The Skinny on Training for a Triathlon / Duathlon with Spin Classes

Wondering if triathletes and duathletes should use spin bikes, or if spin bikes give you as good (or better) a workout as riding your bike outdoors? Here’s the skinny…

Spin Bikes Are Different6ef16836dbebce7096bf3f7c0de89862

The majority of spin bikes are different than normal road, mountain or triathlon bikes because they have a “fly wheel”, which is a 30-40 pound wheel that provides the resistance as you pedal (and which is also the reason that the pedals on a spin bike keep moving after you stop pedaling). Because of this fly wheel, your hamstrings work harder to slow the pedals as they come around. But when you’re outdoors, you’re pedaling against the friction of road resistance and wind resistance, and this motion requires more work from your hip flexors and quadriceps. That fly wheel keeps the pedals spinning after you get the pedals moving, so it’s also very easy to let a spin bike do the majority of the work for you, which is why many people in a spin class appear to be pedaling very fast when they’re actually not doing much work at all.

So, now that you understand the difference between spin bikes and regular bikes, let’s look at whether triathletes/ duathletes will get a bang for their buck actually use spin bikes.

Spinning vs. Cycling – Overall Fitness

Spinning: A study by the American Council On Exercise (ACE) found that indoor spinning on a regular spin bike can keep you at around 75-95% of your maximum heart rate, which is more than adequate for a triathlete to build cardiovascular fitness. Of course, a big part of this heart rate boost could be the heat of an indoor spin room, the peer pressure of spinning classmates, and the motivation of an instructor barking orders in your face. However, as you’ve just learned, spinning tends to use primarily your hamstring muscles because of that fly-wheel, which A) means more help from the spin bike and fewer overall calories burned or muscles strengthened and B) you using far different muscle groups in a different way compared to what you’d experience with outdoor cycling.

Cycling: As you know if you’re a serious triathlete or cyclist, you can easily get your heart rate as high and higher as those in a spin class. But if you’re new to the sport and have a hard time pedaling that fast while balancing the bike, navigating, and not having the motivation of a crowd and an instructor, you may find it easier to build skills on the bike, and then build your cardiovascular fitness in a spin class. But in contrast to a spin bike, you use your glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, shins and calves more when you’re on a bike outside – so your muscular fitness will likely be higher (as long as you don’t spend much of your time “cruising”). But once again, you need to be working hard enough to hit those muscles with adequate force to make them stronger and to burn significant calories, and some people just have a hard time riding a bike that hard unless they’re racing.

Fitness Summary: The average triathlete, and especially the beginner triathlete, can get pretty fit in a spin class. But they shouldn’t neglect outdoor riding skills, and if you can get your heart rate high with outdoor rides, you’ll be better served keeping things on the road, or throwing your tri or road bike on an indoor trainer (which doesn’t have a fly wheel like a spin bike does).

Spinning vs. Cycling – Perceived Difficulty
Spinning: When you’re riding a bike indoors, spinning can get boring (this does not apply to Ashland’s fun spin instructors), and it can also use the same muscles over and over again (no ascents and no descents). This can certainly make spinning seem more difficult than cycling. But the pounding music and group/instructor motivation can help with this. Plus, note that a spin class can make time go by much faster compared to just throwing your bike on an indoor trainer.

Cycling: Unless you’re in a race or training with a fast group, cycling goes by much faster and generally feels much easier from an effort standpoint compared to a spin class. But as you take your cycling to the next level, there are technical skills required that can quickly make cycling become more difficult than spinning.

Summing it UP! :

You’re going to get a great workout with both spinning and cycling. But if you’re a triathlete, you’re going to want to be primarily training the muscles you’ll be using during the race, and also getting used to handling your road bike. Especially if you’re a beginner triathlete/duathlete, a spin class is going to give you great motivation and improve your fitness – but unless you’re just doing spin classes because you enjoy the heck out of them (and really WHO DOESN’T?!) – you’ll get more bang for your triathlete buck by riding your bike outdoors the 3 months a year that you are able to in northern Wisconsin!

Thanks to http://www.bengreenfieldfitness.com for most of the above information!

What to Look for in a Personal Trainer

Recently, Fitibie had a great article on 5 Things to Look For in A Personal Trainer and then one of my favorite bloggers, StrongFitBeautiful, expanded on the topic even more. Both did a fantastic job capturing all the things to consider when looking for a personal trainer- so I’ve summarized all the tips below!

