Friday, December 26, 2014

Unplugged (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

Another cycling coach friend of mine had a class awhile back at her studio where she played the more edgy music that she wouldn't normally.

I find myself, for reasons unknown to me, with my classes being cancelled today and next Friday.  Apparently under the guise of holiday time, whatever.  I've been home about a week and have cabin fever already.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Bah...Humbug. (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

No. Not Really.

It's just so expected that you're going to do a Holiday's Playlist.  You along with the other 5 cycling instructors.  So this year I decided to NOT put together a Christmas ride.

This year my gift to my class was simply a butt kickin' ride.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

No One to Blame... (Spinning­™ Profile & Playlist)

In my new role with my company I've been with for the last 16 years, I've been doing a lot of reading and thinking about goal setting.  In fact, quota setting was ALL I did for the first 2 weeks on the job.  Christmas is right around the corner and soon we'll start to see all the NYR's (New Year Resolutioners) at the gym but this isn't about a resolution. You see, a resolution is simply a decision to do something, it in itself doesn't have the teeth to bring achieve your goal.

And there you have it...Goal.  Many will say the biggest mistake in setting goals, is in not actually setting them.  And while that is certainly a critical step, it's only the strategy portion of your resolution, it doesn't help you with your execution.  The goal only tells you when you arrived at your destination, it doesn't tell you how to get there.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Whirlwind (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

My life has been a whirlwind of activity as of late between my final training push for my last triathlon for the season and taking on of a new job.  Something had to suffer and so far that has been from my personal time, specifically Spinning related activities.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still coaching twice a week, but I've been recycling a lot of old playlists/profiles.  It's a good thing I have a large collection to draw from.

It's not the profile that takes so much time its finding the music.  But I needed a break from the whirlwind which is my job this week, and bless my wife she let me do it so here's my latest profile.  I used this one last night and it went over like crazy.  The looks on every one's faces spanned from wide smiles to raw determination while doing the climb.  What a fun trip!

I introduced a new timing during this profile for my class just to change things up.  If you've used my profiles and not just my playlists in the past, you notice that I often have a "core" warm up.  This is really just a a continuation of the warm up at the beginning with some interval position changes between the saddle and either a run or standing climb position.  I use this time at the beginning of class really to instruct proper technique and form for the transitions.  So they know how the bike is supposed to feel during a climb.  Are they leaning on the handle bars, are they coming out of the saddle by using their quads or pulling on the handle bars.  Stuff like that.

So during the core warm up, I generally run a set of intervals from seated climb to standing flat to standing climb/run  (all around the 80rpm level).  I say around this level because I don't mess with resistance loading during this part of the ride so depending on how much they load their seated flat they may be running when they stand up.  Usually when I do this I spend equal time in each position just transitioning from one to the next, but today you'll notice my instruction has a 121 in the notes.  That's to tell me that in 1 of the positions I spend twice as long there and then the position moves.  For example on the first rotation I would do a seated flat for 5 seconds, then standing flat for 10, and moving to standing climb for 5 seconds.  The second time through this rotation seated flat 5 seconds, standing flat for 5 seconds and standing climb for 10, and on to the next rotation.  

If you can't keep track of which position is the double, who cares?  Do them all for the same duration. The important thing is that you made it to the gym and you're doing something.


"A river never cuts through a rock because of its power,
but because of its ceaseless persistence."


Monday, September 1, 2014

App Review: Schwinn Indoor Cycling Class Tamer

It's no secret that I've been a long time fan of Cycling Fusion's ClassBuilder™ app.  So much so that I went out and bought a new iPod just so I could get the latest upgrade since it required iOS 7.

But if you're just starting out and you don't know how well you're going to like having all your profiles at your finger tips, the $20 for the app may be a show stopper.  Trust me you'll love it, but if you'd rather not Schwinn offers a pretty good substitute at a price that's hard to beat...FREE!

Officially the app is titled "Schwinn Indoor Cycling Class Tamer Music Player for Group Exercise Professionals", Whew! That's a mouthful, but we'll just call it Class Tamer.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Boom...The Game has Changed (Spinning® Profile & Playlist)

So Taylor Swift wakes up one morning and decides, "I think I wanna be a pop star."  Boom...The game has changed.  Well I don't know if it will work for her, but whatever...I'm still going to put on my spandex tri-shorts and cycling jersey and Spin®.

Lot's of new music in this weeks Strength ride, I hope you enjoy but Spotify users will be a little limited because several of the songs aren't there yet.  But before we got to the music, I wanted to take a moment to explain my interpretation of SWITCHBACKS since I reference them so often during SEZ rides.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


Even if you've never actually watched the show Mythbusters you probably know the premise of the show.  Someone states something as factual and these guys go to extreme efforts to either prove or disprove it.

