On Wednesday I participated in a cycle class with about 30 other fitness enthusiasts. Each bike had a small computer, attached to the handlebars, to record various performances including watts, RPM, caloric output and miles per hour.
As I was setting up my bike for the class, an individual (let’s call her Rachel) started setting up the bike to my right. When she was ready, she began pedaling to warm-up. Within about 30 seconds, she got off the bike, collected her things and moved to use another bike.
Two minutes later, a second member (let’s call her Wendy) started setting up the same bike. Similar to Rachel, she quickly got off the bike and moved to use the bike on my left.
Three minutes into class, a third person (let’s call her Tammy) chose to ride the bike on my ride. To save her the effort, I leaned over to warn her that two riders had begun riding that bike, but then quickly moved to another bone. I was under the impression that something was wrong with the bike. Maybe it was the resistance or the clips that were giving Rachel and Wendy trouble. Tammy thanked me and quickly chose another bike.
To cure my curiosity, I looked to Wendy, who was on my left, and asked her why she had switched bikes. She said that the computer wasn’t working. The information, especially the caloric output and RPM, were catalysts for her motivation and she wanted to use them during class to help her persevere.
What Rachel and Wendy have learned, and what I want to teach you today is the importance of measuring your performance. Wendy said that the computer’s measurements increased her motivation on the bike. The reason for this is because the numbers allow her to compete against herself. For example, in that particular cycle class, we performed three sets of two-minute intervals. If Wendy’s RPM for the first interval was between 85 and 90 for the first interval, she was motivated to either stay within the same range or beat it for the next two intervals. Also, if the computer said Wendy used 453 calories in last week’s cycle class, Wendy would be motivated to use more calories in today’s class.
Logging numbers is also a great way to increase your confidence. Your caloric output, distance covered, RPM, speed and heart rate provide evidence of what you can accomplish when you train. When those numbers change, as a result of your increased strength, speed and overall health condition, you will develop a powerful belief in yourself and your ability to achieve your fitness goals. Nothing will stop you from looking the way you want to look and feeling the way you want to feel!
Call to Action
Use one or two measurements to track your progress. Use your numbers to set goals during your fitness training. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to get motivated and exert high levels of effort and intensity when you train.
Believe and Achieve,
*Haley Perlus, Ph.D.*
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