Saturday, January 23, 2016

Going Big Early (Spinning Profile & Playlist)

For my first interval ride of 2016 I really wanted to knock it out of the park and show the class participants how different interval can be from the strength and endurance rides we've been doing.

I've been staying in the EEZ / SEZ zones while the classes have been full of new folks with their resolutions.  Besides many of the other instructors hate EEZ and only begrudgingly do SEZ.

Last week I did a David Bowie Tribute ride, and since that occasion wasn't going to repeat, I decided not to post that play list.  This week finds me doing a Glenn Frey Tribute, but I liked the profile so much and since I didn't over do it with tribute songs here you go.

Also, if you haven't seen this hilarious video from Funny Or Die, you need to check it out.

Spotify users:  I substituted a different Tabata song in the play list since the one I used wasn't available.  The version I used actually had a 2 minute cool down that I used to perform a flat and and then start a small incline into the first mountain.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Shut Up Already!

I love January time in the gym.  I know that for some "regulars" they hate the crowds of the New Years Resolutioners, but for me I love it.  They bring an energy to the gym, they're all so full of hope, even if they don't have the slightest clue how to attain their goals.

That's okay, that's what we're there for, to instruct, mentor and encourage these newbie's to a healthier, fitter version of themselves.

I will say I do enjoy people watching too.  It's amazing how much complete and utter nonsense you'll see and hear.  I was in working out last week, doing some bicep curls and watched a 20-something working on an elliptical machine going like a crazy mad person at a velocity that had she not been wearing a low friction fabric she might have ignited her own pants. Just down from little miss hot pants was another young woman that was "working" on a recumbent bike at maybe 10 RPM.  Later while I was running on a treadmill I watched people stroll and meander on the track that encircles the 2nd floor.  I know that some of those folks were going to go into school or work the next day and share with their colleagues about how their workout had gone and how long they were at the gym.  I'm sorry but if you're walking at a 2 MPH pace holding your phone and talking to someone (not exercising with you) then you shouldn't consider it a workout.

The entire thing reminds me of the YouTube video that's been floating around social media.  It's a fairly long video but well worth the time.

Which brings me to my recent classes.  My studio is a round room; I don't know what fool came up with the idea of a round room but regardless this is what I have to contend with.  The acoustics of a round room are bizarre and I find I hate standing in the middle of the room as you get a lot of weird echos (remember I get off the bike and coach a lot).

Back to the Newb's in class. They all come to class with their friends and find that they have to talk; not realizing that the acoustics make it so that everyone hears their hushed tones.  I'm not concerned about the occasional grunt, or a "Let's do it!" outburst of encouragement from a participant.  It's the long discussions about how they're feeling or doing during or after class.   This week I actually had someone taking pictures and tweeting during class.  
Historically I've imposed the "telepathy rule".  I'll remind everyone that as a courtesy to the class that I'm the only one that should be talking during class, but feel free to carry on any conversation that you like as long as you use mental telepathy.  I then remind people during class "remember mental telepathy."  That usually works.

If I'm coaching an interval session, where it's acceptable to go anaerobic I'll have the class keep adding until they just run out of capacity to pedal and talk at the same time.
This week during a strength ride however, I came up with one for someone that was particularly chatty.  We hit a down hill segment and I used the visual about the wind blowing in your face, and then I told everyone to shut their mouths so they didn't catch a bug.  I even went on a bit enough to tell them how bad the bug might taste.

Aside from the straight forward addressing the chatter, what creative ways have you addressed your Chatty Cathys and Talkative Toms?

Saturday, January 2, 2016

What if all Indoor Cycle Instructors actually rode a bike?

I originally wanted to title this post, 

"What if your indoor cycle instructor knew what the #$%@ they were doing?

but then decided that was a bit harsh.

Now let's be clear, I'm talking about indoor cycle instructors not that crazy stuff that you see on YouTube or a SoulCycle class.  If I were to write an article about that craziness, I'd title it, "What happens when your Zumba instructor does crystal-meth on a bike."

No insult intended to Zumba®.  I love Zumba and can totally recognize how awesome it is for the core.  If I had a lick of rhythm and grace I'd be a Zumba instructor.

What if all Indoor Cycle Instructors actually rode a bike?

...they would understand the importance of proper bike setup to prevent injury.  They wouldn't simply instruct you on the setup of the bike all from the comfort of their bike assuming that everyone already knows how to adjust the bike.  "Set your bike up so your comfortable" would fall 'way to "Let's make sure your setup properly and that you understand how this machine you're strapped to works."

...they would understand that it's impossible to climb doing a sprint while contracting your abs.  I'm blaming Pete McCall for this.  I saw a post by Pete on Facebook about why not to "engage the core" so of course karma being the sadistic witch she is, means that one of the first classes I attend they instruct directly the opposite of this sage advice.

...they would understand that there is no way to do a "sprint" for 90 seconds at 100% of your heart rate.
 I don't even know what to say here other than, "Have you actually used a heart rate monitor?"  and if you do, have you actually done some testing.  Even with the conservative formula that Polar throws into their calculation for max heart rate I would question the ability of anyone in the general population to work that hard.  Don't believe me?  Watch this Tour de France finish line video and notice that the Best of the Best take off for their final sprint at 1:56 a mere 16 seconds before crossing the finish line.  They know they can't sprint for 90 seconds, and they time their finish accordingly.  Yet we in the cycling studio's of the world sprint for 90 seconds?  I don't think so.

...they would understand that sometimes less is more.  It's a bike, strap your feet to the bike and start pedaling. It's not complicated.  You don't need to muddy it up with too many cues to give a semblance of knowing what you're doing.  Shut up already.  That goes for the cool down stretch as well.  Cuing a stretch with so many instructions as to sound like you're watching an origami video at double speed does nothing.  The instructions were coming at me so fast this morning that had I tried to understand them I would have folded myself into a pretzel.

...they wouldn't try to stretch the lower body while sitting on the bike.  It's okay to stretch the upper body, the shoulders, traps, and neck while on the bike (you can do that on a real bike too), but standing up, folding at the waist, so that your butt is pointed toward the ceiling while extending your arms and torso over the handle bars is a no-no.  Denise Druce (Master Instructor for Schwinn) has a nice video of stretches for after your ride, and she's a big advocate for yoga for cyclists.

...they wouldn't tell the participants that you just did 18-25 miles depending on your intensity. This is especially true if it's only a 45 minute class.  Even in a longer 55-60 minute format I wouldn't tell my class that we just went 18 miles unless it was a flat endurance energy zone ride and everyone was able to keep up with me.  Add a hill or two and we slowed way down.

These were the things that bothered me the last couple of days, but I'd love to hear from you all in the comments section about what insanity you see in the cycling studios of the world.

Hopefully next week I'll be able to give you a review of my new heart rate monitor / smart watch.

~ Spinning Freak™