With that in mind...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Deja Vu 2.0 (Spinning Playlist & Profile)

So back in January of this year I did an 80's flashback ride at the request of some of my participants.  We'll here were are 6 months later and they requested I repeat that ride.  That bad thing was I had an iPod issue somewhere between then and now, so I had to recreate the ride.  So I did that with some minor little tweaks and since I'm now using better instructions instead of so much short hand, I thought I'd post it again.  So not only is this a Deja Vu from the 80's, or even January, since it's new and improved I've listed as 2.0 (two point oh).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Freak The Spinning Freak™ Out (Profile & Playlist)

The 2014 Tour de France is over, but while the celebrating continues, the interviews and recaps populate through the blogosphere, and product manufacturers look for athletes for endorsements we can continue the fun with our own Race Day Event.

At the end of every month I run a Race Day Ride to challenge my normal participants to see what they can achieve.  I have to admit I was very nervous my first couple of RDEZ rides, wondering how to coach this profile.  How can you maintain the enthusiasm for the entire class?  Could I coach it while on the bike? Would my participants love it or hate it?

Friday, July 11, 2014

How to boil a Frog (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

Have you ever heard that if you throw a frog into boiling water it will jump right out because it notices the immediate change in temperature, but if you start with cool water and slowly heat the water the frog won't even notice?

So I have a segment in today's profile I call, "Boiling the Frog", where during the 6 minutes we increase resistance a total of 4 times during a standing climb, and each time we transition back to a seated climb for a bit longer time.

If you loaded it heavily to begin participants might give up early, or they might not load it enough which each opportunity.  Push them to a resistance they didn't think they could do by letting it sneak up on them.

Other take aways, if you haven't tried projecting the ride profiles for your class, you're missing a great tool.  I consistently hear from my participants that it helps to motivate them because they can gauge when the next break is so that they know they can push hard without worry of holding something in reserve.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Strut (Spinning® Profile & Playlist)

My typical pace line for a class is a "single" pace line where you work your way to the front of a line (virtually) and then peel yourself off to draft in the back.  In my nomenclature on my profiles it looks something like

Flat > Flat > Standing Flat 20sec

So starting from the drafting rear position for 20 seconds, and then increase resistance moving into the 2nd position for 20 seconds (while someone drafts off you), until finally you move to the front (more resistance) while you deflect all the air and those drafting off you.

In the real world this is a constant fluid motion but in our studio's we simulate the wind resistance which is why I only have 3 positions in my pace line otherwise all you're doing is adjusting resistance constantly.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

If Moses wore Spandex...

Alright so before anyone gets bent out of shape or overly offended, please remember that God invented humor too.

So if Moses had wore spandex I surmise:
  • The Jewish people would have asked him to follow his people out of Egypt instead of leading them.  Who wants to see that old of guy in spandex.
  • Moses wouldn't have bothered parting the Red Sea, he would have dove in and lead the pack for the worlds first triathlon.
  •  When he came down from the mountain with the 10 Commandments, he would have also come down with 2 more tablets showing the Seven Deadly Sins of Spinning®.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

It's Good to be Alive (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

There's a HUGE difference between being a alive and just living.  Okay, so technically they're the exact same thing, but philosophically there's a huge difference.

Being alive includes a zeal for for life.  Grabbing the proverbial bull by the horns and riding it for all it's worth (I've done that by the way).

So I've got a very dear friend that fell into the fitness industry kind of like I did, just coincidentally.  She lost a lot of weight, got in

Friday, April 11, 2014

Vengeance (Spinning Playlist & Profile)

If you were a boy in the 70's I'm quite sure you recognize this comic as part of an advertisement.  It was in virtually every comic book printed, either in the front or back cover.  It was an ad for the Charles Atlas Body Building method that was suppose to turn this 98lb weakling into a man, or as the ad said, "The Insult that made a man out of Mac".

Okay so if you're a frequent follower of this blog you might have noticed my absence as of late.  My absence is the result of being extremely under motivated.  Now don't get me wrong, I still went Spinning and worked out 3-4 times per week, but that was about all I could manage.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Are you prepared? (Article)

We had a great, challenging strength ride, and were starting our cool down. Suddenly there was a loud THUMP behind me - I turned around to see my good friend, Jim, slumped on the floor between bikes. Everyone sprang into action - lights turned on, bikes moved out of the way, and one regular rider who is a RN took charge of the scene while the instructor ran out of the room to get the AED and call 911. Jim was out cold, but came to around 30 seconds later, and was talking normally, asking "what happened". The paramedics arrived within two minutes, and took Jim to the hospital for observation.

