First of all, what the heck is a computrainer?
From the website FFC.com I’ve found a great definition: A CompuTrainer is a premier indoor bike trainer with a precision ergometer measuring power wattage, heart rate and cadence. It’s what professional and avid triathletes and cyclists use to train hard and increase their fitness while riding indoors on their own bike.
|Kelly Ann, Me, and Meghan. Photo courtesy of Keara.
In my own words, it’s basically your bike on a computer. I think I’ve mentioned lately how I am really digging it and there are a couple of local shops that offer CT sessions and I think they are worth their weight in gold. Keara wrote a great post on the benefits of it HERE.
I’ve had a few people ask why I like it so much and I’ve compiled yet another list! So, here’s my top ten reasons why I love the computrainer.
1. Air conditioning! The computrainer is ridden indoors and that means A/C. Hallelujah! It’s hot as balls right now and being indoors for a ride is a great change of pace. Sure, you still end up sweating buckets but you don’t have to worry about sunscreen and bug guts.
2. No cars! I’m a total wuss when it comes to riding on roads. Yes, I do it, but I am always the last one through an intersection and I would rather ride in the dark early morning hours than anywhere near rush hour or heavy traffic. Since I know Florida is one of the worst states for pedestrians and cyclists, the no car benefit of the computrainer is HUGE.
3. Course simulation rides. The computrainer software varies but there’s definitely a course or workout for everyone. So far, I’ve done two course simulations (Boise 70.3 and IMChattanooga). The benefit is that even if you live in a pancake state, you can train on some “hills” and vice versa.
4. No cheating. As much as I love spin class, I know there are days where I don’t adjust the resistance knob as hard as I should. The same thing goes for the regular trainer, in which I sometimes find myself watching TV more than working as hard as I should. Even on the road, you can coast if you get tired. The computrainer adjusts resistance for you so there’s no cheating there! Plus, you can see on the monitors if your watts drop too low or you aren’t pedaling at a high enough RPM.
|Heading up a big climb.
5. Data. I’m not really a huge data person, but I must say I find all the data flashing on the monitors as you ride very interesting. Most computrainers will show you watts, speed, distance, elevation, and heart rate. I know many of you are really into your numbers so this is a biggie for a lot of folks.
6. You can ride with anyone at any level. I have friends who are really awesome cyclists and I sometimes feel intimidated to ride with them. For example, the S.O. is so much stronger than I am that it’s hard to do hard workouts together without him having to slow way down and me getting left in the dust. The computrainer is great because you can ride with anyone and do the same workout or course.
7. Friendly competition. If you choose to ride a course you can virtually race your buddies. Some software actually looks like a video game and you can see your cycling avatar on the monitor. Pretty cool.
8. Interval workouts. You can certainly do intervals on the regular trainer as well as the open road, but the computrainer does all the timing for you and there are no stop lights or turns. You just pick the workout and the trainer adjusts the resistance and counts down the intervals for you. It does almost everything…but the actual pedaling.
9. Banishes boredom. I’ve found that watching TV on the regular trainer bores me to death. On the computrainer I’m much more locked into what I’m doing and paying attention to the numbers on the monitors. The time goes by much quicker and riding simulated course or workouts can be a different “surprise” every time you ride.
10. Less packing, proximity to bathrooms, no flat tire worries, and a great hard workout!