Photo from a race that qualified Andrew for the 2014 Olympic trials. "There are elements of about 4 Bikram postures involved here in the body position I am in (150 meters into a 1000m race). Fixed firm + Rabbit created the lower back flexibility for proper "cat back" skating (It's very hard to hold that position at speed), and the whole "Awkward" series."
"Thanks to Bikram!! Bikram is a hugely powerful tool in my training. Its pretty much replaced gym work for me. The way that modern elite training plans are being written these days, there is always room for "foundational" work, especially in early season phases. This is where Bikram has just been hugely positive. Also, the absolutely regular style of the class is really important. I pretty much always know the training stress I will be inflicting on myself when I step into a Bikram class. This matters a lot. Other yoga styles, you never know if it will be creampuff easy or so hard no student can finish. Also, bike racing in Utah has heat as a significant fatigue factor. (Heat & Wind will often break even very strong athletes) Heat never bothers me anymore! It's an advantage.
Andrew during one of his training days.
As a speedskater and cyclist I am a specifically imbalanced athlete, and this is one reason I find Bikram crucial. My imbalance could be best described as a dragster being an imbalanced car. If a dragster's motor is too powerful for what the frame and engine mounts can handle, it blows to pieces or flexes too much so you can't drive it in a straight line. What use are powerful legs if your torso and hips are not strong enough to resist and guide the power they can generate? Just like a dragster, you will get hurt, or crash, or when you get tired, move with sloppy technique.
Final thought worth adding, I do find that Bikram's intensity is a fatigue factor before your A+ category events. I tend to shy away from class from 10 days out. Whereas during building training cycles, I make it as regular of a 2nd workout as I possibly can... Classes AFTER racing skates in the morning are always an adventure in determination.
Andrew doing Standing Bow Pose in his skates on natural ice.