Earlier this year, Ryan Nyquist took first place at the BMX Park on the Maryland Dew Tour. His victory in itself wasn't terribly surprising, considering that the pro, famed for his innovative handlebar spins and groovy riding style, all but earns frequent flier points for his regular trips to the podium of major BMX competitions. What is remarkable, though, is that he's been doing it now for 18 years. Which means that, at the ripe age of 34 Nyquist typically competes against athletes who are 10 or more years his junior.
After suffering a major ACL tear in 2006, Nyquist recognized that the years and scars were starting to add up, and so he began to invest more time in his off-bike training. This interest in overall fitness has helped burnish his reputation as one of professional sports' most balanced and disciplined athletes (not to mention one of the most downright humble we've ever met, too). And given his silver medal at the 2013 X Games Barcelona and his recent victory on the Dew Tour, it looks like he chose the right path. (He competes in the San Francisco Dew Tour October 11–13, which viewers can watch live on NBC on October 12 and 13 at 4 pm ET.) Victory, however, never comes cheap, and Nyquist says his success is founded on a combination of intense training matched with serious willpower. He recently gave 'Men's Journal' a look into his training regimen and suggested six key ways the rest of us can boost our overall fitness.
Strike the right balance between types of workouts.
Engaging in a variety of aerobic training methods reduces the chance of acquiring an overuse injury. At the same time, it conditions muscle groups that might be neglected when focusing on just one form of cardio. Think about it: In an explosive sport like BMX, you don't want the slight build of a marathon runner, nor the larger upper body and slimmer legs of a swimmer. If the aerobic exercise itself isn't your sport, then you want to stay aerobically fit through a variety of training types, while maintaining a balanced physique.
Nyquist says he has completed two Olympic-length triathlons through the Lava Man series. It's not surprising that he noticed a massive increase in his in-event stamina while training for them. "Each event [running, biking, swimming] had its own benefit. Swimming got me in amazing shape. The only downside was that I was really losing body weight – I need some of that armor for when I fall!" he says. The goal is to strike a balance between the benefits of establishing an aerobic base and keeping the muscle mass required for a particular sport.
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