Sunday, August 31, 2008

Up and (break)Away

This is a "Jen" adaptation of a strength ride profile that I received from Mad Dogg Athletics ( I love strength rides...pushing resistance and testing limits. I think they are great classes for outdoor cyclists who want the workouts to translate to the road. And, they always inspire the age-old argument over whether the women in the room are going to develop huge thighs and butts form their indoor cycling classes. I'm not touching that debate matter how much science is out there, I know there are those of you who are terrified of that type of muscle development. I only offer the advice that your flats and intervals will be so much more efficient (and fun) if you allow yourself to build the strength.

So, now I hear that little voice inside, encouraging me to write a tangent about women and strength and what it really means to be a "strong" woman. But, it's labor day weekend, I'm feeling kind of mellow, and am going to save that for another day. However, I'd love to hear from you (guys, too)...what does being a "strong" woman mean to/for you? Comment if you like.

Until then, here's the's really varied today, and I thank my fellow instructors and their blogs listed to the left for some of the songs. We climb from minute 7:30 on, but the hills are full of breakaways (my term for increasing cadence on a hill climb for a set period of time), switchbacks and jumps on the hills. Enjoy...celebrate at the earned it.

1. Que Baila/Little Exuma (warm up)
2. Bounce With Me/Kreesha Turner
3. Get Busy/Sean Paul (climbing begins)
4. Juicy/Better Than Ezra
5. Battleflag (clean version)/Pigeonhead
6. Viva la Vida/Coldplay
7. Hot N Cold/Katy Perry
8. So What (Main Version)/P!nk (she does it again)
9. Bonito/Jarabe de Palo (only flat)
10. Lucid Dreams/Franz Ferdinand
11. Breakaway (Chris Fraser Radio)/Dj Bill Bennet
12. Stoned in Love (Radio Edit)/Chicane
13. What You Waiting For?/Gwen Stefani
14. All These Things That I've Done/The Killers
15. Hard Sun (Main)/Eddie Vedder (cool-down)
16. After Tonight/Justin Nozuka

Saturday, August 23, 2008


From winter, 2008, a back to basics ride. I feel like I'm winding down a really hectic summer, and this class is perfect for that...propelled by strong music and lots of resistance building. Quick profile: 3 loops around-each loop starts with a 1-minute seated flat, followed by three 1-minute standing flats (1 minute seated flats in between each one). Then, we hit the 8-minute hill: 3-minute seated climb (add resistance each minute), three 20 sec. jumps on a hill in 3rd (from a 20 sec. seated climb), and a 3-minute standing climb (HP3) (add resistance each minute)...breakaway for the top and take a recovery seated flat to the next loop. Simple as, just gear and sweat. My students always tell me that this one goes by fast.

1. The Stairs/INXS (warm-up)
2. Touch of My Hand (Bill Hamel Club Mix)/Britney Spears (Stay on a seated flat, really start to push..into a headwind...add resistance every 90 sec., but try to keep cadence steady. Don't fall off the pace.)
3. Around the World, Harder Better Faster Stronger/Daft Punk (Start loop 1. 1-minute SF/1-minute STF (3x))
4. Enjoy the Silence (Reinterpreted)/Depeche Mode (Hit the hill, build resistance each minute. Your butt should be ready to lift out of the saddle by the time we hit the jumps.)
5. Criminal/Fiona Apple (Should already be in those jumps...power and speed up to HP3, hold for 20 sec, hit a SC for 20 sec and do it 2 more times. Ouch. Finish with a 3-minute Standing Climb/HP3, building resistance each minute. Push last 30 sec. for the top.)
6. American Idiot/Green Day (After catching your breath on a recovery SF, time to hit loop 2 and those 3 standing flats. As the music picks up, so do you. You now know the drill, no excuses, best effort.)
7. How Far We've Come/Matchbox Twenty
8. Pump It Up/Elvis Costello (Will hit the hill somewhere in here.)
9. Seven Nation Army/The White Stripes (LOVE this one for a climb...strong beat...don't be afraid of the gear...finish loop 2 nice and strong.)
10. Rosalita (Come Out Tonight)/Bruce Springsteen (Bruce will get us through the entire flat on this loop..last 3 standing flats..yes.)
11. Smooth/Santana & Rob Thomas (Last hill, last loop, the finish is at the top..make it as sexy as you want.)
11. Who Knew (The Bimbo Jones Radio Edit)/P!nk (Here it is...the last that resistance and hold the cadence right to the line at the top.)
12. Shadow of the Day/Linkin Park (cool-down)
13. Here with Me/Dido

