Tonight’s spin class was amazing! Here is the playlist we used for those of you who want to relive the glory! 🙂
Okay mommas… sometimes it is easy to feel guilty for taking the time to be fit and healthy and work towards your fitness goals… print this… share this…pin this… whatever your need to do!
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…
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!
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.
At Boot Camp the other night I had a student ask about proper abdominal contraction during ab workouts. My response was the often heard “…ensure your belly button is drawn back towards your spine”. She looked at me like this ————–>
Here is a better explanation of this concept…
Are you sitting down? Okay, sit up straight, and try this.
Suck in your gut as much as you can. Notice how you feel as if your belly button turns up. Your waist sucks in. It’s also quite difficult to breath.
Let that out. 🙂
Now, imagine you are using your stomach muscles (abs) to pull your belly button backwards. Not back and up, just straight back. So that your belly button touches (of course it won’t literally) your spine.
You should notice that it feels more muscular, less tummy-sucking, and that your belly button feels straighter, not tipped up, and that breathing is a lot easier than sucking in your tummy.
I notice that when I suck in my tummy my spare roll above sucks in nicely. But when I pull my belly button to my spine it doesn’t anywhere near as much.
Check out the blog entry Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back for a better explanation of the reasoning as to why your back may hurt when doing an ab workout. Here is a great brief article from Livestrong.com too…
When doing ab exercises, make sure to use muscle on the way up and down, and pause in between each movement. Don’t let gravity bring you down after an upward movement. This will create concentric, eccentric and isometric muscle contractions. You’ll get the most benefit from eccentric muscle contractions, such as lowering yourself during a crunch or sit-up. Don’t let yourself fall back down after you sit up — slowly lower yourself using your core muscles. Introduce constant tension by not lowering yourself all the way after a crunch, sit-up or pull-up. If you keep your shoulders off the floor after lowering yourself from a sit-up or crunch, you’ll keep tension in your ab muscles, creating isometric contractions.
To increase the benefit of your ab workouts, move side to side, not just forward and back. For example, in addition to doing crunches by moving up and down, reach across your body with one elbow toward the opposite knee. Lie on your side and raise your shoulders off the floor to work your obliques, located on the side of core. Use a medicine ball to do twists. Hold the ball at arms’ length in front of you. Turn to the side using your core, then hold the ball. Return to the center, then move in the opposite direction. Change the technique by placing the ball on the floor, next to your hip each time. If you use an ab wheel, roll forward and backward, then add forward rolls veering to the left and right to work the obliques.
You can work your abs using a variety of exercises. You can use an ab wheel, kettlebell, stability ball, medicine ball, weight machines or do body weight exercises such as sit-ups, crunches, hip raises, bicycle kicks or kipping pull-ups. With all of these exercises, it’s important to use your core muscles to perform the movements to prevent back and neck strain. As you begin to tire during your workout, avoid using your hips and back to help you move up or down — this could lead to a back injury. Don’t pull yourself up with your hands if you have them behind your neck during sit-ups and crunches.
AT HOME or BOOT CAMP: AMRAP and Tabata Workout
This is a great workout in less than an hour that can be done individually or in a group setting! Wondering what a tabata is? Check out “What is Tabata Training.”
AMRAP (As Many Reps (or Rounds) As Possible): 15 MIN
20 of each:
Speed Skaters: Jump to your right, landing on your right foot and stretching your left arm across your body. Quickly transition to the other side, jumping to your left foot and crossing the right arm across the body. Consistently switch back and forth until finished with the reps.
Sumo Squats: squats with your feet wider than hip width and with toes pointing out—require a unique combination of hip flexibility and glute and inner-thigh strength.
Plie Jacks: Start in a low plié squat. Hop up as high as you can and click your heels in together at the center. Land back in a plié squat. Repeat for reps.
Ski Jumps: Bend your knees slightly, reach your arms back and jump over your object. Land with both feet on the ground and stop for one second, stabilizing yourself. Repeat: Jump, land, stop, jump, land…
3 sets of the dreaded stairs!.
Then on to the tabata!…
TABATA: 16 rounds 20 sec/ 10 rest
weighted russian twists
TABATA: 16 rounds 20 sec/ 10 rest
wide arm pushups
Last week I posted here about how much my regular Thursday night spin class enjoyed the opportunity to submit song titles for a “Build Your Own” spin playlist. I was thrilled with the songs that they submitted and we had a great time in class! This week it was Tuesday’s turn and this class was no exception as they enjoyed hearing some of their favorite (and their classmates’ favorite) songs while getting their workout in. I can tell you that there was some good-natured ribbing by classmates and the generational differences were evident in their song choices, but the class flew by!
The popularity of personalization can’t be ignored. The rise of interest in products from NikeID, Shutterfly, and other markets has been exponential. Personalization is breathing new life into many of products, resulting in growth in new markets. So if consumers want personalization- why not take that same concept into the gym and our fitness classes when we can?
I’ve previously noted in other posts that I LOVE any excuse to have a themed spin class. I had a ton of fun with our Spooky Halloween Spin Classes in October and have been anxiously awaiting the need for another cheesy holiday themed playlist. Enter… Christmas & Hanukkah!
I have had the playlist under construction for the past three weeks and I have to say I am thrilled with the final Ho Ho Ho Ho-liday Playlist! I get to teach this class three times this week! Thankfully I HEART Christmas music so I won’t want to scratch my eyes out after listening to these songs three times in four days.
Last night was the first of the three classes and I hung Christmas lights around the room s and took the Mr. Christmas projector temporarily out of our front yard (these are amazing and it makes it look like snowflakes are falling throughout the room). The whole environment was very festive and all the students even came in their own festive attire. My own Santa hat only lasted through the warm-up, but it was fun for those couple of songs! We had a lot of fun and it really got the class into the holiday spirit!