the American Council on
The benefits are just as generous. According to Bryant, biking
can help burn calories, control body weight, and reduce stress, blood pressure,
and risk of type 2 diabetes. It can also improve overall cardiovascular
fitness, cholesterol levels, and immune function.
Not only that, there's the advantage of being outdoors in the
sunlight and fresh air, having adequate cooling, and seeing different terrains
And if you enjoy the sport, the pros multiply. "The best
exercise that you can select is the one that you enjoy, because you're most
likely to do that on a consistent basis," says Bryant. "Don't get
caught up in 'Well, this one doesn't burn as many calories as the next one.'
The most important thing to consider is, what type of activities do you really
Incidentally, a 150-pound cyclist pedaling a gentle pace of 12
miles per hour can work off 410 calories in an hour (about the same amount as a
Quarter Pounder hamburger), says Patrick McCormick, a spokesman for the League
of American Bicyclists.
Your own biking regimen, though, may pale compared to the 5,900
average calories burned per day in the Tour and may not work off as much as
running. (An hour on the bike may burn about 400, while the same time on the
treadmill may burn 700 calories.)