5 Ways to Keep Your Athlete Intrinsically Motivated

An athlete participates in sports for a variety of reasons and their motivation to continue and excel can be extrinsically or intrinsically-based. Athletes who are intrinsically motivated participate in sports for internal reasons, such as the enjoyment of the sport and to improve their skills. Extrinsically-motivated athletes participate in sports for external reasons, such as awards and trophies or to not disappoint a family member or friend.

When an athlete focuses on the internal rewards and is therefore, intrinsically-motivated, they are more apt to stay focused, have more confidence and self-efficacy, have more satisfaction, and are less stressed when they make a mistake. On the other hand, extrinsically-motivated athletes who seek out external rewards are more likely to be anxious, fear failure, and show less interest towards achievement.

To keep your athlete motivated, focus on intrinsic motivational factors such as improving their performance, their “Why,” staying positive, being mindful, and setting goals.

 

Focus on Improving Performance

Remind your athletes to compares themselves only to their past performance. Comparing their performance to other athletes is a quick way to demotivation. Of course, part of competing is comparing athletes, but to keep an athlete motivated, it’s better to focus on their past performance. Show them how they’re improving from before. Use metrics and data to show them their improvements instead of where they placed in an event or against another athlete.

 

Ask Them Their “Why”

Everyone has a reason for doing what they do. When you have an athlete who is losing motivation, ask them their “why.” Why do they participate in their sport? What makes them continue on? What made them start in the first place? Can they remember the first time they participated and what that felt like?

When you form a sense of purpose for the athlete, it also creates an environment of self-development and growth. This takes time and patience, but when an athlete finds their purpose they will most likely continue to reach their goals with motivation and inspire others.

 

Stay Positive

A study published by The Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology found that coaches who were positive, encouraging, and provided data-based feedback helped develop an athlete’s intrinsic motivation as opposed to coaches who ignored an athlete’s successes and failures. As a coach, focus on the positives while also helping the athlete grow. The “sandwich method” is most often used when providing constructive feedback: provide the athlete two positives and between them, include something they need to improve. This way, the athlete hears about their positive attributes and is more likely to work harder on the aspect they need to improve knowing they are still doing well.

Additionally, staying positive is considered a “mentally tough” attribute according to a study published by The Journal of Applied Sport Psychology. Athletes are “mentally tough” when they can remain calm, relaxed, and energized in difficult situations as well as have the right attitudes regarding problems and stress. As a coach, lead by example by remaining calm and having the right attitude in response to unfortunate circumstances.

 

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is defined as being aware of your surroundings while focusing on the present moment. When you’re mindful in your sport, you’re fully present in what you’re doing at that moment, also known as “achieving a state of flow.” Learning to prepare psychologically in addition to physically and tactically, helps athletes stay focused, motivated, and improves their performance.

Mindfulness helps athletes disconnect from negative or anxious thoughts. Instead of thinking “I can’t catch the racer,” a mindful athlete will think “Right now, I’m having a thought that I cannot catch the racer,” but they do not hold on to that thought. They let the thought go and instead, focus on their breathing or technique.

 

Set Goals

The biggest factor in keeping an athlete motivated is setting attainable yet challenging goals. Having a direction helps an athlete stay motivated or realize they no longer want to participate in the sport. Ask them if they want to continue this and if so, are they going to do everything they can to be the best athlete in their power? If they want to be the best, they need long-term goals. Long-term goals will help remind your athlete why they’re doing what they’re doing; why they’re training as hard as they are during times of low morale. It’s their long-term goal, their “why,” that will keep them going.

Also, strive for short-term goals because accomplishing goals, whether big or small, gives an athlete additional motivation to keep striving toward their long-term goal.

 

 

Remember that every athlete you train is different and are uniquely motivated for a variety of factors. While one athlete may positively react to negative reinforcement, another athlete needs the positive encouragement to keep going. On the other hand, one athlete may be able to easily adopt a mindfulness practice, whereas it’s like a foreign language to another. Being a great coach means adapting and leading your athletes on the path to a stronger version of themselves. Get to know your athletes on a deep level to know which motivational factors will work best for them.

If you’re an athlete looking for a coach to keep you motivated, please feel free to reach out to me here.

 

Jessica’s Weight Loss Formula

Protein + Fiber – Sugar/Processed Foods = Weight Loss

 

There are two types of fat around our bellies: visceral fat and subcutaneous fat. The stuff you can squeeze and jiggle is subcutaneous fat. It’s the fat right below your skin. While it’s not exactly harmful to your health, it’s what we see when our shirts come off and what we hope to lose when we think of “love handles” or “spilling over my edges.”

