Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Deja Vu?

Deja Vu is french for "already seen", and it's what we call something when we have a strong feeling of already having seen or done something.

During Interval #54 you're going to get that feeling because we're going to repeat the same series of loops multiple times, four times in fact.  The loop will consist of JUMPS, followed by a hill CLIMB, followed by a downhill segment which will be completed as a FLAT.

This culminates at the end with a 4 minute Tabata Interval.  Be sure to take the last FLAT during the Miami Vice song with light resistance at 80rpm because this song is only a minute long and you need to be prepared for the Tabata.  And remember that the Tabata still has to be performed safely which means no cadences greater than 110RPM so turn on the resistance to push a big gear for your 20seconds, and above all listen to your body.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

Take a breath and Decompress

What's the difference between 'Working Out' and 'Training'?
I'm sure the answer to this differs depending on how competitive you are and what particular form of exercise you prefer.  But for my take on it there are two differences, Objective and Path.

The Objective of working out may be to stay fit, burn calories, release stress, and a whole gambit of other things, while the Objective of training is to attain some level of fitness to perform a task, be it a race, a contest, etc...

The Path for working out is essentially whatever I feel like doing tonight.  Since the object if less specific so is the path.  But if you are truly training for something, you need to know the path that needs to be taken to attain the objective.  You certainly wouldn't just do sit-ups and push-ups with the objective of being able to run a marathon.  If you do this, email me and let me know how that works for you.

So here's my short (6 week Objective), getting a group ready for a Race Day ride.  At the big box gym that I've taught at for the last 4 years we've always been told to stay away from this format because it's too intense for the casual exerciser.  I would agree!  But now I've been asked to pick up a Friday evening class, and unless I miss read the people, I don't think the casual exerciser will be in the gym on a Friday night, when they would rather be at the movies, dinner, or any where else.  So here's my path (2 weeks Endurance, 2 weeks Strength, 1 week Interval, 1 week Race Day).  

Now obviously training only on Friday's is not going to get you ready for a race day ride, but I'm only 1 spoke in the wheel.  Outside of my class you need to continue with the base building so that you're ready.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Up where the air is thin

One of my Facebook friends (Addicted to Cycling) from the other side of the planet posted this picture the other day, and aside from the shear insanity of it, I was in awe.

Pushing your body to perform, in thermal clothing, at altitudes where the air is thinning.  On second thought, maybe you have to be a little light headed to be riding a bike there anyway.

So that was my inspiration for today's strength ride.  Typically I like to be right around 80-83% on my SEZ rides for my heart rate.  But for this one I want you to be right at your threshold, for me that's sitting right at 87%, for you, it's just below the point where you go anaerobic (just before you lose control of your breath).

Some of the hills on today's profile have you in the saddle progressively longer, some of them are long and slow, which means you really have to be generous with the resistance to maintain that constant heart rate.  Regardless of the instruction set, if you start to lose control of your breath, it's your job to change it up to stay aerobic.

Have fun and look forward to my post on Friday morning.  I've picked up an additional class time and will be doing something different at the big box gym than I've done in the past.  We'll be doing several planned weeks of base building, building up to a Race Day ride.  I typically stay away from the RDEZ because it's too much for the general population, so this is for a group of people willing to work and build with me.  Good stuff as we get ready for a new year.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Terrace Mountain

Today's strength (SEZ) doesn't have quite as many terraced steps as the picture, but hopefully it gets across the point of the profile.

We start at the bottom during warm up with a cool 65% MHR.  Every climb segment raises your heart rate by 5%.  Between each climb there's a duration where we maintain a constant heart rate from the previous exertion. Once you hit 85% MHR you're DONE!  If you hit 85% during climb 2, you stop adding.

This profile was not only a great strength ride, it really stressed to my clients the importance of heart rate monitoring so that they were in the right zone.  Only time will tell if they go out and buy one, but hey, it's the holiday season and maybe a miracle will happen.

Download Strength #26

Side Note:  If you're a Class Builder user and download my profile files you'll notice that I have one extra song in the ride which was Hang on Sloopy.  This was in here to appease the Buckeye fans on OSU vs Michigan week.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tabata Time

Funny thing about Continuing Education Classes; you usually learn something.  Sometimes it's something new, maybe a new way to look at something, or maybe you relearn something.  I remember coaching a new Spinning instructor a few years ago who was obviously excited about conveying ALL the information he learned to his clients.  There are several problems with this, the first being some people just aren't interested in learning, they're in your class just to make all that fat cry.  The second problem is that you've learned a lot and you can't just puke it out all over the class expecting them to retain any of it.  

