Bonus torture

I’ve probably mentioned this in previous posts, but just to be safe… anything that coaches declare will be “fun” or “good for you” is very likely to actually be long, painful and possibly torturous. Most recent case in point? Cycling-specific core training classes. A few of our coaches have been through the core strength training program at Integrate Performance Fitness (IPF) and have had nothing but good things to say about it. They encouraged us to check out the course — it’s fun, a great workout, and will help you be a better cyclist! Plus, IPF was offering a free week’s worth of sessions to any TNT-er that showed up. How could you lose?!

Well… that probably depends on your definition of lose really. Julie and I decided we’d check out the Monday and Wednesday morning sessions. Of course she immediately “had a work thing come up” and was a no-show for Monday, but she did manage to make it for the mid-week class. Morning training means being awake and in Mountain View, ready to work out by 7am. Loss #1: Sleep! The class itself is primarily composed of a series of drills (most seemingly made up on the fly by The Master of Torture, aka Al) designed to improve your balance, strengthen your core and legs, increase your flexibility, etc. You work your way around the room lifting, squatting, lunging and balancing (or falling) – all in 40 second intervals beeped out by a merciless digital stopwatch. Loss #2: Sense of shame when you start mentally begging a watch for relief.

The drills are punctuated by a variety of grunts, moans, whines and curses… and (thankfully) a good bit of laughter. The instructors and the participants are a lot of fun; fully willing to participate in the joking (and the swearing). I quickly discovered that I’m not as in shape as I thought I was… and I had never really thought I was very well off to begin with! Loss #3: A bit of ego! Sometimes they put you in pairs so that you are responsible not only for your own pain but also someone else’s. With a bit of luck, you can find a balance between working yourself out and killing your partner… but it’s a delicate dance. Loss #4: The friend you’re forced to torture.

About 10 minutes after you’re convinced that you cannot possibly lift your tail in the air again, Al calls for the “happy strings” — which is really just code for a whole other kind of torture: stretching. Voluntarily strangling my own legs (and hands) with a bit of rope is apparently supposed to be “rewarding” (but still manages to be quite painful). Even just walking out of the gym, you realize that your legs will never quite be the same. Loss #5: Ability to walk normally for several days after class.

And yet, with all the losses tallied… there still seems to be an even greater gain to be had (or these people are SO adept at non-invasive brainwash tactics that they made us believe there are). Despite all my bitching, moaning and groaning, I really DID enjoy the class a lot. Even though you hurt a ton while you’re working out – and definitely even more the next day – the folks (classmates and teachers) keep you laughing enough that you don’t really think about it. I can’t say how beneficial this will all be on bike come long ride time (I mean… I’ve really only had one tiny ride since trying the first classes), but I’m definitely (and oddly) excited and hopeful. I think Julie and I will be rockin’ the M/W early class starting next week. Bring on the PAIN!


1 Response to “Bonus torture”

  1. 1 Jeffy June 20, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Thank you for share.

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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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