It is a system I created 8 years ago. I was teaching 5 cycling classes a week and at times it felt like we were pedaling, but going nowhere. I knew there had to be more than to just show up a take a class. Cycling opened my mind, my body, and my world to unlimited potential. But when it was over, so was the experience. And as anyone who trains their bodies knows, in an endurance sport the calories are being burned during the activity -the run, the swim, the ride, etc. But once the effort is over, the calorie burn stops. In other activities where there is greater heart rate effect, the benefits of the calorie burn last long after the activity has ended and continue to affect the metabolism. My cycling experience had given me an awesome aerobic base. One year I rode the MS150mile bike ride one weekend, flew to DC to run the Marine Corp Marathon the next weekend and then jumped right back in to teaching my 10 classes a week. I did not train for either the bike ride or the marathon. And I did fine in both. I had the endurance and the heart capability along with the utilization of multiple muscle groups from the variety of classes I taught – Pilates, Cycling, Weight Training and Aqua Aerobics. But I did not have the progressive load and unload to my system or the recovery aspect trained at all.
I pulled through all my notes from various trainings I had attended. Read books. Re-read books like Joe Friel’s “Cyclist Training Bible” and began to create a program for periodization training. Which means simply that over a period of time, specific loads are applied to the system to create training effects. But how would I get the people attending my classes to participate in this with me? If they only came once in awhile they would not see the benefits. It had to be consistent training. I created the Passport which was a card they carried with them to get stamped every time they attended a class. The more stamps they got, the more likely their name was to be drawn from raffle tickets I gave them for each stamp. I taught for the big gyms who did not support my concept and told me to be more like “starbucks and deliver the same class every single time”. Ugh. So I purchased heart rate monitors and fitness equipment and magazines and protein bars to give out on my own as incentives to have my classes follow the training with me. I educated on heart rate training, interval training, wrote up materials and invested a lot of my energy is this program. We had a few 6-week training programs, some 8-week trainings and even a 12-week training. The culmination of the training was always a Race Day Event. It turned out that people got a lot out of this. They loved the race days. Loved the give-aways and goodies. I made a big deal about the event with food that I brought for afterwards and a big sheet of paper across the front of the room with the course of the race laid out. It was fun and most importantly, people saw change. Progress. And were no longer going through the motions in classes doing the same thing, but we were training with a purpose.
When I opened The Energy Lab as my personal training studio, I also had the purpose of offering TRX to our community and I struggled with the decision because I knew it would be a large investment, but I had to have bikes too. I could not imagine being an instructor if I was not a cycling instructor and I certainly wasn’t going to continue giving all my work to the gyms. It took time to build, but after two years of cycling instruction at The Energy Lab, we had a base of people and instructors who I could finally offer my periodization training to. I pulled all my materials out again and rewrote our Passport Periodization Training program. It felt so good to be in touch with the science of the heart rate training again and to educate. I am surprised by how many people have no idea what they are doing or what their bodies are doing when they are in “training”. Training is a commitment. Training is a plan. Training is a lifestyle. Training teaches us things about ourselves, our depth and our potential that otherwise go unnoticed. Training is the difference between being good and being world-class.
We had an amazing turnout for our first Energy Lab Passport Training completed in December of 2013. We began this year with a slightly longer training program, 8 weeks instead of 6 and we have even more people participating. We are going in to our 6th week and feeling the training effects exactly like we should be. They are real and tangible because we are using our heart rate monitors to truly be aware of where we limit ourselves and where we overdo it. We are learning what our different energy zones feel like and what our bodies feel like in them so that we can also close our eyes and feel our hearts and intuitively know exactly where we are.
To be that present in our bodies is a gift few people take the time to cultivate. I am beyond happy and thankful every day for the awesome group of people I get to work with who are truly “creating the best versions of themselves” in this process. They are not just talking about getting healthy, but they are taking consistent action and living it! No one had to be a cyclist either. We have runners, mountain-climbers, back-packers, triathletes, and mom’s who chase kids around along with busy professionals, executives and the rest of us who make the time because we know it will give us time. MAKE THE TIME. IT WILL GIVE YOU TIME. None of us have more time than anyone else, or less time than anyone else. It is how you choose to use your time. But I can guarantee that the more you give to taking care of yourself, the more time you will receive in return. I do not spend any time at doctors offices or in picking up medications. I do not worry about “if” I can do something. I “do” it because I already know I can. This training builds that confidence. Builds that strength, both physically and mentally. That is not something you can buy. You simply must do.