Fitness – Get fit for: Morocco

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Training for an adventure away on the bike might sound like torture, but if you want to make the most of your time on two wheels, you’ll want to ensure you’re in good shape. Here, Mark Ansell details a fitness plan for those heading on an adventure to morocco.

In past issues, this regular fitness feature has covered many exercises that will enhance your chances of enjoying adventure biking in the longer term by conditioning your body to cope with hours in the saddle.

To develop your fitness further, we will be producing tailormade programmes for different scenarios that you may encounter at some point on your bucket list of rides. In this issue, we start with a hotter climate ride, for example a Moroccan or Death Valley adventure over two weeks or more.

I realise that some of this programming may be applicable to Western Europe if the scorching temperatures of the summer just gone are taken into account! The main goals of this type of programme are muscular endurance, aerobic capacity (for higher altitude in the atlas mountains) and a brief hydration guide based on what you’ll need to avoid dehydration.

Muscular endurance

This is programmed to get the maximum riding hours out of each day. These hours depend on the rider and what each day brings; let’s say an average of five actual riding hours per day is usually a general guide here, so you are going to need an overall body programme here.

The focus should be on compound, major muscle group and closed chain exercises. These are multi-joint and ground exercises that will work most of the body’s muscles. The programme here is for seven days and will be repeated for at least one month prior to travel.

Always complete a ‘PAR-Q’ form (physical activity readiness questionnaire (Google it)) before embarking on any training programme and seek your doctor’s approval if needed.

Muscular Endurance Programme

This will be in a circuit format, so repeat all of these exercises three times in this order with 30 seconds of rest in between each exercise. All exercises are using body weight and a resistance band, or you can substitute gym equipment if you have access to a gym.

  • Squats x 15
  • Press-ups x 15
  • Abdominal crunches x15
  • Tricep dips x 15
  • Low back extensions x 15
  • Seated row with resistance band x 15
  • Shoulder press with resistance band x 15

Aerobic Endurance programme

Frequency Per Week
Day 1: Muscular Endurance
Day 2: Rest Day
Day 3: Aerobic Capacity
Day 4: Rest Day
Day 5: Muscular Endurance
Day 6: Rest Day
Day 7: Aerobic Capacity

(use 220 – your age x 0.65 and 0.85 to get your heart rate maximum % (MHR%))

The durations here will depend on your starting level of fitness, double the duration if you are capable.

  • Jogging – 10 mins at 70% MHR
  • Running – 5 mins at 75% MHR
  • Repeat x 2


This is very important to many adventure pursuits, and hot climate adventure biking is no exception. The human body does not function well when even a little dehydrated, and this gets progressively bad until illness or worse occurs. Riding a motorcycle at speed and/or over tricky terrain needs you at your most mentally and physically hydrated.

The usual rule is that if you feel thirsty, you are dehydrated, so you need a plan before this happens:

  • An hour and a half before you hit the road: 500ml of water
  • 30 minutes before riding: 200ml of water
  • Every 30 mins (if possible): 200ml of water

These figures are only a guide and if you are sweating profusely in your gear, you may need to up the intake. Remember not to take on too much fluid, as regular ‘nature’ stops are annoying and too much fluid can also be detrimental to health. The bottom line is that you know your own body and when fluid intake is required – just don’t forget!