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Book Review: The New Psycho-Cybernetics

by Terry VanderWert 0 Comments

“The New Psycho-Cybernetics” is an updated edition of a book that has sold over 30 million copies since being originally published in 1960.  The time-tested ideas originally put forth by Dr. Maxwell Maltz have become the basis for personal development, education, sales training, and sports coaching .

cover of the New Psycho-Cybernetics

About the Author

Dr. Maxwell Maltz began his career in a field of medicine sometimes called cosmetic surgery or plastic surgery.  Early in his career, Dr. Maltz learned the tremendous impact that cosmetic surgery could have on a person’s performance.  He saw “F” students becoming “straight A” students after surgery.  He saw shy, insecure people become confident and extroverted with even minor surgery.  This led to him publishing “New Faces, New Futures” in 1936.

Through continued work in cosmetic surgery, Dr. Maltz came to realize that cosmetic surgery alone could not change a person’s performance.  There needed to be a corresponding change in self-image.

This was the genesis of psycho-cybernetics.

 

What is Psycho-Cybernetics?

To be transparent, I am not a believer in self-help, ‘you-can-do-anything-on-which-you-set-your-mind’ philosophies that too many authors promote.

Psycho-cybernetics is different.  Psycho-cybernetics defines our ability to achieve goals or a desired level of performance in terms of a “goal-striving servo-mechanism consisting of the brain and nervous system, which is used and directed by the mind” (quote from “The New Psycho-Cybernetics”).

In the industrial world, a servo-mechanism is part of an automated machine.  The servo-mechanism causes the machine to zero in on its target through a series of measurements of position and corrections to the path as it makes its way toward the goal.  The example of a servo-mechanism used in the book is a guided missile.  The guided-missile works by locking onto its target and continuously adjusting its trajectory en route to its target.

The goals you attempt to communicate to this servo-mechanism must first pass through a filter of the individual’s self-image.  If the self-image is negative, results of the servo-mechanism will be negative or, at least, less than ideal.  Just as a faulty sensor can cause the guided-missile to miss its target, a negative self-image will lead to less than ideal performance.

Or, think about setting up to hit a golf ball over a water hazard when you are sure the ball will end up in the water.  More than likely, it will.  (The book contains many examples of psycho-cybernetics applied to golf.)

The good news is that the converse is also true – a positive, accurate self-image will promote positive results.


How is Psycho-Cybernetics Relevant to Triathlon Training?

There are at least three ways that we can apply psycho-cybernetics to preparing for and racing in a triathlon.

 

Believing You Can Succeed

As noted above, our self-image is the filter through which our built-in servo mechanism views our goals.   For me, consistent, structured training gives me a positive self-image and confidence that I can complete a race.  The more races I have completed, the more confident I have become that I will finish any race.

Think about being whacked on the head or yelled at during an open water swim.  A positive self-image will help us brush off these challenges and focus on finishing the race.   A negative self-image will set us back or cause some to drop out of the race.

 

Visualizing Stronger Performance

Dr. Maltz cites a study that reveals the power of visualization.

Researchers studied the performance of three groups of students in shooting free throws.    Their assignments and results on day 20 were:

  • Group 1 – Practiced shooting free throws every day for 20 days.  The result on Day 20 was 24% more free throws made compared to Day 1.
  • Group 2 – Did not practice; shot free throws on Days 1 and 20 only.  The result on Day 20 was no improvement over Day 1.
  • Group 3 – Shot free throws on Days 1 and 20; on days 2-19, students visualized throwing free throws and correcting their aim when they missed. The result on Day 20 was 23% more free throws made compared to Day 1.

The group that visualized shooting free throws improved as much as those who actually shot free throws each day.

Admittedly, shooting free throws is not an endurance sport.  However, we can still improve our performance in triathlon by visualizing certain activities in transition.  Some even say they rehearse, or visualize, how they will respond to the inevitable contact during an open water swim or to pain that sometimes occur during a race. 

Not Letting Others Define You

Albert Einstein’s colleagues considered him to be a daydreamer and even “dumb” at mathematics.  Fortunately, he did not let their opinion affect his success.

Some may consider us to be too old to take on a new challenge such as a first triathlon or even longer distance.  Or they may consider our goals to become a stronger athlete to be pointless.

Don’t let another human limit you.

 

In Case You Choose to Read or Listen to “The New Psycho-Cybernetics”

There is a good possibility that your local library has a copy of “The New Psycho-Cybernetics”.  I first consumed this material through an audio version of the book downloaded from our local library to my smartphone.

However, if you want to purchase a copy of the book or audiobook, you can do so at Amazon.com using the link below.

