Friday, May 09, 2008

Over the top

Dear friends.

Although the blog may appear to be a self praise note, I would like to clarify that the intention here is to share the learning from my life with my friends. I would like to spread the word on what worked for me and what didn't, so you all can benefit from this. Please look at this in the light of the above.

In one of my previous blogs I wrote about "Reaching the top". How I trained to overcome perceived physical challenges and a mental image of "impossibility" to improve my cycling capacity.

In this note, I would like to share how a human is capable of adapting to new situations, latching on thus allowing one to go further up and beyond.

As I continued to train myself, I found myself being able to cycle up the mountain in lesser and lesser time and also recovering much quicker from the grueling workout. I managed to cut my time from 1 1/2 hour to 1 hour in about 4 weeks of training. Also recovery improved to the point, where I can do this twice continuously.

I learnt that the inherent capability was present in me (read all humans) and I had to overcome my mental blocks to have the faith that I could do it and all I had to do was train myself scientifically to prevent a physical burnout or injury. I also realise that by visualising each trip in the way I would like it to turn out, I was able to achieve that and more. Let me caution, that at the physical level, you have to be scientific in the training, rest and nutrition. My training wasn't all about cycling endlessly. No, in fact it has a a solid mix of resistance training to develop strength, stretching to keep my self injury free, cross training cardio like running, a biweekly massage to help recovery, solid nutrition and good portion of rest. If I didn't do all this, I wouldn't be able to get to work and do my job without sleeping out of exhaustion.

Most people arrest their progress by "thinking" themselves into inaction. Overcome your mind to reach over the top. (I'll write a note soon on how one can do this)

Some ground lessons to serious cyclists/athletes for text book style recovery:
1. Eat a banana before you start a long session (2 hours+)
2. Carry and sip water which has glucose (dextrose 3 tablespoons to 1/2 a litre of water)+Electral powder to allow you keep hydrated. Believe me, it makes a big difference in being able to keep going without breaking down.
3. Have 1/2 litre of water for every 1 1/2 of exercise to compensate for the water loss.
4. On returning, immediately have a protein shake (1 scoop whey protein with milk/water).
5. After 1/2 hour to an hour, have a whopping meal consisting of potatoes (excellent carbohydrate source), grain (like chapati, rice, thalipeeth), fruit and curd/yogurt OR eggs.

So now whats I wrote earlier I am looking for the next challenge. By innovating, I could challenge myself on the same route progressively e.g. cycling up in a higher gear deliberately, or pushing for a faster speed to cut time down, doing it twice, carrying a heavier bag to add weight, push to stay ahead of a truck struggling to go up the mountain, etc.

Look for ways to make your life interesting. You can discover gems even in the same path you walk on daily. Push yourself to achieve more (isn't that what life is all about?), innovate, challenge and keep looking ahead. Live on the edge.

You do this, while I seek the next mountain to climb...all towards my goa trip on a cycle :-)

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