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Recovery 101

The room where I taught today was unusually hot (HOT)...and this made me think more about recovery. Coincidentally, a few days ago, I received an email newsletter from Mad Dogg Athletics ( on this very topic. I thought the info. was great, so I'm sharing it here. Recover wisely. Your body and spirit will thank you.

"Ten Tools to Speed Recovery

When working hard to lose weight or enhance performance, many of us forget the importance recovery can play in achieving our goals. If you’re a person who loves to exercise frequently and train hard, just remember that too much of a good thing is not, well, a good thing. Your body needs time to repair in order to re-build and grow stronger.
Here are 10 tools to help your mind and body rest, rejuvenate and step up to the next challenge you bring on.

1. Daily Nutrition Habits: What you eat and drink every day determines your athletic potential. If you eat poorly on a daily basis, your athletics potential ceiling will be low. Maintaining daily optimal health through a nutritious diet will do more to speed your recovery from workouts than any other factor.

2. Sleep Habits: Sleep is when your body does its best repairing and rebuilding. If you skimp on sleep, you will delay recovery.

3. During Exercise Nutrition Habits: Fueling and hydrating properly during exercise will put you in the best possible shape at the end of a session so you need less total recovery time. For easy workouts that last less than an hour, water will suffice. For workouts lasting longer than one hour, you should consume a sports drink that contains carbohydrates, electrolytes and possibly protein.

4. Post-Exercise Nutrition Habits: Post-exercise nutrition is vital to help your body rehydrate, replenish electrolytes, replace carbohydrates, provide protein and supply antioxidants. By refueling within 30 minutes of the end of exercise, you can quickly replenish muscle glycogen. If you miss this window, it can take up to 48 hours to fully replenish your muscle glycogen fuel stores.

5. Remove Heat Stresses: Sometimes it’s easy to forget about the simplest things, so whenever possible, drink fluids to cool your core temperature, wear moisture-wicking fabrics that don’t trap heat, and apply cool compresses to your skin to release heat.

6.Time Management: Running all over town or doing a month’s worth of errands in a day does not constitute as a recovery day. Manage your time well so you’re better able to plan nutritious meals, get a full night’s sleep and recover for your next workout.

7. Stress Management: Do what you can to reduce ongoing stress in your life. Not only has chronic stress been shown to cause illness, injury and burnout—it’s also not good for recovery and overall athletic performance.

8. Pre-Exercise Nutrition: Ensure your carbohydrate tank is full and you are fully hydrated before beginning a workout. If you work out first thing in the morning, consume some low glycemic index carbohydrates with water to replenish fuel stores.

9. Yoga: Stretching, relaxation and meditation have been shown to speed recovery.

10. Massage: Massages increase circulation, flush away waste products and bring fresh nutrients—all while promoting relaxation."

-2008, Mad Dogg Athletics (

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Love, Love, Love

This is a true interval ride, the goal of which is to really work with heart rate, taking it on it's own ride. I give a choice of 2 positions...during the the first minute in that position, we raise the heart rate at a comfortable pace (80-85%). During the second minute, it's an all-out push in the same position (92%). Come down for a quick recovery seated flat and do it again. Halfway through the class, I change up the 2 positions. Super-simple, but really effective and a great way for students to test their fitness and to get a chance to choose what they want to ride.

The music started out as a Valentine's Day ride, but I now use it whenever I want to "feel the love." Great energy and effort today...much love!!!

