Fat bikes have been peddled as the juggernaut of bicycles, and bike shops have started to recommend them above other bikes as they are versatile and can conquer any terrain. Their softer and wider tires offer excellent traction in snow, sand, mud and over rocks and tree roots, making them a great option to keep up your fitness level during winter. With a fat bike, there’s no need to store your mountain bike in a shed during the cold and snowy month–they’re a good fix for cabin fever. Discover why fat biking can improve your fitness level, and use your fat bike as a secret training weapon over the winter.
Enjoy new and different challenges
Indoor stationary bikes can be very valuable in your training routine, but riding outdoors and enjoying the fresh (if cold) air, can’t be beaten. Seven-time world champion and endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch knows the importance of setting yourself new challenges while training. She says, “For me, finding ways to train outdoors is super important to have fun and variety. When fat biking came along, I figured it was just a fun way to go cruise around outdoors. Once I got one, my attitude changed when I realized how hard it is! The skill, power, and endurance challenges fat biking presents make it really beneficial to your riding in any season.”
Burn fat quicker
There’s no need to worry about gaining weight in the winter with fat biking. Going out riding on a regular basis will mean you’ve burning lots of calories each time, so hibernating and gaining some pounds won’t be an issue. Your body will need to work harder to push the rolling resistance, and you can’t coast while fat biking, you need to pedal constantly. Most likely, you’ll be fat biking in the cold, which studies have shown can increase your metabolism as your body needs to work harder to stay warm. Exercising in the cold can also increase nonshivering thermogenesis, meaning your body fat is more metabolically active, and you burn more calories. A short fat biking workout can burn away more than half a day’s worth of calories.
Strengthen your muscles
If you want to build muscular endurance through power training, fat biking is a great option. According to Rusch, “With the fat tires, snowy conditions, and heavier gear and equipment, there is more drag on your tires, and you need to produce more wattage to turn the pedals.” The more muscle endurance you have, the more intensity you can handle during training, and you’ll be less fatigued at the end of a hard, long ride.
Build your mental toughness
When you’re suffering during a workout or training, you can think back on one of your long and hard fat bike rides and think to yourself that, if you’ve persevered through many miles while being cold, tired, hungry, achy and cranky, you can also get through this. You can only build this type of mental toughness, something which Jake Wade, an endurance racer who races for Borealis Fat Bike agrees with. “Riding in the ‘elements’ is huge in my opinion,” he says. “If an athlete is training all winter in cold, windy, less desirable conditions, it will no doubt make them tougher mentally. This is an enormous edge when race day weather conditions are less than perfect. Once you get used to pushing those bikes up a hill, the transition to a lighter race bike feels like a huge win. Obviously, power is power on any bike, but this has given me a mental edge.” And when you finally make the switch to fat biking, nothing can really compare to that joyous feeling of being one with nature–no matter the weather.