15 Apr 2013

It's All About Commitment.

I went spinning today at BOOM! Cycle, with Coach Martin on the instructor bike. Early on he told us that our hearts and heads would tell us that we could, and in the past had, work(ed) harder than we were to do today - but our legs would strongly disagree. Well, it turns out he was right....

Martin always have a plan in order to, as he says, make us wake up as better athletes the morning after - if we just commit....and commitment was needed today! The class kicked off with a warm up that merged into a big build up towards our anaerobic threshold, adjusting the resistance in order to find that elusive threshold where we start producing more lactic acid than we can get rid of. The format of the class was simple on paper, once we hit anaerobic threshold we take a seat and hold the same cadence, resistance and posture for 10 minute. Stay on the same RPM throughout, no slowing down of the cadence. Keep the resistance on for the full ten minutes, despite the legs burning and screaming at you to ease off. Sit in the same posture throughout, always one hand on the handelbar, no sitting up and changing the angle in the hip (hence letting the lactic acid out of the legs easier). Easy, huh?!

Not so easy, no, but pretty darn hard core. You're almost relieved when your legs go a bit numb with lactic acid as it's better than the burn you've experienced before but you managed to power through it. Ten minutes done and dusted and Coach Martin lets you turn down the resistance a tiiiiny bit for a couple of minutes before bam! Resistance back on but now it's time to stand. Same story, different position - and no hanging on the handlebars but instead activating your core and remembering that spinning/cycling is lower limb training. Keep the RPM constant. Keep the resistance constant. Your heart and lungs are pretty ok but your legs are yet again in agony. Another ten minutes where commitment is everything. Sure, you can ease off and be a bit more comfortable but, as Martin says, if you want comfortable you should stay in your sofa. No this is about commiting to the hard work and keeping your eye on the prize.

Surely it should be over by now, your legs say. Coach Martin thinks otherwise. Instead of giving us a little rest he informs us that it's now eleven minutes of hard work left and tells us to increase the resistance a bit and bring the heart and lungs into the match. In all fairness, it shouldn't be only the legs that are in agony, but your whole being - right?! Instead of keeping the same posture we now go into a form of interval session, working one minute seated and one minute standing. We're allowed to take of a smidge of resistance when standing for the first six minutes, but after that all the resistance that goes on stays on. The last five minutes are almost a 'near death'-experience with increasing resistance that numbs your legs, make your heart want to leave the body and convinces your lungs that there are not enough oxygen in the world. In short, the last five minutes are tough freaking awesome!

Before you know it the class is over. Your legs are shaking as proof of your commitment and there's a puddle of sweat underneath your bike. What on paper seemed so easy have kicked your butt to the ground but you're happy to sit down there, knowing that yes...you will wake up a slightly stronger and better athlete tomorrow.

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