When the retired Jens Voigt isn’t leading a Gran Fondo that bears his name, or at the helm of Trek Factory Racing’s festivities as their “Ambassador of Awesome”, the affable German is busy at work in his equally important diplomatic role, as Fitbit’s “Performance Cycling Coach”.
In fact, there’s even talk about Fitbit programming its fitness trackers to say “Shut Up Legs”!
Here’s Jensie’s first blog post.
Hi, I’m Jens. I’d like for us to be on a first-name basis, because I’m going to be your new cycling coach. I’m a former professional cyclist, and have been a member of several racing teams, including Trek Factory Racing—I’m currently a team consultant for Trek. I built my career around smart, aggressive riding, but I still manage to keep a sense of humor about things. Despite what you may have heard about my fellow German countrymen, I’m known for my levity.
I’m excited to be working with Fitbit, and I’m even more excited to help you find your fit with cycling. Ready to saddle up and nail your fitness goals? Here is some advice to get you started.
Shut Up Legs!
My coaching philosophy is simple: Winning takes work. There’s no faking or pretending when it comes to cycling. If you want to race well and win, no matter what winning means to you, you have to actually do the work to get there. Embracing pain will give you a competitive edge. If you can push yourself through the discomfort of training, you will reach fitness and performance levels you never dreamed you could hit.
When you set a goal, you put your fate in your own hands. It’s you who changes, who moves, who shapes your reality for yourself; it’s you who shapes your life. That can be a heavy burden, but you’re not completely alone. Sharing your goals with others can help you stay accountable, and seeking support can keep you on track, too. I’m planning to be here every month to offer you advice, training tips, and targeted workouts.
Carbon Fiber is a Nice-to-Have
The first time I got on a Trek, with high-end wheels and everything, I felt like I was sitting on a sailboat—you don’t pedal and this bike moves. That airiness is necessary for elite racing, where the weight advantage is a big deal for speed. But for fitness, pushing around more weight can actually be to your advantage. You have to work harder to move the bike beneath you, which makes your legs stronger. Dust off the road bike you’ve got in the garage, or buy the one that truly fits your budget, and know that you are that much stronger when you glide past the guy riding next to you.
Be Ready to Crash
Setbacks happen, but it’s important to get back up—don’t give yourself an out. I know this from personal experience. In 2010, I crashed on Stage 16 of the Tour de France and ruined my bike, but I didn’t let that keep me from finishing out the day. I said to myself, “No, I do not accept defeat here. I do not accept this. I’m going to change this.” So I hopped on a loaner bike given to me by race official—a yellow junior bike with old-fashioned toe clips, and I forced myself to get down the mountain. There I was able to meet up with my crew and switch to a better bike, but I still had to push hard to get back to the other cyclists in the grupetto. Always remember, you make your destiny. You can overcome a setback when you choose to do so. Embrace the pain and push forward
In a more literal sense when it comes to crashes, you should always wear a helmet. If you watch major cycling events, you may see a few pros who skip the head gear, but it’s always good practice to wear a helmet. In a pileup, a helmet can mean the difference between you being seriously injured and being able to ride another day. And that’s the point after all—to ride another day, to make progress, to find your fit and hit your goals.
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