Sunday, June 16, 2013

On the verge (Spinning Profile and Playlist)

Usually when fitness professionals talk about exercise and effort they talk about giving 100%.
Do it.
Don't give up.
Push harder!

What we're really talking about is not effort or Muscle Power, but instead Will Power.  And yeah you should absolutely give it all when talking about will power.  But for a Strength ride (SEZ) we want to stop at 85% of your MHR (Maximum Heart Rate).

I had the "opportunity" to attend Keiser bike training this week.  And "No!", I am not switching to the dark side, but I did go into the training with a open mind to see what I could learn here. Sometimes you learn something new to integrate into your own style, and sometimes you learn what complete and total rubbish is being promoted.  I was pleasantly surprised that the Kieser trainer was very good and I came away from the experience with an overall positive impression. My reason for attending is that the studio I coach at was recently purchased by LA Fitness International which is closely aligned with Keiser.

The Keiser methods are more "technical" in that they put so much coaching emphasis into using the computer on the bike that the participant actually becomes fixated on the numbers.  What it reminded me of was Rocky IV when one boxer is training to the machine and the other is using his passion to drive him through his training.  I heard a lot of references about how things related to a real bike and real cycling, but never during the coaching rides was there any visualization references.  We seemed focus on drills and wattage versus things like, "you're fighting against the wind", or "you're running a 3 person pace line and the wind is pushing back against you as your pull to the front."  So I'm thinking that is something missing from the "program".  My guess is this is the very part that  Gene Nacey's group, Cycling Fusion has brought together.  The technical with the real-world visualization and coaching.  Some day I'll get over to attend one of Gene's classes.

Having said all that, there are still a lot of clubs and studio's without the watt meters, be it the Keiser bikes or the all new Spinner Blade Ion.  What I think is the most critical component is you, the coach, to motivate and educate, regardless of what equipment you have.  You need to be able to coach using the tools available; if you have power available coach with it, but remember that it's a person your coaching not a machine so that connection is very important.

Strength Ride = 75 to 85% MHR
Download STRENGTH # 34

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Overload and Reviving the Engine (Spinning Profile and Playlist)

Strength training utilizes the concept of  "Overload" to affect a change on the systems.  If you always do the same weight/resistance the muscle my be tone, but it doesn't get bigger, stronger.

The same concepts apply for cardiovascular exercise.  Adding an extra 5 minutes to your run, incorporating sprints, taking a steeper path, all push the body and your cardio systems beyond what they're accustom to.

In our world of Spinning® that means maybe increasing the resistance load, pushing hard longer; what's key here is a change from the norm affects a change in your body.  I really believe that's why Tabata is so popular right now in my gym, because it's new and different and hard for our general population.
So I've been coaching my participants, nay, challenging them to include more resistance.  Often when I say light resistance I feel that it gets translated to NO resistance.  Well, No resistance means virtually no work and certainly no change.

So my catch phrase as of late has been, "low RESISTANCE, key word being resistance", when I'm describing a flat.

I've also been doing a lot of revving of the engine (with your heart being the engine) when I'm Running with Resistance.  If you don't jack the heart rate up quickly, then you haven't really overloaded any systems. The heart rate is a trailing indicator to overload, meaning you'll see the heart rate quickly rise AFTER the overload.  That's because your tapping into  alternate energy systems such as Phosphagen System.  Often in Spinning® we stay in the Aerobic Energy system, even our SEZ rides only take you to AT threshold.  Our IEZ rides typically are long enough in duration that we stay within the Lactic Acid System (anaerobic glycolysis).

Tapping into the Phosphagen system is very short term because you're limited to the amount of creatine phosphate stored in your muscle cells until it's restored.  This is the systems that athletes tap into for the Herculean effort that makes them win.  You see it during a boxing match when someone, on the verge of exhaustion comes out arms a swinging for an amazing effort that lasts for 20-30 seconds and then poof they've got nothing left in the tank.

All this to say, don't be afraid of overload, it causes your body to change, it makes your systems learn to recover the phosphagen energy stores quicker, and it could give you the edge when you need it during a competition, or maybe even some energenic play.