Before a big race, you’ve done all the training you can, you’ve prepped your bike and your nutrition is all lined up… but you just can’t seem to switch off. Your heart rate increases and you breathe faster. Not only are you unable to sleep, but you start burning energy and oxygen.
Adventure athletes and all-round sporting enthusiasts, Steve and Nick Tidball, claim to have found the solution to this pre-event anxiety and how to enhance recovery after exertion.
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Using a specific shade of pink, a mesh visor and deep sling pockets, the Baker Miller Pink Hoodie from Vollebak is designed to help athletes relax in those nervous periods before a big event and to promote quicker more effective recovery afterwards.
Steve Tidball explained to Cycling Weekly that the principles behind Vollebak’s jacket are pretty simple.
“It’s pretty straightforward that if you limit the amount of sleep you have before doing something physically demanding your performance is not going to be optimal” he said.
“Similarly, if you’ve spent all day worrying about what’s going to happen the next day, that’s not the ideal mind frame to be approaching something from.”
A distinctive shade of pink
The jacket has a distinctive colour, the Baker Miller shade of pink. Why? Between 1979 and 1984 psychological tests showed that 15 minutes exposure to the colour could pacify violent and aggressive behaviour in prisoners.
Vollebak claim that by combining this colour with other features the jacket can improve your parasympathetic nervous system’s (which amongst other things slows heart rate) ability to help you rest and recover before and after sport.
“Essentially the ‘tech’ we’re relying on is your parasympathetic nervous system,” Steve said. “We’re trying to make it kick in, rather than hoping it will.”
Hood and visor
The hood zips all the way up and has a mesh visor. The theory is that all you can see is pink which lowers your heart rate whilst the visor encourages you to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth to slow down your breathing.
The way you breathe can have an impact on how much energy you use. In addition to being encouraged to breathe through your nose, Vollebak says ideally you want your stomach to move when you breathe rather than your chest. Such a technique is said to be more efficient.
Tidball explained to Cycling Weekly that rather than just making you look like your trapped in a strait-jacket, the deep sling pockets aid the relaxation process.
“The pockets are designed to limit your movement, and make sure you’re breathing through your stomach,” he said. Another benefit is that when you feel restless after an exercise the arms limit your movement.
Another innovative idea is the use of music to keep you entombed in your pink cocoon.
Vollebak has its own pink noise soundtrack (which is free to access on their website), that is to be played whilst you wear the jacket which is “made out of elements of pink noise that slow your brainwaves.”
The jacket has an internal pocket for a phone or MP3 player.
This isn’t the first foray into the sporting world for the twins; the former advertising creatives are keen amateur sportsman (with Steve having a particular passion for cycling).
In around 2009, using Nick’s engineering background, they worked with CycleFit to create a range of bikes (including the Wingtip time trial bike and the Eastway- celebrating the old closed road circuit in London).
Check out another marginal gain, not pinning on your race number
Inspired by Team Sky‘s attention to detail and their own pursuit to be the best athletes they can be, the Tidballs created Vollebak – which is “all out” in Flemish – earlier in 2015.
Steve Tidball says that they’d looked at what elite athletes like Team Sky benefit from and wanted to create a product to help everyone, not just professionals.
“Like lots of people we’re really interested in elite sport, but are not elite athletes. We don’t want to be elite athletes, but do want to be the best we can be.”
The Baker Miller Pink Hoodie shall retail at £220. For more information go to Vollebak– you can even listen to the pink noise sound track and watch the Baker Miller Pink film.