 

Visceral fat, on the other hand, is harmful to our health and it’s the fat that surrounds our organs. It’s hard fat that causes people’s stomachs to stick out. You know the look: small arms and legs, but the pot belly. It’s dangerous because it causes harm to our bodies, such as increasing our resistance to insulin. It also increases our risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

 

When we want to lose weight, especially around the middle, there are foods that we should be eating in particular if we want to shed fat. Better yet, there are foods you should cut from your diet immediately.

 

Increase Protein

 

Protein is a macronutrient (along with carbohydrates and fat) that is essential in building and rebuilding muscles. Scientifically speaking, protein is made up of amino acids. Protein helps us fuel our muscles, keep us feeling full, and aids in metabolism.

 

When you eat more protein, you increase your satiety (hunger-reducing) hormones and reduce your hunger pangs. Theoretically, when you eat protein you stay fuller longer and you automatically decrease your calories because you’re not snacking as much.

 

Protein also has a higher thermic effect than carbs, which means your body is burning calories to metabolize and digest the protein. It also increases your metabolism if that wasn’t enough.

 

So how much protein should we be eating on the daily? The short answer is: it depends on your goals. To lose weight, particularly belly fat, aim for 30% of your calorie intake to be protein. Another option is eating 0.7 – 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.

 

High protein foods

  1. Eggs

A study published by the International Journal of Obesity found that eating eggs for breakfast instead of a bagel aids in weight loss. The protein in the eggs increased satiety while decreasing hunger hormones.

  1. Cottage Cheese

If you’re not a fan of eggs, another breakfast or snack option is cottage cheese. Cottage cheese has a high amount of protein as well as calcium, A and B vitamins. Participants in a clinical trial increased their protein and dairy intake and saw significant weight loss.

  1. Chicken

Grilled chicken packs you with protein without packing in calories. 3 ounces of chicken breast provides 19 grams of protein while only weighing in at 102 calories.

  1. Broccoli

For the vegetarians and vegans, broccoli is higher in protein compared to most vegetables with 2.6 grams of protein per cup.

  1. Whey Protein Supplements

If you’d like to get your protein from a different source or you’re short on time, whey protein supplements are plentiful. Whey is the byproduct after milk has been curdled and strained. A lot of lifters will supplement their diets with whey protein before and after a weight lifting workout because of whey’s digestion rate and its ability to send amino acids to the muscles.

 

Increase fiber intake

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that is a plant-based nutrient. It’s not broken down by the body the same way carbs are broken down, though. “Dietary fiber” is the indigestible parts of plant-based foods that remain intact during the digestion process. Fiber regulates digestion, lowers cholesterol, reduces blood glucose levels, among many other benefits. It can also make you fart if you increase it too much too soon, so think about your loved ones downwind when you begin your path toward more fiber.

 

In a study published by Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers found that by changing a single dietary behavior (adding more fiber to the participants’ diet) aids in weight loss. Like protein, fiber helps us fill fuller for longer periods of time, which helps reduce snacking and arbitrarily eating junk foods.

 

Right now, most adults are only eating 15 grams of fiber per day, which is about half the recommending amount. For men 50 years old or younger, they should be eating about 38 grams of fiber a day. For women 50 years old or younger, they should be eating about 25 grams. For men 50+, they need to stick with 30 grams of fiber per day and women 50+ need to aim for 21 grams.

 

High fiber foods

  1. Almonds

One serving of almonds packs 3 grams of fiber. You can add almonds to nearly any dish or grab a handful walking out the door. They’re also full of protein, so you get double bang for your buck when you eat them.

  1. Oats

If you’ve been enjoying your oatmeal for breakfast then you’re well ahead of the gang because oatmeal contains a powerful fiber, beta-glucan, which helps lower cholesterol. Sprinkle almonds on top of your oatmeal for a protein and fiber-packed breakfast.

  1. Brussel Sprouts

Another shout-out for the plant-based eaters among us, brussel sprouts have as much fiber as they do protein, coming in at 3 grams of fiber per serving.

  1. Lentils

For omnivores, herbivores, and carnivores alike, lentils are not only low on the glycemic index, but these guys pack on the fiber and protein – another double whammy. With the high fiber and protein, you’ll stay full much longer than you would if you only ate a bagel for breakfast.

  1. Whole grains

Eating whole grain breads and cereals will help you reach your fiber intake as well. It’s best to check the label of any food that claims it’s “whole grain” because some will still contain flour. A single slice of whole grain bread contains 2 grams of fiber and if you eat the bread with oatmeal, you’re getting a complete breakfast.

