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Indoor vs outdoor

What is the fastest way to gain fitness, turbo or outdoor training?

I recently started turbo training and my first impressions is that I get a much more effective workout. I can really zone into the area I want to work at without anything interfere.

But I am worried if I turbo too much I will loose bike handling skills and perhaps long endurance as I cannot spend 5 hours on a turbo trainer.

Posts

  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 9,300
    You answered your own question TBH, the answer is always a mix of both. Especially in winter.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Definitely both. And outside is better for cake and coffee.
  • cruffcruff Posts: 1,517
    Yep, both. Indoor for interval work, outdoor where possible for general riding. At least Zwift makes it slightly more bearable when you've got three hours to do but the weather is too censored /dangerous to ride outside
    Fat chopper. Some racing. Some testing. Some crashing.
    Specialising in Git Daaahns and Cafs. Norvern Munkey/Transplanted Laaandoner.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,259
    edited December 2019
    Ride outside as often as you can stand the weather. When you can't, go on the trainer.

    The bike has wind resistance, the trainer doesn't. It also has a highly variable workload which is difficult/impossible to replicate on a trainer. Then there is the whole "outdoors" thing!

    Outdoor biking is good for you in so many ways, whereas the indoor trainer is only good for you as an alternative. But of course it depends upon what you are trying to achieve. If it is fitness at all costs then you need to take professional advice.

    If I was trying to get super fit for the bike (with no other wimpy considerations, like enjoyment), I would contemplate filling my back pack with bricks and dropping the tyre pressure a lot. :)
  • I would say the fastest could possibly be riding up and down a mountain, repeatedly. The thinning air would force you to develop better lung capacity, the fresh air would be far healthier than any indoor air, the gradient forces stamina and muscle mass, plus you get the mental buzz of being out there and smashing your own times as you ascend for the nth time. On the descents you'd use different muscles than on the way up, and also (hopefully) learn a more complete set of bike skills to handle the terrain. Don't have a handy mountain nearby? Maybe start smaller with a local steep hill then, but make it one away from busy traffic. Best place is probably some local woodland with fire roads, the air in a forest is very good.

    I don't use an indoor trainer, never have, but I can imagine it getting rather samey and dull. Safer, maybe cheaper too, more convenient, but I'd much rather be outside where I can sweat in clear air.
  • daniel_bdaniel_b Posts: 9,062
    IMO, and from personal experience, indoor turbo training with something structured, such as Trainer Road or a virtual ride of sorts, will yield more effective results than outdoor riding, and I mean that on a minute by minute basis.

    Especially if you are short of time, and have child care commitments, it's really beneficial.

    For me, it helps me get fitter, and I then enjoy my outside rides even more.
    Felt F70 05 (Turbo)
    Marin Palisades Trail 91 and 06
    Scott CR1 SL 12
    Cannondale Synapse Adventure 15 & 16 Di2
    Scott Foil 18
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,259
    edited December 2019

    I....................

    I don't use an indoor trainer, never have, but I can imagine it getting rather samey and dull. Safer, maybe cheaper too, more convenient, but I'd much rather be outside where I can sweat in clear air.

    Indoor trainers do get samey and dull. To stave off the boredom, I look out of the window, listen to the radio and chase various targets on the display. If you are time restricted you can get more exercise in that time slot. And of course if you just can't face the foul weather again, then exercising indoors is better than couch surfing.
    But I do 100% agree with your preference for outdoors, there are so many benefits!
    I bought my indoor trainer (it's an exercise bike like you see in the gyms) when I hurt my back. I just could not go out on my mtb, but with a gritting of teeth I could climb onto my exercise bike and then pedal away in complete safety! Once I was able to ride outdoors again, my fitness hadn't altogether disappeared. :)
  • They both have their place. If you only train on the indoor trainer then you will be in for a shock when you go outside. Indoor you can do very time efficient workouts and build lots of different aspects of your cycling except bike handling and toughness in different weather conditions.

    I gave up turboing a few years ago. Then since being forced off the bike a couple of weeks ago I have been turboing most days to try and keep my fitness. Turboing all the time is not sustainable for me mentally but I now realise indoor training is a great tool for working in the higher zones targeting different aspects like VO2, tempo, threshold etc.

    So as stated earlier best to use both but for me the majority will be outdoor. The other thing I have learned is don’t go too hard on the turbo as you will soon hate it. Make it hard but not so tough that you can’t face doing that session again.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437



    If I was trying to get super fit for the bike (with no other wimpy considerations, like enjoyment), I would contemplate filling my back pack with bricks and dropping the tyre pressure a lot. :)

    Oh sure - you DEFINITELY see the Pros doing this...

    You'd knacker your back and spend a lot of time crashing or fixing punctures.
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,259
    I agree, I wouldn't do it for sure. Which is why I wrote "contemplate" and ended with a smiley. :)
  • singletonsingleton Posts: 1,923
    Fitness comes in many forms - but if the conditions are too bad to ride outside then you can either go to the gym, go for a run, do some circuits or get on a turbo.

    I had a turbo, but due to a change in housing circumstances, I no longer have one. I just find other things to do when it's icy or too windy to ride outside.
  • Structured focused turbo training will help with your proper outdoor riding, whereas just messing around on *insert on line turbo software based thing* won’t help much, and might be counterproductive.
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