Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Why Behind What I Do

One Wednesday morning, I was riding an endurance bout after my Core classes and one of my favorite songs came on ("All the Same" by Sick Puppies). It's a song about hurt and forgiveness and purposefully living the moments you have with someone you love. I reached over to the sound board and turned it up...LOUD. As I rode, I added more resistance and picked up my pace. I felt powerful, like a badass running from something and winning. The lyrics are pretty intense and I was belting them out until each word became more and more of an effort. My heart was pounding in my chest and there was a fire in my heavy legs but I just started pushing harder. That's when it hit love this.

I. Love. This. 

Cycle, in its most natural form is incredibly moving. It allows you to dig into a part of you that rarely gets tapped. There's no coordination needed, just raw and driving power. 

I really started to spin a lot when my mother was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, an aggressive form of brain cancer. I could drop into a class undetected and sit for an hour without talking to anyone. Nobody was judging me. Nobody knew if I was faking the funk. I could close my eyes and coast and in my mind build my grocery list and work through my schedule so I could be there for Mom's chemo or take her the caramel macchiato that she loved so much. It was an hour that was about me feeling whatever it was I was feeling without judgement or explanation.

But then something happened....I allowed it to get physical. I allowed it.

I stopped thinking about brain scans and cancer and stopped coasting by. I started to turn it up. I began to play a little with my boundaries and then slowly push beyond them. I learned to quiet the sadness in my mind and heart by feeling the work in my legs and lungs. I loved the sweat and the bike but I really loved the music. I loved being able to feel the song and give it a physical form with my ride. On the spin bike, with little distraction, I was able to take the feeling poured into the words and turn that feeling into strength for my body. It became about me for that one hour. The world outside went away, cancer went away and it was just me. I had to face my demons alone and learn how to deal with them. 

All physical movement holds within its arms the ability to create within all of us a beast that can face anything. It took me a while to find my beast because, like most people, I looked at exercise as "work" and something I "did" rather than actually living it.

People worry about stats and think that if they don't finish first that they're not "good enough". Nothing could be further from the truth. I learned to never look at any ride as defeat or a waste of time because in each ride I would find a little more of who I was. I think it helped me learn to look at stress and pain as a building blocks of strength rather than tools of destruction.

It's not about the bike or the weight loss. It's not about how many watts you can push or how fast your legs move. It's not about jumps or presses or even the music. It's about giving everything you could give to that day's ride...heart, mind and body. It's about never settling and not letting the yuck dominate you. Ever. That is why I love cycle and why one of the first things I did when Mom died was get my Spinning certification. I wanted to teach others to love it, to connect to it, to own it.

You live like you ride. 

Mind. Blown.

Ride on.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Shift Your Mindset

I've had more than one person tell me I'm "mean" or that I "expect too much from myself" and worse I "expect too much from others".
I recently read an email from a studio owner about a spin class that said something like (and I'm paraphrasing) "The worst thing we could do is calculate "power." You might hear that term used as an advanced form of performance tracking, but in reality it alienates the average rider from feeling successful. It focuses on the negative."
False. It focuses on a baseline and once a person has a baseline they can outline measurable goals on how to progress. It's a measurable. It’s not mean, it's not negative, it is a logical way to train the human body. A body that has responded to proper training since the beginning of mankind.

The fact is, a rider is only "average" if they allow themselves to be and worse, if YOU as a coach encourage them to be. As a coach, it’s important for us to encourage, to educate and to expect the best out of our team. Using metrics to define where a person is starting is not a bad gig. As a matter of fact, people who track their success will feel more and more satisfied with their movement and commit at a higher level to their goals. Let’s start focusing on something other than whether or not the scale is fluctuating.
Call it a shift in mindset…measuring performance and success based on something other than how we look.

Look, everyone wants to be successful and learning to accept that we all have our own 100% is an important part of actualizing success. Allow people to identify and accept their starting point. If they are ready to move, this will be an empowering moment (for them and you). If they are not ready to move, defining their “power” isn’t going to be a game changer for them either way. Keep working until they’re ready. Educate, encourage and expect the best. It’s that simple.

I'm not sorry for being "mean" or "too hard" or for expecting people to be accountable. The fact is we all have greatness, we all have talent and we all have the RIGHT to identify that in ourselves and even more – to expect it from others. 

John Buchan said, "The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there."
Raise your game. Be great. Be a leader in your community, in your gym, in your spin studio, and in your home. Expect more from yourself and don't be ashamed to expect others to do the same.

Let's do this.