It’s your workout – make sure you are working out

I had a last minute cover today in a gym I used to be a member of. I like the crowd and I think they like me too because I always get asked if I teach a regular class there. Unless they want make sure they don’t accidentally run into my class ever again ๐Ÿ™‚

Today as per my motto “keep it real” we climbed for about 30min. Mostly steady with a few hill attacks. Now bike set up is always important but in a class where you spend 50% of your time climbing and 80% of that time in the saddle, if your bike looks like a cruiser (or I call it Boris bike) it will: impede your performance, get your upper body tired, you won’t be able to really give your best because sitting upright in the saddle you haven’t got much power in your legs.

And if you can’t really challenge yourself then it’s a very long and boring 60 minutes. I did emphasise all this before we started. I went through the set up, walked around checking those who asked and some who didn’t. Still you can never reach everyone individually.

But there was a girl whose set up was so wrong, I assumed there must be a medical reason for it. I walked up to her during the class and asked her to chat to me at the end. And she did so I asked: “Do you have any medical issues, lower back or disk problems that you should have told me about? Is there any reason your bike is set up this way? You were very uncomfortable, your arms were getting tired etc. You really need to correct it.” The response that came back just took me aback: ” Yeah, yeah, I know. I am sitting too low, my handlebars are too high. I know.” Followed by a disarming smile and a shrug.

If you are actually AWARE your set up is wrong and not good for you, you know WHAT the problems are, why are you choosing not to correct them?!

And guess what, I think I figured it out. People associate hard, challenging workout with being uncomfortable. If you are uncomfortable just because of your set up you simply can’t exert yourself to the level you would if it was correct. Hence you have a great excuse to take it easy on yourself WHILE STILL feeling uncomfortable and exhausted. Yes, the main parts that are exhausted are your upper body and poor hip flexors but your body aches so it must have been a good class, right? You are sweating buckets so you are working hard, right?

Well, I hate to break it to you but no. That fact that a muscle aches doesn’t mean it is getting stronger and isn’t that why you train? If you carry your weekly shopping home and it takes you and your 7 bags 20 minutes to reach home, by which point your arms feel like they are 10 inches longer, does it mean you can skip the Bodypump class you planned to attend? If you pick up 1lbs weight and do bicep curls for 10min, will your arm be tired? Yes. Will you have made any lasting effect on it as in helped to build it and make it stronger? No.

The answer to the sweating argument? There are 17 people in a closed room with no air con, just massive alien looking units that blow super humid air at the temperature of 23 degrees right in your face: You will sweat even by thinking hard…

So next time whatever class or workout you do, listen to your body and be honest with yourself. It’s your workout. You are only going to get out of it what you put in…

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