Training Tips

Back to Fitness Training Plan

on October 28, 2020


If it’s been a while since you’ve been on the bike, Zwift has a new training plan to get you rolling again. Back to Fitness is a 12-week training plan for anyone looking to jump back into cycling after some time away from the sport.

Co-written by Olympic gold medalists Dani Rowe and Kristin Armstrong, this plan is perfect for those returning to cycling after injury, pregnancy, seasonal time off, or other reasons for inactivity. It starts out with a set of shorter, lighter-effort workouts and builds throughout the 12 weeks.

“Whether you have had a recent hiatus from riding, you’re coming back from an injury, you’re a new mom or you’re ready for some accountability and fitness gains — Back to Fitness has you covered,” Kristin says. “Our 12-week progressive 2-day per week plan will get you back in no time, taking the guesswork out of your day all in under an hour!”

The inspiration for this series of workouts came to Dani after the birth of her son, when she took some time off the bike. Dani was looking for something to help ease her into building fitness. She knew other cyclists are often in the same position, when their circumstances have meant they need to take a pause from riding. Dani had just finished the “Baby on Board” set of workouts that she and Kristin had created for pregnant women, so she came to Kristin again with her idea. The two teamed up with coach Shayne Gaffney to create the Back to Fitness training plan.

“Getting fit can be daunting, but the Back to Fitness workout programme helps you get there by taking baby steps,” Dani says. “The plan consists of 30-40 minute structured workouts to slowly build your fitness and help you train more consistently.”

According to Shayne, the workouts are appropriate for Zwifters who are beginners, who aren’t used to structured training, or who are low on time and want to get a quick and fun workout done. If you can ride a bike for 30 minutes and you’re willing to work hard every now and then, you can do this plan!

“Maybe you are just starting out training, getting back on your bike after giving birth, or maybe it's your return from injury,” Shayne says. “Whatever your baseline is, the Back to Fitness plan will help you improve upon it.”

This Flexible Training Plan features two rides per week. You can add other rides to it if you feel like doing more. It builds in overall volume and intensity as the 12 weeks go along, so you’ll get used to what it’s like to ride harder and ride more.

If your time off the bike is two weeks or less, it won’t affect your riding level that much. The longer the break, the more it will impact your fitness. If it’s been three months or more since you’ve been riding regularly, Shayne advises you to take it slow and listen to what your body and mind tell you.

A slow build can help you both physically and mentally. Shayne says he’s seen athletes get discouraged when they try to pick up where they left off. Instead, ticking off small successes like these workouts will help build confidence as your fitness grows.

“The best piece of advice I can give someone coming back after some time off the bike is to not compare yourself to ‘before,’” Shayne says. “Less is more when returning to exercise so you can get a few workouts under your belt, feel fulfilled and proud doing so, and get back into that positive feedback loop.”

That’s why this plan was also designed to be fun! Keep doing whatever motivates you to get on the bike and build that habit.

“It’s important to create a positive mental attitude, build consistency and good habits, and, most importantly, enjoy what you're doing each day,” adds Shayne.

To find the plan, when you log in to Zwift, click the training icon at the top-left and select “Plans” at the top of the next screen. Look for “Back to Fitness” in the left menu, then click it to show details about the training plan. Click “View Plan” to get a summary of the workouts and preview them if you want, and then select “Enroll” to begin.

Learn more about how to start and follow one of Zwift’s Flexible Training Plans

Who are Dani and Kristin?

Kristin Armstrong, a 4x Olympian, an entrepreneur, and a mom is the most decorated U.S. women’s cyclist of all time and the best time-trialist in sports history. A three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and two-time World Champ, Armstrong is the only female athlete to win the same event in three consecutive Olympic Summer Games (Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2018). Following her first Olympic Gold in Beijing, she retired and became a mom to Lucas and quickly came back to the sport to win her second gold in London with Lucas in her arms. Kristin rode throughout her pregnancy and is excited to share her insights with soon-to-be moms on riding, motherhood, and keeping a balanced life after delivery.

These days, she’s in Boise, Idaho, where she’s started a business called PIVOT Lifestyle + Fitness that focuses on health and fitness. And, some days, she pops into the Zwift studio to offer insight with the PowerUp Cycling Podcast.

Dani Rowe née King is one of the most decorated British cyclists of all time. A three-time World Champion, two-time European Champion, Olympic Gold Medalist, and the World Record holder for the 3km Team Pursuit, Rowe was an absolute beast in the saddle. In 2018, at age 28, Rowe has retired from professional cycling, and now spends her time working with sponsors, partners, and making media appearances. And that’s not even getting into her very own coaching business, Rowe and King. And, some days, she pops into the Zwift studio to offer insight with the PowerUp Cycling Podcast.

The biggest news in Dani’s life is that she welcomed her first baby into the world in September 2020. She has used Zwift to remain healthy and active throughout pregnancy and wants to help others in the same position both pre and post-birth.

Starting Your Fitness Journey

Ready to get started with Zwift? Welcome aboard! Here’s what you need to ride:

If you’re not sure where to start shopping, the Zwift store offers everything you need (except a computer or mobile device). Once you have all your gear, it’s time to get set up and ride! You can do workouts like the “Back to Fitness training plan, ride or race in groups, or just enjoy riding around the virtual worlds.

Check out this video playlist, which walks you through getting started for cycling on Zwift


Race Recon: Watopia Tempus Fugit about 1 year ago