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Cyclist aims to keep pace as temperature drops

Power Crunch gets expert feedback on a different workout routine every week. This week, former Olympic cyclist Steve Bauer shares his exercise regimen.

Former Olympic cyclist Steve Bauer loves a challenge. He manages Team RACE Pro, a professional cycling team, and is a spokesman for The Ride to Conquer Cancer, a fundraiser benefiting the Princess Margaret Hospital that organizes bicycle marathons in major cities across Canada.

MY GOAL

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"I don't have an event goal in mind. To try to stay in shape through the winter and maintain the fitness I have; I think that's pretty normal."

MY WORKOUT

Mr. Bauer, 49, hits the bike trails around his home in Niagara three times a week, often for two hours at a time. But with the temperature dropping, he is on the lookout for a new gym to get him through the winter months. Just don't expect to see him in your next spin class - he hates stationary bicycles.

He prefers to warm up on elliptical trainers and rowing machines, and then does a strength routine that focuses on his legs. His favourite move is the power squat, because it combines core and leg strength to lift and hold the 25-kilogram Olympic bar. "It's a very good psychological exercise because you gotta give everything to move the weight."

He follows squats with sets of calf raises and clean and jerks, also performed with a bar, and then traditional leg presses and hamstring curls. For his upper body, he finishes his routine with bench presses and bicep curls.

MY LIFESTYLE

"Haphazard. We're very mobile and one day to the next is quite different. If it's a Tour de France bicycle trip, we're flying over to Europe. The Team RACE Pro training camp might be in Arizona this year and we'll start racing in South America. There are some good races in Mexico, Argentina and Cuba. And then we're back in North America for some races."

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MY MOTIVATION

Most important to Mr. Bauer is that he still loves cycling after more than 30 years. He's inspired when he sees people take up the sport. "People can achieve tremendous things and they didn't know they could do it on a bike.

"My life is so cycling-centred. The inspiration is to achieve new things, new challenges, to reach goals I haven't achieved. Our goal is to take Team RACE Pro to the highest level in sports: We want to be at the Tour de France in five years."

MY ANTHEM

Mr. Bauer admits that although he loves music, he's been too busy to download any.

MY CHALLENGES

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Mr. Bauer trained as an endurance athlete and thinks his efficient metabolism is a mixed blessing. His body responds well to exercise but "loves to store a little extra fat when it can."

He never steps onto a scale but he thinks he's about 10 pounds overweight. However, with his busy schedule, fitness falls down the list of priorities. "I'm no longer the professional athlete for whom it's his job. I'm like everybody else."

THE CRITIQUE

CONQUER THAT EXERCISE

Pierre Blanchet, of Club Sportif MAA in Montreal, thinks it's time for Mr. Bauer to update his routine with some new techniques and tools.

Take, for example, those power squats. Mr. Blanchet recommends he use the Japanese balance ball, the Bosu. Doing a squat while balancing on a ball will make the exercise more challenging without adding strain on his joints.

Mr. Blanchet says setting specific fitness goals can revitalize a workout, especially for former athletes who crave the challenge. Mr. Bauer has been doing squats for 30 years, but adding the Bosu "may help him want to conquer that exercise."

UPGRADE YOUR GYM

"I would look into a gym where new trends are being applied," Mr. Blanchet says. "When you go into a gym and you don't see any Swiss balls, Bosus, Dyna Discs or soft weights ... I would shop around a little more." He thinks Mr. Bauer should check out hot new equipment such as slide boards and the TRX suspension unit to diversify his training.

To make the most of the new equipment, he should invest in a personal trainer. Tweaking his technique with these tools will create the challenge Mr. Bauer needs to make fitness a top priority.

GO TO BED A LITTLE HUNGRY

Mr. Bauer should make sure not to eat after meals. If he doesn't want to cut out his favourite foods, Mr. Blanchet says, he should stop snacking after dinner. "If you go to bed on an empty stomach, you'll dig into your [fat]reserve a little more."

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