Disclaimer: Please note that SeniorTriathletes.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.  This is an affiliate advertising program that provide a way for sites to earn advertising fees.  They do this by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Amazon, the Amazon logo, AmazonSupply, and the AmazonSupply logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.  As an affiliate, I will receive a small commission for any purchases of this product that you make through Amazon.

 

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Favorite Swim Training Tools & Gear

Favorite Swim Training Tools & Gear
FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro

What if you are not from a swimming background though want to be more competitive in the triathlon swim? One answer is to add more structure to your swim training.

I Want To Be A More Competitive Swimmer

There are many triathletes whose goal for the swim is to “just get through it so that I can get on the bike”.

I am not one of these.

Swimming is enjoyable to me. I have spent many hours reading books and blog posts and watching videos about swimming in order to be a faster swimmer. I have also gotten advice from my son, a former college swimmer, on how to improve my swim.

As with most sports, improvement comes by developing better technique, a more efficient form, greater full body strength, and aerobic fitness.

Increasing Stroke Rate Using the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro

According to Swim Smooth, there is an ideal relationship between swim speed (time per 100 m) and swim stroke rate (strokes per minute). A swimming stroke that is too high (RED zone) hints at too short a stroke. On the other hand, a slow stroke rate typically indicates too much glide with each stroke and a tendency to create a hand position in the latter part of the stroke that causes one to slow.

My swim currently falls in the upper left portion of the BLUE region. Using my FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro, I am training to increase my stroke rate while paying close attention to the catch phase.

Graph showing the ideal stroke rate for various times for swimming 100 meters.
The ideal range for swim speed vs. stroke rate chart is in white between the blue (too low stroke rate) and red (too high stroke rate). Source: Swim Smooth

About the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro

The FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro is a waterproof metronome. The choice of one of its three modes depends on the training plan. For example, one mode allow you to set a time per lap for use with interval training.

I set the device to transmit an audible tone for each of the strokes in the targeted pace. For example, I set the Trainer to beep every 1.0 second for a stroke rate of 60 strokes per minute.

The pace is adjustable in 1/100th of a second increments giving plenty of resolution for every situation.

The small, waterproof device easily secures beneath a swim cap and transmits a clearly heard, audible beep. It floats in water to help avoid it being lost in the pool or open water.

The Tempo Trainer Pro also comes with a clip for ‘dryland’ training. For example, it is used in bike (cadence) and run (foot turnover rate) training.

The FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro includes a replaceable battery. I have had the device for more than five years and replaced the battery one time by taking it to a local BatteriesPlus store.

My journey toward becoming a better swimmer continues by working to increase my stroke rate. With strength training and more structured time in the water, I am confident that I will be more competitive in the triathlon swim.

You can find the FINIS Tempo Trainer Pro at SwimOutlet.com

Or at Amazon.com

Check Back Next Month for Reviews of Other Swim Tools

Meanwhile, You May Also Be Interested in These Posts

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Review of Mark Allen’s Strength Training for Triathletes

Review of Mark Allen’s Strength Training for Triathletes

(updated August 13, 2019)

After competing in sprint triathlons for eight years, my training had become sloppy.  I had lost the discipline of the early years.  I had nearly stopped strength training, focusing instead on cardio and endurance training.  And to top it off, my performance was poorer.  I was slower than ever and struggling with knee pain while running.

 

Credible References for Strength Training

So, the article entitled “Mark Allen’s 12 Best Strength Exercises” jumped out at me as I skimmed my emails on a recent winter morning.    Having read about triathlon for over eight years, I knew of Mark Allen and considered him a credible source of information.

I became even more interested in the plan once I realized that this strength training plan had also been a turning point for Mark.  In the first full season after following this strength training program, Mark won the three international multi-sport endurance events, including IRONMAN World Championship in Kona-Kailua, Hawaii.

Around the same time, I read about Judy Cole, a 73-year-old ultra runner.   Judy had started running every day during her early 30s.  However, early on, she had problems with her knees.  Following the advice of her running partner to strengthen her quads and hamstringsbecame a game changer”.

Judy’s experience sounded oh-so-familiar , so I committed to Mark’s plan.

 

My Initial Experience with Mark Allen’s Strength Training Program

This post is a journal of my experience with Mark Allen’s strength training program. 

I first published this post after completing four sessions of the first, or adaptation, phase.  I eventually finished eight sessions.

Now in the second, or endurance, phase, I am continuing to feel stronger.   Exercises that were especially difficult in the first sessions are now easier.  And, for the first time in months, I am running without knee pain.