Monday, March 10, 2014

What is real? (Article)

In "The Matrix" movie, Morpheus asks Neo a rhetorical question, "What is real?"

Today Jennifer Sage from the ICA addresses the question of, "What does 'keep it real' mean?"
I know many Spinners don't ride a real bike on the road.  Heck I didn't take it up until last year myself when one of my Spinning Freaks™ essentially challenged me to, which I'm grateful that he did.

But with all the background noise generated in the industry because of programs like Soul Cycle, KTX, Underground Spin Zone, etc....  Jennifer addresses the misconceptions of what keeping it real means and what it doesn't.

So I challenge you to check your beliefs at the door, take the red pill and have a seat and read Jennifer's article.  And then please comment here, on Facebook, or Twitter and let me know what you think.

Special Thanks to Jennifer Sage for allowing me to share her content and to all of you out there that are coaching Spinning­­® and indoor cycling classes, keeping it fun and safe.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Sprint Confusion (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

So I concluded this week of nothing but interval profiles for my participants with a ride that included 3 different sprint-type efforts.  It just seemed like a great way to top off the week. 

I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

On your marks....Stage 2 of the Tour de France '14

Spinning Freaks™ know that my last class of each month means one thing...


My inspiration for my latest RDEZ profile comes from the 2014 Tour de France - Stage 2.  

198km squashed, crammed and jam packed into one 40 minute Spinning® ride.  As with all my Race Day rides there is a warm up segment before the "race" where I make sure everyone knows the rules of the road.  I do this to give everyone time to get their muscles primed for the race, but also to make sure we have a safe experience.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Can you see the top yet? (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

You know you'll be finished in 55 minutes, so why do you have to know how much further?

Strength rides mean a couple of different things to me.  Aside from the obvious hills it also means a close awareness of ones body.  How much further can you push and NOT lose your breath?  How long can I maintain this resistance without going too slow?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Storm (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

I thought this picture was a pretty good single representation of this ride profile. There are long flat roads where we pace line broken up by explosive bursts of energy where we sprint, climb and push ourselves above our anaerobic threshold.

So I want to share with you what I've been working on, aside from this profile in case you didn't see it on my Facebook page.  I wanted to come up with my own logo so I could put it on a cycling jersey for my upcoming triathlon.  Yeah it's silly, but it's just part of my on going mid-life crisis.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Men are from Mars - Women are from Venus: Valentines Day Ride 2014 (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

So I've seen a lot of creative ideas for playlist mixes for this Valentines Day on the various forums.  Some are all lovey-dovey, hugs & kisses.  I've seen some obviously jaded lists, and one that I've liked the most so far I saw in a Facebook group called Former Cycling Pingers by Hollie Porter.  She had taken all the stages of a relationship from the "Crush" stage to "All Out of Love".  She even went on to say that they were going to be physically and emotionally spent.

Okay I live in a house full of ladies ( I have 3 daughters (9, 14, & 17) and I still don't get the emotionally spent, but I also never understood my wife crying at every episode of Private Practice.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Countdown Sprints (Spinning Profile and Playlist)

Not strictly speaking a true sprint in Mad Dogg's Spinning® terms where it's an all out effort with resistance, Countdown Sprints are a series of 5 High Intensity Intervals (HIIT).

The objective of these efforts is to bring your intensity just below A.T. (anaerobic threshold) and sustain it.  Those with heart rate monitors will certainly have the advantage here, especially if they know at what heart rate they start to lose their breath.

So for each effort you want to push yourself and then pace yourself for the duration of the effort.  Each effort is offset with an equal recovery period and then repeated for a shorter duration.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

1.21 Jigawatts of Power (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

The engineer in me compels me to tell you that the Doctor in the Back to the Future movies used the term Jigawatts not Gigawatts AND there is no such measurement of electric power.  But if time travel was real, I'm sure it would take at least a Jigawatt.

So I made a subtle but important modification to my page.  At the top of the page, just under my header picture I now have a Profile Terminology & Symbols page.  This goes along with my new profile instructions within Class Builder.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Love me some hills (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

At a distance the mountain doesn't seem like much of a concern.  The rate of elevation isn't too great.  Sure, it's a long way to the top but that's just a matter of time.

