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The Podcast for the MTB Strength Training System, the world’s original and best strength and conditioning system designed exclusively for mountain bikers.

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Well, another year is just about in the books. I think that most of us have had another interesting year with the on again/ off again pandemic and all of the changes it has brought to our lives. However, as much as some things change, others stay the same and I kept bringing you posts and info you couldn’t find anywhere else to help you improve on and off the bike.

 

In this last post of the year I wanted to finish with a podcast recapping the best lessons I learned over the last year. Taking some time to reflect on these things is a great way to get ready for the new year and I wanted to share my reflections with you.

 

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

 

If I’ve been able to help you in any way this year it has been my honor. Coaching is my calling and the riders who let me into their lives in some small way to help them on their journey are doing more for me than I could ever do for them. I’m excited by the new direction I have planned for MTB Strength Training Systems and I hope that it will provide you with even better results.

 

Until 2022…

 

Ride Strong,

 

James Wilson

 

p.s. On Monday I will be releasing my updated 40+ MTB Rider Training Program, which is going to kick off some big plans I have for the coming year. This will be the only program of its kind, combining my unique perspective as a 40+ year old rider with over two decades of experience working with riders at all levels. 

 

It will also be the first program to combine the new elements of Isometric Training and CO2 Tolerance Training into an MTB specific workout, which you won’t find anywhere else. Once again I’m ahead of the curve and I’m bringing my fellow riders along for the ride. Keep an eye out on Monday for the email announcing the program’s release, you won’t want to miss the special deal I’ll be having when I do.

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In this episode of the BikeJames Podcast I look at how your internal chemistry affects your consciousness and how you can use breathing to affect both. You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

As much as we hate to admit it, our internal chemistry will affect your consciousness - which affects your performance on the bike and in life - and without having an understanding of this and a plan for how to control it then you are leaving it to chance.

Getting a better understanding of this and the tools to do something had made a big impact on my performance and mindset and while I know that it isn’t something that everyone will connect with, I know that some of you need this type of info more than you need another core training exercise or workout routine.

I hope this podcast is the spark that you need to start paying more attention to this forgotten aspect of living a healthy and happy life. You can find more info at my website or let me know if you have any questions or comments, I’m always happy to help.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

p.s. I feel that this is such an important part of a holistic approach to your performance that I’m including breathwork in the new 40+ MTB Rider Training Program that I’ll be releasing in a few weeks. Breathing is a foundation for your performance and mindset and something the older rider really needs to focus on to get the most out of what they have. I’ll also be doing some remote classes and workshops in the coming year to share more about this with my fellow MTB riders.

PODCAST NOTES

Controlling your consciousness is one of the biggest questions faced by mankind. Your consciousness is how you are experiencing the world and it plays a direct role in your performance and happiness.

While most people would recognize how changing your blood chemistry through a strong drug like LSD or mushrooms will affect your consciousness, most people fail to realize how small things on a daily basis do the same thing.

 

Another example is treatments for depression - the whole point of antidepressants is to change your internal chemistry into one that helps change your consciousness and perception of the world.

Looking at natural chemistry, a good example would be a spike of adrenaline from getting startled or scared. Your consciousness and perception of the world changed as a result and no matter how much you didn’t want it to happen, it will have an effect.

On a performance level, rising levels of CO2 are what trigger that panicky “I Can’t breathe” feeling - no matter how fit you are this change in blood chemistry will impact your consciousness and force you to slow down.

As much as we hate to admit it, our internal chemistry will affect your consciousness - which affects your performance on the bike and in life - and without having an understanding of this and a plan for how to control it then you are leaving it to chance.

So if your internal chemistry is so important then how can we influence it without drugs?

The answer is through breathing.

How you breath and the rate you breath at will directly influence your chemistry in some pretty profound ways.

First, the muscles you use to breath will have an effect.

Your body is designed to use the diaphragm to drive your breathing but, since breathing is so important, it will develop dysfunctional breathing patterns if this is not reinforced.

