My job as a Derailleur is to support you on your journey. Both your journey in-season and off-season. Your in-season journey may include becoming a stronger rider on hills. Your in-season journey may include mastering sneaking out of your house to get your ride in so you have “you time”. There is no judgment either way. There is an ebb and flow to your journey and that includes allowing yourself an off-season. For both your body AND mind. So what is your off-season journey made up of?

For those of us who call New England home, the off-season is a forced break from the treacherous, icy roads when we instead spend countless hours on our indoor trainer. Off-season for some in more “more temperate” climates may mean that their competition schedule is over and they are just “riding to ride” – mileage gets lower and training less intense. Or in the example of my friend in Florida, her off-season is in the dead of summer when temperatures and humidity force a counter-seasonal off-season for her. She claims her best rides are in the winter. So be it.


What's Your Story?


I admit it, I am a junkie. I crave a hit everyday. I can’t seem to live without it. My newest addiction is TED.com. There are worse things to be addicted to I guess, but it still feels like being under its powerful grip is like I am doing something wrong. TED.com’s tag line is “riveting talks by remarkable people.” And if hearing stories and ideas from remarkable people is an addiction, then count me as a happily addicted person who seeks no cure.

As a Derailleur, I hear stories on a daily basis from my clients. Stories of failures, stories of “stuckness” and stories of survival. And of course, after working with a client for a few months, those stories of “not enough” turn to stories of success. So it gets me thinking, “what story do you tell yourself everyday?” What do you replay in your head over and over again? Is it one of victimhood? Is it one of survival? Or is it one of hope? What would your TED talk be about if you were asked to get on stage and share your story?


Make "It" Count...


As The Derailleur at Terry Bicycles, my job as your “Life’s Coach” is “to make it count”. What do you need to make count? What if I told you everything?

As a Performance Coach for my clients’ minds, I am reminded that placing a premium on a positive outcome – a personal best or a breakthrough of some sort is not uncommon during their goals for success during a race or an event. But what happens in your day-to-day journey on the bike (and in your life)? Do you intentionally set a goal to have a breakthrough or a PR each time you go out and ride? Probably not. Perhaps you are like me where the victory is in actually getting out and getting your ride in. Juggling family, their needs, your work and life itself, just getting out on the bike for a mile can be a major victory.

As The Derailleur at Terry Bicycles, my job is to be your “Life’s Coach”. As a Performance Coach for your mind, I am reminded time and time again about the social comparison theory that my clients allow to rattle around in their minds. The social comparison theory sounds like, “She is so much better than me at that…his life is perfect…why can’t I be more like them.” We compare ourselves to those who we feel are better, stronger or appear to have the perfect life. In other words, we compete.

While comparison and competition are good things when they offer us awareness around where we are in our journey, we too often use comparison and competition for the wrong reasons, especially around things we cannot change. For example, I am 5’4” in height, a fireplug in stature and have bone straight hair. I will never be 5’10”, or rail thin, and will never have Julia Roberts’ hair. But I admire the beauty in all of those characteristics as long as I remember to admire the beauty in having all of my qualities. I don’t want to compete with anyone anymore…then why do I race my bike weekend after weekend? What am I trying to prove? What am I seeking by competing?


Why Do You Ride?


Testing your mental conditioning   through awareness.
In my introduction last week as The Derailleur at Terry Bicycles, I mentioned that I coach, among other types of clients, athletes of all shapes and sizes on their mental conditioning. Your body can be as fit as an elite athlete’s but if your mental conditioning is lacking, you may perform like you have “cement shoes” (as my friend from Jersey says.) So what is mental conditioning? I know you are about to click off this blog because the last thing you need to be told is to do more exercising. But listen up, this form of exercise is important. This isn’t about your athletic strengths; this is about how you show up on a day-to-day basis in your life. This is about how your mind performs.

I am…a Derailleur.
I am…a Certified Performance Coach.
I am…an agent of change.
I am…certain.
I am…loud.
                        I am…a firm believer in getting outside and playing.

What would happen if you stopped holding yourself back? 
What would be possible?
We so often blame the world around us (and those who inhabit it) as to why we aren't going anywhere or making significant change.  We claim that "someone" or "something" is holding us back.  And yes, this is partially true. 
"We" are the "someone" holding us back, not someone else
No one can hold you back...just your belief that they can. 
                                            So what can you do today to break the habit of holding yourself back? 


A fantastic reminder of what "Mindful Eating" means shared by Ginny Erwin MS, RD, CSSD, CPT;

For many people nutrition and diet are synonymous. However, over the past seventeen years of practicing nutrition counseling, I know balanced nutrition is more of a mind set
than a prescribed diet.

I have been fortunate to be a part of many emerging theories and practices of what makes up how, what, where and why we eat. The actual food we put into our mouths is important, however, there in one thing that separates a balanced way of eating from a "diet", and that is the mindset of that person who is making those food choices every day.

Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise. The health benefits of regular physical activity are hard to ignore. But let’s address the most forgotten and underdeveloped muscle in our bodies. This muscle is often our weakest muscle but one of the most important muscles we could strengthen.  So while you are making resolutions to get into shape in 2013, don’t forget to include exercising your “Change Muscle”! 