 

Mark’s Best Strength Training Exercises

The table below lists the twelve exercises in this program.  The table also shows the triathlon event(s) most impacted by the exercise.  The original article includes videos that show how to perform each of them correctly.

Exercise Helps most with . . .
Lateral Pull-Downs Swim
Leg Extensions Run
Leg Curls Bike, Run
Bench Press Swim
Squats Bike, Run
Lateral Dumbbell Raise Swim
Calf Raises Run
Dumb-bell Pullover Swim
Backward Lunges Run
Bicep Curls Swim, Bike
Tricep Extensions Swim
Leg Press Bike, Run

 

 

Strength Training Restarted – Warmup and Cooldown

I start each session, no matter the Phase, with core exercises and 10 minutes of cardio to warm up.  In August 2019, I made some changes to the core exercise routine based on the recommendation of Tri Swim Coach.

The latest core exercise portion includes one minute each of:

  • Plank — one minute.
  • Side plank — one minute on each side.
  • Bridge – one minute.
  • Abs — one minute of bicycle crunches – go to 3:00 in the Tri Swim Coach video.  (Before August, I did a static crunch sitting up on the floor with the back at about 45 degrees off the floor and legs extended and on the floor.  This is an alternative to crunches that have recently fallen out of favor with trainers.)

Before starting with the weights, I spend 10 minutes to finish warming up.  This involves walking, jogging on an elliptical machine, or riding a stationary bike at an intensity high enough to break a sweat.

Throughout the journey, I have recorded the number of repetitions and weights for each of the exercises of each session in a Google Sheet.  I have also noted when I could use a heavier weight in the next session and any pain or soreness I felt during or after the session.

After each session, I complete another 10-15 minutes of cardio.  I then complete a sequence of static stretches of my hamstrings, quads, calves, and upper and lower back.

Progress is coming – slowly but surely.  I have increased weights while doubling the number of repetitions.  The amount of soreness in the days after the session has been much less.  And, I have started to run again.

Periodically, I re-read the original article and watch the videos to make certain I perform each exercise using the correct form and breathing.

Leg exension exercise machine

Machine used for the leg extension exercise. Mark Allen’s program involves a mix of exercises that use free weights, weight machines, dumbbells, and body weight.

 

Endurance Strength Training – Phase 2

The main difference between the first two phases is that Phase 2 involves two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions (“reps”) of each of the exercises with 90 seconds rest between sets, rather than one set in Phase 1.  As in Phase 1, I completed two sessions per week with at least one day, but usually three days, between them.

During Phase 1, I selected weights for each of the exercises for which I could complete 15 repetitions with good form.  For some of these, I was able to increase the weight slightly during the four weeks.

In transitioning into Phase 2,  I used the same weights as at the end of Phase 1.   However, in the first two sessions, I completed only 12 (rather than 15) repetitions in each of the two sets (except for the squats for which I completed 15 repetitions).   I did this following the principle of injury prevention that calls for increasing intensity gradually.   

Increasing the intensity, time, or type of activity too quickly is one common reason for a sports injury. To prevent this, many fitness experts recommend that both novice and expert athletes follow the ten percent rule, which sets a limit on increases in weekly training. This guideline simply states that you should increase your activity no more than 10 percent per week. That includes distance, intensity, weight lifted, and length of your exercise session.”  Source: Very Well Fit

Continuing with this principle, I increased the number of repetitions to 15 for the first of two sets in week 2; the second set still involved 12 repetitions.  In week 3 and beyond of Phase 2, I completed 15 repetitions for both sets. 

 

Restarting to Run

Also, early in Phase 2, I ran indoors on the LifeTime Fitness track for 10 or more minutes after weight lifting and before stretching.  Another pleasant surprise has been the absence of knee pain during the run.  This seems to confirm the theory that my knee pain resulted from weak hips and other leg muscles that are being strengthened in this program.  How motivating! 

Throughout this phase, I have increased weight gradually when appropriate following this guideline – whenever a weight is ‘easy’ in two consecutive sessions, I will increase the weight for the next session by 10% or less.   I have increased the weight for some, not all, of the exercises balancing adding more weight and avoiding injury.

During this phase, I took a two-week break from the program because of illness, not injury.   I expect to resume the schedule within next week.  However, I expect to have lost some ground but also to regain it quickly.  Stay tuned for the next update.

 

Lessons from Strength Training for Triathletes

I have learned some important lessons while using this plan:

  1. Be patient – the results one should expect from this training, and all training may seem to come slowly.  Keep at it and you will eventually see results.
  2. Become familiar with the specific equipment you will use in the program.  I did not seek an introduction from a trainer and found that I was learning how to adjust it by observing others, experimenting.  I learned some things by accident, like how to add weight in 5 lb. increments on the machines.
  3. Add weight when after a few sessions (minimum of two) the weight seems easy.  You can tell that it is easy when you can maintain good form throughout all the repetitions.

