Saturday, August 20, 2016

Power Based Indoor Training for Cycling

I have always been a firm believer of indoor cycling and its benefits way back during my first few years of cycling. Being able to ride consistently in a controlled environment helps you dial into the specific workouts. It's also easier to compare one workout to another because there are less variables to think off.

This is me on my magenetic trainer some time 2013

Fast forward to 2016 I've equipped myself with the knowledge of power based training by the use of a power meter and measuring efforts via watts.  I had my first dive at this when I took my lactate test with Don Velasco and we created a baseline of my fitness. From there it opened a new world of appreciation for me on how train and race smart.

With this, I eventually got myself a Wahoo Kickr, which is a smart trainer that can electronically lock you into a specific target wattage. It can also mimic elevation terrain of real live courses, but I think we will leave that part of the story for a later blog. I've been confident I can bring my cycling training a notch higher with these specific types of training.

Currently, I have been working out using an app called Trainer Road on my Kickr. Trainer Road provides me with a structured program that lasts for 28 weeks going from base --> build --> specialty. This ensure I get to have a solid foundation of fitness before getting on race specific type of workouts one phase at a time.

Results for the first 6 weeks of training have given me a 9.5% increase in my FTP and also led me to shed 3lbs, this too gave me an extra bump on my power to weight ratio.

A typical workout on Trainer Road working on VO2 max intervals

As mentioned earlier, this is one of the beauties of indoor cycling. You are able to properly measure changes in a controlled environment and thus you see where improvements can happen, or where weaknesses can be found. Unlike when you ride outdoors, variables such as heat, wind, traffic, elevation and alike can create changes in the results of a workout even though you ride the same course each time. A truly equal comparisons can't be made from one workout to another.

A few cycling studios are applying the training methodology in the Philippines and it will be quite interesting for anyone to give it a try.

Don't get me wrong though, I love riding outdoors too! But for all other more structured and specific workouts, you will always find me indoors for these.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

21 Days of Hot Yoga - A Mind Battle

Session 14-15 - Forgetfull
I am sorry but I have been quite busy and have just been working back on what has been happening to me the past few days. I seriously do not remember what happen during these last two sessions. Talk about yoga brain right? Anyways will work on keeping up the posting for the next few days. I am pretty sure I did them since I have checks at the board haha

Session 16 - Personal Sorrow
My mind was elsewhere today. Been having some personal issues and it was just bothering me through my day. Its hard to breath out these kind of thing. I feel that I've overcome the physical part of this practice, my body can take the practice but its always so eye opening how much my mind is being the real leader if it will be a good or bad day. My mind chose to be a bad day because I got some issues bla bla bla. The thing about this is that I let it be that way, I let it overcome me and had it take control.

Session 17 - Kicking it Ninja Style
"Yesterday was crap to today has to be awesome" I told myself. I was up early for the 6am class cause I was asleep by 8:30pm the night before. Had lots of energy and I put it all out there today in the hot room. Was sweating and kicking my face off and I left a happy boy ready for work.

Session 18 - Keep Struggling
Woke up quite lazy today and was actually counting in my head the number of days I had before if I chose not to go class this early morning. It was probably in those split few minutes that I just said ok "lets do it little by little" get up first, have some bread, and find your way to get in the car and drive to the studio.

I was crazy lazy today cause maybe I'm just tired of it all right now. 18 days of yoga come on! Who wouldn't be right? But we are nearing the end here and I gotta just hold on a little more.

Session 19 - Anything else but Yoga
It's coming to a point that time becomes quite an issue for the last few practices. I begin to see how much of my time its really eating up and I do get these urges to defer practices because I want to do this or that. We are so near the end but it is still a struggle in a lot different ways.

Today's practice was strong, I haven't seen Frank for the past few days and I really enjoyed my practice with him today. It was exactly what my body was looking for. A strong fast hard practice :D

Session 20 - Barely Moving
I  felt stiff and weak today. I'm looking at it as a nutritional issue cause I ate some pretty nasty bacon this morning. I did not feel and strength today even though I was raring to go at the start of the class. I tried my best to stay in it but I felt like a car with nothing in the tank. The whole practice felt like a torture to be honest and I don't enjoy being and feeling this way.

After class I spoke with Frank about it and he pepped me up with how to give it my all these last few days of the challenge. His exact words were "you gotta kill yourself". I think he wants to see me REALLY push to the point where I discover something new about myself.

This whole 30 day challenge has been about me seeing up to where my body can go. I've honestly thought this was already it, but after speaking with Frank, he believes I can go even more. Gotta get my game face on for the next few days cause I'm ready to show him and myself what else I've got.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

14 Days of Hot Yoga at Bikram Yoga Alabang

Session 7 & 8 - Time Lapse
This was the day I knew I had to tough it out as much as I can. I did my practice at 6am had a meeting the whole day and did my second practice at 8pm. I remember going on autopilot by the 8pm class, I wasn't even thinking anymore. Postures were just happening one after the other, it's like I was just jumping through snippets of pictures in my mind. I was feeling dead by the time I came home, I had my dinner at 11pm and eventually dozed off.

