Zwift – or how I learned to enjoy working out

So I eat too much. Or my metabolism is too efficient. Either way, if I don’t work out I get fat. Slowly but steady. Also, I eat when I am stressed so it’s a spiral that I need to avoid. (not even thinking of the benefits of exercise on my mental health. yea.. Depression, I am talking about you!)

I have been to the Gym, I have had a personal trainer, had the evening walks scheduled and I found out I have gotten really good at finding excuses not to go to sports – even to the point of creating escalations at work so I can not make it home in time for the sports class.

Also I love biking so a friend pointed me to zwift. It is basically a MMO sports “game” – I will come to the point of game later but I must say, this eliminates all but one of the possible reasons for me not to exercise. Rain, cars, darkness, time, etc.. all do not apply anymore. And it is either recreational or follows a strict schedule. I can decide on the workout.

the “view” in 1st person. Obviously I need that. I am not a console gamer, FPV FTW!

I chose for the “budget” setup, re-purposing a cheap racebike – there are also solutions out there that work directly with zwift (and other setups) and are a lot more powerful, like the Tacx Neo 2 Smart but that’s something for when the bike and/or the trainer dies.

Right now I used the following components, most of them I had in house already, I only had to buy the actual trainer and the ANT+ sensor (I learned later that you can even save on that by routing the heart and cadence/rpm/wattage signal via your phone and bluetooth using the companion app)

  • Tacx Flow Smart trainer (Decathlon exclusive) – 250,- euro
  • A mat to absorb vibration / protect against sweat (you will sweat!) – 20 euro
  • ANT+ sensor for USB – 15 – 40 euro (amazon vs. branded)
  • pulse meter – bluetooth and/or ANT – 35 euros
  • two fans for cooling/airflow – honeywell – 25 euro each
  • A Zwift subscription (15/month. that one hurts. There is free software out there, like bkool and rouvy but I like the ‘data porn’ approach of Zwift and I dig the massive multiplayer aspect.

the rest of the things I already owned / they accumulate and some things were donated by friends.

  • an old bike (second hand, 100 euro)
  • an old TV / large monitor used as a monitor (free as I had it over)
  • a computer that can run 3d software (anything above Intel 4000 GMA will do)
  • an old soundbar and subwofer. Motivation comes at 140-160 bpm
  • a table / stand to get the TV higher

Been doing this for a year now.. so far it works and I am neither bored, nor annoyed, nor do I get embarrassed or otherwise distracted. Also no excuses. That thing stands in front of me and I can not ignore it. No matter the time or mood or weather.

It’s only me, music and Rule 5 ;)

My next home will have a dedicated training room. That much I know.