Interested in Joining Me?

If you would like to join me in following Mark Allen’s strength training program for triathletes, comment below or email me at seniortriathletes@gmail,com.  I will share the Google Sheet with you so you can record your results and we can track our progress.

 

New to Strength Training?

You may be interested in this article from Silver Sneakers with advice on how to begin a strength training program.

 

To Be Continued . . .

This post was first published on March 14, 2019.  The latest update was published on August 13, 2019.

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My Favorite Triathlon Websites

My Favorite Triathlon Websites
Running in the USA Home Page

The internet abounds with information about training, preparing, and planning for a triathlon.  Through my years taking part in the sport, I have come across many websites, among the best websites for triathletes, especially those age 50 and over.

As its title implies, this post includes information about the websites I have found to be the ‘go-to’ sites for my triathlon journey.

Favorite Websites for:

 

Best Website for Planning Your Next Triathlon

RunningintheUSA.com is my first choice when searching for triathlons across the USA.

running-in-the-usa-dot-com is the best-website-for-triathletes-looking-for-their-next-triathlon

Running in the USA Multisport Events menu

Why I Started Using It

As soon as Joy and I decided to do triathlons in each of the states of the USA, I started searching the internet for websites that listed various races.  I found several sites, some with a regional focus.  Over time, I found that I relied more and more on Running in the USA.

 

Who is Behind the Website?

RunningintheUSA.com is the product of hard work and commitment of the husband and wife team of Bill and Mary Flaws of Waukesha, Wisconsin.  According to the website:

“Mary is an avid runner, and Bill is sane. Mary does the website programming. Bill takes the pictures that are featured on the home page. We work many many many many hours scouring the internet, maintaining the information in the directories. This is our full-time life work. We don’t have other jobs. We barely do much else besides maintain this website. It is our life, and we love it.”

Video Demo of RunningintheUSA.com

Key Features

The site can currently be used to search a database of over 41,000 running races such as 5k, 10k, half marathon, and so on and over 2,700 multisport events like triathlons.

  • Search for triathlons by
    • Region
    • State
    • Type of multisport event (e.g. Triathlon, Duathlon, Aquathon)
    • Distance (e.g. Supersprint, Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman, Ironman)
    • Date (e.g. month, date range)
  • Search for races in adjacent states on consecutive dates

Apparently, there is an important population of those who share an interest in completing races in multiple states.  For this group, the site developers included a feature under the Multisport Events tab called ‘Double Stater’.

double-stater-menu

The “Double Stater” menu is used to search for triathlons held on consecutive days in adjacent states.

Other Sites for Finding Upcoming Triathlons

This review was first published in January 2019.

? Table of Contents ?

 

Best Website about Sleep and Your Athletic Performance

Whether you are stepping up to the plate at a softball game or waiting for the starting gun at your next triathlon, the quality of the sleep you have had will affect your performance.

And as a triathlete, sleep will have played a critical part in your training.  As I have noted in the post titled ‘Rest and Recovery – Why It’s Important for Senior Triathletes, sleep should be a key part of your training plan.

Tuck.com is a valuable website for those who are looking for better sleep or have questions about getting the rest needed for proper recovery. If you are someone who is passionate about health and fitness and are looking to start a blog of your own, but want to improve your social media accounts (Instagram for example) first, finding ways to get followers on instagram could be a good place to start. Following this, you can then start thinking about creating a blog which can give people advice when it comes to health and fitness.

Video Tour of Tuck.com

 

Pages Highlighted in the Video Tour

Pages of the Tuck.com website highlighted in the video review are:

Please check out Tuck.com and share your comments below.

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Best Website for Swim and Other Triathlon Training Gear

Triathlon is sometimes referred to as a rich man’s sport.  This comes in part from the expense of registration fees, even though there are race organizations who are offering reduced fees.  But that’s a story for another time.

Another reason that triathlon can be an expensive sport is the amount of clothing and equipment one can purchase for training and racing in three, quite different sports.  Of course, much of it is unnecessary, especially if you belong to a full gym with a pool.

Meet SwimOutlet.com

SwimOutlet.com is the first place I go when looking for a new or replacement item for triathlon training or racing.  This is also where my wife, kids, and grandkids go for their swim clothing and equipment.  This comes from several years of shopping many sites and ending up purchasing items from the Swim Outlet site.

page on the SwimOutlet.com website for triathlon gear, one of the best websites for triathlon

SwimOutlet is a USA Triathlon certified multisport retailer.

