Self motivation is just about the trickiest discipline there is. Even the most avid fitness fanatic will attest to the fact that there are days when, arriving at the gym, you are simply running on empty.
Just last week I spent 45 minutes standing at a treadmill watching a muted episode of How I Met Your Mother, completely unable to move my legs. That day I achieved nothing. And I still don’t know who those kids’ mother is.
The best innovations in any industry are the ones which are so obvious it leaves us struggling to understand how they have not been implemented before (using fingerprints to unlock a touch screen phone?) In this case it’s using scoreboards to motivate an entire 50-person gym of spin class enthusiasts to push themselves to their absolute limit. Having been invited by the lovely folks at Sport Pursuit I was having one of those unmotivated days. I was ready to hide at the back of the class and do the bare minimum. Then I saw my bike number near the bottom of the scoreboard and I went a little mad.
Human beings are generally competitive creatures. There are many exceptions of course, and it is worth noting that the scoreboard is an optional add-on. I couldn’t, however, recommend it higher. I have done my fair share of spin classes and have developed a pattern. Somewhere around the 30-minute mark I begin to fall away and I don’t regain motivation until the very last exertion. I’m sure this a familiar pattern. I’m also sure that I’ve found the cure. If you’ve spent half an hour working your way up the leaderboard to, let’s (smugly) say sixth, it becomes a lot less appealing to ease up. Legs naturally fatigue, as is all too clear by the end when they have begun to feel as powerful as a pair of noodles, what this combats is mental fatigue.
A lot of times when we feel exhausted it is not that our muscles have reached their full capacity for work. Those signs in the changing rooms declaring ‘The extra mile is in between your ears,’ may be corny, but they’re fairly accurate. Everything that Cyclebeat does is designed to get the most out of us mentally. The room is dark, the music is loud and the instructor knows exactly what to say and when.
Further appealing to the sports fanatic, you’ll even receive a statistical breakdown of your performance after the class. I ended up leaving with the impression that someone had actually noticed all the work I’d put in. It’s an amazingly gratifying feeling.
As is the case with a great deal of innovative fitness equipment, I expected the price to be somewhat prohibitive. It’s not. For £20 you get 20 rides in 20 days. I was so visibly shocked by this that I fear I may have alerted them to some mistake in their calculations. Hopefully it went unnoticed, but I would book your first 20 days sooner rather than later.
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The City of London
Tel: 020 7042 9000