Juan's experience at the gym
Athlete Profiles, January 15, 2020
A blog post that one of our clients from the gym, Juan, shared with us about his experience.
It has been nearly 6 months now that I have been training at The Cycling Gym and I thought I would share what I have learned so far. I joined the gym after a very disappointing offseason of training last year. Riding on TrainerRoad I found that I had overtrained and ultimately my performance really suffered. Being new and a novice to cycling training, I was looking for more structure and guidance. Although I can speak to the performance improvements, I don’t think they are the most significant improvements I have made. I hope my fellow TCG cyclists identify with some of these points.
Part of being tested every month is that it is quite revealing. For those of us that are driven by the numbers and want to see improvement week in and week out, there is a lot riding (pun intended) every time we get tested. When I was working out on my own, I found that I placed a lot of pressure on myself for every workout. I couldn’t help but wonder if anything I did was ever enough. Did I train enough? did I go hard enough? maybe I went too hard too soon?
When I first walked in the gym I remember Steve telling me a story of how he helped someone figure out his proper training zones. As a result this person reported that his training improved and so did his results. I thought it was a nice story but I almost didn’t believe it. I thought to myself, “I’m not new to training and I know my training zones”. I definitely think that the approach to training and defining training zones at TCG is much more effective for me than the popular FTP method... . What I like is that it has taken the guesswork out of training. The questions about ‘it’ not being enough are not there anymore. Everything from power, to heart rate, to MAP, cadence etc, has brought new self awareness and perspective that has really helped me relax and not place so much pressure on myself.
What I have realized is that although genetics is a significant ingredient of an elite endurance athlete it is not the only ingredient. For us mere mortals every performance gain requires a lot of time, work and pain to fully achieve. Everyone is on their own journey and on their own path and I can see it when looking around the gym during our workouts. Some are younger, some are young at heart, some compete against others (Racing) and some compete to surpass their personal bests. Some can squat a lot more weight than me (she knows who she is!), some can sprint better, some recover faster, some can endure hard efforts better and some have higher MAPs than me. I have been humbled and inspired by my fellow cyclists.
The most significant take away in perspective has been to NOT compare my numbers or results with others but to match their effort and commitment to success. All I can be is the best version of me, all I can control is my effort and whatever else happens will happen.
Bruce Lee’s philosophy to training and growth has had a tremendous impact on me and in an interview he was asked, “Bruce, are you really that good?”, after answering the question with a humorous response, he then replied, “I have no fear of an opponent in front of me”. To me that is the ultimate display of confidence. A lot can be said about Bruce’s (yes we are on a first name basis) training and mentality to fighting but I think he understood that self knowledge and preparation is the key to confidence and success in performance.
I’m not sure what has inspired my confidence at TCG, it could be the perspective, the self awareness or the measurable improvements on the bike and off, but I do know I’m starting to NOT focus on my opponent in front of me. This is not to say I do not get intimidated by the stronger athletes and the fast group rides and races I’ll take part in over the racing season, but my focus is now within not on others around me.
The most unexpected and welcomed surprise at TCG has been the Community. I have enjoyed our camaraderie and enjoy seeing others working so hard to achieve their goals. Some enjoy cycling clubs or other communities but my experience has been that they are more focused on the social events rather than the training. If that’s your thing I’m glad you found your crew, I’ve found mine at the gym where whatever our abilities we are all training together. Great people, instructors, and I have enjoyed working on my ‘game' with everyone at TCG!