This I think returns to what I was looking for in day 1. We're in the midst of it now and this is where I will see changes and where I will need to dig deep in searching for what my body can do. This has to be the most exciting part right?

Session 9 - A Whiff of Coolness
I'm beginning to do odd things in the hot room just to see what happens. Today I went to see what the big fuzz is about in being by the door during your practice. Let me tell your right now its COOOOLLDD there! It wasn't even open and my legs and mat were cool. In any case, I don't think its for me. Heck yeah its cold but I think its way much more fun ducking it out with the heat.

Anyways on to my practice, today was a good day in my book. I'm not sure if I'm just not doing it that hard anymore but the triangle pose has began to get more bearable for me. My heart rate isn't all over the place anymore. Let's see what my teacher says tonight.

My head to knee is another nice pose I've been happy to learn something new on. I've been focusing on the PULL phase of this posture which Frank was saying would be the best place to go since I can't really lock my leg yet when its pulled up. So I'm happy I can find something else to work on now.

Session 10 - Way Out of Wack
I was very blank before entering the hot room today. I felt no emotion, no feeling, just nothing.  In some sense my body just had to drag itself to yoga. I remember even yawning during the first few postures and had my mind everywhere. So as  I started, I already set my mind to fail.

Thus it was such a tasking 90 minutes. Bikram yoga is tough in itself, but doing it the way I did makes it a pain fest of its own. I constantly kept telling myself mentally to shake it off but the mindset I instilled at the start of the class was such a virus that it kept tugging me down.

More than anything the last few days have been very mental. I'm quite confident I can handle the daily workout since that's exactly what happens during triathlon trainings. But the mental aspect of this practice is really something. If there is something I will learn, it will definitely be mental toughness.

Session 11 - A Whisk of Motivation
The mind is a powerful tool. I came in today with soaring motivation as I just saw a new race I got so excited to train for and do. I just went on and rode with it this evening in the studio, and had a very strong practice. My mind brings my body to places where it simply amazes me. Yesterday I had one hell of crazy day and today it was just a total 180. I'm excited to learn more on this.

Session 12 - Breath
Ginger mentioned the other day that "The mind is the king of the body" and "The breath is the king of the mind" and thus here I was today working on breathing EVERY little pain, hardship, and drama I would be having in the hot room. I kept a calm face and focused on breathing in every little way that I can. It's amazing really with what sort of sorcery this can do for your practice.

Everyone always has those moments when they are holding a posture and are thinking to themselves "ooh this is tough, I can't hold it anymore. I'm slipping, ow ow ow" Yeah we've all been there. But just like what Frank once said "Don't think! It's painful to think. Focus on your breath instead" Trust me guys, try it out in your next practice and see how much of a change it can give to you

Session 13 - Pulling Through
I had such a good sleep this morning getting about 11hours in. I kept waking up mid sleep thinking "what time is it?", then I doze off again til I just realized it was already time for lunch. I felt very refreshed and lazy at the same time thinking I should just do a make up class another day. But I said to myself, what am I gonna do here just laying around all afternoon so I brought myself to class anyways.

At first feeling a little lazy I went through the postures and remembered how good my last few days were. So I snapped myself into gear and again just kept on breathing. I may not feel 100% today but heck lets just do the best I can and forget the rest. Some postures were tough while others didn't feel so bad.

So hey that's session 13 done and were almost half way! I'm feeling really strong in my practice physically and mentally so lets get it on and keep the ball rolling.

Monday, July 8, 2013

My first 7 days of the Bikram Yoga Alabang Challenge

Session #1 - I know I can!
First day has all the hype and excitement plus I know I'm coming in fresh, so I knew I wouldn't really be having too much of a tough day. Really weird though cause most people are shying away from the pain, I am came in today looking for it. I'm raring for that challenge that will make me tumble, fall and fail. Quite funny when I think I about it, but maybe failure these days are something I enjoy and accept cause that way I know I'm learning something and getting better.

Session #2&3 Going doubles
I'm having to sneak in a two yoga classes today since I had to miss yesterday for unforeseen circumstances. Had the 6am in the morning and I am really toughing it out on that triangle pose. Who the heck thought of it!?!? Anyways because of how totally uncool that posture makes me feel now I feel like I gotta get my revenge on it and knock it down haha Well, lets see!

On a good note though, my toe stand has become AWESOME (that's what I think anyways) Ginger was right when she pointed out that such a small adjustment makes a world of difference in your posture. In this case I just needed to change where I was looking and *tada* I was there looking all cool for everyone to see =D

During my second class I was in no man's land since this would be the first time I would be doing doubles. I had no idea how my body would be reacting and it was quite an experience. During my practice I began creeping in thoughts in my head like "oh crap, I still have how many days of this to go? Can I really do it or did I just get myself into this?" These are the exact sames words that come up too when I train for triathlons. Self-doubt is my mortal enemy and this is where I will be tested again. Thankfully I was able to pull through this second class and I would go as far to say that I had a better practice than this morning.