 

Cut out sugar and chemically processed foods

If you really want to make a difference in your belly, cut out the gross, processed shit you’re eating. Really, anything that has a label on it, with more than five ingredients, that can hang out outside of the fridge for more than a few days without going bad is processed. The problem with processed foods is that they have a ton of weird things in them that causes inflammation, makes us sick, and makes us fat.

 

Eating processed foods introduces way too much sugar into your diet. While sugar in moderation is one thing, a Western diet typically eats 82 grams of sugar per day (supposed to stick to 25 grams or less). Eating too much sugar makes you fat, obviously. It also jacks with your metabolism and leads to insulin resistance. It can cause diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

 

If you’re looking to make a change in your diet or lose belly fat, increasing your protein and fiber intake will help you achieve goal. You’ll increase satiety and decrease your snacking because you’ll be less hungry. Adding in exercise will double your effort and the pounds will eventually melt away.

Why Race?

I asked (what I thought was) a benign question last week: For ladies who don’t race their bikes, I’m wondering what your reason is not to.

It wasn’t meant as a judgment statement, more like a get-to-the-point kinda question. I want to see more women on bikes and more women racing them. Instead of asking women who don’t even ride, let alone, own a bike, I assumed asking in a Facebook group for women who bike in Colorado would get my questioned answered quicker.

I definitely think there is a line between racing and riding, but I can’t figure out the line. What convinces a woman to try out racing? What prevents a woman from racing? While I continue to sort through the trolls and the meaningful responses, I’ll offer my personal experience going from couch potato to riding for exercise (at the gym) to training for my first century to racing and leading a women’s road racing team.

I’ve written about my history with exercise and how much I used to hate it. It felt like a punishment more than anything. Seeing what my body is capable of now compared to my sloth days, it’s encouraging and drives me to constantly push myself.

Let me preface this with how I didn’t like sports. I didn’t play them and I certainly didn’t watch them. I also didn’t own a bike the first time Jared asked me to ride bikes with him. I had to borrow my cousin’s outgrown mountain bike.

The first time I had to pedal that hunk of metal up a hill, I knew how out of shape I was, especially seeing Jared at the top waiting for me. I think I was able to ride ten miles that day. Nothing special.

Enough rides with the red mountain bike convinced me I had to get a lighter bike. We checked out a few places and I considered buying a hybrid bike for economical purposes. I’m glad Jared convinced me otherwise, leading me to buying Bullseye, a Giant Avail. I got a good deal since it was the previous year’s model.

As we walked out of the shop, Jared half-jokingly said, “Now you can start training for E-Rock.” I laughed hesitantly because I knew he was serious but was gauging my interest through a joke.

Thus began my training for my first 100-mile bike ride.

I didn’t have a trainer so I rode the gym upright stationary bikes during the week and jumped on Bullseye on the weekends. Those were the days that all we had on our radar were training rides.

At this point I did not know about local road racing. Totally oblivious to anything like USAC or BRAC. Often during these organized bikes rides, I’d see matching jerseys and it looked like teams or clubs. It piqued my interest, but I wouldn’t start looking to join a club until the following year. Then that time came. As Jared became more enamored with the idea of triathlon, I started seeking out clubs to join. I didn’t know how to find a club, so I Google’d it, as my generation does. It brought up BRAC’s website with clubs. I picked the club nearest to me without much thought, which is still my current team, pedal RACING. I originally joined pedal’s club because I did not want to race, I just wanted people to ride with on the weekends when Jared started doing his triathlon.

 

Even though the club didn’t race, it was intimidating as hell to meet with all the women the first time. I felt like a total n00b even with all the rides I did the previous year. The women shared possible races and I sat there in silence, questioning my abilities for a club. I quickly realized everyone had different goals whether that was racing or participating in an organized ride. After hearing about the races, I became quickly intrigued by the idea of racing, but also totally scared to take on an endeavor like that.

 

My first year on pedal RACING, my only taste in racing was the Karen Hornbostel Memorial Time Trial Series – a 7 week-long Wednesday night time trial race at Cherry Creek State Park. It was hard, intimidating, and I beat myself up after every race when I saw my results. The disappointment lasted that night and by the following week I was ready to beat last week’s time. I came in fifth overall and I didn’t like myself for it. I didn’t race the rest of the season. I thought I sucked too much to continue. I stuck with the organized rides where I figured I could go at my own pace and not be judged. By the end of the season, I was hankering for more races.

