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How to Stop Obsessing Over Workout Stats

How 1 Class Changed the Way I Approach All Cycling Workouts

I am, admittedly, a bit of an instant gratification junkie. It doesn't matter what the activity is — whether I'm experimenting with a new face mask or attempting a different workout, I constantly find myself trying to measure my results as soon as possible.

Out of all my instant-gratification-based obsessions, stepping onto a stationary bike and monitoring my stats like a hawk throughout the entire ride is at the top of the list. My eyes stay firmly fixed to my bike's screen, obsessively checking how many calories I've burned or miles I've conquered for the duration of the workout. I basically only tear my eyes away from my results when the teacher changes positions or class ends.

So when I arrived to my IMAXShift cycling class, I found myself completely thrown off (and a little panicked) when the lights dimmed and our instructor immediately told us to leave our stats screens unlit. What if my RPM was pathetically low? How would I know how many hundreds of calories I was torching? Reluctantly, I moved my finger away from the button that would give me the feedback I craved and started pedaling.

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Within just the first 10 minutes, I was already desperately fighting the urge to light up my console and check how many calories I'd burned. The IMAX screen took us on a tour of beautiful scenery from Paris before moving into a breathtaking ocean ride, but my mind still wandered to what my current stats might be. Not wanting to distract my fellow riders with my console light, I resisted. Instead, I decided I had no choice but to try my best to recommit my mind toward focusing on the present.

A few more minutes passed, and I was allowing myself to be transported to wherever the IMAX screen was taking me next. Without my typical stats routine to guide me, I relied on my own body's signals to determine how I should ride my bike. In a typical class, I'd push myself according to my numeric goals — how many calories I wanted to burn, how much mileage I was striving to clock in, etc. But this ride, I finally paid attention to other important metrics I'd been ignoring, like my breathing and heart rate.

At the end of class, I whipped open my results email to compare the stats of this ride with results from previous cycling classes. Guess what? My performance in a workout where I didn't allow the numbers to be my first priority was even better than when I'd spent classes thinking about nothing else. Moving forward, I'll trust my body to tell me when I should turn the knob to the right and crank up my speed, not just my trusty stats screen.

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