Saturday, December 26, 2015

We all do it, even if we don't admit it (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

We all do it.  We may say we don't but when no one is around to hear, even if we don't vocalize it, we all do it.  We all make New Year's Resolutions.

Something about the New Year we all seem to align with it...We're going to work out more; eat less; eat better; lose weight; lower our cholesterol, etc...  And the list goes on.

I say embrace it!  If the new year is your catalyst, let the fire burn bright and hot.  But make sure the fire is controlled least you get burnt.

If you haven't figured it out from my Facebook posts I'm signed up for a variety of multi-sport events this next year, so I'm working out a bit more than I have in the past.  Today I skipped the morning swim, but I made it to a cycling class.  I had thought about breaking out the road bike, but decided instead to check out a new instructor at the club that I'd heard good things about.

Gym members come to our classes for motivation and instruction.  The depend on us to know the proper methods of using the equipment in a safe and effective manner.  If you instruct them wrong and they get hurt, then it's on you.  Yeah you might be protected from liability because of a waiver, but that shouldn't alleviate the guilt that is yours.  It's your responsibility to do better.  So with that in mind here's The Good, The Bad and The Ugly from this morning's experience.

The Good
She did quite a good job of cuing her ride.  Good explanation, clear and she didn't just keep talking to hear herself.  I see that in a lot of instructors where they can't stand silence so they just keep talking.  She did a good job of just talking the right amount.

I can really appreciate her skill here because I often misspeak.  I want to say one thing and then trip over the words.  None of that occurred during today's class.

I can also appreciate that she was mindful of cadence, especially since the studio bikes don't have any rpm gauges.  She did several cadence counts to make sure everyone was in range.  I've long given up this and instead insist everyone to match my pace, but for my money either way works well.

While we didn't actually do a heart rate check, she did talk about perceived exertion and she did cue where heart rates should be for the few with a heart rate monitor (which I might have been the only person in the room with one).  I often cue around anaerobic thresholds since again most don't have heart rate monitors, and this gives us a "known" point of exertion level.

The Bad
Some of these might be nit-picky but here they are.

  • No music playing before class to make the room more inviting.
  • Didn't explain what type of ride we were doing.  It ended up being a Criterion Interval but nobody else in the room new that or had any way to gauge what effort they were going to be putting in.
  • She didn't know the class duration.  I know from looking at her schedule that she teaches an early morning session which is a 45 minute class.  Imagine my surprise when a 55 minute class was cut short by 10 minutes.  I just stayed on the bike and kept going.

  • She is definitely an instructor and not a coach.  She hid behind that bike the entire time, actually instructing people on their bike setup from her bike versus getting out there among the crowd to see if anyone was new or needed assistance with proper setup.

    I'm a big fan of getting off the bike and connecting with the participants to make sure they're feeling okay, riding with proper resistance, and a whole host of other things that you can't see from the seat of the instructors bike.

The Ugly
  • She instructed the use of a HOVER during the ride.  I don't know if she was planning on doing one during the criterion because I deliberately instructed a new participant, that I setup on the bike (and therefore I knew of a recent knee surgery he had) not to do the hover, nor did I do this.  Hover's are not included the curriculum of Spinning®. Schwinn Cycle, or Keiser so I can only believe that she's picked up this bad habit somewhere.

  • Stretching after class is a must, but stretches performed while on the bike should be limited.  I have my classes do a few breathing relaxations, shoulder rolls, and trap/shoulder stretches all from the seat of the bike.  Key here is your butt is firmly planted on the seat.  No chance of injury.  While this morning's class did a wide variety of stretches while standing on the pedals on the bike.  Again most can perform these stretches without risk of injury, but one injury when it could be avoided is one too many in my book.

    Here's a good reference for you.  5 Stretching Tips for Spinning Class

What's this all have to do with New Year's Resolutions?  If you're trying new things, a new class, a new your research and make sure you know what and how to do them.  If your a coach, assume that those coming to class don't have a clue and truly teach them in the proper manner so that you're not the reason that their resolution gets derailed.  Be the Professional.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

How many miles do I typically spin during a normal session?

I've been asked this question in same manner many times over the years.  The short answer, "0" I'm still in the exact same place that I started.  I do often get of the bike and teach during class, during which time I'm walking around the room, I'd say on a good day I'd call that 1/4 mile.

Okay, enough with the stupid answers, I know what you're really meaning.  I generally say 10-18 miles, and that's based off of what pace I normally ride when I'm on my real bike on the road.

Having said that I had a friend that was doing her first "triathlon".  I put that in quotes because it was one of those indoor events that gym's sometime sponsor to get their members motivated.  The triathlon consisted of 30 minutes in the pool, 30 minutes on a stationary bike and 30 minutes on the track running.  When she finished she proudly told me what she placed, and they told me she put on 20 miles.

Whoa, girl!  Did they ask you to sign up for the Tour de France.  You're peddling at 40mph.  (Reality check).

