like observing a muscular performance - a great win, easily
sustained momentum, prowess under pressure - to revitalise
your own intention to glow with health. Here, we provide the
inspiration to try three physical pursuits, with how-tos and
why-fors from expert trainers. Step off the treadmill and
into the shoes of a mountain biker, two dancers and a swimmer.
Youre sure to find a good fit.
"On yer bike", is no longer
a line to deflect unwanted attention - it's more a call to
action. Professional mountain bike rider Niki Gudex is proving
women who saddle up can go far.
began downhill racing in 1999, before shifting her attention
to the sports other major competitive division, cross
country, 18 months ago. Cycling works your whole body
- your arms, calves, thighs, butt, even your stomach,
says the 1.65 m, 50 kg athlete.
Sponsored by Oakley
and Intense Bikes, Gudex is now the National Cross Country
Series Champion and has her sights set on this years
Olympics (cross country debuted at the Olympics in 1996; Gudex
is now in Australias Olympic Shadow team). Itd
be awesome to be there, and pretty amazing after such a short
period of time. Her goal means committing to an average
of 500 kilometres cycling a week, weight training three times
a week, and the oddities (grilled fish for breakfast) of a
competitors high protein diet.
It is really
exhilarating and rewarding, says Gudex, and only
as dangerous as you make it, she adds, citing speed
as the main risk. When Im on the bike, she
says, I dont feel hindered or constrained. Youre
so involved in the moment and what you are doing that nothing
spin classes were tough. Mountain biking, which has attracted
Jamie Lee Curtis and 2 Fast 2 Furious star Paul Walker, takes
riding to a new level. Because its off road, it demands
a specialised bike. There are two major mountain biking disciplines:
downhill riding, which Tony Scott, President of Mountain Biking
Australia, describes as the more extreme side of mountain
biking, and cross country, which emphasises endurance.
Your whole body is put to work as you negotiate steep hills,
rocky terrain and obstructed paths. Challenging? You bet,
but, says Damian Grundy, national mountain bike cross country
coach at Cycling Australia: In most cases, youre
in a very quiet bush setting - its beautiful.
A bike shop is the best port of call, says Grundy;
youll find out about equipment and local trails. Alternatively,
contact your states cycling organisation or view the
Mountain Bike Australia website, mtba.asn.au, for clubs near
What You Need
- A bike! I would recommend people budget $450 for the
bike, without accessories, says Grundy.
- Sunblock and clothing: bright, light jerseys and bike shorts
(knicks have a built in chamois for extra padding), to prevent
- A helmet. It should be well ventilated, says
Scott, adding, if you are doing downhill, body armour
is a good idea.
- Gloves. If you crash, your hand is the first thing
you put down, says Grundy.
- A hydration pack, such as a Camelbak, to carry water as
well as essential bike repair equipment.
You lose weight if youve got weight to lose,
says Grundy. Its a great cardiovascular workout
and really good for the legs. Lee Campbell, Sydney based
director of B.Firm Fitness Studio, adds, Youve
got to lift your bike over bumps and push it around,
which gives you an all over workout, and the tougher
the terrain, the more youll burn.
Words: Jessica Irvine.
Photographed by David Mandelberg.