Where exactly is your Change Muscle located?  It actually covers every inch of your body and every inch of your mind.  It’s the muscle we use for creating changes in our lives, and like our physical muscles, it becomes weak if we don’t train it. Ariane de Bonvoisin, introduced us to our Change Muscles in her book “The First 30 Days.”  She suggests our Change Muscle develops from “all of the changes that we have been through – the big ones, small ones, unexpected ones and the ones we have initiated.”  And if we learn to strengthen our Change Muscle, it can become the most useful muscle in our bodies!  The stronger it is, the easier it is to navigate change.  Increased comfort with change means increased comfort with anything that comes our way.

Strengthening your Change Muscle is similar to strengthening your physical muscles…it means effort, a little sweat and incredible results if you stay dedicated.  For the beginner it is important to build a base of core strength and flexibility before moving on to more complex workouts.  The same can be said for strengthening your Change Muscle.  

Step 1: Assess your fitness level and your Change Muscle strength. You probably have some idea of how fit you are physically. Assessing and recording baseline fitness scores give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress. The same is true for assessing your level of strength of your Change Muscle.  By determining how quickly you traditionally navigate change, how often you get stuck in change or how much change scares you; you will have a good sense of your Change Muscle fitness level.  If your answers to these questions include “change is hard, change is paralyzing or change is terrible” then it requires a different level of strengthening that if your answers are “change is ok, I welcome it”.  Assessing your comfort level with change is the first step to understanding the work that your Change Muscle needs to become strong and powerful.

Step 2: Design your Change Muscle fitness program It's easy to say that you'll exercise every day. But you'll need a plan. As you design your fitness program for your Change Muscle, keep these points in mind:

  • Consider your change fitness goals. Having clear goals can help you gauge your progress. Determine what success looks like and estimate how long it will take you to strengthen your Change Muscle to the level you desire.  And be realistic.  If you haven’t used your Change Muscle recently, like a muscle in your body, it won’t snap back into shape immediately.  It will take time.  But remember the rewards of putting in the effort.  
  • Put it on paper. A written plan may encourage you to stay on track. What change are you focused on and how will you know when you are successful?  By writing it down and logging your progress, you dramatically increase your odds for success.    
  • Go at your own pace and load gradually. If you're just beginning to exercise your Change Muscle, start cautiously and progress slowly. The goal is to gradually improve your range of motion, strength and endurance for your Change Muscle.  Not to burn it out in the first workout.  By increase your load gradually the little changes that once seemed huge will appear tiny in the rear view mirror.  By starting small in the beginning you will ensure sustainability in your workout. And your body gets used to the new challenges you introduce to it.  With each day, you will build up the stamina of your Change Muscle. 
  • Build activity into your daily routine. Finding time to exercise your Change Muscle can be as much of a challenge as finding the time to work your physical body. To make it easier, schedule time to exercise your Change Muscle as you would any other appointment. Plan to take 5 minutes a day to exercise your Change Muscle and focus on the change you wish to make.
  • Deliberate practice. Daily effort and deliberate practice will be key to your Change Muscle. Like anything you practice, if you “half attempt it” you will get “half success.”  So practice the change with dedication, intention and mindfulness.
  • Allow time for rest and recovery. Many people start exercising with frenzied zeal — working out too long or too intensely — and give up when their muscles and joints become sore or injured. Plan time between sessions for your Change Muscle to rest and recover. Don’t try to change everything, all day long…remember that with 5 minutes of practice everyday, the Change Muscle will get the workout it needs and the recovery to continue the change the next day.  There is a great deal of “under-recovering” in workout regimes as we seem to try and make up for all of the time we were not working out, but this creates burn out and is unsustainable.
  • Fuel your Change Muscle properly.  Like with any workout, the body needs fuel to continue its effort.  The same with your Change Muscle.  No fuel, no energy to face changes.  The fuel to provide your Change Muscle?  Motivation and celebration!  By charting your progress, celebrating small victories, or inviting a friend to join you in your “change-workout” will increase your success exponentially.

Now you're ready for action.  Remember to monitor your progress and listen to what your Change Muscle is telling you.  Too much too soon brings pain and decreases your chance for success.  Not enough effort won’t give you the results you want and you’ll give up sooner.   Picking the right “equipment” for your Change Muscle workout is also important to your success.  Your equipment may mean exercising with a friend who may also be looking to make similar changes so you aren’t working out alone.  And if you do lose motivation, set new goals or try a new activity.  Stay creative and keep things fresh. 

Starting an exercise program to develop your Change Muscle is one of the most important decisions you can make. But it doesn't have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime. And like any good exercise program, small movements, gradual load increase, deliberate practice, and rest and recovery are key components to strengthening your Change Muscle.

If you are still unsure how to strengthen your Change Muscle in 2013, please reach out to one of our Coaches at The Coaching Center of Vermont and we will collaborate with you to create an exercise program for the most important muscle of all!