 

The next year on pedal RACING, I actually registered on the race side since I met the low qualifications: compete in three races. I did that the first three weeks of the Karen Hornbostel Memorial Time Trial Series, so I was set. I had to buy a USAC and BRAC license in addition to a pedal RACING kit. I told myself I needed to be serious. I was also voted as the women’s road lead. No pressure.

 

This time, I got third place overall for the Karen Hornbostel Memorial Time Trial Series and throughout the season, found myself on the podium more times than not. Even after having to take almost a month off of racing due to a giant saddle sore that would not heal, I had enough points to Cat up to a Three by the end of the season.

 

Was I scared? You bet your ass. I was in the toilet ten minutes before every race from all my nerves.

Intimidated? Hard yes. I questioned my abilities before, during, and after lining up with other women road racers. I felt like an imposter, like I didn’t actually have skills to race with them.

Did it consume my time? Yep. My friends eventually stopped inviting me to outings because they knew the answer. I didn’t want to stay out late when I had a race the next day and my weekends were dedicated to racing. My family knew to stop asking my weekend plans because they knew what they were.

How about money? Ooooh yeah. I spent a ton of money racing.

 

Racing isn’t for everyone. I get it. But I think a lot of people who would race don’t because they’re scared. I was petrified and still get nervous before every race. I want to see more women out racing. I want the fields to be as big as the men. I want more competition among women. I want more friends among my competition. Racing is fun. Racing doesn’t need to take the fun out of riding a bike. That only happens if you decide to let it not be fun anymore – and if you get to that point in your racing career, where it’s no longer fun, then stop. I hope to see you on the race course.

Race Report: Frostbite Time Trial

“You can’t be self-conscious in a skin suit,” I told myself as I sucked in my stomach to zip up the front of my never-worn pedal RACING skin suit.

I figured looking and feeling uncomfortable had to be worth the two seconds this attire would knock off from my time. What I needed was strong legs, not an expensive one piece that hugged all the wrong curves.

I also layered up seeing as the name of our race was called, “Frostbite” and my go time was at 9:00 AM. The sun wouldn’t be out long enough to warm the roads. But I soon came to find out that my warm-up would sufficiently raise my body temperature and I’d be stripping off the leg warmers and base layer.

I knew it was going to be a rough race as I spun out my legs to a made-up-on-the-spot warm-up routine. They were heavy. They felt like two rolls of cookie dough, just fluffy and no oomph. I changed up the resistance, adding and subtracting during this 45-minute wishful thinking.

I neglected all the books (okay, the one and a half) I read that told me to visualize the race and the outcome. I was too busy distracting myself with my teammates. I watched my wolves undulate and listened to the broken music playing from my iPhone.

The day before I took my time trial bike out for a spin and it was shaky. I knew it had been too long since I was last on it for three reasons: 1. There was dust. 2. I forgot which lever shifted up or down. 3. I still had a RAGBRAI tag on the stem. You could say I was a tad underprepared for the race.

But what the hell, I thought. Surely no one is ready for race season at this point.

Time Trials are a race against the clock. Racers are sent one at a time at thirty second intervals. You race for fastest time. Most of the time you don’t know how you’re stacking up against your competition until the results are disappointingly posted.

3…2…1…Silence.

I told myself I wouldn’t allow myself to go below 200 watts. I was recently asked, “Why 200?” Well, why not? It sounded good enough and I based that number off previous FTP scores. One was 192 and another was 177. I’ve also learned that plenty of people think FTP tests are horseshit. So again, 200 sounded good enough.

The biggest thing with Time Trials is making sure you don’t blow up at the beginning (or middle) of the race so a lot of it is pacing and obviously knowing what you are capable of doing. I low-balled myself and thought 200 watts was going to be a challenge based off my FTP tests.

I kept sight of the chick 30 seconds in front of me. Before the race I jokingly said my goal was to catch Teena who took off two or three minutes ahead of me. I didn’t think I’d be fast enough.

Once I rolled away from the taped white line and cycled away from the man’s legs that held me steady as I clipped in, my new goal was to catch the woman in front of me.

A speck of color ahead of me the entire time, I stayed at 200 watts, controlling my breathing, watching her the entire time, attempting to close the gap.

The wind swept me back and forth along the road as I chased down the competition. I never caught her. As I approached the turnaround cone, I saw the rest of my Category catching up to me.

The 200 watts didn’t help me chase down or move fast compared to these women. Two women passed me so I knew I wasn’t getting on the podium.

I figured 5th. I came in 6th. Out of 12.

It’s an ego check coming in middle of the pack after doing well last season. I’m trying to remind myself that this is not a judgment on the person I am. It’s data. I now know how long it takes me to race 11 miles and where I stack against other women. I know these women, my competition, will make me faster.  I will become a stronger cyclist because of them. And I’m grateful for that.