The most common and problematic breathing dysfunction is the use of the chest to drive your breathing. 

When you do this it is not only less efficient from a performance standpoint but it also creates a stress response in the body. 

Since chest breathing is only supposed to be used during periods of high exertion - like running for your life - it signals to your body that you are under stress. 

This increases the amount of stress hormones you have in your bloodstream. This less efficient breathing pattern also results in less efficient gas exchange in the lungs, which leads to higher CO2 levels.

All of this affects your chemistry, which also affects your consciousness. You’ll have a tendency to feel more stressed and have less control of your emotions under these conditions.

Second, what hole you use to breathe has an effect.

Breathing through the nose makes it easier to engage the diaphragm, which helps with the first problem. 

Breathing through your nose also mixes Nitrous Oxide (NO2) into the air. NO2 is a vasodilator which opens up the blood vessels and makes it easier for blood to flow.

The improved blood flow makes it easier to get oxygen to working muscles and to take up waste products like CO2. 

And since rising levels of CO2 are what trigger the panicky “I can’t breathe” feeling it is important to control this for performance and anxiety.

Which leads us to the third point, which is how much you breathe has an effect.

Most people tend to over breathe, which means they are breathing more than is needed for what they are doing.

One of the problems with this is that it leads to chronically lowered levels of CO2 since you are not only taking in more oxygen than you need but you are also breathing out more CO2 as well.

Chronically lowered levels of CO2 create a new baseline for the body, which means that it takes less of a rise in CO2 in your blood to trigger the “I can’t breathe” feeling we have all experienced at some point.

This has a direct effect on your consciousness while performing - if you are riding your bike and every hard effort triggers that feeling then you are not going to have a fun ride and you will not be able to push as hard and ride as fast.

This is also a contributing factor to anxiety and panic attacks - since you need CO2 to release oxygen from red blood cells (known as the Bohr Effect) then blowing off too much CO2 will make it harder for your body to actually use the oxygen it has in it.

So when something triggers a stress response that includes accelerated breathing with someone who is already over-breathing you can blow off so much CO2 that your brain starts to panic from not getting enough oxygen released into the bloodstream.

This is why breathing into a paper bag can help someone who is having a panic attack and feels like they can’t breathe - they intake some of the exhaled CO2, which raises the CO2 levels high enough to get the oxygen to release into the bloodstream.

If you want to be able to control your consciousness you have to control your breathing.

Breathing with the diaphragm, using the nose as much as possible and being aware of over breathing are all ways that you can have a big impact on your chemistry and consciousness.

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In this podcast I interview Tony Blauer, who is the creator of the SPEAR System of self defense. As part of his system Tony has done a lot of work in helping people to understand the psychology of fear and how it can be used to help them overcome it.

Something that a lot of people don’t realize is that the same mental tools you need to survive a self defense situation are the same mental tools you need to improve on your bike and even to succeed in life. This makes knowing how to stop fear from holding you back a vital tool for your success. 

In this podcast interview we discuss why people who are “anti-violence” should still think about self defense, the Cycle of Behavior that fear causes and practical steps you can take to become better at managing the Fear Loop.

You can find out more about Tony and his SPEAR System at https://www.blauertrainingsystems.com/. You can also download his free report Making Friends with Fear at https://getknowfear.com/e-book1

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In this podcast I interview the creator of the Brake Ace system Matt Miller. Matt is the only person I know who literally has a Ph.D. in mountain biking and during his research for his doctorate he gained some really interesting insights into what it takes to be a faster rider. While the main topic we cover is how focusing on your braking efficiency can be the missing link for a lot of riders, we also cover a lot of other topics that can help you improve.

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

You can find out more about Matt at www.MTBPhD.com, the Brake Ace system www.BrakeAce.com and check out his podcast at www.PerformanceAdvantagePodcast.com.

