in Cycling

Lance Armstrong’s giant heart

It turns out that intense, long-term cardio training actually enlarges the heart and therefore the amount of oxygen-rich blood that can be delivered to the muscles, according to this long-term study at the University of Texas…

Lance Armstrong…improved his cycling efficiency by a phenomenal 8% as he matured from age 21-28 years… There is no doubt that Lance now possesses a big and strong heart that can beat over 200 times a minute at maximum and thus pump a exceptionally large volume of blood and oxygen to his legs. There are probably 100 other men on earth who have comparable abilities while each assumedly must have performed intense endurance training for at least 3 years and are now between the ages of 18-40 y. In testing hundreds of competitive cyclists over 20 years at UT, Dr. Coyle has found two other individuals with the physiological potential of Lance.

An additional factor in Lance’s improvement over the years is that he has learned how to reduce his body weight and body fat by 10 pounds (5 kg) prior to each of his victories in the Tour de France. Therefore, over all his power per kg of body weight has increased 18% while climbing-up the steep mountains in France.

There’s definitely a metaphor here for business, as companies that excel over time consistently apply themselves to excellence until it is rooted in their culture and not just the occassional project success.