Excuses are like assholes

You aren’t working out because you don’t want to. It’s just not a priority for you. Own it. We only have 24 hours in a day and we all prioritize them differently.

The biggest excuse (and yes, that’s what it is) I hear is: “I don’t have time to workout.”

You do.

The problem is that you don’t want to spend your extra time working out. I get it. I was once like that. I thought walking 500 steps from car to school was a workout.

Back in high school, my best friend wanted me to join soccer with her. I remember thinking I didn’t have the time after school to go to practice. And the games. And all the days/nights spend running around. Instead, I thought going to cafes and punk rock shows were more valid uses of my time. Mosh pits and chai teas were my priorities.

I didn’t want to workout. It seemed like a chore or something my mom would make me do when I talked back. I associated working out with pain and sweat and my 16-year old mind thought, “ew. Gross.” I did not want to find time to go through that.

My friend finally convinced me to go to a soccer try-out with her. I distinctly remember the coaches walking us to the stairs that my crew hung around and I thought, “why the fuck are we going over to the stairs? We’re not running up that shit, are we? No way. I’m not doing this.”

So there I was, running up and down these stairs that I only ever used to get to my next class or hangout at the bottom. And I was panting, sweating, and cursing my friend for dragging me to this. I felt awful and as I made my way to the bottom I told myself that once I reached the top again I was booking it around the corner and running away from this bullshit.

Five steps from the top I was ready. I was ready to dart away and be done. I semi-considered how the other girls would react to this vanishing act I so quickly invented as I gasped for air and that top step. Then I took off. I ducked behind a railing and heard a girl yell, “a girl just ran away.” Yup. Sure did.

Then I army-crawled down the hall, later finding my punk rock friends haphazardly rolling a cigarette. Like I said, I didn’t have the time for sports.

What changed? The inner tube growing around my waist was a pudgy nudge to get my ass moving. I did 30 minutes three times a week in Undergrad. That was plenty, surely, to lose weight and stay fit. I worked out to YouTube videos that were definitely under 30 minutes. Anything that creeped over that 30-minute mark were skipped. Who has time to do a 34-minute video? A new cafe just opened up on Broadway and their untasted chai tea had my name on it.

Unbeknownst to my ignorance, the chai I later drank did away with whatever no-greater-than-30-minute YouTube video burned. I wasn’t seeing results and I heard once that weights were good, so I signed up at Bally’s for $10 per month with my mom.

I had no idea what to do with the racks on racks of weights, the sweat-stained machines, and weird cardio equipment I never heard of before (rower? TF?). I started Googling and teaching myself how to lose weight, gain strength, and grow muscle.

I started going every other day, slowly carving more time out of my day so I could workout at the gym, even adding a weekend into the mix. My mother started doing weights with me and we tried new moves. I began to add weight to my lifts and ventured away from the 30-minute workout to 40 minutes to 50 and so on.

Then I met Jared who probably revolutionized my training routine. I made fun of him at first for how often he trained and how meticulous he seemed about health and fitness. Tracking your workout? With a smart watch? My money was still going to concerts and chais.

Then I got on a bike and fell in love with Bullseye (their name). I wanted to improve on my bike. I remember seeing Jared taking selfies, talking on the phone, texting, adjusting his bibs while he waited for me. I hated being the “slow one.” I felt uncomfortable knowing I was messing with someone else’s workout. I was determined to get stronger.

I started training specifically for cycling, carving out more time from my day to dedicate to riding my bike AND weight lifting because strong legs meant faster legs. The time that was once devoted to chai tea lattes and blaring music in spilled alcohol and grimey dance floors began to shrivel compared to my “training” time.

For the first time, I understood it to be training and not “working out.” I was training for a 100-mile bike ride and late night shows prevented me from waking up early to conquer the trails.

I stopped going out during the week for drinks and coffee because my alarm was set for 5:30 AM to get my workout finished.

I was told you have three choices in training – sleep, training, social life – and that I could only pick two because it was impossible to have all three. This is where priorities come into play and how mine changed.

As I trained, I hung out with my friends less and less. They eventually stopped inviting me out because they already knew the answer. I don’t blame them. Constantly receiving the same, “sorry, I have to get up early morning to train” response would also push me away from asking someone to hang out. They knew they weren’t a priority. My priorities were sleeping and training. I learned the hard way how important sleep is to training when riding my first 80 Miles on little sleep. There were tears.

You must find the time. No one has more hours in their day than you. You have to prioritize. You must make hard choices. You can totally have your cake and eat it too (wouldn’t recommend this every day), but you can’t have your cake, eat it, and reach your weight loss goal.