"'ve learned a lot and you can't just puke it out all over the class..."

My advice, count on having your job more than one week.  That was to say is that take all that information you learned and let little bits of knowledge come out each week/class, this way you can convey the information without your exercise class turning into a fitness lecture, and then to repeat it often, so that it will sink in.

This week however I was on the receiving end of this.  I had read about Tabata intervals many times, but had never integrated them into any of my profiles, and then I promptly forgot about them.  Now to be fair, Alzheimer's does run in my family so I'll chalk my oversight up to that.  

So this past weekend, in an effort to gain a few more CE credits, I was reminded about the Tabata Interval.  If you haven't heard about Tabata follow this link to learn more about the science behind it.  
"'s time to grow up."
Now on to coaching it.  First if you're not comfortable coaching off the bike it's time to grow up.  You really should coach this off of the bike so you can keep a close eye on your clients since many of them are not elite athletes.  This also let's you verbally cue the intervals clearly, and third, I think this will motivate some to actually push to the right level because they can't hide in the silhouettes in the class.  

Step #1 :  Get some Tabata music (link provided in the playlist below)
Step #2 : Define Tabata in advance of the actual portion of the class where you're doing the interval so that everyone is understand how this is done.  In today's ride, I suggest you give this instruction during the Baseline Recovery - Heart rate ladder on song 6.
 So how do you perform a Tabata?
Concepts easy / Performing one...Not so much.
The Tabata music will cue you through 8 intervals; each interval consisting of a 20 second maximum effort portion and then a 10 second recovery.  During the 20 seconds the participant can do any movement that they like, but it's meant to be hard. Very hard!  For me this is a generally a seated climb the first 4-5 intervals and then I have to transition to standing climb for the last 3-4 intervals as I run out of gas.  It would be like running up and down the mountains in the picture above, but only having 20 seconds to run to the top of one mountain and then 10 seconds to run down the other side.  As you can image, you're not going to fully recovery in those 10 seconds.

Download Interval #51

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Stage 7 Segment

I have to say that I do really missing using the Spinning icons, however the Class Builder app does make cueing a class so easy, so until Madd Dog Athletics comes up with a comparable app (I'm not holding my breath), I'll have to use my shorthand.  So in this profile I did a lot of interesting combinations that I haven't really done in the past so lets explain my madness a bit so you get an idea of what I'm trying to accomplish.

During Low - by Flo Rida...  

C - SF - SC :20> :15 :10> :05 

Drawn out in Spinning symbols it might look something like

Starting from a Seated Climb (C) for 20 seconds, then move to Standing Flat (SF) position for 20 seconds, then move to Standing Climb (SC) for 20 seconds.  Half way thru your time in the SC position you do a resistance load.  Repeat the sequence but this time for 15 seconds in each position without the resistance load. Repeat the sequence at a 10 second rate ending with a resistance load and then repeat a last time at a 5 second rate.  This sets you up for the next instruction... 

Jumps to Hand Position 3 (a.k.a.  Jumps on a Hill)

During Sweet Dreams - by Eurithmics

C - SF - SC>  :10 :15 :20
Similar instruction above, but now we increase every iteration and instead of getting shorter in each position we stay longer.  This again sets us up for the next instruction during the same song with is a Standing Climb.

During Teeth - by Lady Gaga

SC :30 - C :10 :15 :20 :30
Starting from a heavy resistance (Standing Climb) for 30 seconds, then drop to the saddle for 10 seconds.  Stand back up for another 30 seconds before dropping to the saddle for 15 seconds, repeating the entire sequence for both 20 and 30 seconds.  This is all part of threshold management, teaching the clients to go longer periods in the saddle controlling their breath to prevent going anaerobic. 

Hopefully this little explanation acts like a Rosetta Stone to how I cue my rides.  Develop your own style and adapt it to you and your clients.  What's important is that neither you or your clients become discouraged.

