I am very fortunate with my work as an AFLCA Trainer of Fitness Leader to meet both new and veteran indoor cycling instructors. In my most recent AFLCA Cycle Designation Course, one such participant shared with me a recent article she wrote.
Lisa Wojna is a journalist with a fitness column in the Leduc Representative and she shared with me (and now you) this great article on visualization. Take a read and get inspired!
Those of you who’ve ever participated in a spin cycle class will likely agree that a good spin instructor is a master of visualization.
They can take you to foreign lands, favourite childhood haunts, or on imaginary scenarios while coaching you to push yourself up a hill or sprint to that someplace, or someone, you’ve envisioned at the end of your workout.
Add a great mix of music to the scenario and any discomfort you might feel in your quads or on your backside is washed away by an otherwise exhilarating experience.
I recently participated in a course for prospective spin instructors and was fortunate enough to have an amazing leader. And as I listened to her verbal promptings, and painted my own journey scenario during our workouts, I thought about how closely this method of teaching reflects a healthy way of working through many of life’s challenges.
Whether it’s preparing for exams, putting the finishing touches on a work project, or getting ourselves in top physical condition, envisioning the end result and its many rewards helps take at least some of the stress and strain off the process.
The idea of using visualization to reach a goal took me back 29 years, to the later stages of my first pregnancy, when I employed a similar method to propel me through my modified walking program during those last few weeks before my first child was born.
Every weekday morning I’d don my heavy winter coat at around 11:30 and waddle my way toward the hospital where my husband worked. We’d enjoy our lunch together, and then I’d waddle back home. Between the two walks I clocked about 60 minutes of gentle exercise.
Now anyone who has ever lived in Winnipeg likely won’t need to read this next bit, but let’s just say frosty, frigid, freezing, and furious are just a few of the adjectives one could use to describe winter weather conditions in that corner of our country.
To get myself through those walks, especially on the most inclement days, I’d envision the stages of my pregnancy. I’d mentally divide the distance between home and the hospital into sections, with each section representing a different stage of my pregnancy.
Sometimes those sections would represent trimesters, and as I passed each section I recognized I was moving closer to my due date—those were usually days when I didn’t need as much of a distraction from the weather or how my body felt under the heavy strain of pregnancy.
Sometimes I’d get quite detailed, reviewing the major milestones that have already occurred with the growing baby inside me, and what was still to come. Those added details demanded more mental energy and distracted me from the weather on particularly cold days.
Of course, reaching the hospital on my way to lunch, and reaching my home afterward, always signified the birth of my firstborn.
Some might think this is a silly game, but it kept me moving and exercising during a time in my life when I would have much rather been resting—or eating chocolate ice cream. And like the techniques employed by a good spin instructor, they propelled me toward my goal of keeping at least moderately active during my pregnancy.
What story could you tell yourself to propel you through your morning workout? What kind of journey could you take yourself on that would thrust you through a challenging boot camp session, or that dog walk you’ve been putting off all week?
It’s great to stay focused on the task at hand, but we all need a little encouragement every now and again. If taking your mind off your squats by thinking nice thoughts keeps you on your exercise program, then dream away.
And before you know it, you’ll be reaching that goal and plowing on to the next one!
And with that, I wish you a happy summer! I`ve already slowed my pace (and blog posts) and will be taking a break over the summer. But will be working on my promised series on using the energy systems effectively with cycle drills and skills. Check back in September for more posts about one of my favorite things to do...ride my bike!
Workman's Cycle Drills & Skills
Enjoy some of my favorite cycle workout drills either in a cycle class or on your own bike at home!