Everything You Need to Know About Zwift
Sometimes, affordable home training can leave a lot to be desired when it comes to our ability to access the health and fitness infrastructure that so many of us need for our week to week fitness journeys. Many of us find it harder to establish a comprehensive exercise and fitness program if we’re just training at home. Luckily for us, a multitude of online platforms, companies and interactive applications have stepped up to the plate to offer us the convenience of all-inclusive exercise and fitness programming in the comfort of our homes.
One such company is ZWIFT - an exhaustive, interactive application for cyclists, runners and triathletes that fulfills a variety of roles and functions for everybody from absolute beginners to seasoned pros and experienced triathlon competitors. ZWIFT has been on the SCODY radar for quite some time, as we’re big fans of any app or program that can help cyclists, runners and triathletes achieve their goals and be the very best they can be. So, we thought we’d throw ourselves into the world of ZWIFT and give our readers a rundown on one of the very best digital training accompaniments that’s out there and available today.
What is it?
Launched in 2015, ZWIFT is an app - a comprehensive multimedia application for triathletes, cyclists and runners. Designed specifically to be an invaluable asset to beginners, hobbyists and professionals anywhere along the training pipeline. To put it simply - you know how treadmills and stationary training bikes in gyms have virtual trails and tracks to “travel through” as you do your set workouts, whether they be intervals or long distance sessions? Think that - but on steroids. Bigger, better, and infinitely more integral to your training progress. The best part is you can access it right in your living room, garage or any space set up to accommodate your cycling trainer or treadmill.
In ZWIFT you can ‘free ride’ around the world without a specific goal or fitness achievement in mind, you can participate in weekly, monthly and yearly virtual races and track meets, or you can train in specialised workouts or programs designed and endorsed by some of the most accomplished athletes in the cycling, running and triathlon sports. The best part? You can connect with friends and fellow ZWIFT users across the world and compete against, train with or simply ride with them!
Want to know just how important ZWIFT is becoming for the world of cycling in Australia? In April of 2020 - as a response to social distancing measures imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic - ZWIFT and Cycling Australia announced the National Road Series would take to the virtual world. Set to be live-streamed over the ZWIFT app and the NRS Facebook Page, the NRS would feature men’s and women’s teams racing competing in six different races - all to feature commentary and special guests! For more information you can check out the National Road Series website.
How does it work?
When you log into the ZWIFT system, you have an avatar - and you use this avatar to traverse the wide and multifaceted worlds and running or cycling courses that ZWIFT has to offer. Your avatar will match your pace (slowing down or speeding up as you do), and stand as an accurate representation of your movements and progress through these virtual programs.
ZWIFT has a primary virtual world that you run and cycle in called “Watopia”, a sprawling island with countless kilometers of cycling track and course to traverse. You can also access any number of “guest locations” that change in availability over time. These can include (and have included) international holiday destinations, famous cycling courses and challenging conceptual tracks designed to push your very limits.
The way ZWIFT works is simple - you set up your stationary bike or treadmill in front of a screen (this can be a smart TV, a tablet, a laptop etc), you log into ZWIFT, and you get started! It’s as easy as that - though having access to a Smart Trainer or at least a speed and power sensor for your standard bike trainer and treadmill makes the experience all the more worthwhile.
From here you can participate in any number of the aforementioned features of ZWIFT - and over time you earn ‘XP’ points according to your experience (time and distance travelled), and can use these XP points to unlock further levels, locations and challenges. Further rewards systems like ‘power ups’ and interactive social media competitions add to the experience. Remember, the degree to which you delve into ZWIFT is entirely up to you - there’s no obligation or pressure to push yourself further or harder than your personal fitness goals and experience dictate, but here at SCODY we know you love a challenge, and it’s hard to argue with the sheer possibility at your fingertips provided by ZWIFT.
Oh, and ZWIFT has cross compatibility with other fitness, triathlon and cycling apps! These include STRAVA, Today’s Plan and Garmin Connect.
What do you need?
Generally speaking ZWIFT can work for any budget and any basic home cycling or treadmill set up. All you need is your bike or treadmill, then a screen with which to access the ZWIFT app, which works on Android Phones, iPhone, Apple TV, tablets and some Smart TVs.
For a better rundown of what your software and hardware needs are, check out the ZWIFT setup section of their website.
It’s honestly hard to envision a more practical, user friendly and overall beneficial cycling, running and triathlon focussed fitness application than ZWIFT. The sheer scope of ZWIFT’s vision and it’s capacity to improve the skills and fitness of cyclists, runners and triathletes everywhere is something to marvel at.
It may seem intimidating, but ZWIFT is an impeccably easy program to set up and utilise in your home - and SCODY will be keeping a very close eye on it in the coming months and years.
For information on ZWIFT software set up, prices, upcoming races and events, check out their website: www.ZWIFT.com