BTW, there are a couple of spots where I lost my train of thought while I was on a tangent based on some interesting stuff Matt talked about. I was going to edit them out but then I realized that it was all part of the conversation and so I just left them in.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

“Speed does not necessarily mean being faster than the enemy. It means being smarter than the enemy.” Miyamoto Musashi - The Book of Five Rings

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In this podcast I review the findings of a 2017 study on mountain biking injuries and give you my recommendations based on them for avoiding the most common injury patterns. You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

Some people look at injury studies like this with a fatalistic approach of “that’s just how it is and there is nothing we can do to significantly change things”. I look at them and say “if people are getting hurt at a higher than normal rate, is there something we are doing wrong that is leading to it”?

Running Shoes is a good example of this - small changes to the status quo vs. a paradigm shift in how we look at running.

Is the industry getting it all wrong with the equipment and techniques we promote along with how we promote mountain biking to new riders?

Here are my big takeaways from the study linked to below:

https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/fulltext/2017/11000/mountain_biking_injuries.10.aspx

Big Takeaway #1 - Mountain Biking has a higher than average rate of injuries in general and head/ spine and overuse injuries in particular.

  • With almost a third of injuries occurring during the race, MTB is among the sports leading to high overall injury rates in Olympic sports (20). During the 2012 Summer Olympics, 21% of mountain bikers reported acute or overuse injuries, half of which had led the cyclists to lose at least one training/race day (20). Fifty percent of recreational bikers and 80% of professional mountain bikers have reported at least one major severe injury directly related to the sport (35). Microtraumatization of contact and noncontact areas due to repetitive forces and vibration, in addition to fatigue, renders the rider vulnerable to overuse injuries (13). Such injuries are reported in 45% to 90% of mountain bikers (13). Injury-related cost of care for the cyclists can be a significant financial burden for cyclists and health care in general (46). However, the potential risks of cycling are outweighed by the health-related benefits of riding a bike.
  • The most common mechanism of acute severe injury for competitive mountain bikers has been falling forward (64.9%), and 85.6% of such injuries have occurred while riding DH (14). Falling forward had led to a significantly higher Injury Severity Score (ISS) and emergency department admission rates than falling to the side (14).
  • Head injuries lead to concussions, skull and facial fracture, cerebral contusion, and intracranial hemorrhage. In one study, oromaxillofacial trauma, fractures, soft tissue injuries, and dental trauma accounted for 55%, 23%, and 22% of cases, respectively (24). Dental trauma also has been reported in 25% of the mountain bikers.
  • In 107 cases of acute spine injuries in MTB in a level 1 trauma center, 95% were male (18). Only two were professional cyclists and injured during a race. Mountain biking spinal injuries consisted almost 4% of all spinal injuries (18). Cervical spine injuries were diagnosed in 74% of cases. Eighty-four percent of riders had used helmets and/or body armor. Fifteen percent of patients had documented coexisting brain injury. The ISS did not differ significantly in those with helmet (16.4) versus those without helmet (16.3).
  • Ulnar and median neuropathies are common among cyclists, with ulnar neuropathy (cyclist’s palsy) being present in 19% to 35% of the cyclists (4).
  • Prevalence of knee pain is 20% to 27% among mountain bikers (13).
  • With a prevalence of 16% to 43%, neck pain is a common complaint among mountain bikers (13).
  • While the clipless shoes provide the cyclist with mechanical advantage in energy transfer chain during cycling, they potentially expose the cyclist to some injuries including metatarsalgia (62) and Morton’s neuroma (34).
  • Low back pain (LBP) is a common complaint among mountain bikers with a prevalence of 24% to 41% (13).
  • Genital area numbness (GAN) and erectile dysfunction (with prevalence of 50% to 91% and 13% to 24%, respectively) are two of the most common chronic injuries of genitourinary system in male cyclists (27). Other complaints include dysuria, scrotal abnormalities, urogenital, and perineal pain. Impingement of the pudendal nerve in Alcock’s canal due to stretching, vibration, and ischemia has been proposed as the cause of pudendal neuralgia and paresthesia in cyclists (51). In contrast to road cycling, the more upright riding posture of mountain bikers leads to higher loading of buttocks area (42). Poorly fitted bike, saddle type, increased riding distance, prolonged seated position without standing, and high body weight appear to be contributing factors. Correction of these factors, physical and manual therapy, and minimally invasive interventions to block or ablate the pudendal nerve may be effective treatment methods. Male mountain bikers also have a significantly higher rate of abnormal ultrasonographic findings in scrotums compared with noncyclists and road cyclists, (94%, 16%, 48%, respectively) (46).

