Blog Post by Grant
A friend introduced us to Torq Fitness around eight years ago. At the time, Torq were based near to Shrewsbury and were offering training packages that suited our needs. Putting a little more structure to our fitness training seemed the right thing to do, so Emma and I took the plunge, booked an assessment day, bought a six-month plan and have been heading back to Torq every year since then.
Torq relocated to a premises in Powys around a year ago. We visited the new place just after they moved in November 2014. They were still settling in, but it looked good, with a much larger, specific area for the fitness testing well under development. That was twelve months ago, but now fully completed…..it’s superb. The fitness assessment area has a blend of equipment to enable testing, a teaching/discussion room, soft seating, and a very stylish shower area. Nutritional information and the actual range of Torq products are also on show. All in all it provides the basis for a great day.
Anthony Roland of Torq has carried out our assessments and created our training packages since our first visit in 2007. Anthony was there to greet us today, and after a general catch-up and a herbal tea (no caffeine allowed pre-test!) the bikes were soon set up and we were ready to start.
Part of the assessment is discussion based around the outcomes of the last training plan, current riding/training and future goals. Since the last assessment, I had reduced my weight by a number of kilos, so I was keen to see how this influenced the testing.
The main aspect of the day involves an indoor and outdoor test. Both tests utilise heart rate and power output. These are measured using Powertap training wheels. The first test is carried out indoors and sets out to establish an endurance training zone. The second test is done outside and uses a hill climb, the aim being to ride it as hard as you can. The purpose of this test is to gather rider specific information for performance related training.
The endurance test showed improvement for both of us. On the hill-test, Emma went really well, and the test data highlighted an improved power to weight ratio.
One aspect of my test that was slightly different to previous years was that although power to weight showed improvement, my heart rate was significantly down. Combine this with how I’d been feeling, it confirmed I was fatigued. The ride volume had been high throughout the summer and work was busy. Time to ease back and get some recovery. I also needed to consider how to minimise ongoing fatigue.
I went to the assessment day expecting some changes from previous tests. On reflection, based on how much I had changed physically, I should have re-tested much earlier and more frequently. Oh well, it’s all helpful experience and knowledge.
After heading back indoors and getting showered, we were able to have a great discussion with Anthony about the outcome of the tests, future goals and how we can adjust and refine what we do. Anthony has often encouraged more frequent testing and information sharing. During conversation we learnt about a forthcoming IT package that should make this easy, even for a pair of non techies like Emma and I !!
During the course of the year, we had both really gotten into longer distance rides in the hills and mountains. Fortunately, we’re both hooked on this, so we agreed that the next training plan should factor this in. Anthony seemed to really like this idea too.
Our visit to Torq was perfectly timed in that we were able to sample some new products. These were a recovery bar, an energy chew and a hypotonic drink. The products tasted delicious and have so many potential applications in our cycling, that we can’t wait to get our hands on them when they launch in the New Year! As with all their products, the focus is on natural based ingredients, combined with science based nutritional info.
The day flew by and it was soon time to head back home before the Friday afternoon traffic started to build. On the way home, Emma and I both agreed this was probably our favourite day at Torq so far. The new premises are superb, situated in beautiful countryside with the potential for fabulous cycling right on the doorstep. It’s definitely an area we need to explore on our road bikes next year. The information gathered from our tests was encouraging and will be so helpful in creating new training plans, how we approach training in general, and just as importantly…..rest and recovery.
If you are looking for some coaching or fabulous (and science-based) nutrition, Torq are really worth checking out. I can certainly vouch that they have added so much to the enjoyment and fulfilment that we get from our cycling. You can find more info at http://www.torqfitness.co.uk