1. Your personalities click
Trainer tip: Don’t be afraid to shop around
Personality is paramount when it comes to considering working with a trainer. A trainer can have all the qualifications and experience in the world, but if you don’t connect, then it will be difficult to develop a relationship that leads to commitment and success. I always encourage potential clients to interview me during our initial assessment to make sure our personalities match.

2. They put their clients before the program

Trainer tip: The first session will say it all
Going through a workout at the first session can be a sign of a bad trainer. It is impossible to receive personal training until the trainer knows the person behind the program they are creating. Your trainer should become familiar with your goals, history, likes and dislikes, schedule, current movement abilities, and areas of pain.

3. They’re all ears and a lot of heart
Trainer tip: Make sure you do most of the talking
A good trainer has good listening skills, a compassionate disposition, and generally feels like someone with whom you connect personally.

4. They never stop learning
Trainer tip: They are committed to their own ongoing education
Make sure your trainer has a NCCA-accredited personal training certification and also has committed to ongoing learning by attending workshops and conferences. The fitness industry changes at warp-speed, so it’s important for all fitness pros to stay up with the latest trends, knowledge, and practical ways to deliver results.

5. They know why it’s called personal training
Trainer tip: Be sure the workout is about  your specific goals
When you pay top dollar for one-on-one workouts, you deserve more than a canned workout. While every trainer has some favorite moves that they may use for multiple clients, your workout should be very specific to your goals, your shortcomings, and your level. Be sure that your trainer focuses on your individualized needs–and doesn’t just give you the same workout she gives every client.

6. They have references
Trainer Tip: If you know people who are like you who love their trainer- it’s a good bet you might too!
Do a background check. No, I’m not talking do they pay their bills on time – but rather their experience.  Which professional certifications do they hold? How long have they been training? All of these are great questions to ask to make sure you are working with a qualified professional – not just somebody who looks like they work out a lot. You can look up most trainers on IDEAFit or other sites. Here is an example (yep it’s mine) of a trainer profile!

7. It Needs to Be the RIGHT FIT for Both of YOU!
Trainer Tip: You will be spending a lot of time with this person so make sure it works for you both.
Your training should fit your life – and your schedule. If you know you aren’t going to be out of bed and to the gym by 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, find another time (and if necessary, another trainer). Many trainers will still charge your hourly fee if you don’t keep your appointment time – and you aren’t going to make any gains (or losses) if you aren’t committed to putting the work in! Also, be clear about what you want to accomplish in training. A trainer can only help you achieve your goals if he or she is clear on what they are. Are you trying to lose weight? Bulk up? Feel healthier? Different goals require different strategies – and just like people are not one size fits all, neither is training.

Perhaps above all, your trainer should be upbeat, motivational, and committed to helping you become a better version of yourself.what-doesn-t-kill-you-makes-you-stronger-p-source

Stumbling is Not Falling! AKA Sh*t Happens.

Okay so I’ll admit it… I am not always the perfect example of health and disciplined eating.  No matter how hard I try and how strict I am about my eating and exercising habits- slip-ups happen. I skipped two workouts last week and ate and drank my way into a caloric coma  with my very best girlfriend. Whoops- but it was completely worth it and we had a great time!

What I DID NOT next do was go off the deep end and eat everything in sight!  I got my butt back in the gym and scheduled an extra Saturday workout for myself and my boot camp participants.  However, this experience got me thinking about the minor setbacks and mistakes that we all make in our “fitness” habits.  We can learn a lot about ourselves from the manner in which we choose to learn from our errors and move forward.  A bad choice is not the end of the world.  Just “grrrl up” and track that piece of cake and glass of wine and move on…

Here are some tips from an article about what to do when you fall off the diet wagon by Connie Bennett as published in the Huffington Post.

“Stumbling is not falling.” ~Portuguese Proverb  

Image

1. Be sweetly accepting.

If you ate those no-no foods and ignored your good intentions, now is not the time to beat up on yourself. Instead, use your “falling down” to shower yourself with warmth, sympathy and compassion. Yes, you turned to junk food. Now, graciously accept that reality and get ready to move on.