1. In My Heart/Moby (warm-up)
2. Love You More (Radio Edit)/ Armin van Buuren (seated flat...raise HR)
3. Faster Kill Pusycat (Club Mix)/Oakenfold feat Brittany Murphy (intervals begin)
4. Groove is inthe Heart/Deee-Lite
5. Are You Gonna Be My Girl/Jet
6. Crazy in Love/Beyonce
7. I feel Love/Donna Summer
8. Kiss Me/Sixpence None The Richer
9. L.O.V.E./Ashlee Simpson
10. Love Revolution/Lenny Kravitz
11. Gin-Go-Lo-Ba (Drums of Passion)/Babatunde
12. Can't Get You Out of My Head/Kylie Minogue
13. Love/G. Love (fast flat to finish)
14. New Soul/Yael Naim (cool-down)
15. The Way I Am/Ingrid Michaelson
16. Come Away With Me/Norah Jones

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sweaty is Sexy

"Sweaty is Sexy." A little plaque with this statement rests on the front desk of one of the gyms where I teach classes. It is owned by 2 women, and has a high percentage of women clientele, all of whom work impressively hard. In an "image is everything" environment, it's a great reminder that it's a good thing to sweat. I love to sweat. When I was pregnant, one of the things I missed the most was working up a really good sweat. So, I am often surprised when I meet people who hate it. I work hard not to judge the person who comes into the already over-air conditioned Spinning room and asks for the air to be turned up higher. Maybe it's because I sweat so much during a workout. Yeah, I'm the girl who leaves the puddle under the bike. Sexy? That's your call, but it feels so great. On a physical level, it's so healthy for the body. Among other things, it's a release of toxins, like a quickie internal cleanse. On a mental level, it also feels releasing, like all of the negativity and stress is, literally, pouring out. One of my favorite moments during a class is when, after some time climbing, we hit a fast seated flat for an extended period of time, and the sweat really flows. Very early on in the evolution of Spinning, there was a Schwinn ad campaign that talked about feeling that first trickle of sweat running down your back. I get it...that image has stayed with me all these years.

I am supposed to take part in a Native American-based sweat lodge experience this weekend, which I have always wanted to do. Plans may have to be postponed, but I am looking forward to the experience, whenever it happens. I find that staying still and sweating, like in a sauna, requires a different kind of energy. When exercising, it feels secondary. But, when I am still, it feels like surrender...the act of letting go and letting the body do it's job.

Today's class is one of my all-time favorites. We ride 4 loops...each loop has the same elements to it, but the tempo is really quick the whole way through. Happy sexy sweaty Spinning!

4 Loopspin

1. Do Your Thing/Basement Jaxx (warm-up)
2. Dangerous Power (Cicada Full Vocal Mix)/Gabriel & Dresden
3. The Way I Are/Timbaland
4. U + Ur Hand (BeatCult Remix)/P!nk
5. Sanctuary (Radio Edit)/Origene or Mercy/Duffy
6. Take Me Out/Franz Ferdinand
7. The Rockafeller Skank/Fatboy Slim
8. Blinded By the Light (Radio Mix)/Royal Melody
9. Black Horse and the Cherry Tree (Radio Version)/KT Tunstall
10. Future Lovers/Madonna
11. Unwritten (Johnny Vicious Club Mix)/Natasha Bedingfield
12. After Tonight/Justin Nozuka (cool-down)
13. Landslide (Acoustic)/Fleetwood Mac
14. Longing/Ty Burhoe

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Rock N Roll Road

I'm teaching 2 classes today and need a little motivation on these hot, slow, sunny August days. Riding the Rock N Roll Road tonight and tomorrow. And, no matter how much I don't want to admit it, I just love Kid Rock right now! Enough said....

1. Slow Ride (single version)/Foghat (warm-up)
2. Start Me Up/The Rolling Stones
3. Baba O'Riley/The Who
4. Proud Mary/Creedence Clearwater Revival
5. Born to Run/Bruce Springsteen
6. Are You Gonna Go My Way/Lenny Kravitz
7. I Love Rock 'N Roll/Joan Jett (had to...)
8. Like the Way I Do/Melissa Etheridge
9. Higher/Creed
10. Smells Like Teen Spirit/Nirvana
11. Best of You/Foo Fighters
12. All Summer Long/Kid Rock
13. Girlfriend/Avril Lavigne
14. Every Rose Has Its Thorn/Poison (cool-down)
15. Free Fallin' (Live)/John Mayer
16. Crash Into Me/Dave Matthews Band

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Spaces, Familiar Faces

Those who know me know that one of the gyms where I teach has been undergoing some major transformations, both in ownership and in space. During this time, they have been committed to continuing the indoor cycling program, which has not been easy. I decided to ride it out with them, knowing I'd land back in their place if I was meant to be there. After a week with no space, today was our first ride in a temporary room until things get more settled.

