My name's John and I'm an alcoholic
My names Barry Bethel and I lost 2stone on the slim fast plan! What is it with self help groups? Is it perhaps they work?
Blue Steel Conditioning was set up by Nick Hamilton (of This is Sheffield fame) and Adela Carter, with the support of Dave Hemborough and Podium Performance of Sheffield Hallam University.
It came about through an increasing demand from the Sheffield riding community for a winter program to increase their strength on a bike in a group-led, professionally planned training structure tailored to their needs. It has now also become a summer S&C training program as well.
One evening a week participants head to Sheffield Hallam University for 1.5 hours instructor-led training. This is based on exploring comfort zones in terms of mobility/balance and identifying areas which are strong and those that need to be developed. Through the course participants were empowered to understand their own limitations and therefore able to focus on these in our training.
I (JPJ) was fortunate enough to be on the first batch of Blue Steel Conditioning (see test dummy) and have completed over 30 weeks. I'm currently part-way through another 10 week block as I type.
So what have I gained from the experience?A lot, but specifically what is more difficult. Increased strength is a given but I have also gained much more than this.
It's been really great to have professionals I trust (Adela Carter and Dave Hemborough) watch my movement and give instant feedback on a weekly basis. Just knowing what you're doing is technically correct is so important, especially when you're planning on moving into some heavier weight training. A lot of my gains, however, have come from somewhere else.....
Mind, body, soul. The theory of how all three areas are interdependent and effect each other. We often think of the body following the mind but maybe my mind is now being led by the body sometimes ! I'm convinced increasing my muscle mass and training with the support of a like minded group has had a profound impact on my mental state in how I view my riding and racing (I'm not usually a racer). I have become more motivated to plan what I eat, and I drink much more water. I have also become more aggressive (in my riding, not in my personal life) which is good for me and although it sounds a bit weak, my self image has also changed for the better and it doesn't stop there....
The group - the team! The single biggest thing to come from all the brilliant professional input we have had is the bringing together of a group of people from all different walks of life, with one clear shared goal. To get better at riding bikes!
The Blue Steel Brothers and Sisters bring carrots and sticks to each session to keep everyone fired up and on the straight and narrow. Mountain Biking is a team sport - maybe not your race team but your training team. If someone's slacking they get some stick, if someone's strong they get praised and cheered on.
More self help groups (group training sessions) for MTB methinks!
PS massive thanks to all the Blue Steel Bros and Lasses. Chay Gramby, Nick Hamilton, Scott Turtle, Hilary Bloor, Richard Baybutt, Josh Lewis, Steve Taylor, Ice Berg Rick, Simon Hartley, Lee Hawden, James Swinden, Dan Barlow, Derek Airtime, Paddy Baker and of course Adela and Dave.