~ Spinning Freak

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Strength can be a battle of wills

I thought this graphic was pretty appropriate because I often feel like I'm battling with my clients to keep them riding at the right cadence and intensity level to accomplish the goals of the ride.  And no matter how hard you try, there's always one person in the back that thinks harder is better, if a little resistance is good, then lot must be better.

It's probably that "...more is better" ideology that forced you to join the gym in the first place; remember being asked, "Would you like to Supersize that for only 30 cents more?"
"...more is better"  Right?
Remember if you go more, you'll most likely push anaerobic which means you'll be pulling energy stores from muscle instead of from fat.  There's a time and place for that, but not all the time.  Just as a reminder of the different energy zones, jump on over here for a quick refresher, as it summarizes it pretty well.

Strength Energy Zone # 23 (Download here)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I've heard of double vision, but double hearing?

Real simple this week.  This week my club changes formats a bit from a standard 45 minute class to a 55 minute class.  It's amazing how much more energy it takes for that extra 10 minutes, but hats off to everyone for making the change with me with gusto!

So that means all my playlists that I've relied on in a subbing pinch will need to be modified and have a couple of songs added.  This is doubly (is that a word?) an issue because I'm teaching more as we are currently short staffed, and I hate to play the same music twice in a week so as to not bore my clients.

So here's what we have, Interval ride 50 and 50A.  Same ride profile with 2 different playlists; only a few repeat songs.  I can do that pretty easy with this profile because my cuing is open ended for each song.  I put cues like C - SF - SC > :20 for the entire song.  Those that follow me know that this is essential all three positions each for 20 seconds, increase and then repeat.  This instruction works the same for any length of song.  The exception to this is during Sprints because they should coincide with the music movement to keep the enthusiasm high, so I didn't change the song for the sprints.

No matter what playlist you choose, this should be a fun, albeit exhausting ride.

Class Builder users:  Make sure that you upgrade to the latest version of the app, version 1.5.  This will allow you to drop entire new playlists into old profiles.  Huge time saver.

Sorry No Spotify this week.

Playlist Interval 50
Playlist Interval 50A

Friday, November 2, 2012

Oh crap...Enya. How do I sneak out of here?

So I announced this week that I'll be bringing back Endurance rides to the gym that I teach at.  I had gotten away from them over the summer because...heck I don't know why other than I was being lazy and I recycled a lot of rides, and I find EEZ rides to be the most exhausting to teach.

So why do I find them exhausting?  
It's a very technical ride constantly monitoring your heart rate, cadence, resistance.  It's easy when I'm doing the ride for myself, but getting an entire class on the same page, that's much more difficult.  So many of those coming to the big box gyms feel that they've cheated themselves if they don't leave a puddle of sweat behind for the cleaning crew. If you've read the article I recently posted, then you know that couldn't be further from the truth.

So your job as a fitness professional now shifts from instructor (simply giving instructions) to teacher (providing an educated reason for what your doing.)

Now back to Enya...As soon as I announced at the beginning of my class, like I do every single class that we were doing endurance there was an audible groan.  I simply winked at them and asked them to trust me and give me a chance.  

First know that I believe very few instructors lead EEZ rides especially at a big box club, probably because they think the class will rebel. Most people think of EEZ rides as 45-60 minutes strictly in the saddle with monotonous music, hence Enya.  In fact that was exactly what one of my participants expected, having done EEZ only once before and that's what was played the entire ride.
"...rides are defined by their heart rate response..."

Okay, time to dispel with preconceived notions.  The rides are defined by their heart rate response, not by the music or movement.  The heart rate parameters for an EEZ ride is 65%-75% with little variation, but the Spinning "Bible" also provides for extended parameters of 65% -80% of your MHR.  I always teach to the extended parameters because it gives me some room to play.  My objective is to stay consistent within 5%.  So what can you do with 5%.  Well, you can stand up for one, you can do mini-breakaways, jumps etc... as long as you don't do them too long.    What does this gain you?  Variety.  It lets you get out of the saddle, give your butt a break, and keeps the ride from becoming boring.

So what happens if you allow your heart rate to spike too high because you stayed up too long?  Then you've given yourself a really great Interval ride, staying aerobic the entire time.  And if you add to much resistance, who cares, you just had a great Strength ride.  The point is that you're staying in the Fat burning zone more, and just maybe it will motivate some to invest in a heart rate monitor.

 Listen on Spotify