Fit

“It was a solution to a problem that people didn’t think existed. You’d fit somebody, they’d go away and become your ambassador, telling their friends and colleagues.”

“There was an assumption that pain was associated with cycling,” Jules adds. “The message from us then was, if you’re comfortable, you’re a more efficient cyclist. No one had heard of that, they assumed that they had to have their bars slammed down; that if they had knee pain, it was their fault, not that of their interface with the bike.”

Making the Kit Fit

Informational Universe

“This is the problem in the debate about Obamacare. The two sides live in different informational universes.

On the whole, though, costs are lower than expected, enrollment is higher than expected, the number of insurers participating in the exchanges is increasing, and more states are joining the Medicaid expansion. Millions of people have insurance who didn’t have it before. The law is working. But a lot of the people who are convinced Obamacare is a disaster will never know that, because the voices they trust will never tell them.”

In conservative media, Obamacare is a disaster. In the real world, it’s working.

OBE

“It might surprise you to learn that they (The All Blacks) spend a lot of time and energy working on an area which most of us totally ignore: emotional skills.

Specifically, their ability to regulate mood, to stay positive and resilient, to handle unfair ups and downs, to remain even-keeled, and to deal with unpredictable misfortune without losing your grip. Basically, their competitive temperament.

It’s funny, we don’t normally think of temperament as a skill. We think of it as a fixed product of someone’s character. We instinctively assume that temperaments are either weak (tend to choke under pressure) or strong (tend to come through). The All-Blacks, however, treat temperament and emotion as muscles to be trained with specific workouts.

Quick background: a few years ago, the team was going through a period of uncharacteristic struggle. Some players were having trouble controlling their emotions in matches. It was the typical stuff we all experience from time to time: they were trying too hard, being overly aggressive, and experiencing the tunnel-vision syndrome Navy pilots dryly refer to as OBE: Overcome By Events.

So, with the help of a former Rhodes Scholar named Ceri Evans, they devised a tool to fix that, built on a simple two-part frame that describes the mental state you want to avoid, and the one you want to be in. They call it Red Head/Blue Head.

A Mental Trick from the World’s Best Team

Somewhat akin to the inner monkey we’ve read about with the GB cyclists.

Form

“External cues are proven to work in strength exercises, cardio activities, and ball sports. Try these techniques:

Strength Training:

Deadlift – As you initiate the lift, think about driving the floor away with your feet. “This cue results in greater explosiveness,” Berenc says.

Plank – While holding the plank position, picture a fist coming at your stomach. Berenc uses this cue with many exercises that require bracing of the core muscles.

Cardio:

Running – Pay attention to the sound your feet make when they hit the ground and try to run more quietly. Irene Davis, a biomechanist at Harvard Medical School, teaches runners this technique as a way to reduce impact forces and the risk for common overuse injuries.

Swimming – When doing the freestyle stroke (a.k.a. front crawl), think about pushing water back with your hand instead of pushing your hand back through the water. A 2011 study by researchers at UNLV found that this shift in focus produced a significant improvement in 25-yard sprint times.

Ball Sports:

Golf – When putting, look at the exact spot where you want to hit the ball, then lock your eyes on the ball and keep them there until you’ve completed your stroke. This “quiet eye” technique has been shown to increase putting accuracy by 16 percent.

Tennis – When serving, focus your attention on your target rather than on the mechanics of your swing. A study by Brazilian researchers found that recreational tennis players hit their serves with 63 percent greater accuracy when their attention was focused on the court instead of their body.”

STOP THINKING ABOUT YOUR FORM

Polite

“This study looked at whether drivers overtaking a bicyclist changed the proximities of their passes in response to the level of experience and skill signalled by the bicyclist’s appearance. Seven outfits were tested, ranging from a stereotypical sport rider’s outfit, portraying high experience and skill, to a vest with ‘novice cyclist’ printed on the back, portraying low experience. A high-visibility bicycling jacket was also used, as were two commercially available safety vests, one featuring a prominent mention of the word ‘police’ and a warning that the rider was video-recording their journey, and one modelled after a police officer’s jacket but with a letter changed so it read ‘POLITE’. An ultrasonic distance sensor recorded the space left by vehicles passing the bicyclist on a regular commuting route. 5690 data points fulfilled the criteria for the study and were included in the analyses. The only outfit associated with a significant change in mean passing proximities was the police/video-recording jacket. Contrary to predictions, drivers treated the sports outfit and the ‘novice cyclist’ outfit equivalently, suggesting they do not adjust overtaking proximity as a function of a rider’s perceived experience. Notably, whilst some outfits seemed to discourage motorists from passing within 1 m of the rider, approximately 1–2% of overtakes came within 50 cm no matter what outfit was worn. This suggests there is little riders can do, by altering their appearance, to prevent the very closest overtakes; it is suggested that infrastructural, educational or legal measures are more promising for preventing drivers from passing extremely close to bicyclists.”

The influence of a bicycle commuter’s appearance on drivers’ overtaking proximities: An on-road test of bicyclist stereotypes, high-visibility clothing and safety aids in the United Kingdom