2. Embrace your humanity.

People who are addicted to sugar or junk food or who often overeat tend to expect themselves to be perfect. Of course, that’s simply not possible. In fact, planning for perfection instead paves the way for a big letdown. So, now that you’ve “fallen,” use this as an opportunity to accept and welcome the fact that you’re human. That means you’ll make “mistakes” or slip from time to time. So what? Admitting your humanity can be quite freeing.

3. Give thanks for your “failure.”

This tip may seem counter intuitive, but I invite you to try to be grateful for your slip. Be thankful that you ate junk foods or fell off the healthy-food wagon. Be appreciative that you behaved in an unloving manner to yourself. Now turn your “failure” into something positive. In other words, take your slip and turn it into a transformational teaching moment.

4. Commit to grow.

Now that you realize the value of your “failure” and how it can become an amazing learning experience, accept that this may be the impetus you needed to finally pick healthy foods on a regular basis or to finally lick your bad habit (what I call a babit™). Now, search inside and commit to do whatever it takes so you can grow to reach your goal.

5. Get going with gusto.

It’s now time to slip on those sneakers (metaphorically and in reality) so you can begin again. After all, don’t you get more excited, impassioned and committed when you begin a project?

6. Watch the horrible outcome of your slip.

At this point, I invite you to study how bad you feel because of your sugar or carb spree or other counter-productive pursuits. For at least four days, keep a diary in which you write down the results of your binge, whether your reactions are emotional, physical or spiritual. Admit how your unhealthy habit is leading to horrible headaches, excessive exhaustion, embarrassing irritability, blowing up at co-workers or annoying “brain fog.” When you dispassionately study yourself in this manner, you’ll easily call to mind these horrible outcomes the next time you’re tempted to veer off the track. In fact, remembering how bad you felt can help you to stay on course next time and conquer your sugar temptation or other bad habit.

7. Dwell on what you really, really, really want.

Now that you’ve accepted your humanity, thanked your failure and observed how your sugar slip harmed you, think about what you want. As fitness instructor Patricia Moreno likes to say likes to recommend, think about what you really want in the depths of your being. (Patricia talks about this concept in her s exciting new book, The IntenSati Method: The Seven Secret Principles to Thinner Peace.) In other words, do you really, really, really want to be sugar-free, full of energy, slim, trim, toned, sexy, happier and more enticing to yourself and others? Kicking sugar and eating real food — the kind that grows on trees, pops out of the ground or swims in the ocean — can give you all of that and more. So zero in on the many physical, emotional and spiritual benefits that eating healthy will give you.

8. Create a vision board.

Now that you’ve decided you really, really, really want to go sugar-free or eat healthier foods because of the many benefits, I invite you to actually illustrate your goal. By this, I mean, create a vision board where you paste on photos, words and images that capture what your new, healthier life will look like. You can learn how to do this by reading The Vision Board: The Secret to an Extraordinary Life by Joyce Schwarz. Look at your vision board every day and make sure when you look at it that you also relish the glorious feelings that your new, healthier life would give you. Even better, do powerful “feelingizations,” as Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life With the Law of Attraction, puts it. (Ford coined this appropriate word to convey that when you visualize, you really feel them.)

9. Proclaim your freedom.

Now that you’re getting back on track, create one powerful affirmation or mantra and repeat it over and over all day long. You can clean your house or work out while you repeat your affirmation. (Of course, the power and effectiveness of affirmations are discussed in the bestselling film and book,The Secret by Rhonda Byrne.)

10. Make a pleasing plan.

When starting a healthy diet or new way of eating, it’s always wise to figure out in advance what, when and where you’ll eat. It’s a good idea to choose ample, modest amounts of protein, healthy fats and high-fiber carbs such as vegetables and low-sugar fruits at every snack or meal. So I encourage you now to decide what, when and where you’ll dine or snack tomorrow. Put it in writing. As you begin anew, remind yourself why you’re doing this. You may want to lose weight. You may want to get more energy. You want to have better relationships with your loved ones. You may want to be sexy and svelte. Or you may want to be more productive.

Always remember, by giving up sugar or junk food, choosing healthier foods and/or dumping other bad habits, you will instead live a happier, healthier, more meaningful life.

 

You check-in on Facebook- Don’t you think you are worth checking in with too?!

4503668346848746_cceW7Zn0_cSo, you all have been at it for one week!  You are seven days into your New Year’s resolutions and fitness goals!  Since many of you set goals that by their very nature will take a while to achieve, it is important to review your goal progress from time to time to make sure that you really are progressing and not just going around in circles.  It is also  crucial to take a moment and recognize and celebrate your small successes!  Setting mini-goals will help you keep moving forward and give you something to celebrate instead of waiting until you reach the big ultimate goal (then you can REALLY party)!

