In elementary school, I was always picked last when it came to any sports. Football, basketball, track & field. Sometimes, I’d get picked in the middle in soccer, but part of me wonders if they just needed a goalie.

That changed a year ago when I got into spinning. Spin classes are where you are in an indoor gym and use these stationary bicycles called spin bikes. They are crafted to look and feel like professional bicycles. 

The most well-known one is the peloton. Well, a long time before I had my peloton. I was going to spin classes. And I thought I was good.

I’d always be the fastest in the class. One of the few things in life I could do better than my wife. We had a friendly rivalry. 

 

It was fun to race each other. 

We went up to a few times a week. So I thought I was good. Getting stronger, faster, and able to endure more. 

Then COVID happened. I, like many others, got a peloton.

Learning from Books

Life gets interesting when you measure it

I was excited to get the peloton. Of course, I was happy to start exercising again. But the Peloton offered me something that the bikes at my spin studio didn’t: tracking metrics. 

 

Now let’s take a quick step back to how spin studios work. You go in and there’s an instructor in the middle. There’s music and you usually try to cycle your feet to the rhythm.

 

The instructor will tell you to either decrease or increase the resistance. That makes it easier or harder to pedal. 

 

I always thought I was at the upper limits of what the instructor was saying. Would always try to pedal the fastest and use the most resistance I could. 

 

But I had no idea how I was doing. That’s where the Peloton came in. It measured how fast I pedaled and how much resistance I used.

 

It even had a leader board. You could see how you were doing against people that were spinning at the same time as you. You could also see the all-time leader board. 

 

Time to eat my Humble-pie

 

Now I think a little competitiveness is good. As long as you’re detached from the outcome. I’m happy when my wife is better at something than me (this happens often), and it pushes me to be a bit better.

  

I’m always also competing versus the old me. 

  

So what did I see when I looked at the leaderboard on the Peloton? The person who was the fastest in class in a small spin studio on a Wednesday evening in Downtown Los Angeles? 

  

Disappointment. I was humbled. 

  

I was nowhere near the top, let alone even the middle. I was closer to the last percentile.

 

The benefit of tracking your performance

Had I not started tracking my numbers I would have had no idea where I was compared to other people. Not only that, I realized that my own performance varied tremendously between sessions.

 

I found that I was weak on fast pedaling at low resistance. I was able to pinpoint exactly where I needed to improve. The rest of my spin game was fine and working on that specific area improved the quality of my spin session overall. 

 

Where have you wanted to improve? Have you been keeping track of any performance measures? 

 

Maybe you already are performing well on that aspect or that you need to work on something else. The numbers that the Peloton gave me where direct feedback. I’d be able to take a look at each session and see where I could improve. 

 

What kind of feedback have you sought out?