If you have a bike that reports distance, great! You're looking for repeatability not a real-world measurement.  If you get off that stationary bike after an hour, and think that you've done something north of 20 miles you need to question the validity of the measurement.  I occasionally train with nationally ranked duathlete friend of mine.  Our typical route from his house is mostly flat.  I'll set the pace, but at the half way point we'll switch so he can push me.  Maybe pull me, is a better way to say it.  He'll bump the pace to 22-25mph.  Going that pace, I'm good for maybe 60 minutes before I'm hating life and my buddy.

What's a better measure is power, and that is only as good as the bike your on as well.  If you're fortunate enough to be in a studio that has watt meters, and you can get the same bike each time (Spinners at my club are real territorial about their bikes) look and see what your total watts is.  During a Strength ride it will most likely be higher than during an Interval ride, while your mileage will be reversed, Interval > Strength.  Unless your on a really high end bike like the Spinner Blade Ion, I wouldn't read too much into the actual wattage number, it's relative to the bike.  But what you can do is check that versus your next ride and the one after that, etc... to see if you're loading properly, and not cheating.

If you're not in a club with that type of technology on the bike, no worries.  Get yourself a heart rate monitor and then you can ride any bike and measure if your physical exertion is on par with your normal workouts, or not.

"If you measure it, it gets done."  So whether you're measuring calories with a heart rate monitor or watts on a bike, or even virtual miles, what's important is that you're doing it, and working towards some goal.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Race to Death (Spinning Profile and Playlist)

My regulars know that my last class of the month, is always a Race Day Energy Zone ride. It's the only time I coach this format; it's kind of the icing on the cake for the month.

This month is great because it falls on Oct 28th, which is close enough to Halloween to count, AND all the local neighborhoods are having beggars night so it doesn't interfere with anyone participating.

This year I'm taking my signature look, which includes a cycling jersey that is a skeleton and I'm adding to it.  I have skeleton gloves and I'm going to try face painting.

Using Class Builder for my class as always, I've integrated a bunch of "monsters" to pop up on my screen during class.  Here are three of the scariest images.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Strength Energy Zone (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

I know that it's been quite sometime since my last post, 6 months, in fact.  I haven't lost my "Spinning® religion", but the responsibilities of my new career has given me little opportunity to blog.  An unfortunate accident involving a golf card, yard marker sign, and some spirits at a charity benefit also took it's toll on me; forcing me to take 6 weeks off while I nursed 3 broken ribs.

Those 6 weeks, not withstanding, I have been faithfully to the gym several times a week coaching classes.  I would be lying if I didn't admit that the facility and attendance have been frustrating.  I can't quite figure out why attendance is so low even by summer standards, but I still tend to run the largest classes of the week so I'll assume it's not a Freak issue.

Going forward for the foreseeable future I'll still be posting my profiles and playlists, but you won't be able to download them directly into Classbuilder™.  It seems that Apple has closed some memory access within iOS which no longer allows i-Funbox to move these files around.  Classbuilder™ also seems to have abandoned the idea that would allow me to simply "sell" the profiles, although you can buy theirs.  I still love the app, it's just not as flexible as it once was for sharing my profiles.

On to the profile...
I've been putting a lot more emphasis on the Strength Energy Zone.  I enjoy teaching in this zone since my population tend to not have a heart rate monitor, and I can use if you lost your breath as a cue if you're still in the right zone.  I've taken to adding a wicked little twist to the end of some of my SEZ rides, by throwing in a Tabata.  I know this transitions you into an IEZ ride, but it's adds that extra little something to the profile, like putting a cherry on top of your sundae.  Enjoy my hills!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

I want you to know how to dance, fight and go all the way! (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

"The report of my death was an exaggeration."~Mark Twain, 1897

Yes it's been way too long since my last post, but I haven't stopped Spinning®.  Life has just taken me on a detour for a bit with my new job.  I've continued to coach weekly and I've created a few new playlists but the time requirements have been such that I haven't been able to play around with my blogger hobby.  I think I'll be a little more available going forward as it is a hobby which helps me cope with stress and I surely need it.

Last week I did upgrade my iPad to the latest OS and many thanks to Apple, "You screwed me again!"  This post will have my playlist but if you're one of the folks that download my profile to import it into your ClassBuilder app, I'm afraid we're out of luck.  With the latest build of the OS, Apple has closed the door that allowed
i-Funbox to transfer these files.

Several new songs in this ride, and I have to say I had a lot of fun leading this ride and so did my participants as they told me after class on Friday. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Keep It Movin' (Spinning­­® Profile & Playlists)

You're either Moving or your Not.  We all get in those funks where you don't want to do
anything, you've lost your motivation, you've become bored, whatever.  What's worse is then you justify yourself, 'You deserve a break', 'You'll work twice as hard tomorrow', 'Yesterday's workout was enough'.  Again I say, Whatever.
You never regret the workout you did.