Your self check-in should include:

Measurement: The method of measurement should be established at the start of the goal setting process, along with the baseline. By determining your current goal  measurement (weight, speed, # of workouts, etc.) and comparing it with your starting point, you will be able to see whether or not you have progressed towards your goal.

Relevance: Goals are established based on your situation at the time of setting them. Has your situation relevant to this changed significantly? If there has been a significant change, is it still necessary or are you still able to achieve this goal?

Resources: Are resources  (money, time, information, support) adequate? Is this holding you back from achieving your goal or do you find that you are really struggling?

THEN…

think about each of the following…

  • Is this goal easier or harder than expected?
  • Can you take on more, or do you need to take smaller steps?
  • Overall, are you happy with your progress? If you are, then great! If not, work out why and fix the problem.
  • What are you doing well towards this goal? …and keep doing it!
  • What do you need to do better to achieve this goal? …and do better!
  • Are you enjoying this goal, or at least excited about the end result? Reward yourself for achieving mini-goals and milestones to keep you on your journey. Remember, the end result needs to be something you really want.
  • Have you been honest and ethical in your progress towards this goal? Your highly moral sub-conscious won’t let you achieve goals if they have unethical components or if you haven’t been honest with yourself. Is this holding you back?
  • Are you afraid of failure?…

I am incredibly impressed and proud of the steps I have seen many of the Northern Grrrls take this past week in achieving their goals!  Keep it up everyone and keep working so hard!  I know you all have it in you!

adapted from http://www.achieve-goal-setting-success.com

Hey Fat Girl, I got something to say to you…

I had to re-post this.  This is the time of year when I like to remind you fellow fitness fanatics that while the New Year’s resolution gym crowd can be frustrating,  those very people need  encouragement and support- not your attitude of superiority.  When you encounter newbies out there in the coming days at the gym or the pool or wherever… Be patient with them and the people who are clueless in your workout classes. Each of these individuals are starting a new scary journey and have their own challenges to overcome. Show them how to use the treadmill. Tell them what equipment they need for class if the instructor is busy. Smile at them.  Make them feel welcome in your gym so that they want to return the next day.  Become inspired by them!

Hey Fat Girl, Image

Yes, you. The one feigning to not see me when we cross paths on the running track. The one not even wearing sports gear, breathing heavy. You’re slow, you breathe hard and your efforts at moving forward make you cringe. 

You cling shyly to the furthest corridor, sometimes making larger loops on the gravel ring by the track just so you’re not on it. You sweat so much that your hair is all wet. You rarely stay for more than 20 minutes at a time, and you look exhausted when you leave to go back home. You never talk to anyone. I’ve got something I’d like to say to you. 

You are awesome. 

If you’d look me in the eye only for an instant, you would notice the reverence and respect I have for you. The adventure you have started is tremendous; it leads to a better health, to renewed confidence and to a brand new kind of freedom. The gifts you will receive from running will far exceed the gigantic effort it takes you to show up here, to face your fears and to bravely set yourself in motion, in front of others. 

You have already begun your transformation. You no longer accept this physical state of numbness and passivity. You have taken a difficult decision, but one that holds so much promise. Every hard breath you take is actually a tad easier than the one before, and every step is ever so slightly lighter. Each push forward leaves the former person you were in your wake, creating room for an improved version, one that is stronger, healthier and forward-looking, one who knows that anything is possible.

You’re a hero to me. And, if you’d take off the blaring headphones and put your head up for more than a second or two, you would notice that the other runners you cross, the ones that probably make you feel so inadequate, stare in awe at your determination. They, of all people, know best where you are coming from. They heard the resolutions of so many others, who vowed to pick up running and improve their health, “starting next week”. Yet, it is YOU who runs alongside, who digs from deep inside to find the strength to come here, and to come back again.

You are a runner, and no one can take that away from you. You are relentlessly moving forward. You are stronger than even you think, and you are about to be amazed by what you can do. One day, very soon, maybe tomorrow, you’ll step outside and marvel at your capabilities. You will not believe your own body, you will realize that you can do this. And a new horizon will open up for you. You are a true inspiration.

I bow to you.

See original post on Flintland…

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