Big Takeaway #2: Downhill Riding/ Bike Parks are Significantly More Dangerous Than XC

  • Various terrain conditions and participants in the sport have led to a variety of injury patterns among mountain bikers. With only severe injuries included in a study conducted in 1995, injury rate per exposure was similar between DH and XC races (38). However, when comparing the injury rate per 1000 h, the DH cyclists had a significantly higher injury rate in comparison to XC cyclists. The injury rates were 7.5 and 3.1 per 1000 h for female and male XC cyclists, respectively (p = 0.01); while the rates were 46.8 and 42.7 per 1000 h for female and male DH cyclists, respectively (p > 0.05)(38).
  • An emerging trend is the growing number of mountain bikers attracted to mountain bike terrain parks (MBTP), which facilitate the DH rides and provide the cyclists with a variety of technical trail features, leading the riders to spend more time riding DH at high speeds (55). Mountain bike terrain parks have become a common location for MTB injuries where the overall acute injury rate for recreational mountain bikers is reported to be as high as 15 in 1000 exposures with 87% of injured riders being male (1). During the 2009 biking season in a MBTP, 86% of injury visits to a local emergency center were male, and 52% of cases were visited between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (5). Upper-extremity fractures consisted 74.2% of all fractures, and 11.2% of all patients had traumatic brain injury. Almost 9% of patients required transfer to a higher-level trauma center (5).
  • Predictive factors for increased risk of MTB crashes include prior history of crashing, riding in the dark or in a group (60). Riding errors, trail conditions, obstacles, fatigue, and poor weather also are among the most commonly cited causes of injury (10). Riding DH, at higher speeds and competing in MTB races also are reported as predisposing factors (36,38). For recreational riders in MBTPs, riding unfamiliar bicycles and being faster than usual can be regarded as injury risk factors, while jumping, using safety equipment other than helmets, and using a new bike increase the risk of hospitalization due to trauma (55).

IMO these patterns show two things.

First, clipless pedals and the “sit and spin” mentality are leading to a much higher rate of injuries than needed. Clipless pedals contribute to the severity of OTB crashes and increase the chances of incurring head and spinal injuries while also contributing to overuse injuries from poor foot support. Sitting down more than necessary - especially during High Tension Efforts - leads to overuse injuries, especially in the groin area. By using flat pedals and standing up more to ride you will help to avoid some of the most common injury patterns seen in mountain bikers.

Second, it also speaks to how dangerous it is for the industry to promote our sport - especially the DH/ Bike Park  and even the Enduro scene - to people who aren’t ready for it and to not speak about the real dangers of riding and the need to be physically and technically proficient.

I know that these lessons probably aren’t going to be popular with the mainstream mountain biking world but hopefully they can help you avoid the problems that plague so many riders. Not all injuries are avoidable but by doing what you can to address the most common ones you can stack the odds in your favor.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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In this podcast I interview Kevin Estela, who is the author of 101 Skills You Need to Survive In The Woods and the Director of Training at Fieldcraft Survival. He is also a martial artist and combines lessons from that area with his extensive background in wilderness and survival skills to give a unique perspective on what it really takes to be ready for the unexpected.

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

You can find Kevin online at @estelawilded on Instagram or through the www.fieldcraftsurvival.com website.

In this interview we go over a lot of things that riders should think about when venturing into the wild. From skills and tools to the mindset you need, you’ll come away from this interview with a new perspective on what it really takes to be truly “ready”.

Here are some of the questions I asked him...

  • What got you into the whole “preparedness/ survival” thing?
  • Can you explain the “Ready Formula” that you shared in the workshop I did with you?
  • Why should a mountain biker care about wilderness and survival skills?
  • What do you see as some common scenarios someone who is spending time out on trails in the wild could face?
  • What are some tools that people don’t think about carrying that could make a big difference if they needed to weather an unexpected situation?
  • What kind of training do you think people should have to help them prepare for the unexpected on the trail?
  • What type of EDC gear should someone think about carrying? Can you explain the “layers” of gear you would want to carry?
  • You’ve probably heard a lot of tragic stories about situations that turned out far worse than they needed to be. Is there a common theme or skills that you would say is the missing element in the majority of these stories?

Expanding your skills into areas other than just riding are important for making sure that you can avoid bad situations and keep them from getting worse when you can’t. I hope you’ll learn some things from this interview that can help you today and get you interested in more training in some of these areas in the future.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

“To practice your craft as a warrior takes a tremendous amount of devotion and you must understand the need for frustration while you are training. Few can understand this, to their discredit.” Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

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In this podcast I interview the founder of The School of Crazy Monkey Self Defense, Rodney King. Having both a Doctorate and personal experience on the streets of Johannesburg, South Africa, Coach Rodney understands interpersonal violence from both an academic and personal experience point of view.

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

Some of the things we talked about include:

  • How Rodney became a Real World Self Defense expert.
  • Origins of The School of Crazy Monkey.
  • Coach Rodney’s philosophy of self defense
  • Why a lot of what you see on YouTube won’t work.
  • Common mistakes people make in self defense scenarios.
  • Detecting and Avoiding violence.
  • Neurology of Interpersonal Violence and how this affects us physically.
  • How the mindset and tools needed to survive a self defense situation are the same you need to become a better rider.

You can learn more and sign up for a free self defense basics course at http://www.SchoolofCrazyMonkey.com. I strongly encourage you to start there as a first step if you need to improve your self defense skills. It is an important part of being an MTB Warrior and something that we can’t put off on someone else to do for us.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

MTB Strength Training Systems

“Always be aware of the easiest way to accomplish something. Do not strive to do something difficult because you seek favor in the eyes of others.” Miyamoto Musashi

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In this podcast I cover Performance Breathing for MTB and how you can use specific breathing methods and workouts to improve your endurance and ability to focus in high stress situations. You can stream or download it from the link below or you can find it on Itunes, Podbean, Spotify and all other major podcasting platforms.

Here are the notes from the podcast:

In a previous podcast I covered the basics of Better Breathing for MTB and why you need to focus more on this important part of health and fitness.

The 3 Keys to Better Breathing are:

  • Nasal Breathing
  • Breathing with the diaphragm
  • Matching your breathing to your effort level

In this podcast I want to focus more on High Performance Breathing and how you can improve your endurance and ability to focus in high stress situations.

To do this there are 4 methods you can use:

Breathing Gears

  • If you look at your breathing patterns as “gears” then you can see how to use them more effectively.
  • You have 3 basic breathing patterns:
    • Easy: Nose-Nose with a 3-4 inhale and 3-4 second exhale
    • Moderate: Nose-Mouth with a 2-3 second inhale and 1-2 second exhale
    • Hard: Mouth-Mouth with a 1-2 second inhale and 1-2 second exhale
  • You can train this through Superman Breathing during your warm up and using them during your workouts.
  • Breathing Gears Intervals and Ramping Isometrics are two methods that train this skill directly.

CO2 Tolerance Workouts (a.k.a. Breath Hold Training)

  • Breath holds have a long list of benefits for us as endurance athletes (even DH Racing is a Strength/Power Endurance Event)

    • Improved CO2 Tolerance (changing your relationship with CO2), increased EPO (which signals maturation of red blood cells) and improved strength of the breathing muscles through isometric contractions are some of the top benefits.
    • By creating a Low Oxygen (hypoxia) and High CO2 (hypercapnic) environment you create the metabolic environment needed to signal these changes.
    • This is accomplished easiest by holding on the exhale and then moving.
    • You can do things like:
      • Walking
      • Running
      • Riding
      • Bodyweight Exercises like Squats and Push Ups
    • By using a pulse-oximeter you can see how low you are getting your blood oxygen saturation and make sure you are getting it to at least 85% (equal to being at 14,000 feet) to get the most benefit.
    • You are looking for 5 strong breath holds to trigger the metabolic changes you are looking for.
    • It may take a few times doing it to be able to push yourself that low - especially if you have a low BOLT Score - but you are still gaining benefit through the exposure to higher levels of CO2 so don’t give up just because the numbers aren’t going down that low.

Proactive Breathing

  • Tied to the Breathing Gears Method, this method has you shift gears before you need to when you know a hard effort like a climb or hard sprint is coming.
  • Doing this keeps you ahead of the fatigue curve by blowing off CO2 and getting more oxygen to the muscles in anticipation of the hard work to come.
  • Overbreathing on purpose like this has a place in your toolbox but you still want to avoid overbreathing on a regular basis both on and off the bike.

Breathing Workouts (Tempo Breathing and Fire Breath a.k.a Wim Hof Method style)

  • Taking time to do breathing specific “workouts” is also a great way to improve your High Performance Breathing.
  • Tempo Breathing like Triangle Breathing and Box Breathing are good ways to improve CO2 Tolerance and reduce Overbreathing.
  • Fire Breathing like you see in the Wim Hof Method has been shown to decrease markers of inflammation along with having a positive effect on the immune system.
  • I personally do 3 rounds of Fire Breathing and then 10-15 minutes of Breath Light to improve my breathing and mindset.

Your breath is the foundation of your performance and should be a focus of your cardio training efforts. Without doing that, over the long run you are usually doing more to reinforce crappy breathing habits than you are to improve your performance.

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

“Flexibility is a very important attitude. Things will not always go your way regardless of your practice and your attempts to define your own existence.” Miyamoto Musashi

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In this podcast I talk about fear, or more specifically, your relationship with it. Learning how to deal with fear is an important part of improving as a mountain biker and understanding how it works and what you can do about it can improve your riding and your life.

You‌ ‌can‌ ‌stream‌ ‌or‌ ‌download‌ this episode ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌link‌ ‌below‌ ‌or‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌find‌ ‌it‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌Itunes‌,‌‌ ‌Podbean‌,‌‌ ‌‌Spotify‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌all‌ ‌other‌ ‌major‌ ‌podcasting‌ ‌platforms.‌ ‌

Here‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌notes‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌podcast...‌ ‌

This last weekend I went to a workshop put on by Tony Blauer, creator of the SPEAR System for self defense. While I learned a lot of easily applicable tools for dealing with a bad guy, I also learned a lot about dealing with fear.

Tony uses a flowchart to explain what he calls The Fear Loop and explains how managing it is the key to success.

In a self defense situation, getting caught in the Fear Loop will cause you to hesitate or fail to react at all when your life is on the line.

In life the Fear Loop is what keeps us from doing what we know we should do but keep finding reasons not to.

And on the trail the Fear Loop is what keeps us from trying new technical features or going on epic rides that we haven’t “trained for”.

Fear can weigh us down and oppress us or it can act as the fuel to survive and even thrive in all of these situations. The goal isn’t to get rid of fear, the goal is to change your relationship with it.

“Fear is a friend of exceptional people” - Cus D’Amato (Mike Tyson’s first trainer)

You can’t solve a problem if you are part of the problem and you are part of the problem if you are stuck in the Fear Loop.

The Fear Loop is basically the movie you start to play in your mind after a fear spike happens. In this movie you are cast as the #1 victim and it can have a lot of different ways to play out, including associations, visualizations, limiting beliefs and the doubt-hesitation-fixation-anxiety cycle.

The goal is to find a way out of this loop either through a Challenge or a Threat “Door”. Going through this “door” is how you start to figure out what you want, how to get it and what you plan is.

