In the now-famous commercial, Ray Lewis says the animals want to talk so they can communicate with him. But a lot of animals might not be able to catch the future Hall of Famer the way he's pedaling his bike these days.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh says the All-Pro linebacker is in the best shape that he's ever seen him in, and Lewis says that's thanks to cycling.
"I credit a lot of my training to a lot of my cycling," Lewis told reporters, getting more excited by the word. "I did a lot of cycling. I became real big in it. First couple times I went out there I was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I mean, the fatigue that you go through..."
One reason Lewis brought out the bicycle is because it puts less stress on legs than pounding the pavement.
"It's really a mind thing on how you have to breathe and just let your legs keep going, going, going, going," Lewis said. "And then when you get on the field and you go back to running, running isn't the same because you can't take as many steps running as you can cycling. So that's one of the things that really, really helped me out a lot this off-season."
While you won't see Lewis in the Tour de France soon, cycling can be a great changeup to your cardio routine if you're sick of the treadmill or pavement every day.
A stationary bike is great for steady state cardio and may be even better for interval training than the treadmill because of the lack of acceleration and deceleration lag that a treadmill belt undergoes when the speed changes.
If you're looking for sport-specific conditioning, however, cycling may not be your best bet. The best way to train is to replicate movements and the stress your body goes through in competition. While there's a lot of running involved in basketball, for instance, it's nearly useless for a basketball player to run five miles at a steady state to train for the season. When would that ever happen in a game?
Plus, look at it this way: If Lance Armstrong's cardiovascular endurance directly transferred over to running, he'd be a world-class marathoner.
But that's not to say Lewis wasted his time on the bike. Hardly. At 36, his body has been through a lot of wear and tear over 15 NFL seasons. And as we said before, interval training is easily adaptable on a bike. Relatively short bursts of power followed by longer recovery periods are normal in any cycling class.
Besides, one of the most important aspects to any fitness routine is rest. By subjecting himself to grueling, but lower-impact workouts, Lewis says he feels fresher.
At the very least, that means no letdown for fans coming to the stadium to see him dance this season.
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