While you should shop around, I have consistently found Swim Outlet to offer a full range of products in a range of quality and price points.  And, prices are competitive and, many times, the lowest.   Plus, they offer a price match.

Following is a quick tour of the SwimOutlet website.

If you prefer, you can watch the video on YouTube.

Video Script

Here we are at SwimOutlet.com website.  To help you get started on your journey here, I want to highlight a few areas in which triathletes may be most interested.

First of all, at the ‘Gear’ then ‘Swim Gear’ tab, you can find everything imaginable for swimming no matter if you are a beginner or professional triathlete.  With so many products to choose from, Swim Outlet helps shoppers zero-in on the right ones using product-specific filters such a size, brand, color, material, and price.

The site also includes several guides such as the one for sun protection shown here.  You can find the link to this and other pages in the SeniorTriathletes.com post about my favorite triathlon websites (this post for those watching the video on SeniorTriathletes.com).

The ‘Triathlon’ link beneath the ‘Gear by Sport’ area under the ‘Gear’ tab, takes you to pages where you can find triathlon, biking, and running specific items.  By the way, Swim Outlet is a USA Triathlon certified multisport retailer.

And if you are a Value shopper looking for the best deals, click on the SALE tab from the Home page.  Here you will find good quality at the most competitive prices.  For example, if you are looking for low cost jammers for your swim training, check out their grab bags by typing ‘grab’ in the search bar.

Take a stroll through the SwimOutlet site.  I think you will enjoy it and be amazed at the wide range of products and their good prices.

Thank you for watching.

END OF VIDEO SCRIPT

Featured SwimOutlet Pages

Pages of the SwimOutlet website highlighted in the video review are:

Disclosure: Please note that SeniorTriathletes.com is a participant in the SwimOutlet.com affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to SwimOutlet.com.  As an affiliate, I will receive a small commission for any purchases made at SwimOutlet.com when you use the link in this post.

Sales are common on SwimOutlet.com

SwimOutlet.com offers quality products at competitive prices.

Please check out SwimOutlet.com and share your comments below.

This review was first published in May 2019.

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Best Website for Nutrition and Hydration

If you have done a triathlon, there is a good chance you are already familiar with Hammer Nutrition since they sponsor many triathlons and endurance sporting events.  In fact, you likely received in your swag-bag a sample of a Hammer Nutrition product – a Hammer Gel, Endurolytes Fizz, or one of their Energy bars.

Hammer Nutrition home page

I was introduced to more of the Hammer Nutrition products and how to use them by Senior Triathlete James Chapman at the Rocky Gap Triathlon in Maryland.

Then, when training for my first half marathon, I exchanged emails with Steve Born.  Steve laid out a fueling plan for both my training and the race itself.  Without the right fuel, an otherwise enjoyable challenge can become a disaster.  I don’t go out on a long bike ride without a few Hammers gels – just in case.

Since I sweat a lot during exercising of every kind, Hammer Endurolytes capsules are also great for maintaining electrolyte levels.

You can take a quick tour of the Hammer Nutrition website by clicking on the frame below.

Video Review of the Hammer Nutrition website

If you prefer, you can watch the video on YouTube

Video Script

I am on the Hammer Nutrition website. You can see its contents by hovering over the four top-level headings – Top Sellers, Fuels & Supplements, And More, and Education.

Hovering over ‘Fuels & Supplements’ shows you the range of products for training and racing and for daily consumption.  You can explore these further by clicking on one of the red sub-heads.

The ‘And More’ shows you ‘Gear’, including Clearance items and Electro Stimulation products which I have used and really enjoy. It also includes ‘Clothing’, ‘Coffee’ and ‘Body Care’ products with which I have less experience.

The fourth heading is ‘Education’ which contains a whole host of articles and quick-read advice pieces to help you learn about and fine-tune your fueling and hydration approaches for both training and racing.

As you can see, the site is easy to navigate.  I recommend taking at least a few minutes to take a look around it.  I am confident you will come away with some new and useful information.

Thank you for watching.

END

Featured Hammer Nutrition Pages

Pages of the Hammer Nutrition website highlighted in the video are:

If you want to receive a 15% discount on your first order with Hammer Nutrition, enter Customer Number 203519 when prompted. 

To be transparent, that Customer Number is assigned to me.  I will also receive a credit on my next order under the Hammer Nutrition Referral Program.  If you like, you can also participate in this program once you have become a customer.

Please check out Hammer Nutrition and share your comments below.

This review was first published in July 2019.

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Coming Soon: Favorite Websites for

  • Triathlon Training
    • Swim
    • Bike
    • Run
  • Racing Advice
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