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Conquering Fear

by Robb Beams

Some riders fear big jumps, others fear the whoops, and even more fear the start. Don't let these fears bring you down.

Within the world of motocross, you accept the fact that there are numerous external hurdles (i.e. negative people and their associated attitudes and behaviors, time restraints, etc.) that you must over come on a weekly basis to complete your workouts and ultimately cross that finish line. And though these external hurdles take a lot of energy to overcome, you know that by staying focused the benefits (physically and emotionally) far outweighs the (energy) costs.

With this concept in mind, I want to challenge you on the biggest energy consuming hurdle that you have to overcome on a daily basis: FEAR. Recently, a client provided me an article written by Bob Kodzis to review and a couple of concepts jumped out at me.

  1. Fear is responsible for suppressing and destroying more effort than anything else in your daily world.
  2. Fear is the core ingredient in athletic failure.
  3. Fear limits the volume and dilutes the quality of effort you generate within each workout and race.

The most common fears facing individuals (athletes in this situation) are fear of risk, fear of failure, fear of judgement and fear of looking stupid states Mr. Kodzis. "Fear kills courage even before it begins. It creates 'fear of trying' and spawns the 'I can't syndrome'. Most people can't because they don't".

What makes fear such a powerful enemy, is that it is contagious. Like a virus, it can infect every stage of the athletic effort and adversely effect the outcome of each workout. It can grow from a small challenge to completely undermining your efforts in a short period of time. Though there isn't a specific cure for fear, there are several actions and thoughts that you can apply to the daily journey of facing the unknown (a.k.a. fear) and ultimately winning this daily challenge.

The Whoops secton on any motocross track is one of the most intimidating sections in all of motosports. Mental focus is a key factor to conquering the whoops and sleep and nutrition are the building blocks of that focus.

One of the greatest joys of working with athletes is that they have established some level of goals for themselves and are looking for effective ways to overcome the numerous hurdles that are faced on a weekly basis. With this in mind, let's establish a blueprint of achievement for you to implement towards your 3, 6 and 12 month goals. By following these five steps, you will be on your way to personal achievement and associated success!

Beware: This blueprint of implementation will not be traditional-this is how personal results happen. Be prepared to be uncomfortable initially, but ready for personal achievement ultimately!

Step #1: Take out your weekly planner and fill in the following:

  1. Sleep: 8-9 hours (trust me here!)
  2. Food: when are you going to purchase, prep and consume your food. When you plot your hours to eat, it CAN NOT be associated with anything else (i.e. emailing, on the phone or at the computer)
  3. Family: as many hours as you can per day
  4. Work/School: necessary to earn a living
  5. Training: include prep time, drive time and training time
Now before you fire off an email to me telling me that I am way off track in regards to addressing your fears (let alone improve your fitness, speed and overall health), read a little further.

Simply put, when you are hungry and tired, you will not be capable of handling the various challenges that you will encounter on a daily basis. This includes, but not limited to: relationships, financial, time management, work obligations and at the very end of your personal list physical goals like losing weight or getting faster. As these variables present themselves as obstacles between you and your accomplishments, these hurdles will appear big and keep you from creating a strategic plan of implementation. How many times have you said, "I just don't have the time?” When your blood sugar levels (a result of low quality/limited food intake throughout the day) and energy levels (sleep quality low and/or the quantity less than six hours a night) are low, you will not have the necessary elements to face your daily challenges and hence you don't even get started. So the first step to implementing a blueprint of success begins with food and sleep - simple in concept, difficult to implement. Do yourself a favor and make it your top priority, by focusing on your food and sleep, you will provide your body with what it needs most to build immunity, over come fatigue and create consistent energy.

Now that you have the true building blocks in place, we will now discuss how to create a pro-active system of implementation that will have you moving your personal and racing endeavors forward at all times. To begin this system effectively, you will need your weekly calendar, a food log input sheet, your workout log, your scale and an open mind.

Beginning today, I want to encourage you to take a few minutes and input your sleep, food (purchase, prep and consumption), work and social obligations for the week. After you have these elements down for the week, add your seat time and cross training workout hours (don't forget to include the drive to and from along with your clean up time).

Now I want you to take a manila folder and put your food input and workout log in it so that you can easily find it before and after each workout. Before each workout, take your weight (minus your shoes and socks - they absorb water) and immediately after each workout (again minus your shoes and your socks). Document your weight loss or gain and write it down on your daily workout log. Now add in the total amount of fluids you consumed during that workout (be specific here) and convert the fluid amount into pounds (16 ounces to a pound). By taking the amount of weight lost or gained and adding in your fluid intake, you will have an accurate snapshot of your perspiration rate. On your workout log, document the temperature, humidity (visit if you are not sure), the clothes you wore along with your average heart rate and duration.

Throughout the day, I want you to keep a very detailed food log so that you know EXACTLY what you ate. At the end of the day, I want you to evaluate the quality of your workout:

  1. Did you achieve the indicated goals of the workout focus (i.e. sprint speed, aerobic enhancement, strength, etc.)?
  2. Did you get hungry during the workout?
  3. Did you gain weight or loss weight during the workout?
  4. Did you finish the workout feeling strong or were you struggling to finish the workout?
This is where you establish the first element of a pro-active system of implementation: if the quality and results of the workout were good, you know what food and fluids contributed to that result. Your goal is to establish food items/meals that positively affect your riding and cross training efforts (as well as those that don't work so positively).

The second element I want to discuss is evaluating the data from your workout(s) for the day.


  1. Max Heart Rate
  2. Average Heart Rate
  3. Amount of weight lost/gained
  4. What specific products and amounts were used during your workout for fluid replacement and calories?
  5. What was your average pace?
  6. What was your deviation within your workout?
By looking at these variables you will begin to understand how your body functions at various efforts, with specific fluids and calorie sources and compare these results against the established goals of the workout. The most important variable to look at is making sure that you are NOT working harder than what is indicated within your workout. If you do, this will only leave you fatigued and prone to injury. Remember, it is better to be a little under trained than a little over trained (this makes you susceptible to injury and viruses).

How does this evaluation apply to those of you who have encountered an injury (and the associated fear) that took you off the motorcycle for some period of time? In two specific ways:

First, your accident can frequently be attributed to low blood sugar which causes you to miss your lines (this can be in corners, off of jumps, through the whoops, etc.). When you go fast, you deplete your sugar reserves in your liver and muscles along with your brain! If you start feeling like you can’t mentally focus, this is a physiological issue – NOT MENTAL! Plan ahead with your nutrition and watch how you eliminate late moto fatigue and mistakes (also known as injuries).

Second, when you begin to understand your body the way you understand your motorcycle (motor configuration, suspension settings, etc.), you will have the necessary information to push your speed and endurance physically to your fullest potential. The goal is to know where that fine line is between pushing to new levels of speed/capabilities without running your blood sugar levels too low that will adversely affect your riding abilities.

About the Author: Robb Beams is the founder of the Complete Racing Solutions Program™. Visit for specific training programs for riders of all ability levels, resources such as the two MotoE Performance Training Facilities in Florida, eBooks on various human performance elements and online instructional video series. To discuss your current program or have a new one developed for you; feel free to contact Robb Beams at or 407.701.7586 directly.

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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