Same goes for working out: you can’t have all three (sleep, train, social life). You can have a little of all three, but it’ll take you that much longer to reach your goal. If you want it bad enough, you’ll make the hard choices that get you to your goal. You’ll stop doing shit you thought was important (watching tv, drinking at bars, sipping chai, watching bands play until 2AM).

If you want to lose weight, get stronger, achieve some fitness goal, you’ll find the time to do it – only if you’re motivated enough and only when you prioritize.

Social Media is Making us Crazy

Social media has blown up over the past 10 years, especially with the invention of Facebook back in 2004. It’s not just Facebook that’s grown in popularly; Instagram and Snapchat have also jumped on the bandwagon.

With all the popularity of social networking, it begs the question:

Is social media fucking us up?

It’s making us sad and anxious

The first mental health issue that becomes apparent with increased social media use is depression/anxiety. Because social media is still relatively new, it’s hard to determine whether or not social media usage causes depression and/or anxiety or if people with depression/anxiety use social media more often than those who are not depressed/anxious (Pantic).

Additionally, it’s been suggested that those who use social media the most inevitably develop increased social isolation (cue 40-year old playing Words with Friends on their iPhone alone in the dark). This can be caused due to increasing time on social media and therefore, decreasing in-person connections (Primack et. al).

Finally, increase usage of social media leads to decreased interpersonal communication. Interactions online are superficial compared to interactions in person (Pantic). I mean, how easy is it today to “like” someone’s photo or give it a double-tap and move on instead of engaging in dialogue?

It’s making us insecure…again

Like you weren’t insecure enough when social media first came out (speaking to the 20-something year old’s when I was a budding teenager and wouldn’t leave the house without a pound of eyeliner circled around my blue eyes). Another mental health issue that’s pervasive among social media users is self-esteem. It’s been said that social networking sites can promote narcissism when the platform is used for self-representation.

When users can decide what they want to publicize, which can either result in higher self-esteem as they pick the parts they admire about themselves or adversely, when seeing others’ pre-selected photos, events, and information, this could impact the viewers’ idea of themselves and threaten their self-esteem (Pantic).

We all know you didn’t wake up looking like that. 

#FOMO

The “Fear of Missing Out” is a third mental health issue that’s associated with increased social media use and decreased self-esteem. Social media can cause users to feel like they are being excluded from events, i.e. “FOMO.”

What isn’t taken into account by the user is that the posted content is curated specifically by the owner and therefore, sends a particular message the owner wants to portray. This, in effect, distorts reality because only part of the story is portrayed. Essentially, users can choose what to make public and what to hide.

For receivers of this information, it falsely appears that the owner leads a “perfect, happier life” and can result in self-esteem issues, FOMO, and anxiety/depression (Primack et. al).

It’s addicting

Finally, there is the concern of social networking addiction with excessive social media use. Certain populations can become addicted to social networks with symptoms such as, “salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, relapse, and conflict with regards to behavioral addiction” (Kuss and Griffiths).

Kuss and Griffiths define salience as social media being the most important thing the user does during the day.

Mood modification is considered activities on social media platforms conducted to alter moods like increasing pleasure or numbing pain.

Tolerance is signified as more time and activity becomes required to induce the same feeling(s) as before.

Withdrawal is designated as addicted individuals may experience negative psychological or physiological symptoms when not using social media.

Relapse is when an individual drops social media and eventually re-uses it again.

Finally, social media could lead to relationship problems as well as issues at work and at home, which corresponds with behavior addiction (Kuss and Griffiths).

That’s a ton of shit that’s happening to people all because of social media. Not to mention, all the other things that haven’t been identified yet as a problem. The invention of social media is still relatively new and studies are continuously conducted to determine the psychological impacts of its use, especially at an excessive rate.

Maybe we can all start putting our phones away and have IRL FaceTime with the people who are still in our physical lives.

 — — —

Works Cited

Kuss, Daria J., and Mark D. Griffiths. “Social Networking Sites and Addiction: Ten Lessons Learned.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, MDPI, 14 Mar. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5369147/.

Pantic, Igor. “Online Social Networking and Mental Health.” The National Center for Biotechnology Information, Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking1, 1 Oct. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4183915/.

Primack, Brian, et al. “Social Media Use and Perceived Social Isolation Among Young Adults in the U.S.” American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 6 Mar. 2017, www.ajpmonline.org/article/S0749-3797(17)30016-8/fulltext#s0030.

