*UPDATE* Psychological Effects of Heart Rate Monitor Use Study

12/21/2010: Preliminary results were reported at Indoor Cycle Instructor in October 2010. Manuscript in preparation. Once published, results will be made available on this site and at ICI.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Empowerment Ride

My most sincere apologies in the delay in posting my insanely self-hyped New Year's Ride, to all the people to whom I promised. I've just spent 13 days playing nomad around NYC, bouncing about from couch to couch (and even to a kitchen floor!), with shoddy wifi access and a big honker, dying laptop without an "N" key. Awesome.

Now back to Burlington (and, most importantly, to a full keyboard), I present to you "2008: A Year in Review."

It's less a ride that you might want to think about re-creating for yourself... but more just some reminders of the things you might have thought about while you rode it, and thoughts you might want to revisit.

The Preparation
The Last Dragon
Against the backdrop of this uber-dramatic, chilling instrumental, I asked the class to stop pedaling and close their eyes.
I asked them to raise their hand if they've ever had a New Year's Resolution.
I them asked them to keep their eyes closed, then raise their hand if they've ever broken a New Year's Resolution.
Chuckles, smirks, and nervous "what the HELL is she going to do?"-esque murmurs washed over the crowd.

I offered that the reason that many "resolutions" we make on January 1 do not stick because we make them solely because it's January 1 and we're "supposed to" -- without investing the requisite time to plan them. Maybe it's because (as it applied to my riders) we live in New York City and never sit still long enough to think (I have to drop that line when I do this ride with my class in Burlington now, heh). Maybe it's because we live in a results- and action-oriented society that often does not reward reflective, self-directed pondering. And so, I offered, if nothing else - this ride would be an opportunity to take 45 minutes out of our crazy lives to sit and think. The structure would be simple: three hills, three different purposes.
1st Hill: Celebrating 2008 -- what did we accomplish? What gave us a sense of purpose and passion? Where did we feel we've had the most impact? What do we want more of?
2nd Hill: Challenges of 2008 -- what didn't go so well, and what can we learn from it?
3rd Hill: Based on the first two hills -- giving ourselves permission to dig down deep and dream, based on what we've learned from our experiences and opportunities.... because, then, we'll truly have something to climb for.

The uber-dramatic Last Dragon chords continued. I told them that, when they were so moved, to begin to pedal... and prepare to "tell themselves the story of 2008."

Tell Me A Fable (Robert Miles)
6 minutes - progressively load to 65% MHR, experimenting with changes in resistance and speed to maintain the same refreshed, confidence-enhancing flow of energy. What gave you energy in 2008? What couldn't you wait to get up out of bed and do every day? Tap into those thoughts and images that empower you.

Upon a dramatic change in the rhythm, load enough resistance to support your weight out of the saddle and smoothly transition up to a run. Practice smooth, controlled, rhythmic breathing to maintain 65-70% MHR.

Upon another dramatic change in the rhythm, smoothly pick up the pace. Find 70% MHR either holding the run, transitioning out to a standing climb or back down to a seated climb. Climbing however you feel most empowered.

The Reaper (George Acosta)
Entre Dos Tierras
7 minute climb - rider's choice of position, focusing on adjustments to progressively loaded resistance and strong breathing techniques in through the nose and out through the mouth to maintain 75% MHR. 90 second surge to 80% at the top of the hill.

Thoughts to ponder:
What is your most significant accomplishment of 2008?
Was it big? Was it subtle? Why did it mean so much to you?
What can you do now that you could not do one year ago?
What surprised you?
How as your attitude enabled you to succeed this year?
What was your passion? What made you feel most fulfilled?
Where were you most effective? Where did you have the most impact?
What has made you feel fully alive?

~10 minute climb
Beat It (Michael Jackson)
Find 70% MHR on a seated "false flat." Progressive loadings ("increase and breathe") to maintain the same level of effort on a seated climb.

2008 wasn't perfect - was it? (Chuckles and smirks... less nervous grimacing as during the warmup! I'd earned some street cred by the fact that my hokeyness might very well be balanced by the humor of playing Michael Jackson... as in, how could I really be "for real" trying to effect live-altering change during a 35 min ride? Too bad I was.)

Thoughts to ponder:
What got in your way in 2008?
What did you "tolerate?"
What drained your energy and kept you from giving or investing to the things that fueled your first climb?
What would it take to get to the bottom of that? And what would it be worth it to you?
What do you need?
What fears and doubts interfere with your ability to be effective?
What stands between you and your concept as an agent of change?
How have these experiences shaped who you are?
What opportunities exist now that did not, before you failed?
What are you uniquely qualified to do, or who can you uniquely serve -- because you failed?

Summer Overture (Requiem for a Dream soundtrack)
You have 90 seconds. Pick up the pace (still maintaining 70-75% MHR).
Focus. Change isn't easy -- if it were, you'd have done it already. But over the next 90 seconds, what can you tell yourself to make it different this time? Your attitude? Your circumstances?
Some decisions, we remember for the rest of our lives. What would need to happen to make THIS decision one of those times for you?

What can you commit yourself to?

"And while you're at it, commit yourself to 75% MHR." (This line just CAME to me in the moment, and it was so ridiculous that it was a nice break for those who didn't want to "go there" from a self-analytical standpoint).

The Space We Are (John O'Callaghan remix) << my favorite song on earth
Like Hill #1, 75% MHR climb - rider's choice. 90 second surge to 80% MHR at the top.
Thoughts to ponder:
What are you leaving behind forever? Having kicked out those energy drains, give yourself permission to climb like someone who is free. Freedom of movement, freedom of creativity. Does it make any difference?

Homecoming (Bond)
Look at Me Now (Jessie)
Samba Adagio (Safri Duo) <<-- I lied. THIS is my favorite song.
Explosive (Bond) <<-- Wait! No! THIS ONE. Ohhhhh my gosh, this song. Dying. LOVE THIS SONG.

Technically, everything is the same. 70% MHR seated flat to seated climb ("Increase and breathe...") -- but what makes it different? Every time you touch the resistance knob, attach to it a thought. Loading mindfully, aware of how your body and breathing respond to your acceptance of challenge and opportunity.

Thoughts to ponder:
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
What are your expectations?
What do you want to learn? What do you want to experience?
What do you want more of? How can you adjust your life to acquire more of what you want?

Loading up to a hill that is NOT the toughest you've ever climbed. Find something manageable, something able to be sustained til the finish line (about 11 minutes to go).

Dramatic pause.

But life isn't constant. We will have challenges, and we have to choose how to meet them or not meet them -- and how to make adjustments, to hold steadfast to those manageable "hills" regardless of external circumstances. To simulate this, three 90-second surges: rider's choice of position, speed, heart rate. Making choices to meet opportunities in a way that is consistent with one's goals.

This is the Time (Billy Joel)

Argh. I really wanted to post this NOW before I made excuses about doing crazy things like studying. But I have to go teach. I'll write more about thoughts/consequences at a later post...

No comments: