If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won't have to hear it scream.



Hi Bikergang!

How have you been holding up?

When I decided to contribute to to this blog I did so with the intention of building an outlet for the bikergang family to access valuable information that would contribute to a healthy body and mind both on and off of the bike. One of the most important and valuable lessons I have learned through this process is that I (and we) MUST listen to our bodies. If your body is begging for rest, then rest, or if you have a nagging pain that just won’t quit, go see a professional.

With that theme in mind, the blog posting below is from our very own YYC motivator and yoga instructor Laura Berg. Read on to discover why aligning your body both physically and mentally is crucial to maintaining health as you hop on and off of that bike.
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Let’s talk about alignment baby…

Why do YYC Motivators repeatedly say things like:

Chest Up, Shoulders Down, Core Tight, Back Straight…?

In addition to the importance of proper bike setup, your posture during your ride is equally important to both protect your body and maximize your workout. Motivators cue proper body alignment throughout classes because we want you to be aware of your body, ride safe preventing injury, and continue getting stronger.

As a yoga teacher I was trained to speak to what I see when I teach – this translates to cueing as a Motivator and I also speak to myself at the same time when I am cueing in classes. We Mo’s are hustling just as hard as you. Including myself when I start to get tired, the first thing that typically goes awry is your alignment. So that is why we cue the heck out of proper posture.

The most common thing I see is a hunched back. The reality is we are constantly hunched over and out of proper alignment in our day-to-day lives, driving, working at computers, while we eat, cook, clean. It is so important to use exercise as mindful movement to counter all that hunching. You want exercise to improve your posture and spine health, not make it worse.

Another thing I commonly see in yoga and spin is dangling heads. For the health of your neck, keep you head up – treat your neck always as an extension of your spine, keep yourself aligned from your tailbone to the crown of your head. You don’t want your neck jolting forward.

If you ever notice you are struggling to keep your back flat, chest or head up, that is a sign to take a seat, take a few deep breathes and re-set yourself for success. If you are hunched over, your core is not engaged. A strong core will improve and maintain proper posture – an awesome side effect is a more toned tummy! Ultimately our “core” is our spine, and our spine health is so important to our longevity, to our mobility and to elevate our quality of life.

I would rather riders’ sit down than cause themselves back, neck or joint pain. You might not feel something class one, but you could very well feed injury if you don’t focus on proper alignment when you ride. I like to say focus on building strength and not pain. Be patient and try to listen carefully to the Motivators cuing.

Ultimately spin is primarily a lung and leg workout but it is also an opportunity to strengthen your core and spine. Remember the handlebars are more for balance and stability; they are not where you should be putting your weight. I always say more resistance is better than less. Find your edge with each beat and always be challenging

your legs, that goodness will trickle up to challenge your core and as long as you prioritize your alignment, you will prevent back and neck pain, and improve your posture.

Another few things to note, I can never say enough the important of our breath. When it comes to exercise and mindful movement #1 is your BREATH, #2 SPINE, #3 CORE, #4 move from your largest joints – HIPS and SHOULDERS. Breathe deep and slow as much as possible, through your nose and out your mouth. Keep your shoulders arms and hands loose and relaxed. Then focus on what’s going on with your belly and spine. Keep your abs tight as much as possible, also important for the health of your hips.

Browse the YYC Cycle website and click the “Learn” tab for more information about Bike Set, Spin Etiquette and FAQs.

See you on the bike gang,

LB




LB_1


Laura Berg is an YYC Motivator, Yoga Teacher, Holistic Nutrition Consultant, District Manager of Cru Juice Inc. and Founder of Nourish Sweat Soul – an apparel and education brand encouraging us to shop mindfully and conscientiously. LB has a passion for educating others about the impact of what we put in our bodies, on our bodies and how our choices also affect the lives of people, animals and our environment.

Check out Nourish Sweat Soul - eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable apparel at Market Collective March 25-26th. You can also find Nourish Sweat Soul apparel at Cru Juice locations. To connect with LB or for inquiries about nutrition workshops or to get eco-friendly, ethical and sustainable clothes branded for your business, contact lb@nourishsweatsoul.com.

l.o.v.e.




To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Oscar Wilde.

Ola Bikergang!

If you’ve been following along with these monthly ramblings then you’re well aware of my suggestion that we make an effort to kick our habitual patterns, be mindful of our spin etiquette, and be totally present in each spin class we attend. How’s it going? Have you managed to make a new friend or two yet? Or, have you been able to convince a loved one or partner to join you for a spin inspired sweat session? If not, what are you waiting for?

Speaking of loved ones, Valentines Day is quickly approaching and love is in the air! If you’ve already met your dream fella or lady, bravo! If not, why not head out to a spin class on February 14th..because you just never know who may end up sitting beside you in that hot sweaty spin room … ooh lala.

In an effort to keep up with my 2017 intention of love, and with whole body health in mind, I contacted the lovely ladies at The Gut Lab and asked them to share a secret or two on loving yourself, and your guts in particularly. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but your gut and your brain are in a relationship, and you need to keep both of them happy in order to maintain that healthy bod. That being said, your challenge for this month is a simple one- to love yourself. If you haven’t made the commitment to your health and wellbeing yet then perhaps it’s time to ask yourself why? Because, as Annie Dillard put it- how we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives, and what better way to spend a life than with an abundance of self love?


Love yourself, accept yourself, forgive yourself, and be good to yourself, because without you the rest of us are without a source of many wonderful things.
Dr. Leo Buscaglia
Professor, Author


… and if you can’t find it in you to love that reflection in the mirror just yet, then why not begin by loving this soup.. because your guts will sure love it and your brain will eventually follow suit :)


Grandma's Borscht- Courtesy of The Gut Lab

2 L The Gut Lab Chicken Bone Broth
2 cups organic crushed tomatoes with juice
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup shredded carrots
2 cups shredded beets
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
2 medium yellow onion- chopped
himalayan salt + pepper to taste
organic milk kefir or plain organic yogurt to serve

This soup brings us back. It reminds us of our grandmother, who used to make it, then our mother after her, using her own home made bone broth as a base. If I close my eyes the taste + smell takes me right back to eating this as a little girl- bowl, after bowl, after bowl.

directions:
1. in batches, add all veg (minus onion + mushroom) to food processor until shredded to small pieces.
2. saute all veg in large pot with coconut oil until tender yet firm. (may have to do in batches also depending on pot size)
3. add TGL chicken bone broth + crushed tomatoes. simmer for another 15-20 minutes. add s + p to taste.
4. serve with organic milk kefir or plain organic yogurt.
tip: if you like your borscht a little thicker, whisk in a little arrowroot powder!


You can check out more about these incredible sisters at their website: http://www.thegutlab.ca.

borscht_copy


Spinning in the New Year.



Oh life.
Thank you
for your beauty.
Thank you
for reminding me
how lucky we are
to be part
of something
so big.

-Tyler Knott Gregson-

Happy January Bikergang!

And just like that, 2017 has landed on our doorstep. With a new year comes promises of new beginnings, new challenges, and ultimately, change. I don’t know about you, but I find change to be one of the most constant and difficult things to embrace. It seems as though life is constantly whirling us around, and trying to tip our usual sense of balance - merely to see if we are paying attention.. and sometimes that means we fall right on our faces. But hey, what’s life without a little tumble now and then? 

Speaking of change, i'm sure you've noticed a variety of new names pop up on the YYC schedule. Please join me in welcoming the Avenida motivators to the bikergang family, (and obviously go check out this beautiful brand new studio!) If you haven't had a chance to book a class at Avenida, then look out for these fresh faces as they sub in at both Marda Loop and Kensington. Also, keep in in mind that as January rolls out, so will an outpouring of new bikergang members. Be nice! Introduce yourself, smile…or perhaps just be willing to meet the eyes of a stranger. Here's an idea, LET’S ALL BE FRIENDS! 

I know that you are already aware of the sign up policy (you are not permitted to cross off a bike for anyone but yourself...and I know that you wouldn't dare bring your phone into the spin room).. but should you need a refresher on all things etiquette-related, please read on!

At YYC Cycle we believe in creating a very positive and safe environment for everyone. Our guidelines help us to achieve this:

At YYC Cycle we believe in creating a very positive environment for our students. Check out our guidelines below:

Shoes. Please take your shoes off at the front door. At check-in, you will be provided with a pair of spin shoes. Please do not wear these shoes outside of the spin room! They are VERY slippery on the concrete floors.

Work. Come ready to work… and get really, really sweaty! If you begin to feel faint or exhausted, slow down (but don’t stop), and wait for the class to finish. In case of emergency, please make eye contact with the Motivator to let them know whether or not you require assistance.

Early. Aim to arrive 15 minutes before class. If you are not in the studio 15 minutes before the start time, your spot will be given to someone on the waitlist.

Appropriate clothing. Make sure you wear clean, appropriate workout attire. As we discovered in grade school… no one likes to be the stinky kid in class.


Talking. Please refrain from talking in the spin room as it is distracting to others ( this includes your cell phone, leave the texting and the instagram for after class please!)



.. and if none of that resonated with you, then I will simply leave you with this...


Go and make interesting mistakes,
make amazing
mistakes, make
glorious and fantastic
mistakes. Break rules.
Leave the world more
interesting for your
being here.

Neil Gaiman
 
2017, we're ready for you.



Locker Room Talk

Dear Bikergang,

Let’s have a locker room talk

Ok, so I am going to talk about some of the issues that can crop up downstairs when you spin like a maniac. You might have experienced it, or maybe you are shocked to discover that this happens to others. This problem is real and it can be quite bothersome. What am I talking about?

A chaffed crotch
Irritation of your skin in your crotch region
A swollen sebaceous gland or cyst

Is this just for ladies? Nope, dudes get it too.

I chatted with a few of the motivators at YYC Cycle, and we discovered that we had all experienced some sort of annoying crotch BS. We suspect that sitting on that bike seat in sweaty, tight workout gear might be to blame.

I wanted to get the 411 from a medical professional so after a chat with my family physician I decided I should relay this information to you.

When you have a sweaty, hot region of skin that rubs against another sweaty hot region of skin, irritation occurs. Sometimes it creates a minor abrasion of the skin that will go away after a couple days of rest from the activity. But, if you keep up with the activity, infection and further abrasion can occur. In some cases, a swollen sebaceous gland can form. What is this you ask?

According to the medical encyclopedia (https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000842.htm) a sebaceous cyst, also known as epidermal cyst is a closed sac of cells created under the skin into which a protein called keratin is secreted. These cysts are often the result of swollen hair follicles or skin trauma and are formed when the release of sebum, a medium-thick fluid produced by sebaceous glands in the skin, is blocked. They are harmless, often painless, slow-growing small bumps or lumps that move freely under the skin. And sebaceous cysts are usually found on the face, neck and trunk, but can occur anywhere on the body and even in the vaginal area or other parts of the genitalia of both women and men. In addition, acne could be a precursor to the growth of these sebaceous cysts.

My doctor said she would suggest a cream to bring down the swelling and help dry up the gland. She also said to never try to remove it or (gross) - extract it! Your body should eventually absorb the cyst, however a topical cream such as benzyl peroxide can help speed the process along.

So what to do about chaffing?

I found a miracle cream at Sport Check called “Skin Glide” and I swear by it. It has cut down the amount of chaffing I experience from spin to almost zero.
I also found that not wearing underwear decreases the amount of friction for the groin region (no undies party woop!).

What if I have chaffing or abrasions?

To limit the chances of bacteria growing or getting into any broken skin, here are some healthy practices to follow:

Change out of your sweaty workout bottoms immediately after class. Don't go for coffee, juice, or lunch until you have dry bottoms on!
If possible, shower as soon as you are able to rid your down south region of sweat, and bacteria
use an antibiotic ointment on the broken skin and avoid spinning if you can until the area has healed. Even 1 day off can make a huge difference
If you find any lumps or bumps, go to your doctor. Rule out STI’s (don’t worry, you CANNOT get STI’s from a bike seat) and address the swollen sebaceous gland with your doctor

Healthy habits to form regarding your workout clothes:

Wash your clothes as soon as possible. If you leave them in a plastic bag and you go to work, bacteria will continue to grow all day long. If you don’t have that option, try a fabric bag that breathes. Washing your clothes ASAP remains the best solution
Turn clothes inside out when washing
Spray a pre-soak or stain remover on areas that receive high friction - yes, the crotch of your workout pants. Stain removers are often tough enough to break down oils and sweat that trap odour and bacteria
Sniff test the clothes before putting them in the dryer. Otherwise you could ‘cook’ in the nasty smell with added heat
Add a cup of white vinegar to your wash, or baking soda to your wash. Vinegar kills bacteria and breaks down the natural oils left on your clothes. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer
Give workout clothes a sniff test after about 4-6 months. If they still wreak after the wash, it’s time to chuck them and buy new ones. Bacteria can hang around even after its been through a wash cycle. Plus, the oils in your skin mixed with your glorious natural musk and a generous amount of sweat creates quite a cocktail of EW!

If after reading all this you think to yourself “Wow, some people must really stink” well, its true. We do.

Let me know if you have other helpful tips to reduce ‘down there’ discomfort. mcandrews.cm@gmail.com
Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any discomfort that doesn't seem to go away.

Keep that crotch healthy and happy so you can spin forever!

Love,

Elle

To Yin, or to Spin?

Hey Bikergang!

By now you’ve surely adjusted to these dark mornings and chilly (almost) winter evenings. I personally believe that this is when the true commitment to your morning exercise routine kicks in. I know that the temptation to hit that snooze button and snuggle up to a loved one, pet, or a steaming mug of coffee can be quite alluring! I also know that there is nothing quite the same as beginning your day in the company of like-minded souls.

That being said, I do want you to know that it is quite alright to shake up your routine every so often. Do not commit to a 6 am spin class simply because it’s something you’ve always done. Rather, do it because your body is physically and mentally capable of blasting out that weight track. Remember that your body is your most intelligent possession, listen to it. If the extra hour of sleep and rejuvenation are what you need, - for one day or several days, then sleep, or relax in some other way (helloooo yin!). Do not run the risk of injury because of your innate fear of spin FOMO. And if you can't quite comprehend the notion of a morning without spin, then remember that YYC Cycle has so kindly expanded the schedule to include 7 am classes. Take advantage my friends!

Why am I rambling on about this? Well, two years ago, I became trapped in my work out regime. I cancelled or declined plans because they interfered with my routine. I don’t know why, but I simply could not comprehend the notion that I could accommodate both a social life and exercise routine and still maintain balance and happiness. I was an exercise robot. Does this sound familiar? 

This brings me to your challenge for this month! Instead of running on “autopilot” and trying to juggle your social life and commitment to spin, try mixing the two together. The next time a friend or family member invites you out for a drink or a movie and you really want to go but you’re worried that saying yes will compromise your cycle routine, then take a moment to ask yourself - which of these two activities will leave you feeling more fulfilled? Perhaps that late night dinner will cause you to miss your beloved Tuesday 6 am spin class - but you know that you can go on Wednesday instead, right? New classes, new faces, new friends! To make this choice even sweeter, the next time you accommodate your cycle routine to make space for a friend, see if they will return the favour by joining you at your next class. Fair is fair, right?


-Maggie

P.S. Look for a post from our very own motivator extraordinaire Elle coming at you mid December! 



Beyond Appearances

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"Look up more than down. See more than say. Listen more than speak. Hope more than dread. Believe more than criticize. Yes more than no. No more than maybe. Laugh more than cry. Love more than hate. See. More. See."   -TKG


Hello Biker Gang!


I recently returned from my solo trip to Australia and it made me realize how difficult life can become when you have to turn autopilot off and actually make decisions on a daily basis. While that may sound silly to you, just imagine a life where you were unable to habitually plan your days based on classes, work projects, never-ending timetables, and competing deadlines... it's quite hard! Well, my overuse of vague responses and my inability to commit to a plan made me realize that sometimes it's just better to live in the moment and say yes. Let's do it together? Yes? Yes! For the next month, week, or even day, try to use yes more. A friend asks you to meet them for a last minute coffee? Say yes! A motivator you haven't had the opportunity to ride with invites you to join their class? Yes! Think of all of the fun people and opportunities awaiting you :)  If you're truly brave, write to me and tell me how your yes adventures went! And keeping in line with this yes attitude, please enjoy the post below from YYC Cycle Key Leader (and blogger), Rachel Antony.


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'Beyond Appearances'


Have you ever had a friend or colleague do something out of character and then you judge them for it?  Thinking, “who are they, they never do that.” We all do it, we put the people in our lives in certain boxes making it easier to know what to expect from them and feeling like you know who they are. It could be the human tendency to prefer the status quo, the familiarity and comfort in the norm, and usually the need to pass judgement on people at all times. 

I always find it surprising when I find out which boxes people have put me in; not necessarily how I would see myself. When I think about how I would describe myself it always starts with while sometimes I like this, sometimes I do that, when I feel like it I do this, one time I did that. But when you go to describe someone else, you’re like, she does this, says this, dresses like this, acts like this, and thinks this. Bam. Judge-y much? If I had a nickel for every time someone was surprised I listen to country music…
We are always striving towards growth and change, and to do that you need to get out of whatever boxes are holding you in. Just because other people don’t think you can do something, doesn’t mean you can’t reach those goals or make that change. In the same way, when you start to put people in the box you are used to seeing them in, take a second and open that door for them to grow in your mind. We are all working towards a better version of ourselves, and the best way to do that is with the support of our community.

I read in a relationship article one time that you shouldn’t use absolute words when arguing because it creates negative energy within your relationship. Words like never and always. I think it’s a good habit to get into when you are talking about yourself too. So before you say “I never do 6am spin,” give yourself the chance to set your alarm for 5am and crush those inner doubts. Like I said before, it’s better to use the “sometimes” than the “always.”

Wait, let’s do this. Sometimes I like country music, sometimes I do spin, when I feel like it I bake things, one time I decided to try out to be a motivator, other times I am taking too many Instagram brunch photos. There are a million ways to describe me, and I like to keep switching it up to keep people on their toes.

- Rachel Antony
(IG@almostffamous)
(www.franklyray.com)

Hello October!

It’s okay to be carried every now and then you know, even strength needs a rest.
-Tyler Knott Gregson.


Hello my beautiful (and handsome) Bikergang and hello October!

I don’t know about you, but I find these Autumn months to be more of a transitionary period in my life than the ever famed January. There just seems to be something in the wind, and in the way the leaves aimlessly dance about that causes me to truly wonder just what i’m doing with my life. Perhaps this is nothing but a simple nudge from the Universe, a slight suggestion that I begin to truly pay attention to my surroundings and to live for the moments rather than for the expectation of outcome…or perhaps it really is time to just begin anew.

While I may be infantile in my understanding of life, I do know one thing, and that is this… life is going to pass us by regardless of our ability to truly savour it. And so, in every effort to simplify this hectic life we all lead, I offer you the following suggestion via the ever talented Mary Oliver:

  • Pay attention
  • Be astonished
  • Tell about it

But really, tell me all about it , I want to get to know all of you! If you have an idea you really want to share, or if you have something you would like me to include in an upcoming post than send me an email and we can connect!

Your challenge for this month is a simple one. Try to remember the very reason that caused you to enter the doors of YYC Cycle (and I know that for the majority of you it was a result of your secret crush on Warren, so give me the other reason). Early last year I found myself complacent and in need of a change but I didn’t know exactly how to achieve this. I am a habitual creature, I live for routine and for the expected (I am that person who reads the last page of a book before I even get half way through). So, in order to stir things up in my life I created an idea jar, a jar that I filled with an abundance of “ideas” that I have always wanted to try but never quite found the time or person to do so with. Well, one of those ideas was trying a spin class, and after my first class (with Warren, by complete chance), I was hooked.

So there you have it my gang, there’s my motivation, now send me yours!

Maggie

Speaking of motivation.. have you ever wondered just why certain genres of music really resonate with you and others do not? Well I did, and so I asked our resident music specialist to shed some light on the connection between music and motivation. Interested? Read on!

Musical Moves! 
Written by Elle McAndrews, MTA, MT-BC

Elle-inside-

As a motivator at YYC-CYCLE, I often get those happy ‘feels’ when I get to create a playlist for the Bikergang. When I’m sitting at home finding tunes to spin to, I’m often dancing around my house, on the couch, at the kitchen table or wherever! When a track catches my ear, I cannot help but groove it out in my body.

As an accredited Music Therapist it is my job to find out what kinds of music my clients enjoy. When we are listening to or making music together, the response will be greater if the client enjoys the music. The motivation factor increases. This means I am learning many genres of music on the guitar or piano in order to reach my clients more effectively. Back to the spin room…
When you are in spin class and a favourite song comes up, you are more likely to work harder, and feel those good vibes during that track. Which brings me to the big question: How does music motivate us?

Music activates our sympathetic nervous system: airways open, heart rate accelerates, and muscles are primed to move. These are all excellent physical processes that need to happen when you get your spin on Bikergang!

Music affects the coordination of activity within and across different parts of the brain: Studies examining patterns of electric activity across the brain when listening to music suggest that brain signals become synchronized which is crucial for cognitive, motor and perceptual processes. This means that when you listen to music while working out, your brain signals become synchronized with the music allowing you to plan and execute your next move accurately, and get in sync with the beat. Is your criss-cross game strong? The music is definitely a part of that accurate coordination.

Music has the ability to draw our attention away from negative aspects of a task.
Your physical and mental endurance is enhance by music. So next time you are in the thick of a serious hover or a badass HIIT* track, focus on something you like about the song and forget about the temporary discomfort you feel and track will be over before you know it.

Music is able to connect you emotionally and enhance your mood: can I get “HELL YES?” You probably already know what song makes you cry when you are driving in your car - Adele makes me shed tears every time I listen to her, and you know what tunes get you in the mood to dance, party, get it on (oh that surfboard Bey!) exercise, work, relax, and sleep.

Got a request? I love when the a Bikergang member comes up to me and asks me the name of a song I had in my playlist, or even better when they give me suggestions or request of songs they would love to hear in future playlists. I am listening to you! If you ask, you shall receive unless the song is not spin appropriate - sorry death metal lovers, I still love that you love death metal!

Have a music related question? You can email Elle at mcandrews.cm@gmail.com or find me on Instagram @mcpeaches.


*HIIT - High Intensity Interval Track

Expectation is the root of all Heartache

mountainpose1

We create expectations constantly, both consciously and unconsciously. Even when you are determined to not create expectations, you have inherited a brain that conserves energy by making predictions about the future based on your experience in the past. It is worth striving to notice your expectations and respond with an understanding of the deeper purpose behind the built-in mechanism. Our struggle with expectations resides in our misunderstanding and attachment. When we come up against an unmet expectation, there can be disappointment, or sometimes relief - if you were expecting something "worse" than what reality handed you. To be disappointed every time your predictions do not match reality is a sure-fire way to live with more stress than necessary. Expectations are unavoidable, but our reaction to unmet expectations can be the difference between a life of happiness versus a life as a cynic.

As the brilliantly creative William Shakespeare said, "Expectation is the root of all heartache." Although Shakespeare coined the phrase, I heard it first from the brilliantly creative Andrew Obrecht. The simple and powerful message warns us to be mindful to not create expectations we cannot commit to, and to not attach to expectations that are outside our control.

As is the case with most concepts of behavioral psychology, there is a spectrum with extremes on either end and exploration down the middle. Naturally, it is not healthy to live with our mind so focused on the future that we are in a constant state of creating expectations that we attach to as if they are a sure-thing. Inversely, it is equally unhealthy - and impossible - to strive for no expectations whatsoever. What does that balance look like? What makes it so difficult to notice our expectations, ground them in reality, and then let them go when they have become limiting?

As mammals, we have inherited a brain that determines what is good or bad for survival based on which chemicals spurt in our brain. Dopamine, our reward system, spurts when our brain makes steps towards something that has been determined as good for our survival, as well as when we make correct predictions about our surroundings. When the rewards you predict are fewer or are lower than what you expected, your body perceives this as a threat to survival and releases Cortisol (aka the stress hormone) to alert you to do something about it. When your expectations are exceeded, you receive a big dump of dopamine, furthering your motivation to continue upwards and onward.

Dopamine feels like motivation for action. It signals to your brain and body to go all in, release the reserve tank, and take the reward that is within sight. If you had this good feeling all the time, you would be depleted and unable to act when the time called for it. That's what I love about being a motivator at yyc cycle. My job is to motivate the bikergang to empty their tank in pursuit of the reward of pride, connection, and accomplishment throughout and at the end of class. To me, one of the most satisfying and rewarding jobs I have.
Our relationship with dopamine can cause some confusion. For example, you may expect a donut to taste delicious. Perhaps you haven't had a donut in a few weeks and you decide today's the day to treat yourself. The first bite you take is absolutely wonderful. Not only do you get a sugar rush, you are flooded with dopamine because the donut tastes even better than you expected. The next day, still buzzing from your re-acquaintance with the donut shop, you head there on your lunch break again. Your expectation of the donut has produced a high-bar in your mind. You order the same donut, expecting the same sensation, and are quickly disappointed. The donut is still delicious, there's still a sugar rush, but we are not meant to get the same surge of happy chemical by engaging in the same activity. Our brain evolved for novelty.

This quirky system ends up making us feel bad when we are on the quest to feel good. And when we feel bad, we are pained with the idea that we need something to fix the situation. You can see how we can end up creating backwards feedback loops, thinking that sugar (or a donut specifically) is the answer to what will make us feel better. And even after the donut doesn't serve its purpose, or we eat too many donuts, we are left with the need for relief. Our system searches for ways to feel good and we find ourselves wanting more donuts.

Loretta Breuning articulates this beautifully, in her new book The Science of Positivity,

"To the mammal brain, anything that relieves cortisol promotes survival. So if a cigarette relieved your anxiety one day, your mammal brain “learned” that cigarettes promote survival. If pizza relieved a sense of threat in your youth, your mammal brain learned that pizza promotes survival. If cynicism helps you experience cortisol relief, your brain learns to see it as a lifesaver. No one thinks this in words, of course. But in a moment when your cortisol surges and you look for a way to make it stop, your brain relies on the neural circuits it has."
This feedback loop can happen with any activity that you have used to curb bad feelings in the past. Let's say you chose to go for a run on a day that you were really struggling with high amounts of cortisol in your body. You were pained with that "do something" feeling, and you chose to lace up your shoes and run. The happy chemicals that flowed from moving your body, working up a sweat, and from feeling proud for making such a healthy choice, begins to create a neural pathway that will urge you to go for a run next time you feel stressed. You see? You can create healthy habits by simply understanding the cause and effect of the chemicals flowing through your body.

There are two phrases I keep coming back to as my reminder to notice my expectations, ground them in reality, and be mindful of my attachment to them. They are "Intimacy without Attachment" and "Expect the Unexpected."

Intimacy without Attachment

There is nourishment in things as long as you do not become attached. Even air becomes toxic if you hold it in without the constant letting go with the exhale. What I love about this phrase is that with Intimacy we have a deep connection or relationship but without Attachment, or without the idea that we are incomplete without whatever we have become attached to. Set big goals, strive for excellence, and get excited about future plans, but let go of the idea that things must go a certain way in order for you to get the rewards or happiness that you seek. Attachment is a form of fear or dependency. Do not look outside of yourself to fill your emptiness, that is an inside job. Seek to elevate your surroundings by embracing who you are without everything else.

We waste so much energy by allowing ourselves to get disturbed by our unmet expectations or our attachments to things that we do not have control over. You will still get bothered, sometimes annoyed, and you will notice you get attached to ideas, things, or people as life continues on. The key is to witness this and then let it go.

In the book The Fear Cure, by Lissa Rankin, she tells us that most emotions will last approximately 90 seconds if you let them flow through you. It is our denial, resistance, or unrealistic expectation that we can be happy all the time that creates the lasting struggle.

Next time you notice yourself getting wound up over an attachment to an idea, thing, or person, ask yourself, "is this worth my energy?" You cannot control the outcome, you can only control your effort.


Expect the Unexpected

We are hardwired to make predictions about our future. We conserve a lot of energy by filling in blanks based on our unique experience and beliefs about the way the world works. While uncertainty can feel dangerous, it is something that comes with the territory of being alive.

Knowing that we get a boost of dopamine when we are correct in our predictions of the future, I find it best to remind myself to expect the unexpected. I can spend time and energy thinking through all the possible outcomes - and perhaps there are some situations that do call for a thorough analysis of future scenarios - but more often than not, when I choose to trust my strength and let life be a wild ride, I have way more energy ready to be used. In the end, reality is generally the middle path between our worst possible and best possible outcome predictions. If you are able to tap into trust, effort, and a growth mindset, suddenly failure becomes a beautiful opportunity to learn and grow, and not something to be avoided at all costs. We can save a lot of energy for being in action when we are able to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. When we expect the unexpected, we train ourselves to adapt and flow with the waves of life. Trust that you can handle what is thrown your way, and work more on being a dance partner with life versus trying to predict and control the unforeseeable.


Yes, unmet expectations can cause heartache. But what is life without a little heartache? Sometimes our unmet expectations are a signal that we are not getting what we need from a relationship, but generally, I would say, we each need to practice not being the center of the universe. I still create expectations, but I am mindful to not blame others or get all torn up when my version of the future doesn't match reality. I still get a little perturbed when I expect to be taken out for dinner but I come home to a tired husband who wants a night in. But I ask myself, "Is this worth spending energy on?" Although I still get caught in expectations, I snap myself out of their hold pretty quickly when I notice my energy has shifted into a place of unnecessary negativity.
Strive for the life that you would be devastated to not create. Trust your strength and resilience to handle the disappointment of bumps and bruises along the way. Ground your expectations in reality and remind yourself that although you can control your effort and passion, there are more factors that are beyond your control. So expect the unexpected. Dance with the balance between striving for more and being content and grateful with what is now. Life isn't supposed to be easy, but damn, even heartache opens up possibility for earth-shattering growth and happiness. Expect greatness, and know there are countless paths to take you there.

Much Love,

Marin

***Marin is hosting a workshop at the branded HQ on Sunday September 18, at 630pm. If you are curious to learn more, head to this web address, http://www.dopeame.com/blog/2016/8/8/experience-collective.

Are YOU the next YYC CYCLE Motivator?

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With the exciting announcement of our third Calgary YYC CYCLE in Avenida, we're looking for passionate Bikergang riders who want to take the next big leap into becoming Motivators at YYC CYCLE.

Here's how it's going to work:

We will be accepting ( 60 Second ) video applications until Monday August 22nd.
Using YouTube of Vimeo (You can make your video private) prepare your video application and send the video link to andrew.obrecht@yyc-cycle.com . All videos will remain confidential.

Your short video should include the following:

Introduce yourself and what you do day to day. Tell us a little more about you!
Tell us what motivates you and lights you up.
Tell us why you feel like you would be a great Motivator at YYC CYCLE.

**NOTE** - To be eligible to apply, you must:

  • Have attended at least 20 classes at YYC CYCLE
  • Be available to teach at our YYC Avenida ( South) location
  • Be available during weekday evenings for fall training ( Starting end of September) if you are selected for tryouts and make it to our fall training.


OK..... and then what?

Once all video applications are submitted by August 22nd, we will be reviewing all applications and selecting 20 riders to come in for a Motivator Tryout. If you are selected for tryouts, you will receive an email before Sept 1st,. Tryouts will be scheduled for the first two weeks of September. If you are one of those lucky 20, we will provide you with all the information you need to be ready for your tryout!


JOIN OUR FRONT OF STUDIO TEAM

Not interest in becoming a Motivator, but want to play a huge part in the Business of Happiness? We're also looking for Key Leaders and Crew staff for our studios. If you are interested in positions that may be available within our studio, please contact Lainey Bennett at lainey.bennett@yyc-cycle.com.

What happened to the old shoes at YYC Kensington?

You may have all noticed that we recently switched out our shoes at YYC Kensington. So what happened to the old ones, you ask? . Please do yourself a favor and watch the video above and take some time to feel grateful for the incredible Bikergang you are, and the (International) impact that you have on our global community. Thanks for working the shoes out the way you all did, and providing the opportunity for some CUBAN athletes to ride with some upgraded equipment, thanks to our friends at Inspire Sport!

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