The Science Behind TotalCyclist Part II

Welcome back to part two of the TotalCyclist winter training study!

 

In the first post I spoke about the goals of the study, what I hoped to achieve, and the results of what happened. Now I’d like to elaborate on my thoughts about the project and the limitations involved. To begin, there will always be limitations to studies both professional and non-professional. My project was not an exception to this. The most apparent limit that is noticeable from the gathered data is the lack in attendance consistency. Before beginning the project I knew there would be those who wouldn’t be able to attend every class due to work, illness, vacation, or other unforeseen circumstances. That said, to have athletes missing approximately half of the series as well as athletes leaving early from class before I have taken their vitals was unforeseen. This is partly due to my lack of knowledge of who is consistent in showing up each week and choosing the best participants. Another large limitation was being unable to have athletes show up for class with fresh legs and properly recovered. Athletes who attend the class multiple times per week, exercise extraneously the day before, don’t have proper sleep, and those who lack the proper nutrition all skew data on the day they come in for physiology testing.  These certainly aren’t all the limitations, but are the ones that provide the largest affect to the data. 

 

With the limitations, my thoughts on the project is that it was still a valuable tool not only for the athletes to have the data to use for training, but also for myself to gain experience with conducting a study. I have never conducted a study of my own to this scale before and having done so now it has been a teachable moment for what to keep in mind during a study, watch out for, and a strong lesson in keeping the focus concise. Having too many factors to keep track of is not advisable as well. While starting the project, Chad, as well as Christy and myself wanted to incorporate a sleep study within the project to see how sleep affected performance. After initial collection from those who had ways to track sleep, having another variable to keep track of and for athletes to keep track of, wasn’t in the playing cards. Instead, I kept my methods and procedures consistent and stayed true to my initial goal of deciding if TotalCyclist creates healthier athletes or not. The trend lines for pulse pressure decreased over the ten weeks, and at the end of classes, there were large decreases in pulse pressure as well as blood pressure for all athletes.  Based on the data gathered, I am confident that, following workouts, TotalCyclist creates an effective training program that, reduces blood pressure and pulse pressure for all ranges of athletes at any and all fitness levels.  

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Thank you for reading and special thank you to Chad Andrews and Dr. Christy Keely for their unwavering guidance and support throughout my internship.