There was no particular theme to this week's class other than I wanted to turn it up and crank it out. With all the rain we've had this week, it seems to start getting dark around 4:00 PM, leaving me feeling drowsy and ready to nap. So I needed a class that would wake me up and really get that heart going.
This week I asked my class to really pay attention to effort and heart rate, pedaling at anywhere from 60% for warm-up or recovery songs to 90% for nearly all-out efforts like sprints or heavy hills. Without really forcing ourselves to push it to the limit of what's comfortable, most of us would just hang out in that aerobic zone of 60-70%. We would still be burning calories, but over time our bodies adjust to the demands we put on them and we would plateau (or worse, start gaining weight again!). This is because after a period of time spent working out, our bodies become more efficient and require less energy to complete the same tasks. The downside to this is that if we continue doing the same workouts but keep everything else the same, we'll stop losing weight and stop noticing changes.
So focus on how you feel verses the numbers on the bike or treadmill. If you've been running a 10:00min/mile pace for more than a few months now, start trying to pick up the pace for a few minutes at a time during your run. If you're sitting in a spin class and the instructor says to add a gear and you don't feel like you're working much harder, add two! Don't be afraid of making your workouts harder. Don't shy away from sweat.
For me, picking loud, fast music is a sure-fire way to make sure I push myself. I mean, you can't exactly jog when you're listening to Chemical Brothers.
The Power is On Spin
1. Warm up, alternate 3 positions every 30s. start flat and add a gear half-way through. Start at 50% effort, take it up to 60%. "The Power is On" The Go! Team
2. Add another gear. Run in position 1 at 70% from 30s. to 1:30. Back it off to 60% for a minute. Take it to position 3 and run at 70% from 2:30-3:30. Back off to 60%. "Battleflag" Lo Fidelity Allstars
3. Maintain speed at 70% effort through gradually increasing resistance. Add a hair of resistance every minute of the song. As your pace remains the same your effort should increase to 80-85%. "Block Rockin' Beats" Chemical Brothers
4. Medium hill. 70% effort. Add one more gear from end of previous song. Pos 2 jog on verse, pos 3 and pick up on the chorus. "Beverly Hills" Weezer
5. Jumps. 60%. Take it back to light resistance for the first half, add a gear for the 2nd half. 8count/4ct for first half, 4ct/2ct for the 2nd. "Warning" Green Day.
6. Hill with increasing resistance. Take it back up to medium resistance. Sit and climb for the verse, add a gear and pick it up in pos. 3 for the instrumental breaks. Leave it on when you sit. Add resistance until it's as heavy as you can still pedal through. You should get close to 90% effort by the end. "All Along the Watchtower" Jimi Hendrix
7. Climb it out. Take off just one gear, sit and grind it out at heavy resistance. Holding at 80% effort. "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" Cage the Elephant
8. Flat recovery! 60% "Take It or Leave It" Jet
9. Hovers, medium resistance. Still 60% effort. "Mercy" Duffy
10. Light to medium resistance, alternate pos. 1 and pos. 3 runs til the music slows. Add in lots and lots of resistance for a quick, steep hill. Take it back off as the music picks up at the end and run it out. 70% "Lancaster Gate" Enter the Haggis
11. Heavy climb with seated surges. Heavy resistance in pos. 3 on the verse, take 2 gears off and sit and push harder in pos. 1. 80%. "Shake it Out" Florence and the Machine
12. Seated sprints. Recover on a flat road for first minute of the song, then add a gear and pick up the pace to 90% effort for first surge. Recover as the music breaks. Pick it back up a 2nd time for a longer surge when the music picks back up. If you can still carry on a conversation during this last song, you're doing it wrong. "Sandstorm" Darude
13. Cool down, flat road. "#41" Dave Matthews BandDon't forget to bring a towel!