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Irena Ossola

This month we highlight a recent article from the blog of pro women’s cyclist Irena Ossola, HPDI’s sponsored athlete. Irena works hard during the off-season to maintain balance in her life and regimen whether cross-training, working on her core, optimizing nutrition, or balancing (literally!) on double-stacked bozu balls.


Balance for strength. Balance for training. Balance for life.

Particularly in the off season it’s so important to work on balancing exercises for core, isolated muscle work, and for technique. Because so much of cycling and racing involves balancing on the bike, practicing and working on basic balance exercises is important. From being able to hold a track stand, to standing on the pedals as you climb a hill involves core strength and balancing on the bike. But even for non cyclists, balance exercises are great for strengthening and fitness.

Using a large yoga ball, bozu ball, or with foam pads you can do various drills and keep it fun too. A great trainer in Santa Fe, Michael Canning, has worked with me on various exercises and cyclist specific strengthening. Like in the pictures, pushing my boundaries of balance with these double stacked bozu balls.

Irena ossola balance bozu yoga ball

In training I have learned first hand over the past year that strictly riding can lead to problems. It’s important to give yourself the flexibility in training to change things up and also include cross training or other activities that help keep your body and mind in balance for the focus of training. Incorporating swimming, yoga, gym exercise, hiking, and other fun activities keep your body moving and gaining fitness while also giving it a break from pedaling or working 100% of the time. After suffering from a pinched nerve last year and back problems I make sure to include swimming, stretching and core into my training routine.

Balance in nutrition is also key to being able to feel good and train hard. Thanks to the Rejuvenate! superfoods and supplement products from Integrated Health I’ve been able to recover quicker and feel stronger after every workout. Even days of rest or lower activity I’ve seen the effects of eating clean and maintaining the fundamental basics of magnesium (which I’ve learned is soooo important for muscle function), a multivitaminomega’s, and a Nrf2 protector formula. Protein, fruits, and vegetables, and a balanced diet are the essentials for training consistently.

Leading your life simply focused on one destination or goal will always keep you in the future and not living the journey. The present moment is the best you’ll ever have and you never know what tomorrow will bring. Planning and goals are important, but also knowing that those goals will never be achieved without living now.

Since I spent a week in Tucson over Christmas, I’ve been back in Santa Fe working and training. The weather has been a bit back and forth between warm and cold. So when it’s cold, I’m inside on rollers/trainer, in the pool swimming, or in the gym. When it’s warmer out, I’ve been riding either my cross bike on trails or on the road, and hiking also. I’ve gone on a couple great all day hikes with Michael and my friend Hannah up to Baldie (a peak just behind the SF ski area). Such a great workout and something to mix things up in training. Here are some of the pics we got. :)

Irena hike balance
My friend Hannah and I on our hike adventure.
irena ossola headstand balance mount baldie
Headstand on top of the mountain.
Baldie Santa Fe balance hike
From the top of Baldie overlooking Santa Fe


Irena originally posted this article on her blog ( January 25, 2015. Read the article on her blog:

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