Session# 4 - Creeping Voices
I'm feeling a little tense having the idea in the back of my head I am missing one day as compared to the other challengers. I have this personality of mine to always have things I need to do done, before things tend to pile up.

So today was day 4 for me but day 5 for everyone else. I felt quite woozy today but strong in the other postures. I'm not really sure how my body was feeling but it wasn't that good today, that's for sure. Frankie mentioned in class today about taking it easy and maybe I do need to pace myself a little better. We are at the start of the challenge and I do need to keep it together and strong.

Voices have been creeping up again in my brain, shouting out doubts here and there. I tend to falter more today, so I need to block them out. I need more focus to keep my mind clear and just release everything with the breath. It actually really does work!

Anyways I've gotten through today and will be doing an afternoon practice tom.

Session #5 - Learning a lesson
This was that session that I felt lost from the start off. I'm not that sure if it's because of my lack of sleep, the food I ate, or my mindset. Things were not just clicking today. It felt disappointing at first seeing myself just whisk through the postures not even pushing but at the end of the day I still felt an appreciation to myself for trying. I felt thankful to my body and mind for giving it a try and working with what it had for the day.

Session # 6 - Forgetfulness
I remembered how bad I felt the day before I would like to come in today with a forgetful mind of what happen the day before. History is something to learn from but I having it dictate your fears and emotions would not do me any good. I kicked the thought out of my head and pushed on. Well it was good today. Feeling a little tired but it was good. Time to watch a movie now with my girlfriend!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Starting Point

I think an important part before having the 30 day challenge come Monday will be for me to set my expectations and the goals I hope to achieve from all this.

This morning I took a weight and body fat test and got the results as follows:

Weight: 139lbs
Body fat: 15.1%

I've never been this light even during the time of my heavy training back then for triathlon events, so I begin to ask the question on why. But in any case I think that whole discussion will be for another post. For now this will at least be my physical data which I will use as my starting point.

For my goals, physically I'm looking to really loosen up a lot of parts of my body especially my hamstrings which by far has to be the tightest muscle I've got. I am also hoping to have a more well rounded physical ability in a sense of building strength. Yoga has a really sneaky way of pointing out your weaknesses and smacking you in the face with it. Thus my absurdly dying snail like form when doing the locust pose, cobra pose, or any other pose which needs lower back strength

In terms of expectations, by far the biggest obstacle I see would be time management mixed with lazy days and stress full days. I know there will be times that plans don't go too well or my whole practice could come crumbling down while in the hot room. It will be a toughie as I would call it, but I gotta be tougher.

Anyways, I'm quite excited for it and don't really know how my body and my mind will react to this and I suppose that's what will make it so much more fun!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bikram Yoga 30 Day Challenge

I remember reading once that it takes 30 days to create a new habit. This span of time is when your mind and body adapts this new stimulus and later on eventually gets used to it and thus becomes a habit.

In the coming July I am seeking to create this new habit and even more make it as a challenge. Our local bikram yoga studio will be having its 30 day challenge where in a student would have to finish 30 bikram classes of yoga in 30 days.

I've always had the fantasy of doing this challenge when I first heard of it but never really had the time to do so. But now I think is just the right moment for me to do this. After taking what I may call as a brief hiatus from a square life of training purely for triathlon, this would be a very welcoming challenge to see how else I can push myself.

I can already feel that this July will be on for the books as I will be juggling the 30 day challenge, my commitment to training in my triathlon discipline, a day job, and also a social life with my girl friend. It will be quite an effort not only for me but also the people around me whom I think will have my back for this one.

Anyways I am planning to do a day to day log if you will for this whole challenge and well lets see, how things come about. Til then!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I think I've learned a little more along the way

Change happens and I've felt a big leap of maturity after a hiatus in the sport. For the first two years I came in eager, excited and in such a rush with things. I wanted to do a lot of big things and make them happen as fast as possible. I was seeking to achieve such thing that I forget to be patient and get put down when they don't  come.

Lately I have learned and have been looking at the sport in a little more laid back manner. I have no races I am really looking at this year but I am getting my butt to train as much as I can. The feeling this time around is that I am enjoying what I am doing for what it is and not because I have pressured myself into needing to do certain things. The enjoyment of the sport is again very much alive in my heart and am looking at this whole thing as a beautiful process.

They said triathlon is a lifestyle. It really is, for you to do it day in and day out. The training is more of a daily routine much like breathing that it comes naturally. But really, importance is in the enjoyment of it everyday. I believe you should be happy and keep doing what has been making you happy.

Anyways, I think this could be a return of my blogging but it is something for us to see first I suppose.