As we all know the University of Notre Dame is home to some of the world’s greatest champions. That being said we have had the amazing opportunity to consult with professionals and leverage the expertise of those around us for our training exercises. At this point I would like to disclaim, I am not a professional but this is what I and the ESTEEM Legacy Bike Ride team have been doing: We are getting, as I say, “fit and fine” on the Road to Discovery in 2016. So here are Janaeé’s 7 tips to getting “Fit and Fine for Neimann Pick Type C”.
Tip 1: Figure out what you’re doing this for
A lot of us have different reasons why we are participating in this bike ride. Either because we are doing research involving NPC, we know someone who has suffered from NPC, we have personal fitness goals, we have a marathon on our bucket list, or we just love being involved. Whatever your reason is, keep it in your mind at the forefront. This reason becomes your fire on the days you just want to quit and I guarantee those days will come. In true ESTEEM fashion ask: “What is your Why?”
Tip 2: Find a friend or a few friends if you can
On those days you don’t want to ride another minute these people will hold you accountable. Whether they jokingly call you a coward if you don’t want to come because it’s too cold outside, or tell you just five more minutes and you go double or triple that, or they bust a dance move throughout the training ride I promise, you need these people.
Tip 3: Set a schedule to meet your goal and rest on rest days
We have some amazing people on our team that put together a training schedule to work towards our distance goal. Don’t start too fast, you don’t want to get hurt. Also don’t go too hard, for the same reason. I did not take this advice and was down for a week so take the pro-tip, take your rest days, they’re magic.
Tip 4: Put down the milkshake and pick up a smoothie
Now, a cheat meal here and there - in my opinion - doesn’t hurt anyone. I’m not saying throw out all your food and start eating salad for breakfast lunch and dinner. But if you’re going to do this, give your body the fuel it needs to go the extra mile, it will thank you later. Also, one great thing to do is after a buddy workout or a group cycle to grab healthy food together for some great team bonding and great food to cap off that hard bike ride you accomplished.
Tip 5: Get a jamming playlist and if you can some bumping speakers
As a group, we put together a playlist of some of our favorite workout tunes to rock to. This is a great way to share interests and bond. We have found songs that we otherwise would have never thought to listen to. It also helps when we all rock out to a popular song; this is a great way to keep up the pace without noticing it.
Tip 6: Switch it up
Don’t just ride, ride, ride all day every day. Your workouts should be as dynamic as South Bend’s weather. If you didn’t know South Bend weather; within a week it was warm and sunny, then cold and rainy and finally, it snowed. A number of us play intramural and indoor soccer on campus, do body weight/free weight exercises, or run to switch up the routine. Whatever you’re doing to be “fit and fine” make sure you enjoy it.
Tip 7: Have Fun
Exercise naturally releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy. So you should enjoy working out as much as you enjoy any activity that makes you happy. If you’re not having fun, something is wrong. That’s when you turn up the music, grab your friends, and focus on your why. Then, go grab some good food with your friends, rest and repeat. Even if it’s not a bike ride marathon, whatever your fitness goals are, everything is better with friends, good food, and good music.