Athletic Performance defined and dissected-What is it…really?
BY: Dr. Bret Hoffer
BY: Dr. Bret Hoffer
Dr. Bret Hoffer, is local Huntington Beach Chiropractor at Health Pro Wellness Center and for 2013 will be working with Cash Call Pro Cycling Team as part of their medical staff. He is a cyclist and races for the Bahati Foundation at the Masters and Cat 2 level. For 15 years he has been involved with athletes to help improve performance through Chiropractic care, nutrition, and fitness. In his spare time, he enjoys writing about himself in the third person and riding backwards in a bike race.
Heart rate monitors, power meters, strain gauges, GPS, Strava, Altimeters, Watts, training zones, etc….it’s enough to make an astronaut go WTF?
We ride bikes and race, for the most part not as a full time job, but for fun. Yes, we all want to excel at this sport in our own way and cyclists are obsessive, mainly type A personalities, but why so many of us need or are persuaded by marketing and merchandising, to buy one or more of these products to monitor our training is beyond me. This may stir the pot a with some schools of thought and offend some people who actually benefit from these electronic monitors but the reality of the fact is…we are becoming slaves to these data collection and display devices. Are we humans or robots? With all the technology in the world today, it seems we are depending on these monitoring systems more and our own innate instincts and physiological processes less.
I was riding a few months ago during my re entry into cycling after a break from the sport and came up on a cyclist with two computers on his bike. One was a wind generated power meter and the other was his multifaceted cycling computer. I thought to myself, who is riding this bike, him or the data which tells him how to ride? While I used to train and have an obsession with how many watts and BPM’s I recorded during my training, whether it be sprints, tempo, or just simply recovery rides, I realized the more data I filled my brain with, the more I became over analytical.
Nowadays, I just train on feel and have been for this entire year. But this isn’t about me; it’s about you, your body and about trust, trust in your own physiology and paying attention to the most advanced computer, gadget, and data collection device ever conceived. Your brain and body, yes the complex but yet very simple piece of equipment which you have been familiar with since you were born. It knows when and when not to train hard if you listen. It knows when to push beyond what your HR monitor says or when to back off. How many times have you been in a race or training ride, glanced at your HR and thought “Whoa, I’m way over my limit?” but at the time you felt better than what was showing on the screen. We all have been there at least once. This is my point. We are so engaged in data and calculations on a daily basis; we begin to lose our control over our own thinking when it comes to our performance and the natural, physical indicators we were born with.
What it comes down to is do you want to be a person or a robot? Take a look at the old school cyclists, the best of our time. Did they have all of this data? No. If you put some of these legends up against some current day cyclists, I bet they would be competitive if not better because they didn’t concern themselves with too much data and analysis… they just rode their bikes, a lot! There is a place for all of this data but my argument is how much is too much before we begin to give up control of our own bodies.
This is the time of year to try an experiment not using your computers for a month and re engage your mind and body connection. Trust it and you’ll be surprised at the freedom and results you’ll gain from keeping it simple.
Until next time.