Heart Rate Zone Training

 

 

 

Want to start heart rate zone training? Get at me: grinandgrindit@gmail.com

Go All The Way

“If you’re going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don’t even start. This could mean losing girlfriends, wives, relatives and maybe even your mind. It could mean not eating for three or four days. It could mean freezing on a park bench. It could mean jail. It could mean derision. It could mean mockery – isolation. Isolation is the gift. All the others are a test of your endurance, of how much you really want to do it. And, you’ll do it, despite rejection and the worst odds. And it will be better than anything else you can imagine. If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.”

-Charles Bukowski

 

The first two lines of this Bukowski quote are printed across a photograph of a dirt path separating weeds, shrubs, and (maybe they’re) Sycamores. It’s clear the dirt road was formed from cars using the same path as the one before them and the one before that. There’s a little patch of weeds between the path of tires, peeking out of the ground amidst the dirt. I found this picture as I searched for “Bukowski desktop wallpaper.” I don’t know why someone chose this picture with this quote.

 

Maybe they read those lines and they envisioned a path leading them to isolation. This was their, “All the Way.” I don’t know what my “All the Way” looks like. I feel like I’ve committed to too many things and have lost focus to go “all the way” with something. I was looking through my notebook earlier and read what I imagined my ideal life to be like:

“When my life is ideal I am:

  1. Making a living off my writing
  2. Racing my bike around the world
  3. A world renown writer
  4. Working for myself
  5. Traveling the world first class”

 

That was 6 months ago. As I skimmed through the five passions I deemed would bring me my ideal life, I considered doing it again to see what’s changed because again, I feel like the path I’ve been on doesn’t feel like it’s leading anywhere.

The house was silent and gave me just enough energy to scribble another 15 passions and to whittle it down to five. Here they are:

  1. Traveling for fun every month to a new country, state, city, etc…
  2. Drinking coffee on our back porch in the mountains getting ready to write.
  3. Changing people’s lives for the better with my words.
  4. Waking up when I want to and riding my bike outside.
  5. Making $100,000/year working for myself.

 

What I’ve noticed between these two lists and what’s pervasive whenever I consider my future is writing. It always comes back to writing and yet, I never fully commit to making this a reality. I explained to Chris earlier today – or at least tried to – that writing brings me the most happiness. I’ve done it ever since I could put sentences together, but with each year that passes, I write less and less because too much of my time is spent on chasing after security. A false sense of security, might I add.

 

So many of us choose safety, security, caution over our dreams because following your dreams is scary. The future is scary. The job you currently have is not. I learned that you could hate your job and still lose that security you desperately grasp on to as if it’s the last breath of air. I’ve always been scared to follow my passion for writing because I buy into the idea that being a writer doesn’t generate a lot of money. I buy into the idea that I’m no J.K. Rowling, Toni Morrison, Sylvia Plath, or hell, Jen Sincero.

 

I don’t believe I’m good enough. A lot of us let that idea stop us from what we truly want to do. Too many of us take on boring jobs, boring partners, a house in the suburbs because we don’t think we’re good enough. We don’t think we’re worthy of following and achieving our dreams. I do. I’ve always felt that way. Any time I’ve submitted work or applied for a job I’ve thought, “I’m not going to get this. Someone is better than me.” Every time I think that.

 

I used to think I was the bee’s knees – I was also 16 and a total shithead. I was up my own ass, but dammit did I deserve the world. I was a fighter. I fought for what I believed in even if that meant pissing people off. I scribbled words that left me crying in bed because I got too real and my emotional teenage self was ripping out her heart and slapping it on the page.

 

I know the 16-year old Jessica would tell the 29-year old Jessica, “Fuck it, dude. Let’s go bowling.” She’d tell me to forget what others thought and if I wanted to write, then write. No one is stopping me.

 

And for you: do what you truly want to do. Stop playing safe because it will change. Your situation, your life, your friends, your partners, everything.. changes. The only constant in life is change. So go. Go out there and give it your all. You’ll laugh in the face of fear and spit in the eyes of the naysayers. Go all the way, so when you look back on your life, your 16-year old self would give you a high-five.

The Purposeful Gym Workout

I greet most members in the gym with, “What are you working on today?” and either they don’t want to talk to me or they truly don’t know their goal for the day. Most of the time they’re confused with the question and typically ask me, “What?” They’ll look away – thinking of what to tell me – and then stammer out with, “uh.. cardio….” or “I don’t know.”

Granted, I’m wearing a Personal Trainer shirt so I’m assuming they’re assuming I want to sell them services, which, duh, but also it’s a great way to learn about people. I have some fascinating conversations with people who have years of experience in a particular sport or activity. I also learn a lot about aches, pains, and tears and it reminds me of how important it is to move.