Change always interests and inspires me. Even though it can cause me to pause at first, I am usually one of those who embraces it. Fall is my favorite time of year. Changes keep me fresh, give me new perspective and allow room for growth. I hate being stagnant. I have gone through major upheaval in my life over the past few years (maybe another post), and that is very very different...much harder to uncover the positives. But, I think with the right perspective and lots of digging, they can be unearthed even in really tough situations.

But today, I've been thinking more about the smaller changes. Anyone who takes Spinning classes knows there is often a HUGE big deal made over using a specific bike or being seated in a certain place in the room. Students will get flustered, even angry, if someone takes "their" bike or "their" place. They will sign up for a class days in advance, if allowed, just to get their spot. Look, I'm as much a creature of habit as anyone. And, I understand that if you find the place that is just the perfect temperature or the perfect distance away from the speakers, it's hard to give it up. But, I wonder why this sometimes borders on obsession, and why a whole workout can be ruined if someone is "forced" to make a change. I guess, as a species, we are territorial and hard-wired for continuity and makes us feel safe. It makes us feel comfortable. It keeps us balanced. All good, but what does getting stuck in this prevent us from experiencing? If we could just stay a little more open, amazing things may enter. Just for kicks, if I can, I sometimes rearrange the bikes in a room so the set-up is completely different. It really throws people off at first, but, they eventually settle in and often find it to be a good shift.

So, coming into a new space today was a bit challenging, even for me. There were distractions, issues with music and sound and lights. The bikes were different. There was no mirror, which is typical in Spinning rooms, but our old space had one, so the students were accustomed to it. Well, without it, maybe the perspective will turn more inward rather than outward at the image...hmmmm...imagine that?!? So, the only familiarities were the faces in the room...people who have been working out and sweating together for years. We knew who would make noise, who would shout encouragement and who would give me dirty looks after that hill. We were there to workout, but I also knew we were there to support each other.

As I was clearing out the space before I left, I was talking with Petra (once a student, now a fellow instructor) and she made a comment about there being such a sense of community in our workouts at this particular gym. Another student, Vicki, said she also missed the mirror because it helped her connect to others in the room during the ride. I have often been teased that group fitness is so annoying because it becomes too "cliquey," but it's really just that we support one another, that we feed off the energy in the room and that it gets us through the days we really don't want to be there..myself included. You might not be friends with the people around you...hell, you might not even like them, but you are sharing an experience and, whether you realize it or not, this connects you in some way.

Soon, the new space will become familiar, we'll work out the kinks and feel more balanced and "at home." Until then, let's just let it roll of our shoulders, ride hard and leave all the nonsense we don't need in our lives...there on the bikes.

Today, we rode Kick My Ass Hills, Hip-Hop Style. Not all hip hop and rap, but I threw in a good stretch. It has a good beat for slow steady climbs. This is a simple strength ride...after the first 5 minutes, we did not come down to a flat until the last 3 minutes....ouch. Screaming quads, tired hamstrings, tight butts, what's better than that? The hills get progressively longer, slower and steeper and then quicken up again. And, for those who hate to slow down and climb, yet another opportunity to settle in and expand.

1. Aerodynamic Beats/Daft Punk (warm-up)
2. Song 2/Blur
3. Take Me to the Cloud Above (Dub Mix)/ LMC vs. U2
4. Is It Any Wonder? (Tall Paul Remix)/Keane
5. American Boy (feat. Kanye West)/Estelle
6. Buzzin'/Shwayze
7. Callin' Out/Lyrics Born
8. Stronger/ Kanye West
9. What You Waiting For?/Gwen Stefani
10. Don't Stop the Music/Rihanna
11. Hey Ya!/Outcast
12. Faster Kill Pussycat (Club Mix)/Oakenfold feat. Brittany Murphy
13. Where'd You Go (Non-PA Version)/Fort Minor feat. Holly (cool-down)
14. Aad Guray/Deva Primal