Acting out this plan while reviewing the results and watching for a slip back into the Fear Loop is the next step. While the goal is to move with complete confidence through this last part, you may be hesitant and not sure. The main thing is to take some action versus complete inaction.

The first step is to realize what is going on and be self-aware enough to figure out what you are really afraid of. If you know what you are afraid of you can start to get out of the Fear Loop much faster.

Remember, though, that fear can also inform you about what you need to do or improve as you move through the Challenge/ Threatened Door. And limiting beliefs are sometimes true but that isn’t an excuse to not try or to tap into other things like heart and grit.

Practice courage in small steps because it is contagious...but so is fear. Ultimately, fear can be the fuel that saves your life or pushes you to a new level on your bike.

“Change your relationship with fear and you will change your mind. Change your mind and you will change your life.” Coach Tony Blauer

Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

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In this podcast I answer a rider question about e-bikes and another question on how to maintain muscle mass and strength while riding. You can stream or download it from the link below or you can find it on Itunes, Podbean, Spotify and all other major podcasting platforms.

Here are the notes from the podcast...

Q: “Are e-bikes good or bad for mountain biking?”

This isn’t about whether you should get an ebike or not, simply what my opinion of them is. I get a lot of riders who assume I must dislike them since they make things “easier” but that isn’t the case.

Like almost everything else in life, when you start talking about ebikes you need to first give your opinion some context.

While some people see ebikes as the next best thing to the invention of the “safety cycle” itself, others see it as a sign of the coming apocalypse. It seems to me that the problem is that two people can be talking about the same word and yet be talking about two totally different contexts.

On one hand you have the people who see the ebike as a great way for riders to ride further and longer than they would have, either due to age, injury or just their own preferences.

On the other hand you have the people who are talking about the weekend warrior type who are using an ebike because they are “easier” and seem like they want to be able to ruin as many people’s experience on the trail as possible with their ignorance of trail rules and etiquette.

Both of these types of riders exist and they both use ebikes. I completely support the first group but not the second.

Call me an elitist but I think that there is more to being a mountain biker than owning a mountain bike. The industry wants to “grow” the sport simply to sell more bikes and equipment, not because it is what is best for the sport.

I think that the weekend warriors who bounce from one outdoorsy sport to another and never take the time to learn how to help preserve the things they are doing are bad for our sport and will eventually lead to negative consequences for everyone else.

But that is an industry focus problem, not an ebike problem. Ebikes are simply tools and how you use them will ultimately determine if they are “good” or “bad”.

Q: I'm a 40 yo male who does a full body style workout 4 days a week doing all the big compounds and have made some great gains. My question is I want to be more proficient on my rides but do not want to lose the muscle that I’ve achieved. Is this possible? Thanks!

The ultimate question - how do I be good at riding without looking like a cyclist.

This is a great goal, especially as you get older. At a certain point your body starts to lose muscle mass and working on having and maintaining a healthy level of muscle mass is an important part of Riding For A Lifetime.

Another reason to want to maintain your muscle mass is that it is the best armor you can put on your body. The more muscle mass you have the more stress your body can take before something goes snap.

But to get better at riding your bike you need to ride your bike...a lot.

So how do you balance the two? Here are some ideas…

  • You may have trouble lifting 4 days a week while also focusing on riding 3+ days a week (which is what I would recommend you do to get better at riding). I’d recommend cutting back to 2 days in the gym and doing 2 days of Isometrics (Atomic Strength Training Program).
  • When you ride, focus most rides on shorter rides of 45-90 minutes. On these rides focus on your skills and efficiency instead of trying to “go fast” or “work hard”.
  • Once every 5th ride or so you can go fast/ hard or go for a really long ride.

If you have any questions you’d like to send my way I’m always happy to help, just send an email to james@bikejames.com. Until next time…

Ride Strong,

James Wilson

“It is essential for a student on the path of the warrior never to close their mind to the possibility of other possibilities.” Miyamoto Musashi

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