When I walk the floor, I notice a lot of people moseying around, most likely thinking to themselves, “Oh, seated leg press…I should try that.” Then they’ll do one set and move on to another machine. This doesn’t get results.

Planning and following through on that plan gets you results.

1. Start with your goal.

What do you want to accomplish in 30, 60, 90 days? I previously posted about S.M.A.R.T goals, which you should read if you haven’t. Set a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. When you give yourself a goal it motivates you to do the things it takes to reach it. If you always go to the gym without motivation other than “you have to,” you’ll always look the same.

2. Develop a Plan

You’ve made your S.M.A.R.T goal. Now you make the plan. What will it take to reach your goal? What sort of training will it take and how long?

This is probably the most intimidating part because most of us have an idea of what we want, but not sure how to get there. That’s when people like myself come in handy. If you don’t want to hire a Personal Trainer, then research. Find blogs, articles, and free sources that can give you an idea as to how other people have reached similar goals as yours. It’s out there. It just takes time and research.

 

3. Keep Yourself Accountable

You’re more likely to slack on a goal if only you know about it. Tell people about your goal. Make them hold you accountable. Start a group of people with similar goals. Do what it takes to force yourself to stick to your goal.

And show up. Set the goal. Make the plan. And do it.

Excuses are like assholes – everyone has one and they all stink.

Everyone has the same number of hours in the day. It’s the successful people who make the most out of every second, minute, hour.

Go to the gym with your exact workout written down with sets, reps, and a column to track it all. That way, when someone like me asks you, “What are you working on today?” you’ll be one of the few with a specific workout and a plan to get ‘er done.

 

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Ready to change your life? Email me: grinandgrindit@gmail.com

 

Functional Strength Training for Cyclists

Simply put, functional strength training is strength training exercises that are useful. You’re not going to build glam muscles with functional strength training. Instead, you’re building strength to excel in your sport – in our case, cycling. Sure, you’ll look good too.

 

Major Muscles Used in Cycling

The major muscles used in cycling are the glutes, hamstrings, calves, hip flexors, and quadriceps. While these are all the legs and hips, you can’t forget your core and upper body. Your legs may be doing the brunt of the work, but your core keeps you balanced and helps you with tight turns while your upper body, well, supports your upper half.

 

When you conduct functional strength training, you’re training your body to perform its best during cycling.

 

 

Glutes

Squats work your glutes as well as your quads and hamstrings. You can conduct squats using a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, or bodyweight.

 

Hamstrings

Single leg deadlifts not only work your hamstrings and hip flexors, but they also help identify weaker muscles. When you single out legs (or anything, for that matter), you’re likely to see deficiencies easier, which means you can strengthen the weaker one efficiently.

 

Calves

Calf Raises are solid calf-strengthening exercises. You can do it with or without weights, on or off a ledge. As cyclists, we’re prone to overactive gastrocnemius and soleus, so it’s probably better you stretch and foam roll your calves more than strengthening them.

 

Hip Flexors

Balancing Hip Flexion or Lying Prone March will work out those hip flexors. Again, as cyclists, we’re prone to have over active psoas muscles, so you want to stretch them as well. Off-season, when you’re not cycling as much, then yes, strengthening your hip flexors are key, but you definitely want to stretch them with poses like the seated butterfly stretch and pigeon pose. Your hips and back will thank you.

 

Core

Core is essential to cycling and controlling yourself on the bike. The Plank and all its variations is great for developing core strength. There are too many kinds of planks to list and luckily, with that amount, you’ll never get bored.

 

Upper Body

As we see in the pro peloton, cyclists lack upper body muscles. Sure, there’s the whole power to weight ratio, but taking care of your upper body will only help you on (and off) the bike. Don’t worry about gaining tons of weight from developing your upper body.

 

When you’re supporting yourself on the bike, you’re probably using your biceps, upper back, chest, and triceps, so strengthening all those muscles during the off-season is key. Exercises like Shoulder Presses, Tricep Dips, Pull-Ups, and Rows target those muscles.

 

The winter is the best time to develop and strengthen those cyclist muscles, so you can come back to the season stronger than last year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources:
https://www.bicycling.com/training/strength-training/the-ultimate-guide-to-your-cycling-muscles
http://www.bicycling.co.za/training-nutrition/5-upper-body-strength-moves-for-cyclists/6/
https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/the-best-strength-exercises-for-cyclists/
https://www.trainingpeaks.com/blog/the-primary-muscles-used-for-cycling-and-how-to-train-them/