A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR SUFFERLANDRIANS DURING THE HOLIDAYS
How to safely navigate the holidays in Couchlandria
For many of us the last few months of the year are marked by parties and social gatherings, often in the company of non-Sufferlandrians and with a mouth-watering buffet of Couchlandrian enticements to tempt you. Many of these Couchlandrians will be friends and family, most of whom will likely (and unintentionally) try to push you towards denouncing your Sufferlandrian Citizenship.
Occasional incursions into Couchlandrian Territory is by no means an act of treason. In fact, true Sufferlandrians pride themselves on the ability to safely and intelligently navigate their way through Couchlandria while remaining true to the Motherland. Visits to Couchlandria can be riddled with pitfalls, and we hope to offer these guidelines to minimize the stress involved so you can return happy, healthy, and ready to resume Suffering.
While some Sufferlandrians live in close proximity to the Couchlandrian border, others will have to travel, sometimes for multiple hours via plane, train or automobile. On these travel days you should make sure you are prepared to be self sufficient for the duration of the trip. What that means is:
Travel with enough healthy food to last the whole trip. This will ensure when hour 10 of your travel day rolls around you won’t be tempted with the “food” that Couchlandria has to offer.
Water is your friend. To quote the old Sufferlandrian saying “Hydrated-ness is next to Grunterliness”. If you are traveling by plane, bring an empty water bottle to fill up at a drinking fountain once you make it through security. If you will be in the car for a full day then make sure you have a large bottle or jug of water with you, and don’t be afraid to stop every few hours to go pee. Breaking up the amount of time spent sitting is actually a good thing.
Things will go wrong - so be prepared. No matter how perfectly you plan a trip, Couchlandrian schemes can still ruin your day. Getting worked up and stressed about problems that you cannot control (flight delays, road construction, lost baggage) will only make your trip less enjoyable. Focus on the things you can control, and be prepared to “go with the flow”.
Keep it moving. As a Sufferlandrian you are prone to bouts of extreme physical activity, and sitting for hours on end can just seem wrong to you. No matter what type of travel you are doing, try and stand at least every 90 minutes when possible. This will keep your muscles from tightening up and keep too much blood from pooling in your legs, making them feel as if they are filled with sand. Pro tip: set a timer on your watch or phone and move around every time it goes off.
Find new ways to Suffer. When you do finally arrive at your destination, this will be the perfect time to have a go at “Yoga in Couchlandria: On The Road” which you’ll find as one of the 30 yoga videos in The Sufferfest Training System. This should take many of the aches and pains of a full day of traveling out of your body. Pro tip: Download a few yoga videos and store them in the app prior to your departure, so you have a few options and you won’t have to worry about roaming charges or finding WiFi.
Yeah, we have 30 yoga sessions in The Sufferfest Training System now! Here's what one looks like:
A Day Without Suffering
Some traveling Sufferlandrians will have the good fortune of a portable torture chamber that will travel along with them into Couchlandria. This is not an option for all Sufferlandrian travelers though, so be prepared to get creative.
- Seek out some Suffering. If your bike doesn’t make the trip with you, often times a friend or family member will have a membership to a local gym (or know someone who does). There is no shame in asking to use a guest pass to their gym where you will likely be able to find a spin bike, or even a spin class you can join. Who knows, you may even get lucky and find yourself close to one of Sufferlandria’s Licensed Embassies, where you can meet fellow expats and get a taste of home (and puke if you go hard enough).
- Don’t panic. You might only be without your trusty steed for a day or two, in which case there is no reason to fret about getting in a bike workout during this already stressful time. One option is to simply load up a session of “Core Strengtheners” to keep you sharp for your next visit to Sufferlandria. Yoga can be done practically anywhere without any equipment so there’s really no excuse!
- Go for a run (if you’re into that kind of thing). Some of you will have been incorporating running into your training for the past few months, in which case all you need is a pair of running shoes and you can get in a run. We must warn those of you who have not been running regularly to be cautious if you plan on running just for this trip. As a Sufferlandrian you have the leg and cardiovascular strength to run with the best of them, but your tendons and ligaments will not quite be up to par. Going straight into a long hard run is a great way to end up injured, and turn one or two days off the bike into a few weeks off, so be smart about it!
"Willpower": It's not just the most common surname in Sufferlandria
The final, and often biggest, hurdle to cross when visiting Couchlandria is the seemingly endless offering of food and drinks. Even the strongest of Sufferlandrians can give into temptation - just be smart about it.
- Eat your fruits and veg. Chances are there will still be some greens on offer during Couchlandrian feasts. You should aim to make your first plate 60% fruits and vegetables before piling on other goodies. Or better yet, have your first plate be only fruits and vegetables. Then on your second plate you can load up whatever delicacies catch your eye.
- Moderation. There’s a good chance that alcoholic (or sweetened) beverages will make an appearance. Alternate between one drink, and a glass of water that is a bit larger than the drink. Not only will this keep your liquid calorie consumption down, and the extra water will help negate the dehydrating effects of alcohol. Remember that “Hydrated-ness is next to Gruntliness!”
The most important thing to remember during your time in Couchlandria is that you are there to see and visit people you care about, so enjoy the time you spend with them. Focusing too much on losing your Sufferlandrian Citizenship can turn what should be a fun trip into a stress-filled nightmare. Remember that the borders of Sufferlandria will always be open to those willing to undergo pain, misery and agony in the pursuit of honour, glory and victory!
Mac Cassin, Coach and Cycling Physiologist
Read more from Mac Cassin
- No Plan, No Problem: How to Incorporate Strength Training into Your Riding.
- Dropping LSD: Why Base Training Doesn't Make Sense for Time-Crunched Athletes.
- Understanding the Difference Between Indoor and Outdoor Power
- The benefits of training with purpose: Why You Need a Structured Training Plan
- Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heartrate But Were Afraid to Ask
- Everything You Think You Know About LTHR is Wrong
Coach and Physiologist, Mac Cassin, has been coached by Sir Neal Henderson since 2009 and later joined Neal as a Coach at APEX Coaching and Consulting. As an elite cyclist who also has to balance the demands of ‘life’ with his goals as an athlete, Mac has a deep understanding of how to get the most out of those who have limited time to train. Mac has raced at the World and PanAmerican championships and holds several US national and state titles. His studies were in Integrative Physiology from the University of Colorado and has worked as a research assistant in the CU Neurophysiology lab. He is currently the Head Cycling Physiologist at The Sufferfest.