As you start the ascent you set an aggressive pace, but you can do this. Soon you come to the first turn in the road.  You lean forward catching the drops and engage the full might of your quads as you feel the deceivingly slight increase in slope around the turn and you lose all your forward momentum.  Now you know why this mountain is so tough, it's all the switchback siphoning off your momentum and with it depleting your energy reserves.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Vacuums Suck...Are you living in one? (Article)

In previous posts I've made reference to the importance of having a good mentor.  Don't miss the word "Good".

Many of the social media forum's that I actively participate in regarding indoor cycle, have had the discussions hijacked about fringe cycle-like fitness classes.  We've all heard about Soul Cycle, but the latest crop is related to a class in Atlanta lead by Keith Thompson he's calling KTX Cycle.  In this class, Mr. Thompson crosses Hip-hop and Cycle.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Test Drive (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

Working at a "Big Box" gym like LA Fitness, with a wildly diverse participant population, ranging from 19 - 70 years in age, with those that haven't worked out since gym class sometime in the 1970's to those that make me wish I was in that good of shape, it's really difficult to put in place a periodization schedule.  But they hung tough, especially since many of them had never done an EEZ ride.  I'll continue them more frequently as part of my normal rotation going into the new year, but...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Hello? Is anyone out there?

I sometimes feel like I'm suffering from a multiple personality disorder as I manage several different social media profiles, blog sites, etc...

Facebook LIKES can tell you how many people have been to your site (at least once), but it doesn't really tell you who keeps coming back. Each post shows you how many people "saw" it, but really that just means how many people had it published to their news feed.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Two Paths to Follow (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

One of the most memorable scenes from "The Matrix", is when Morpheus presents Neo with a choice between a red or blue pill.  The blue pill represented a decision to return to the matrix and live in ignorant bliss, while the red pill represented a decision for a real understanding about what the matrix was.

I approach the Endurance Energy Zone (EEZ) much the same way.  I start each class introducing the ride profile and a few characteristics of the profile.  But the reality is that not everyone is in the same place in their training (assuming that they're training and not just working out), some

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Chemistry can Blurr the lines (Spinning Playlist & Profile)

They say that admitting that you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

Admit it. You're afraid of teaching an Endurance Energy Zone profile.  You're afraid that you're normal participants will abandon you for that other instructor that plays all Top 40's; what was her name?  Yeah, Suzy Psychospin, that's her name.

Alright so now that you've admitted that let's get on with life.  Will some dislike you're ride?  But you're there to help with people's health goals, and EEZ certainly plays into that.

Favorites of 2013 (Music)

Purely an unscientific method, no charts, and in no particular order, just submissions from various Spinning® instructors from around the globe.  Taken from the "Spinning® Instructors Only..+Spinning® Lovers" page from Facebook, started by a post from Evangelos Kastamoulas.  What I like about this list is that since it's from submissions all around the world, you can get different flavors in music.  Enjoy!

And PLEASE, if you have other favorites post a YouTube link in the comments section.  I love hearing from everyone and we all have our own style!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Another Question from the Audience...

Not my normal profile post, although I'll have one of them soon, as I have a new Foundation Building (aka Endurance) profile I need to post.  I recently had another long time instructor ask me a question that I just assumed everyone knew the answer to.  To which my wife likes to remind me that if it's technical I have to tinker with it until I learn everything about it, and most other people really just want to know the basics, so here you go.

The question was,
"How do I get a continuous playlist from my iPod?"

Okay, so I didn't quite get the question.  You have to have the music in a playlist to even play a single song, and if you have multiple songs, it will by default play continuously, regardless of which version of iPod you use.

After giving it some thought though, I realized what she was referring to was no gaps between songs.  Ah, duh, not one of my sharper moments.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

80's Flashback (Spinning Playlist & Profile)

I posted this video to my Facebook as a teaser to an all 80's ride I was doing for my class.  I remember the first time I saw a music video and thinking how awesome it was.  I lived far enough out in the sticks of rural Pennsylvania that we didn't have cable so I had to stay up until after the news to catch "Friday Night Videos."

Now a days I see most videos online, never stopping my cable box on MTV.  I do occasionally stop on VH1 to see a Where are they now show.  My kids may mock me for my "oldies" music, and laugh at our styles, but I'm laughing inside as I see the trends come back.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Foundation Building (Spinning Profile and Playlist)

There are some absolutely amazing architects out there designing fabulous structures all of the world.  With each new building material, they seem to come up with new ways to stretch their imagination making wilder and crazier feats of engineering.

But the one thing all of these structures have in come, even with the designs of ancient pyramid builders is that they all have to have a strong foundation to build upon.  Without that foundation they run the risk of their building collapsing.